It's early in the morning, and now that you've seen the ComicBook.com review of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, it seemed as good a time as any to see how it's stacking up so far against The Dark Knight, which is still widely considered to be the greatest comic book-to-film adaptation ever made.
And yes, in spite of the massive critical and financial success of The Avengers, it's obvious that The Dark Knight is still the high bar for this particular genre of storytelling (although to say that The Dark Knight and The Avengers actually came out of the same genre is somewhat stretching it; just the fact that Batman wears a mask doesn't make him a superhero in the same way that Thor and The Hulk are, but that's a conversation for another day).
There are, after all, two different kinds of "good movies." There are movies that appeal to a broad, populist base and that will be loved by the masses, often passionately, often for a short period of time; and then there are movies that are cinematic gems; they might not appeal to quite as broad a base, but those who love them will cherish them more dearly and so they have the makings of cult classics, or of those movies where critics spend hours trying to convince an audience to give them a try. While The Avengers is absolutely an example of the first sort, The Dark Knight Trilogy falls in the second camp.
That said, The Dark Knight's 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes is seven points higher than the same score for The Dark Knight Rises. And while most fans are saying that the film is terrific, nobody seems to be suggesting that Nolan has outdone himself and surpassed The Dark Knight.
What might be interesting to see is whether The Dark Knight Rises gets considered for an Oscar or two. Given the fact that it's widely accepted The Dark Knight "should have" been nominated (the outcry from the public after it wasn't led to the Academy expanding the number of Best Picture nominees), a Best Picture nod for The Dark Knight Rises doesn't seem entirely out of the question--particularly when you consider the Academy's history of rewarding a series' longevity and continued excellence by giving the award to the final film. Director Christopher Nolan has quickly become one of the most respected and admired filmmakers in the country, and the prospect of him walking away from this series without ever getting even a nomination for Best Director seems wrong.