Man, there's just so much going on, I love it the more I think about it. I love that - after all the speculation and haw-haw dismissals from nerds hung up on the realism thing - there actually is a Lazarus Pit in this film (and who else does Bruce find in there but Ra's al Ghul?) and, while it's handled differently from the source material, it still ultimately can destroy or rejuvenate you.
I also love that while Bane seems a dark mirror to Bruce initially, he's ultimately revealed to be Alfred to Talia's Bruce. He protects her, takes care of her in the Pit, he's later there for her after her father is killed and helps her enact her revenge on Bruce. Ultimately, Talia and Bruce are similar in a lot of ways, both wearing outwardly normal masks of wealthy industrialists but secretly unable to get over their parents death and going to ludicrous measures to achieve vengeance and/or justice over what happened to them, and both with a devoted guardian desperate to protect them.
However, Bruce can never avenge himself against Joe Chill and Alfred eventually realises how destructive his role as an enabler to Bruce's madness actually is, decides enough is enough and walks away. Though angry at first, it gives Bruce enough pause for consideration and he eventually realises Alfred was right and is able to get past it all. Conversely, the object of Talia's rage is very much alive and available to be punished and Bane is devoted enough to stick beside to the bitter end.
By constantly pushing Bruce to stop being a recluse, to give up the Batman and move on with his life, Alfred is able to help save Bruce. Bane, on the other hand, stays loyal to Talia no matter what, never makes her question the destructive path of vengeance she's on so the violence and anger continues and they pay the ultimate price as a result.
Looking back over it all, I find it amazing that over the course of three films we've gotten:
* A thorough examination of Bruce Wayne, and a fitting end for him
* Alfred, Jim Gordon, Ra's al Ghul, the Scarecrow, the Joker, Harvey Dent, Selina Kyle, Bane, Talia al Ghul, a composite Robin, Victor Zsasz, Carmine Falcone, Sal Maroni, Joe Chill, and in most cases essentially true and respectful interpretations to boot
* Story nods/aspects cribbed from Year One, The Long Halloween, The Killing Joke, Knightfall, No Man's Land, The Dark Knight Returns, the 60s movie even..!
* A Batmobile, a Batcycle, a Batcopter, the League of Assassins/Shadows, a god damn Lazarus pit
I don't think the claims the director didn't care or wasn't invested hold much weight at all. A truly disinterested director wouldn't even bother to include half of that lot in a manner as well and respectful as these films did. If you really want an example of a director who doesn't give a damn about the characters and source material he's working with, just take a gander at Bay's migraine-inducing CGI scrapfests. (Or rather don't, they're cinematic cancer)
Whoever takes over from here has an unenviable task to say the least. While I'd love a Batman Beyond style follow up with Blake, I know that it's highly unlikely and that we're either going to see Warner put him to pasture for a few years while Superman takes over tentpole duties, or heading for a straightforward Avengers-lite take on the Justice League, which doesn't excite me much, personally. I'd much rather see something strange and off the wall. Like, say, Aronovsky's deranged sounding 70s Year One take with a Tilda Swinton Joker for good measure. Won't ever happen but I can dream...