Like it's partial inspiration, "A Tale of Two Cities", the last part of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is a tale of two movies. After an exciting opening sequence, the first half of the film bogs down in exposition and red herrings but the second half has enough action, suspense, fun and surprises to more than make up for slogging through the first hour.
Much of the ongoing cast returns including the outstanding Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine as faithful butler/surrogate father, Alfred, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Gary Oldman as stoic Commissioner Gordon. Mr. Nolan introduces some new actors who perform very admirable amidst all the CGI chaos. Tom Hardy is the villain, "Bane", who, with his mouth covered by a breathing apparatus, conveys much through his eyes and his actions (although he's a bit hard to understand at times). Marion Cotillard is a mysterious woman in Bruce Wayne's life. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (a favorite of Mr. Nolan's) is police office/detective, John Blake and Ann Hathaway is the best Catwoman of any of the numerous Batman films. Ms. Hathaway has captured the essence of the comic character perfectly. Tough, sexy, and dangerous, she takes the part very seriously and yet has fun with it without going over the top.
Early on, the complex plot takes time to unravel but at the same time it does bring us up to date eight years after the end of "The Dark Knight". The film comes full circle to "Batman Begins" and features some surprise cameos. The CGI is outstanding and yet the humanity of the characters takes center stage, especially early scenes between Mr. Bale and Mr. Caine. Once the story reveals it's true intentions, the film heads down it's now linear path and the action doesn't let up. It all leads to a very exciting and satisfying finale, even saving a last surprise for fans (although some may see it coming).
Trilogies more often than not, don't satisfy in the third film but Mr. Nolan ultimately gets it right. Unfortunately one can't help but feel terrible sorrow for the real life tragedy that occurred in Colorado during the midnight showing of the film and that will mar it's legacy. However, the films themselves, taken as a complete work should still be considered a masterpiece.