Originally Posted by The Joker
It didn't feel like it even came full circle, IMO. Just because a movie decides to dredge up something that was in the first movie doesn't make it full circle. Spider-Man 3 didn't make the trilogy feel full circle because they went back to Spider-Man 1 and connected Sandman to Uncle Ben's death. Technically it didn't contradict anything shown in Spider-Man 1 but it didn't feel like something that Spider-Man 1 left dangling for resolution, much like the LOS in Begins. Nothing in Batman Begins hinted at what we got in TDKR. No Bane, no Talia. Neither of these characters were even vaguely hinted at in Begins. They were both fabrications of TDKR. Begins didn't leave any dangling plot lines that needed future clarification or resolution, aside from Crane being on the loose, and a new theatrical criminal who leaves Joker cards at scene of his crimes. Both were dealt with in TDK.
You're so right, there was no need to bring anything back to Batman Begins to make the trilogy feel whole and complete. Take the recent Toy Story trilogy as an example. Toy Story 3 didn't rehash or revisit anything from the original movie. It felt new, unique, and still felt connected to the previous movies and delivered a satisfying conclusion.
The jarring thing is Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were both so unique, and yet both felt connected to each other. TDK took what Begins left off on, namely the escalation Gordon mentioned, Joker, the mob adapting to Batman's presence, a new D.A. since Finch was murdered, Rachel's word to Bruce about them being together one day etc. All set up in Begins, and therefore TDK felt like a natural continuation. I expected the same of TDKR, but the plot furniture was basically just a polished up rehash of Batman Begins.
Pretty much what we've been saying. TDKR reminds me a bit of Avatar (but much more cinematically layered). Huge blockbuster that has incredible nuance and explores some incredibly interesting things, but because it uses some conventional plot points and needs some straightforward dialogue at times to keep the story going and comprehensible, people immediately dismiss it.
TDKR rightfully uses much of what Ra's did, because of the characters' ties to him, and how that ties back to Bruce. Yes, some basic plot points return, but to dismiss the film as just a rehash, just shows how little screenwriting experience a person has. I doubt many people could come up with a film this layered that brilliantly uses the elements it takes from Begins to heighten the symmetry between Ra's/Bruce/Bane/Talia. I've heard quite a few ideas for a third film from fans, but have yet to find one that is truly a decent idea for a conclusion. They all just come off as just "another Batman adventure." Which I'm sure we'll get post-Nolan, but definitely didn't want to see from Nolan. I'm sure Nolan could have made something interesting with every villain from Batman's rogue, but that doesn't mean that they're the best character to tell the conclusion of this particular story of Bruce Wayne from a character and cinematic perspective.
In reading many people's gripes with TDKR and hearing the praise for TDK, it's exactly like DACrowe said, many seem to turn a blind eye to the same kinds of 'issues' that are found in all three movies. But all of TDK's strengths are also present in TDKR, even if sometimes it's not quite as succinctly executed. Not that the film is devoid of errors, but if you appreciated the subtleties of TDK, it's surprising that you don't find the same depth in TDKR, because it IS there.