Finally saw Dark Knight Rises.
Here are some thoughts:
Overall I liked it, which is the case with all the Nolan Batman movies. The tone was good and the realism he tries to establish, for the most part, works.
TDKR felt more like a mini-series than a movie -- it was long and felt long, but I didn't mind that much.
I've come to view them as a ElseWorld story -- Batman and characters from Batman re-interpreted and re-imagined and re-set. We had Bane and Catwoman and Talia Al Ghul but mostly in name only. They were cool and interesting at times, but I never got the sense I was seeing the comic characters come to life, like I have with the Marvel characters and the Avengers. (They varied in detail, of course, but were truer to the core.)
That's the whole point of ElseWorld though.
Here are my major problems with it:
Nolan never got Batman, not in Batman Begins, not in Dark Knight, and not here. I get he was trying for a Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns vibe, but the whole "quit being Batman for 8 years and hid" vibe wasn't earned. Rachel was a casualty of his war. Like his parents. Likewise, Alfred doesn't quit. He strokes out in the Batcave maybe, but he doesn't quit. So silly.
Most importantly, Dark Knight was missing a word -- detective. Batman figures out Talia. He hears that she's a girl in the pit and then orchestrates the ending to get put in the room with her and Bane because he figures out she's the trigger man. You can keep the same story, and have an effective Batman.
WHO ALSO DOESN'T KILL. Batman DOES have to save Ras Al Ghul in the first movie (because he couldn't save his parents and that means he absolutely will save everyone else -- even the Joker.) He doesn't blow up streets knocking Talia's truck off the road, killing her too. Nolan's Batman has a death count on him that's remarkably out of character.
So is the ending. Batman isn't in some dumb cafe in Italy. He's in the cave when Robin arrives. With Gordon. Figuring out how to take his city back. (If you're going to use TDKR, use it)
(Nolan never nails endings for me. Inception was like Matrix ending with Neo never stopping bullets.)
Two-Face was utterly wasted in these movies. Joker got two Two-Face crimes in Dark Knight (including one done on himself -- two victims, two locations.)
In no world, Else or otherwise, is John Blake Robin. Name him Drake if you have to, call him Tim at the end for comic book fans, and be done with it. Or really have some Miller balls and uses Carrie Kelly.
For as much as Nolan used Miller's TDKR, he didn't uses the payoff to the mutant leader fight on Bane, which seemed wicked obvious.
Also, Bane's voice was almost incomprehensible at times. Couldn't fix that in post?
I'll have to watch it a few more times to really figure out my thoughts.
But overall, and if I truly divorce myself from my lifetime of Batman love, it was much better than I expected, and really good overall. Flawed but fantastic.