🚨The Dark Knight Rises🚨was released in 2012 with the same creative team attached.
Christopher Nolan did not intend to make a third film because he believed that every third film in a trilogy was garbage. (Godfather III, Return of the Jedi, Superman III, Spider-Man III, Pirates of the Caribbean III, X-Men III, Rocky III, Alien III, The Matrix III)- just to name a few. Nolan wanted to ensure that he had an actual idea before committing to make another film- like any filmmaker should... Eight years after the events of 'The Dark Knight,' Bruce has hung up the cowl. Gotham still idolizes Harvey Dent, but despises Batman. Gotham is finally at peace until an overweight powerlifter in a mask who knows martial arts decides to take Gotham hostage. Batman must rise again.
I truly believe that this is better than 'The Dark Knight.' What holds up 'The Dark Knight' is its performances and ideas, but fails to execute emotional beats. In 'The Dark Knight Rises', I care about Batman and Bruce as characters again and I actually feel empowered when Batman finally rises.
Nolan also doesn't try to top 'The Dark Knight;' he doesn't try to make an even smarter film. Instead, he goes in the opposite direction and has Batman challenged physically for the first time and makes a straight action/war film.
Essentially, this film is 'Rocky III.' Rocky/Batman are not what they used to be. They must go far from home to capture that "eye of the tiger" and rise again to defeat an adversary. Seeing Bruce fall and having to, literally, climb out of another emotional- and physical- pit was a brilliant idea that stems from 'The Dark Knight.' At the end of 'The Dark Knight', Rachel and Harvey are dead. Bruce became Batman to protect those he cared about and become a symbol for Gotham to look up to. But now that Rachel is dead and Harvey has fallen, Batman doesn't stand for anything anymore because The Joker won. It's such a great direction to go in to see Bruce completely careless. (Continued in the comments...)