It’s a good movie and very entertaining, but that being said, it’s hard to talk about the film without spoilers.  But what the hey, I’ll give it a shot.

The stand out in the movie for me was Anne Hathaway.  I thought it was an insane casting choice and that she’d never be able to pull it off.  Turns out, she’s probably the best thing in the movie.  But the cast as a whole is just great to watch.  Gary Oldman is just astonishingly good as Jim Gordon.  He gets every nuance of that character.  A lesser actor could’ve easily spent his scenes chewing scenery to draw more and more attention to himself.  Oldman plays it perfectly and Nolan’s direction is stellar.  Michael Caine, as always, is a perfect Alfred.

Christian Bale is on target, but by this movie, the limits of the Bruce Wayne/Batman character are beginning to show.  There were so many parodies after the last Batman movie, I found myself stifling a laugh every time Bale did his Batman voice.  There are also shots of him in the Batman suit with, I feel, way too much light.   Kind of makes him look weaker and weird.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is very solid in the movie.  He’s a gifted actor, but his character gets way too much screen time.  I had read that Christian Bale’s contract stated that there could be no Robin in the movie.  Levitt becomes an assistant to Batman and Gordon and almost takes over the movie.

On the script end, there are great tie-ins with the first and second movies, except the Joker is never mentioned.  It’s kind of hard to fault Nolan for staying away from that.  After all, the Joker lived at the end of the second movie and poor Heath Ledger has passed on.  I imagine he would’ve been in this one, reprising his role.

I think the biggest weakness is Bane.  Bane was never a great character in the comics, in my opinion.  He felt like one of those conference room ideas where everyone pushes the character to be the “ultimate” everything.  But the bottom line, he’s just a strong guy with tubes sticking out of his head.  Kind of a big weakness.  Nolan’s redesign does a lot to fix these problems and integrate Bane into the Batman Mythos more organically.  There are surprises here that both Batman comic fans and regular movie goers will enjoy.

But ultimately, the bad guy’s plan is pretty petty.  Yet that doesn’t stop hundreds of followers flocking to Bane and even willingly giving up their own lives.  Nolan tries to tie the entire thing in to a take on modern politics.  It’s a ballsy move that comes off pretty good, until you go back and think about it.  Every bad guy in this movie seems to be on a suicide mission.  What was awesome about the Joker was that he played criminals off of one another in the opening scene in a clever way.  Bane is too powerful from out the gate and rather than doing something smart to beat him, Batman is kind of stupid about it.

Another problem with the script is that important moments are telegraphed to the audience.  You will know how the movie ends about 20 minutes in.  The up side of the script is that Nolan uses events from the previous movies to their maximum impact.

For a 2 hour and 44 minute movie, it feels often times like you’re being rushed through and other moments when you wish things would just progress for Bruce Wayne.  The movie needed more Batman to be a good Batman movie.  Still, it’s entertaining.  And for all it’s weaknesses, I still enjoyed it and found it a worthy cap to the trilogy.  (Although Nolan leaves room open for a kind of sequel.)

Ultimately, what stops a Batman movie from being great are the comics.  The comics are forever.  The stories never end.  In movies, however, we’d like to see some kind of closure.  That, Bat-fans, is what you’ll enjoy about this flick.  Seeing the characters brought to their logical conclusion…at least until the next reboot.  Still, just once, I’d like to see a movie just start with Batman as Batman.  No wind up, no explanation of his origin needed, he just starts kicking ass.

I’m probably giving this movie a higher rating because I am a big Batman fan (as I did with Prometheus for different reasons), but I’m going to give The Dark Knight Rises 7.5 keggers out of 10.  Totally worth seeing on the big screen.