When I first heard that there was gonna be a Batman reboot, I was skeptical. Even though I already admired Nolan, I thought that, because it was such a big budget project, it would impossible not have studio execs messing with it. But I was gadly surprised with the result. I remember after watching it, I thought: "finally a Batman film made by someone who clearly understands the character, and lucky us the studio had the balls to follow through his vision." It's not flawless, but (if you take Katie Holmes out of the equation) it's near damn perfect.
The way they presented Batman's origin was a clever one. The LoS and the Scarecrow didn't feel as threatening to me as villains like the Joker or Bane, but they served their purpose very well - Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy helped a lot too, and cast wise, the choices couldn't be better (except for Holmes), specially Bale. Nolan's fragmented, jump-cutted first act immediately caught my attention making me very receptive of what was still to come. And the score... ah! the score! I've been a soundtrack collector since I was a kid, and this one brought me back to the good old days of grandiose original soundtracks, very in synch with the story and with equal importance with what we saw in the screen. I've listened to it obsessively, as much as I used to do back then with soundtracks by John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith. Plus, I think there's a historical landmark here. I don't remember ever seeing a partnership between two major composers like Zimmer and Newton Howard in any production in the past. The fact that these two great artists teamed up and came through with such a masterpiece is unprecedent (same goes for TDK) and I doubt it will happen again. Sadly, I must say that, IMO, Howard was missed in TDKR's soundtrack - it's still great, but not as rich as the 2 previous ones.
In the end, being extremely satisfied with all I've seen, the final scene still managed to give me goose bumps. I mean, it was just perfect: with that amazing musical theme, we see the bat sign in the dark sky. In a rooftop over Gotham, Batman and Gordon have that great dialogue (one of Oldman's best in the trilogy IMO) about escalation that ends with Gordon showing Batman the Joker card (that was the time I better understood why they chose Ra's Al Ghul and the Scarecrow as villains for this one: not only to stablish a good platform for Batman's origin, but also to prepare us for the next chapter when things would be a lot heavier with Batman's most celebrated villain. Right then, the antecipation started). With the music rising, Batman turns to leave and Gordon says: "I've never said thank you". Batman turns and says: "and you'll never have to", then jumps off, flying away as the music reaches it's climax. Is that an epic ending or what? (but then again, all Nolan's films have epic endings).
OK, so TDK was much more powerful, darker and exciting. But that doesn't make BB a lesser film in any way. As a matter of fact, gives it more importance in the trilogy because it perfectly prepared us for this next heavier chapter. If BB was not such a great film, I think TDK would not have the same impact it did. It is my opinion that Nolan set the bar pretty high (not only for Batman, but for the superhero genre in general) and surely, no matter what's still to come, The Dark Knight legend will keep getting stronger and stronger, definitely destined to become the trilogy of a generation, right there, among other iconic trilogies like the original Star Wars or Indiana Jones (some would also say TLOTR - but sorry, not me