I am going to start with saying this: YES, this is better than The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight Rises is a bigger film with better characters and a badass Bane.
The film kicks off on a sour note. With all these new characters, we never see them get a proper introduction. The 8 year difference between the films is also a contribution to the introduction of the new characters. We see Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman in the movie, trying to steal from a hermit Bruce Wayne. This is our beginning setup, but why? It's not very well explained, except for implication that Bruce is a hermit after making a poor investment in Wayne Enterprises.
What is that poor investment? Nuclear power. At this time, a terrorist named Bane shows up in town. I will say this: Bane's voice is spectacularly understandable, compared to old advertisements, what have you. So, Bane utilizes the use of this nuclear power as more so a time bomb than and energy source. I'm glad they didn't show these plot details in the commercials, as the film would be much less fun.
Marion Cotillard. Yes, that cute lady from Inception. She, in promotions and advertisements, was under shown, undervalued, and under used. Have no fear, Cotillard-Crazies. She has a meaty part and is a big contribution to the film, especially when it comes to the nuclear power project.
Even though this movie is called The Dark Knight RISES, there is a low amount the caped crusader. Bruce, has is back damaged in a fight with Bane, resulting in Bruce trying to escape from a figurative well, almost parallel to the opening of Batman Begins. When there is no Batman, who is the hero?
Joseph Gordon-Levvit, of all people suits up. Figuratively, not literally. He and Gordan are the last good cops in a corrupt police system. With the inclusion of the Dent act, police officers are out of work. Not really, but they don't have to work as intensively. Back JGL, though. Joe Gordan-Levvit is almost the one who rises to the occasion. He doesn't attack Bane, however, he more-so defends the people.
It is Batman, who rises to the occasion to attack Bane. Oh, and a changed Catwoman during a time of war. The final 20 minutes are too spectacular to put in words, so here's this message to you