The best thing about this movie is how satisfying it is. It doesn't leave you frustrated or confused. You can't really complain that it didn't explore certain ideas or follow through. By deciding to have an official ending to this trilogy's story, the themes surrounding Batman are very fresh. We don't know where he'll end up. It's not the same old thing about whether he can continue to be Batman or not, which was already getting repetitive in Spider-man 2. The conclusions are not as important as the feelings they invoke as they come about. Nolan is especially good at capturing the complete tension of actually not knowing what will happen and deeply questioning what you *want* to happen and why.
This movie is bigger than the previous two, far more ambitious. There are no obvious annoying weaknesses that usually come with films in general, especially blockbuster action movies. All of Nolan's movies have deep psychological themes and this takes those in another new direction. I thought Inception was hugely original and insightful about the way people think. That level of abstraction and depth is present in this film. Bane bursts into it, his reputation is quickly established. Nolan uses people's expectations and anticipation to the fullest. We are left to wonder about what has happened in the 8 years since the events of The Dark Knight. Why have the characters become the way they are now?
In the latter half, it does seem like the movie is trying to pull off so many different plot points and connections, but they all work. The cast is very large and impressive. You don't see "good acting". You see fascinating characters. They're just playing their part in the grand story that's being crafted. There are many unfamiliar faces but they all have a strange, unique look to them. We often see a person's flaws and previous decisions coming back to haunt them. They find out the hard way what mistakes they have made. Where their limits are. Where they lose control.
The score is almost tribal, very raw and energetic. You don't get much chance to pay attention to it but many parts of the movie are pounding with excitement. There are countless quotable lines and disturbing slices of dialogue. They cut deep. The Joker was a great character and this is a very different movie but the themes are just as dark, only perhaps indirectly. Underneath, it's very sinister. Writing and efficiency appear to be among Nolan's greatest strengths. The story has many layers that interweave and apparently they came in under budget.
Perhaps the most important thing about Catwoman is that she's completely believable. When she beats up men, you don't roll your eyes. She's feminine and powerful in her own way. She fits into the world and we completely understand her motivations. She doesn't have a huge role but a very important one.
I didn't find myself moved but maybe I'm too cynical. I was more affected psychologically. Curious about humanity and all the different sides of it you see in this movie. It goes to many extremes. I felt humbled by my complete lack of life experience. What do I know about anything? How could I possibly understand half of the characters? I haven't been through anything or achieved anything compared to most of them. Michael Caine gets a bigger role this time. He was always critical but this time he's very much the emotional core.
I thought Christian Bale was overlooked in The Dark Knight especially. The movies hinge on him. Bruce Wayne's just a man but also incredibly inspirational. Bale's famous for completely committing to his roles and it pays off. Tom Hardy is impressive as Bane but I suppose that's no surprise. The rest of the leads are similarly awesome. There are many references to the earlier films. Very few questions are left unanswered. It's always nice when film-makers really think it through and make an actual decision and get all the details right.