yeah, i thought it was a bit of a letdown too. Bane as a character and a villain was pretty underwhelming. never got a sense for what it was that was supposed to make him so strong and menacing. and while he seemed fairly intelligent (although the real smarts resided somewhere else) it's hard to feel that intimidated by a guy who sounds like captain picard in a gas mask. for someone we're supposed to believe can take down the batman (even if it's a rusty, returning from retirement after 8 years batman) he just never felt like that much of a threat. they were probably never going to top heath ledger's joker, but i hoped for more than this from bane.
i don't agree with all of harry's criticisms (maybe because i'm not a batman comics fanboy and barely know the character outside the movies) but i can understand where he's coming from in a lot of them. the 1st half of the film felt slow and waiting for batman's inevitable return got a bit tiresome. i mean, you know it's coming, but it takes so long to get there, with lots of arguing and whining and agonizing on the parts of all the characters. it felt like an origin story with all the origin parts taken out, and all the waiting left behind. the 2nd part i enjoyed better, but it felt a little rushed. i would've liked to see a bit more of banesville, gotham city and this part of the film felt oddly rushed and never got a real sense of what it was like for the people living there. i felt like i was filling in the blanks for them a lot through these parts. and the ending... felt like suddenly i was watching M. Night Shyamalan's The Dark Knight Rises. twist after twist, some worked better than others, some were just plain groan-inducing Robin?. it never felt like BB and TDK depended on plot twists, in fact one of the greatest strengths of TDK is the feeling of inevitability and momentum towards doom, a dread that builds up over that film, like you feel like you know what's coming, and batman is fighting against it but there's no real hope of stopping it. the one "twist" in TDK (gordon's faked death) is also the weakest part of that film. and BB didn't really have any twists that i can think of. this film seemed to depend on them too much, and it felt a bit lazy.
character-wise... i'm ok with the whole bruce wayne as retired recluse thing at the beginning of the film, i just thought it took too long to get past that part. his character's journey over the film, overall i was ok with, and bale was still as good as he was in previous films, even if the writing and surrounding characters weren't. i don't know if it was conscious or on purpose, but it seemed like alfred dominated the first bruce-wayne-centric half and gordon the 2nd batman-centric half... alfred disappearing for the 2nd half i think was to the film's detriment. alfred's final scene was nice, despite how telegraphed it seemed in retrospect (i would've loved it if they built us up to expect bruce wayne to turn around.... and then he doesn't, and it's the final gut punch to show that he really is dead... but instead we get him with selina kyle giving alfred the nod, just like you expect... and speaking of, i don't buy him ending up with catwoman either.... it fits in with the clean slate idea, they both need a clean slate and get it together, but despite some occasional flirting, the film never establishes a basis for an actual romance between those two characters, or anything that would suggest they would end up together. i'd like to think it was just a fling, or even that they're just platonic pals who get together to reminisce about their superhero days and bruce used it to tip his hat to alfred at the same time.). anne hathaway was decent as catwoman, certainly no michelle pfeiffer but expecting her to compete with pfeiffer would be like expecting bane to compete with the joker... it just wasn't going to happen. her character made sense in the context of nolan's bat-verse. and she looked good enough in the catsuit, though you have to be pretty ugly to not look good in a catsuit.
overall, this kind of felt like Return of the Jedi to TDK's Empire Strikes Back. TDK was a masterpiece, and masterpieces are pretty hard to follow up. TDKR is no masterpiece, it's uneven and feels a bit unfulfilling ultimately. probably would've seemed better overall if it wasn't living in TDK's shadow. i'd have to see it again to make any final judgments, but right now it's on about equal footing with Batman Begins to me, maybe a little below that film. oh, but i did enjoy seeing Scarecrow as the judge... that guy always turns up.... though it also made me wonder where the joker was during Bane's Reign. wouldn't he have been in the same prison, and also be released? would've loved to see Bane's plans get upended not by Batman, but by releasing the Joker and having him screw it all up.... but for obvious reasons i guess that wasn't going to happen. maybe bane and talia al ghul decided he was too dangerous to let out with the other criminals and kept him locked away the whole time.
how could i possibly improve over my old sig image? just add water...