I guess my biggest disappointment regarding The Dark Knight Rises is that it wasn’t the movie I wanted after the credits rolled on The Dark Knight.
At the end of TDK the Batman is a true vigilante. During his second outing he is somewhat revered by the media and police force, and despite a unit attempting to discover his identity most people are happy to have him around as he is genuinely making Gotham City safer each night. Cops aren’t firing upon him, he isn’t an outlaw in the sense that he has as much to fear each night as the criminals he hunts.
Following TDK I anticipated a film where he truly was against the law, in a harsh struggle to remain a force of good but seen as a villain. The pain and anguish he felt in the first two movies were nothing, now he has nothing to lose — Rachel is dead, Harvey (the one true hope for Gotham) is gone, and the city sees him as a cop killer. But he must continue, and he is worn thin.
Enter the true villain, Bane, a mastermind with a physical edge who unleashes Arkham’s inmates and turns a tired, depressed, sleep-deprived Batman to the streets in an attempt to capture the criminals. Zsasz, Joker, Scarecrow, and others, he is worn and beaten and Bane breaks him.
And he rises, or another does in his stead — Gordon’s son, the only other person to know of Batman’s innocence.
That’s what I expected.