Spoilers, read at your own risk
2005 was the year Batman was reborn from the ashes that Joel Schumacher left. It was then that the interest for the Caped Crusader was reignited. It also gained new followers for the hero himself. When Batman Begins was released, it was then that the hope for the trashed franchised is revived and that there is a brighter future for Batman. When The Dark Knight was released in 2008, we see how it evolved not only to cater the eye-candy loving viewers but to entice us with an engaging plot and 3-Dimensional characters which was not even made, not until the The Dark Knight. After 4 years, Christopher Nolan comes back for the end of his Batman Trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises.
Catching up with what was left in The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent is still the hero acknowledge by Gotham while the Batman takes the blame and becomes the villain which caused him to stay in the shadows, hidden from the city he protects. Set 8 years after the Joker killings, Bane conquers Gotham bringing with him the terror of nuclear power. While the Batman is busy with Bane, a cat burglar Selina Kyle is also making the matters worse. Batman confronts Bane which eventually led to the demise of Batman.
The movie started slow, however, it was able to pick up the pace. The Dark Knight Rises plays around with the plot without really making it too complicated for the viewer to understand. This could be the strength of the film entirely. Making an unconventional superhero movie that defies the generics of all superheros. We can see how Gotham collapsed in the midst of the problems, we see how broken they were in the inside that they were easily corrupted. That is the reason behind Harvey Dent. The people needs to believe there is still good in them that hold to the idea dearly. Bane, on the other hand, is the one who slapped everyone in the face by letting the people control the city by giving them unrelenting freedom. Batman and the rest of good guys are what was left of the integrity the city holds.
I was surprised on how was Bane portrayed as a character in this film. He does not only reflect a very strong physical character but also played in mental terms. He is not only a "doing" villain but a "thinking" villain as well. This is one of the greatest achievement of Nolan as a writer for the franchise, delivering to us villains that we understand as to why they are in that state of madness.
Batman is still the flawed character who is still confused on his role in the society. As Alfred has pointed out, Gotham does not need Batman but Bruce Wayne who can do more good than the Caped Crusader. With the, his character is even more intensified and has broaden his perspective aside from being an eccentric billionaire. Anne Hathaway portrayed a rather surprising turn in this film, making The Dark Knight Rises an obvious statement that she is no longer the princess we first saw in The Princess Diaries. Although she did not actually portrayed the character as Catwoman in the film, she delivered so well. Joseph Gordon-Levitt played John Blake, a rookie in the police who was later on recognized as one of the prominent characters in the series.
As Nolan bows down for the series, a question is left with the viewers: Are we really ready for end of this franchise? In my own opinion, no. I walked out of the theater hoping that in the next 5 years or so, Nolan will continue to tell us a story of a hero who does not possess any powers - only strength, wit and determination.