I've finally seen it!
First of all, as many of you have already said, one viewing isn't enough for this film. Personally, I never got the impression that the film was "overcrowded" in terms of either characters or subplots, but there's surely much to chew on. This movie has a Dickensian feel to it - not only because of the many callbacks and parallels to "A Tale of Two Cities" but also in its approach to storytelling itself. It's a 2:45 hour Dickens novel, with lots of characters, themes and subplots that start intertwining almost under the surface until all the pieces fall into place in the finale.
And while I'm definitely not a technical expert, personally I wasn't bothered by the editing in the slightest (except maybe in a couple of minor occasions). While it's a bit "brusque", I think it served the story well. While TDK was kindof a Shakesperean play, with events taking place in a short time frame, which allowed for a tight narration, and a clear, almost theatrical structure, TDKR again has a novel-like quality, with weeks and sometimes months passing between one scene and the next, and it requires some more time and effort to "adjust" to.
As for the characters, I'll say more in their respective threads, but I can say I'm very satisfied with the "new entries". I knew I'd like Blake since I first saw him in the trailers, but man, Selina. She'd grown on me with each new trailer, too, but I'd never, ever expected I'd like her so much. Excellent performance by Anne Hathaway, and excellent portrayal of the character. She had me at her first scene, and I ended up genuinely caring about her and rooting for her. As for Bane, he had some very powerful scenes and Hardy did a wonderful job with his eyes and body language, but I think he was heavily penalized by the dubbing. He's one of the main reasons why I want to rewatch the film in English.
Bruce in this film. Such a wonderful character arc brought to a great conclusion. It was totally not the conclusion I was expecting before seeing the film, but I found it to be incredibly rewarding, and it made perfect sense in the context of the story Nolan told. I won't say any more about Bruce and Alfred here, though, because I'd end up writing a thread-derailing essay
Something that I really wasn't expecting but I appreciated a lot was the legend-like feel of the
and the stories/scenes connected to it. It's something straight out of an old epic, and I feel like it helped give a "mythical" connotation to the film. The chant scenes are incredible. Shivers down my spine.
As for the rest of the score, I can't say I didn't miss JNH's sweeping themes, but I think Zimmer did a good job (the finale is wonderful, and the "quieter" themes at the beginning were also beautiful), but maybe the thing I appreciated the most was the silence
The Wall Street scene just comments itself.
I can't give the film a rating yet, maybe because it caught me so unprepared on many fronts. I walked into the cinema expecting a film with the convoluted narrative structure of Begins, and the explicitly philosophical dialogue of TDK. I did get an intricated narration and some good food for thought, but this film takes its own approach to it all and goes its own direction. All I know is, I'm enjoying thinking and writing about it and I want to see it again (preferably after rewatching BB and TDK), and this is always a good sign.