Obviously, a lot of noise surrounded The Dark Knight Rises, starting with the hype and anticipation. Then came the extreme reactions to some early negative reviews. And then the midnight-screening mass shooting in Colorado appropriately redirected attention to important matters.
The deaths of 12 people and the injuries to dozens more in that Colorado movie theatre on July 20 highlighted that neither a movie nor Batman is anywhere near as important as human lives.
Yet the arts are still integral to our existence, and whatever you think of Christopher Nolan's trilogy as films, these movies will stand as key markers in the lives of many millions of people and in the movie business, and they will be viewed as reflections of their cultural and political time. Like the original trio of Star Wars movies, we can already see them as significant pop-art artifacts.
For those reasons alone, Nolan's Batman movies deserve close scrutiny. They also reward inspection and consideration, as the writer/director has conceived and executed them with a rigor and density unusual to blockbusters. (Expect spoilers, although I've tried to be circumspect about late developments in The Dark Knight Rises until the final section.)