Eight years have passed since the events of THE DARK KNIGHT. Since taking the blame for the death of popular D.A. Harvey Dent, Batman has disappeared and Bruce Wayne has become a shut-in. Meanwhile, a law bearing Dent's name has vastly reduced crime in Gotham.
As a rival businessman plots to take over floundering Wayne Enterprises with the help of supercriminal Bane, Bane sets in motion his own plan for a secret nuclear reactor beneath Gotham. Despite being realistically hobbled by past injuries, Batman swings back into action, and Bane handles him rather easily.
As BATMAN BEGINS was the story of Bruce Wayne shaping himself into Batman, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is the story of Wayne reclaiming the desire to be Batman, to fight back in Gotham's name. As teased by Christopher Nolan, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES wraps up the trilogy, but the movie also stands well on its own.
There were points of overindulgence to all three movies, but the stakes for this last one were satisfyingly personal. My main complaint is, if you're more a fan of the trilogy than I was, if you cataloged every bit of hype about it, some twists will be spoiled. As a fan of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, I knew a crucial detail about one of the characters that could have spoiled more, but amid the normal adaptation from comics to film, I forgot it.