Let's put this film into prospective. Everything about this film is Human. What I mean by that is, throughout the Nolan Trilogy, Nolan was able to bring a fantasy character in a semi fantasy universe alive in the real world to make it seem real enough to be believeable rather than fantasy. With that said, this is why you don't see a character like Clayface or Poison Ivy. I mean in a real world, how would this work? Marvel have successfully translated this in the films leading up to The Avengers, but I'm more curious as to how NOLAN will make it work. Some people already proclaim him as a God and watching his films, damn. I digress.
So, without a shadow of doubt, Heath Ledger's Joker stand's tall among all the character's in the Dark Knight Trilogy, but with the success of the second movie which virtualy paid for the world to keep spinning (I joke - The Avengers took that mantle), the third film is somewhat slightly lack-luster and less action paced.
After the "Death" of Harvey Dent/2Face, Batman was blamed and took the fall while prisoners under the Harvey Dent Act were sent to Blackgate Prison for their crimes. The death of Harvey Dent held heavy on Chief Commissioner Gordon's head and this also led to the next 8 years of guilt for the chief as well as Batman retiring and Bruce Wayne becoming a recluce within his Mansion.
For whatever crimes Bane (Tom Hardy) is convicted of, he manages to escape and make his way to Gotham to basically crush it along with Batman in the process. Batman only arrives on cue as Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) appears which then triggers a series of chained events leading to Bane and Batman battling it out.
Things get a bit trying for Batman as well as Bruce Wayne which is where both Bruce & Batman are to rise, from the ashes as it were, like a phoenix and defeat the bad with good triumphaning over evil and defending the people of Gotham in the process.
You'd think this could be explained within two hours. However, this "two" hours (regular film time) is dragged out in such a way, for me personally, the extra 45mins or so actually felt like a 2 hour film until you look at the time afterwards. For me, the action was evenly paced with the drama but compared to the previous film, there was not enough explosions, fire and random anarchy/carnage in which the Joker (Heath Ledger) provided and more drama this time around. Alot more stress pain and torture in this film. Bane is a totally different character and one who, in the comics, puts Batman through his paces and out of comission by breaking his back.
In the midst of everything that is going on, young cop John Blake (Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt) is the only one guy who represents what Batman and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) used to stand for and the one person who actually does a lot to save the day.
For me, I took this film on it's own merit and after reading a few stories and background surrouding this film, I completely understand how the film was directed and why, so that not any one character would stand out more than the other, i.e Joker over 2face or any other chracters in The Dark Knight. Not to say that oscar winning performances are dubbed down or ruled out, but the main characters are somewhat more evenly stretched and play very good parts.
The bottom line is, this is a great film and no one should expect this film to be better than the last film. as the dynamics of the chracters involved are very different from one another. If you like Batman, you will definately enjoy.