Good News First
The film addresses some loose ends left by the Dark Knight, the previous film, the primary one being the lionizing of Harvey Dent and vilification of the batman.
It also represents a major shift from previous films. Non-superhero characters play a much larger role, which is actually refreshing. Superheroes and villains from most modern films seem as though they are the only forces that can steer the plot, as if they are omnipotent, and this gets old. But regular people have sort of a complementary role this film.
However, the superheroes retain their absurdly elevated Kung Fu powers and infinitely superior intellects from previous Christian Bale batman films. Bane and the bad guys seem to be a little too overwhelming, and makes the viewer feel helpless.
But the film portrays to a greater extent the human side of the batman and is perhaps more focused on Bruce Wayne.
The same could not be said of the catwoman; as we don't get to see much of her human side. She plays much more of a minor role than Michelle Pfeiffer's catwoman of Batman Returns. She also lacks that "indefinable charm of weakness" that Pfeiffer's character had, and we don't get to know much about what makes her tick--or hiss. Anyway, one of the redundant action scenes could have been cut to make more room for her.
Speaking of the ceaseless action, the suspense was too prolonged, and the audience could have used a few more opportunities to catch their breath via comic relief or breaks in the action.
Why so Serious?
It is interesting how Batman went from being a POW-BAM comedy of the sixties, to an artful Tim Burton film of the early '90s, to being a collection of brooding super-ninjas of the post millennial period.
Interestingly enough, a bat just whizzed by my head as I finished the prior sentence. We've had problems with bats in the attic here at NuPo headquarters, so today the exterminators came and implemented a contraption that makes a high-pitched sound that bats can't stand. Being roused by the sound, three bats came out of nowhere and were bounding about the air. Just like batman, they were drawn to darkness, seemed to pop out of nowhere, and performed aerial dive bomb attacks (at your writer).These bat-like behaviors must have been the inspiration for the combat manoeuvers of Christian Bale's batman. I wonder how the next generation's batman will fight?
Regardless, the NuPo movie critics tire of super-serious super hero movies. The whole point of superheroes is that they're supposed to be theatrical, since we all know full well that superheroes aren't real. In a theatrical atmosphere, we can suspend our usual scrutiny and live in their fantasy world. But the modern batman series tried too hard to be realistic, and as stated before, left a bad taste of superheroes who were not human enough.
Speaking of 'why so serious?', the villain Bane is far less flamboyant or charismatic as was the Joker. We probably won't see anybody imitating Bane or dressing up like him. Bane resembles a hideous real-life action figure of a pro-wrestler and speaks with an irritating voice.
Political Implications (or lack thereof)
Rumor had it that the film had a politically conservative message. The movie mentions that the laws of Gotham had significantly reduced crime because they had "teeth" in them, which bespeaks of the modern "conservative" trend of taking away freedoms in order to further alleged security. Aside from that, no real political bias could be found. The villains were not similar to the Occupy crowd for many reasons, the foremost of which was that some of them were corrupt rich people, the very sorts Occupy opposes. Moreover, there were good cops who showed bravery, and cowardly cops too; Good rich people and bad ones, etc. No political agenda was evident.
Rated PG 13?
The movie should have had an R rating because of its excessive action and suspense which literally causes a pounding heart. There are some dark, disturbing concepts in the film, and a sort of concise, morose opining that the characters do which rubs off on the viewer in a weird psychological way. This film is definitely not recommended for anyone under 18, perhaps even under 21. Those with sensitive hearing may want to wear earplugs, especially when Bane speaks.
If you liked Christian Bale's previous Batman movies, you'll likely find this one fulfilling. Wait for it to come out on video, since it's a little much for a movie theater visit.