It's a title that's sure to divide fandom into different camps from supportive to disdainful and all of the varying degrees of ambivalence in between. But as comic book fans scratch their head wondering whether or not they like the new title, an important question must be asked: What does "The Dark Knight Rises" mean for the plot of Nolan's next Batman film?
Certainly, by the end of "The Dark Knight," Bruce Wayne is at the lowest of lows. Not since the double homicide of Bruce's parents during his formative years has he encountered so much strife: the woman he loves is dead, murdered by a mad man; the one person Bruce believed could succeed him in his efforts to clean the streets of Gotham, Harvey Dent, has been driven insane by grief; and Batman himself is on the run after willingly taking the blame for Harvey's death in an effort to preserve the white knight of Gotham City's pristine reputation.
On the run and without a friend in the world, the Caped Crusader has arguably hit rock bottom. But is there a light at the end of the tunnel? The title of the latest film seems to indicate that there is: unless the Dark Knight rises only to get clobbered again, perhaps Nolan's third "Batman" movie will restore a sense of hope to Bruce Wayne's mission to eradicate crime from the city he loves so dearly.
"The Dark Knight Rises" could also refer to a very literal story point. In addition to Batman's attempts at redemption, perhaps Bruce has actually hung up the cape and cowl following the events of "The Dark Knight." After all, with his crime-fighting alter ego on the run for murder, Batman's place in Gotham City is tenuous at best. But perhaps the film's villain -- whose identity remains unknown, though we know it isn't the Riddler -- will create an incident so chaotic as to lure the bat back out of the cave and into action.
There are any number of other possibilities for the plot of "The Dark Knight Rises," so rather than going through them all, let's turn the conversation over to you: what do you think "The Dark Knight Rises" says about the tone of Nolan's third "Batman" film? Weigh in for yourself in the comments section and on Twitter!