I can't help it, I was so excited to see this movie, I had no expectations other than that
(1) it would be satisfying and end the series on a note worthy of such an original interpretation and
(2) that it would be tonally consistent with the tone established in Batman Begins and developed more in The Dark Knight.
I tried to love it at the midnight showing, I tried to love it when I saw it again the next day, I still try to love it when I watch the cam version on my computer, I've seen it 10 times in theaters and many more than that on my computer, I wanted/want to love it. I knew it would be hard to surpass the dark knight but I thought, this is a different movie, Nolan is purposefully avoiding crime drama and going for epic disaster/war movie to allow himself room to find equal perfection (or close to) with Dark Knight without having to rehash or needlessly inflate things (such as Spiderman 3 and X-men Last Stand had done - too many plot points, too many characters we don't care about and too many clunky turns in the story are agreed upon issues with those films by the majority. I thought surely we would at least avoid those with TDKR).
Despite my efforts what I got was a long, over-bloated movie that has too little of the good things and too much of the less needed things
Examples: (too much John Blake, too little Bruce),
(too much Daggett development, too little Talia development),
(too little main characters interacting and too much main characters interacting with newly established characters),
(too little explanation of Batman's final plans(if he had any other than "attack and risk your lives officers!"), too much time spent on Gordon trying to convince Foley to join the fight),
(WAY too much of all the cops gathering around delivering exposition about how much time is left and how they found out how much time was left and what they have to do despite they don't have any ideas and WAY too little shown of Gotham's actual citizens trying to survive this situation or how any react at all to it).
Those are just a FEW examples.
The editing is all over the place, with certain scenes chopped short or being rushed and other scenes running needlessly long without any cohesiveness overall
Some key points of contention I personally had:
(1) Alfred telling Bruce he burned the letter from Rachel, terrific acting by both parties, but man, terrible writing. "what if she had written a letter saying she chose Harvey Dent over you? And what if... to spare you pain, I burnt that letter?"
And what if they took some time to craft natural sounding dialogue instead of delivering an expository sentence that sounds so clunky for such a tragic and beautifully acted moment?
Did no one else have a problem with the phrasing of that line, or with the fact that it comes up after all this time in the time and place and way that it did? They have that conversation in a stairwell? All the epic locations in the mansion and they have the conversation in the stairwell? And they just shoot it in a back and forth?
Some people might say, yeah in the stairwell, that makes it real man. It lets us focus on what's really happening, just Alfred and Bruce. Well okay, but wouldn't it have been more meaningful or contained different levels if it had happened in the cave where Alfred could again make reference to the "hell" Bruce had been keeping himself in, as symbolized by the cave? Then Alfred could leave Bruce alone in the darkness of the cave as he sits staring at the monitors.
Or how about in Bruce's room, seen elsewhere in the film, why couldn't they have that conversation where there were pictures of Rachel present so that Bruce would have something there to remind him and react to? Doesn't that thematically make more sense than a stairwell where Bruce just walks off up the stairs after they finish? Feels like they just had to shoot the scene so they picked up a random location?)
Gripe Number (2)
Bruce getting out of the pit.
This is a huge overall problem I have. From the moment Bane delivers his monologue speech the movie has two completely stories that barely play off each other at all, (A) Bruce trying to learn to overcome his lack of fear and make the jump (fight to live again) and (B) the cops in the city essentially delivering nonstop exposition scenes so we understand how they all figure out what they do about the bomb,
which is maddening because the audience already knows about the bomb and we are told several times not only how they found out about the bomb but how things will unfold regarding it. At a certain point its like, I get it dammit, there's a ticking clock, now lets get on with some character development (or lacking the possibility of those, at least some unique and well crafted action set pieces like previous films) before the running time of this last installment runs out -- oh, wait no time for either of those things (or better yet both combined like the previous films) because we need to show Miranda Tate offering to help (while awkwardly avoiding revealing she is Talia, which true fans already guessed despite interview lies). We have no time for character development and action set pieces because we also have to explain why Foley won't help and we have to have some undercover guys get randomly shot and hung from a bridge (at least their hanging serves a purpose but why it takes so long and happens so randomly during another expository scene is beyond me)
What could have solved the problem of the pit and the city story lines being so incredible not connected and clunky?
How about (as ConfusedMatthew the reviewer says) the people in the city actually needed Batman? What if the people in the city actually started to hope for Batman's return? What if we saw how difficult life for them was in the new Gotham (instead of not seeing them at all except in the orphanage during that one scene that makes it look like this takeover is merely a power outage). What if these events made them start to hope for the Batman's return and they started making bat signals anywhere and anyway they could? What if (instead of just seeing people hanged and childishly throwing a rock at the tv) Bruce sees these bat signals and it gives him the motivation to make the jump. What if the old man tells him instead of just finding fear that if he wants to help those people he needs to help himself by finding fear. Well, all these what ifs are making me sound like Alfred and there's nothing to be done now.
How about they at least show the citizens of the city trying to live under these horrible circumstances? You know how many people say they wish Joker had been mentioned more outright (instead of just refereed to in the liens about structures failing), well if Gothams citizens were seen struggling they could have made reference to how things haven't been this bad since the Joker's insanity gripped the city, then Bane wouldn't need to read a poorly written expository letter (why they'd believe him who the hell knows) to convince people Batman didn't kill Dent. Instead of that letter being read people could have simply overcome their hatred for that and started wanting the Batman back because they remember how he fixed things and stopped the Joker's madness.
Instead we get Bruce repeatedly climbing and falling, smashing a tv and hearing back story for Talia disguised as back story for Bane and a bunch of cops running around delivering exposition
Anyway those are just two major points that drive me nuts, i won't go into the ending much as I already had a post on that and most of the responses were, the ending is awesome/fine, if you don't like it you don't get it. Bruce is happy and that's a happy ending. My one note on the ending is, someone being happy doesn't mean a happy ending, it has to be earned, running off to escape your past trauma by living with a past criminal in Italy is not overcoming, its avoiding. There, that's it, that's why I don't like the ending more than anything.
Overall though, this movie had so much potential but almost everything shown in the previews was shown in the film exactly as it was in the previews. That epic Batman, Catwoman scene "you don't owe these people anymore, you've given them everything" "not everything, not yet" that is the whole conversation, there is no more depth added in the film other than what was already evident in the preview clip of it. Scenes of Batman and Catwoman fighting side by side, those aren't much elaborated on in the film either and they all take place at the beginning with the only team up at the end being a batpod flying bat team up where they don't even interact.
Before I rant any longer the point of this post is that I was hoping others would have had problems with the film, they don't have to be my problems by any means but everyone seems to have loved this movie more than they were upset by its missed potential. I was hoping others might feel similarly, even if about different aspects
OR if people enjoyed the film and have better reasons than just, "it was epic", or, "its a movie bro, things aren't supposed to make perfect sense'
Then by all means give me your thoughts and maybe it will make the film more enjoyable for me