Sad that it is over, but glad that it ended so well.
The opening bat symbol is, again, lovely. Part 1, bats as in fear. Part 2, blue fire as in chaos. Part 3, ice as in winter, the end. Dude, that's deep.
There is so much going on in this movie that it felt like an abridged miniseries. It makes me wonder if it is all necessary. Plot turns here then there, just for the sake of unpredictability or surprises? Part 2 was novel in the number of things going on at once and how much would happen, so much to process, plot overload. Details for their own sake. What was that emp cannon? What was that about his bad knees? Getting Bruce's fingerprints had to do with exposing his identity but where did batman leave his prints? It's not important, so why is it there? Is it... forget it. A dream within a dream? Don't argue. But the length and amount of stuff felt more like a serialized graphic novel, determined to pack in more than the average movie. It could have been longer if it took its time, but better? After much cogitation I have decided that the amount of stuff and pace of the movie is more worth my time and price of a ticket than the structure and arc of the average movie. Most of which suck these days. It feels new; is this where movies are going or is it a personal touch of the filmmaker? It feels like the latter, and it feels good. Like lotion. Now put it in the basket.
Overall, glad to see it more in the vein of part 2 while bringing back elements from part 1, tying it all together. Nolan and Co. prove to be the only ones able to put comic characters in a believable and coherent setting. The Avengers was coherent and awesome, but total fantasy. And since tdk trilogy is certainly the most successful venture into comic movies I think it should trump any attempt to bring DC characters together. Superman, even though he's super, has no business existing in the same world as the tdk trilogy. I hope they stay separated. We did come close to a superman vs.batman movie years ago. But some good news is that Nolan is producing the new superman movie, and hopefully it won't be necessary to put the Justice League together. Even so, Green Lantern has even less believability than superman in Nolan's universe. He would have fit right in with Schumacher's movies though. His weakness is the color yellow. I hear he's a joke even in the comic books. Not important.
Gotham being cut off as an urban wasteland for five months probably would have been in worse shape than what is shown. Haven't read the No Man's Land series but the comics would take it a lot farther, so the movie dials it back I guess. Not important. The city being given back to the people from the rich and powerful looks like the insanity coming out of New York and the occupy movement. And it looks dismal. Rations come in and people lining up to get sustenance looks like the Soviet Union. And Gordon's secret police force was Le Resistance. Lots of good alliteration to contemporary and historic contradiction of people being treated equally through starvation and terror by totalitarian thugs with big guns. Another contradiction I've often thought about here is that when anarchy has to be enforced it's not anarchy. I know that 'giving Gotham back to the people' before blowing it up was to fulfill Ra's al Ghul's judgment on Gotham's corruption and to break Batman's spirit all at once. These themes that are in some of the comics are greatly appreciated by the audience wanting to see that comics can have ideas and allusions to reality while being entertaining.
Bane and the Joker must have gone to the same school for omniscient demolition and mayhem. The planning required to get their schemes off the ground would suggest that these guys could plan a landing on Mars. Ra's al Ghul being the teacher would make sense since they all involved cutting off parts of Gotham via bridges. In Part 1 the Narrows is cut off while the fear vapor turns it into an island of insane panic. Part 2 had the Joker scaring people to take boats off the main island where his chaos experiment with the ferries happened. Part 3 is the most extreme with blowing up all but one bridge, isolating the main island and not letting anyone in or out. This may be the biggest thing I try to disregard about all three movies; that Gotham would not have learned to protect its bridges and other vital access routes to an area that is already naturally isolated. Bridges and tunnels have been strategic hot spots throughout history. If Gordon's team could have captured a couple tumblers they could have built a bridge which IS what they were made for... Not important.
The insistent realism of the movie does not jive with the comic book-ness of such elaborate schemes. I'm trying to disregard it for the sake of the big picture. I forget at what point the movie feels like Batman is going to end for good. He's leaving and never coming back... possibly dying? Knowing Nolan's penchant for plot twists kept me from feeling anything when the bomb went off. It wouldn't surprise me if the whole reason for the bomb was to obscure Batman's demise even for the audience since it's not easy to actually show someone disintegrating from a nuclear blast. I thought, 'I didn't see anything, so nothing happened. But how did he get out?' How is not important. Just when we wonder what's next for Gotham is the hint placed that Bruce fixed the autopilot and faked his own death.
It's nice that everything led up to Batman's 'departure.' It almost had me thinking he would die and reminded me of part 2 where Harvey kidnaps Gordon's family. Considering who made the movie I was genuinely afraid that Batman wouldn't be able to stop Harvey from killing or maiming Gordon's son, another allusion to The Killing Joke, the inspiration for Joker's intent on driving one of the good guys insane. Also remembering who made the movie I was terrified to think that maybe Alfred is dreaming or hallucinating and Batman/Bruce really is dead. Wouldn't surprise me, but it would make me sad. My fantasy epilogue is that Robin Blake is the new Batman for a bit, but 'something bad' happens and Bruce has to come back, under disguise, being dead of course. But since Blake is the new Batman, Bruce would take up his League of Shadows ninja suit and don the name Nightwing, or something stupid like that. That's why i don't write movies. Not important
I don't know what to think about Gotham always being deceived for their own good, exchanging one lie for another. Part 2 ended with Batman taking the fall for Dent's crimes to keep his white knight image and as a symbol of justice to inspire Gotham. When Bane reveals the truth before breaking out the prisoners of the Dent Law it was hard to listen to Gordon defend his complicity in the lie of the district attorney-turned-murderer. But his words ring true regarding the service Batman was willing to do for the greater good. "...someone willing to get their hands dirty so you can keep yours clean," sounds of almost religious self-sacrifice. Gordon knows he doesn't measure up to his own moral standards but the point that he has them got him noticed by Batman in Part 1, and the rest is history. Blake comes to understand it when he also chooses to conceal Batman's identity after 'dying' to save Gotham. When Dent was revealed so was Batman's willingness to take the fall. Once for the crimes of another and again to save Gotham from total devastation. Sound like Someone we know? And knowing that he's alive leaves the possibility that if he needs and/or wants to he can fulfill the symbolism and come back to save Gotham again. Anyway, becoming a symbol is what he set out to be in part 1. On a side note, the aforementioned parallel brings to mind what the Joker said to Batman in the interrogation room, "They'll cast you out, like a leper." Bane's breaking of Batman is the symbolic death that every hero must RISE from in countless stories. But I find significance in that Bruce has to try three times to get out of the pit prison which is obviously a grave. More parallels for the western world to recognize? Hard to imagine such a great film crew being so literal with the 'Rises' in the movie's title. Rises from a prison pit... ? Nah. Somewhat important.
In closing, this is the most thorough and complete conclusion to any film franchise that I know of. It added onto the context of everything that came before it. The series as a whole changed and grew, becoming a different creature with each installment and going on a journey instead of walking in circles. Sad that it is over, but glad that it ended so well. Cheers, Nolan and Co.