I have been a big fan of Batman ever since I saw the first movie with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. I saw all of the movies, except for that dreadful one with Uma Thurman and Arnold as Mr. Freeze. I was especially enamored by Christopher Nolan's take on the character beginning with thrilling Batman Begins, continuing with the gut-punch that was The Dark Knight, and now concluding with The Dark Knight Rises.
A lot has changed in Gotham City since the Joker came to town and Harvey Dent was "murdered" by Batman. There is a city-wide holiday in Dent's honor and a law that allows certain criminals to be locked-up much easier. Some people still hope for the days of Batman, but to many, he is nothing more than a bad memory.
It is not my desire to recap the entire movie, so let me get to what I want to say. First, it was great to see some of the old characters return. I enjoyed the performances by Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, and Michael Caine. The inclusion of a new character, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was also well-done. I am a big fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he did not disappoint. I am also a big fan of Tom Hardy, but his portrayal of Bane was wasted on him. He wore a mask the entire time and I'm not entirely sure that it was even his voice.
There were a great number of teaching points in this film. There were incredible acts of bravery and loyalty, even by the villain. Many individuals were willing to lay down their lives in order to save others, even when moments earlier they were turning tail to run.
The movie also had much to say about the current political environment of our country and what may happen if we continue to allow politicians to use their rhetoric to tear us apart. I don't know if this was intentional or just me reading into it, but I was surprised at the result. From my perspective, Christopher Nolan did not have nice things to say about socialism and the whole Occupy Wall Street movement. These would make great discussion points as well.
Overall, I loved the movie. I know that it is the end of the trilogy, but it ended extremely well. While it was probably the weakest of the three films, it was still an amazing movie and worth the 2 1/2 hour length. I don't know if I can recommend it for general consumption based on the amount of violence and the callous nature in which some characters treat human life, but it is highly entertaining and thought-provoking. Knowing that some (or most) of your students are going to be seeing the film will lead to some great discussions about the film and how such attitudes can play out in our Christian lives.