These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
In the span of the first movie, Scarecrow goes from Evil Genius, to getting taken down in a matter of seconds by Rachel Dawes. In the next movie, he is no longer working for the League of Shadows and turning mob bosses insane. Instead, he's just a glorified drug dealer who is fodder for a Batman Cold Open.
In The Dark Knight Rises, Scarecrow is badass again, serving as the Hanging Judge of a Kangaroo Court, serving Bane's agenda. The shoulders of his jacket are frayed outwards in a visual nod to the Scarecrow's costume in the comics.
Broken Base: In general the more serious and grounded style of the trilogy, compared to more stylized and less serious comic book movies — including the previous Batman movies — have divided some fans (see Fandom Rivalry). Also:
Christian Bale's Batman voice is either appropriate or unintentionally funny. Same with Tom Hardy's Bane voice.
Katie Holmes Rachel or Maggie Gyllenhaal Rachel?
John Blake. Well-acted and well-developed, or spotlight-stealing Gary Stu?
Complete Monster: The Joker (portrayed by Heath Ledger) from the second film, The Dark Knight. What did you expect? Ultimately, he has gone down in film history as the cruelest, most insane and evil version of the Joker in a Batman film. Several villains in the saga, such as Bane and Talia, avoided falling into this trope by having loyalty in themselves and a rather tragic backstory. However, Joker is the only villain in the saga without redeeming features and his actions are purely For the Evulz.
Harvey Dent, believe it or not. Due partially to being so tragic and partially to being played by Aaron Eckhart.
Bane, especially after it's revealed he saved young Talia and is permanently disfigured and injured because of it.
Ear Worm: The first minute of Joker's theme song, "Why So Serious." Watching scenes using it could sometimes leave one so fixated on it that the sound of a lawnmower would remind them of it.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow, who is the only actor outside theseries'coreensemble to appear in all three films which also makes Scarecrow the only Batman villain to appear in three films in a row, something the Joker can't even lay claim to.
After the first movie came out, there was much debate on whether Ducard was Ra's al Ghul all along or if he inherited the title from the character Ken Watanabe played after he was killed. After all, Ra's al Ghul means "The Head of the Demon", so it could be a title held by the League's leader
Also whether Harvey Dent is dead. Word of God says he is. But for a time, not even the actor playing him knew.
Bane is a BadassGenius Bruiser, with emphasis on both "genius" and "bruiser" (one of the first times he's been portrayed this way in an adaptation). He wears a scary Cool Mask, manages great feats of both physical strength and intellect, breaks Batman's back just like in Knightfall, and takes over Gotham singlehandedly - though it's debatable whether he was working with or for Talia al Ghul the whole time.
Catwoman, who's sleek, sexy and Badass as always, and is the one to kill Bane. Even though she isn't truly evil in this incarnation, she's still a classic member of Batman's rogues gallery.
Fandom Rivalry: With the Marvel Cinematic Universe, continuing the DC Comics/Marvel Comics rivalry. The two franchises are as different as night and day. (Though not the comics themselves.) It so happened that Marvel Studios got their movieverse started with the surprise hit Iron Man in the same summer as the hotly anticipated The Dark Knight, and culminated their "Phase One" with the crossover/teamup movie The Avengers in the same summer as The Dark Knight Rises, both movies getting insane levels of hype and thus insane levels of fan rivalry. The rivalry overlaps with Hype Backlash over which franchise translates the comics better onto the screen. The Marvel Cinematic Universe movies are generalized as either "more fun and colorful" and "unashamedly comic booky" with their more "fantastical" take on things - or "shallow" and "juvenile". The Nolan movies are generalized as either "more mature and ambitious" - or "pretentious", "too serious" and "comic book movies in denial" with their more "grounded and realistic" take on things.
To say nothing of the rivalry within the Bat-franchise's own fandom, between fans of this saga and fans of the Burtonfilms - which is based on much the same varying perceptions about what a comic book movie should be.
Fountain of Memes: Most of the most memorable quotes from The Dark Knight came from the Joker.
Genre Turning Point: Batman Begins popularized the concept of Continuity Reboot for superhero movies (and inspired other movie series like James Bond) and grittier, more realistic superhero storylines in general. The Dark Knight is one of the very few comic book films to break free from the ghetto and be accepted as an example of fine cinema, highly raising the overall prestige of the genre.
Miranda Tate, his darling daughter, seems to have inherited this trait in spades. Bane's no slouch either.
Magnum Opus: The trilogy as a whole, for Christopher Nolan. Especially given how rare it is to see a trilogy where all the films are near equally successful critically. For example, on Rotten Tomatoes no movie is below 80% fresh for the critical consensus, and for audiences none of them fall below 90%.
Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order. Base your decisions on the philosophy of an amoral lunatic. Granted, the Joker probably didn't change many minds when he identified himself as "an agent of chaos," but when he puts it so brilliantly...
There's also a similar Misaimed Fandom towards Ra's al Ghul. Some prefer his philosophy to Batman's, even going so far as to say that Ra's had the right idea whereas Batman was just foolishly defending a city with no hope. While Ra's was more of a Knight TemplarWell-Intentioned Extremist than a Straw Nihilist, the overall issue is the same: people agreeing with the villain a little more than the writers probably intended.
Some fans seem to focus more on Bane's aims of helping the oppressed masses and overthrowing the corrupt rather than the fact that Bane doesn't really give two craps about them: they're stated to be false hope to poison the city's collective souls before Bane blows the place sky-high.
Misblamed: Nolan sometimes gets called out for replacing Katie Holmes with Maggie Gyllenhaal in the role of Rachel Dawes (not that Rachel was a great character to begin with). In reality, Holmes declined to return in favor of starring in Mad Money.
It's been rumored for years that Holmes's then husband Tom Cruise pressured her into bowing out of The Dark Knight in favor of the lower tier, lower profile Mad Money so that she wouldn't outshine him in a higher profile film during the summer movie season. The result? The Dark Knight was a critical and commercial hit, Mad Money was a critical and commercial flop - setting Holmes's career back AGAIN (Mad Money was her first film in three years following her marriage to Cruise). Katie's loss was Maggie's gain.
The other prominent rumor was that she was simply replaced as a studio decision; a running criticism in many critics' reviews of Begins tended to center on her performance.
From the second film: Lucius Fox's "Aflong aflongkong!" He's actually saying "What's wrong with a phone call?"
In the third film, Catwoman's "My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men" has been misheard by some as "Another war made by getting into cars with strange men."
Since the mask distorts Bane's voice, at times it sounds like he's saying something different.
Your punishment must be more supere (severe).
Periphery Demographic: Like all superhero movies, a lot of young children enjoy the Dark Knight trilogy - but it's especially notable (and often controversial) here due to the very dark themes and lack of fantastical elements.
Sequelitis: The Dark Knight Rises is widely considered to be not quite as good as The Dark Knight, though it was still highly acclaimed, making it a milder case of sequelitis than many.
So Cool It's Awesome: All three movies have excellent reviews, are well-loved by Batman fans and viewers in general and are already often labeled as one of the greatest trilogies in movie history. The Dark Knight in particular is considered one of the finest superhero movies of all time.
Strawman Has a Point: At one point Lucius Fox snarks that the reason the prototype body suit that Bruce turns into the first Batsuit was a government military troop armor that wasn't put into production because the army didn't consider a soldier's life worth $300,000. However, while a lightweight suit of bullet-proof body armor would be helpful, a price tag like that, multiplied times the number of troops it would have been used for and the cost of maintaining and replacing them, and its price tag goes up a few zeros, for what is still just body armor for ground forces.
True Art Is Angsty: Nolan's Batman films are considered critics to be some of the finest superhero movies ever made. They're also undoubtedly some of the bleakest.
Tough Act to Follow: The Dark Knight Rises suffers from this according to some; while very well-received and acknowledged as high-quality like the rest of the saga, it is somewhat overshadowed by its predecessor, The Dark Knight.
Unpopular Popular Character: Both of Bruce Wayne's personas are widely disliked in Gotham. The viewers see him in a much more positive light.
Villain Decay: Scarecrow. He starts off as the Big Bad of Batman Begins, or so we think. Ra's al Ghul returns, revealing that Scarecrow is just The Dragon. It gets worse when he is taken down in the end by Rachel Dawes and a stun gun. He shows up at the beginning of The Dark Knight as a lowly drug dealer and is quickly apprehended by the end of the scene. Of course, this is intentional, to show the effect Batman is having and to show that the days of the Mob are over and replaced by men like The Joker. And to be fair, Scarecrow's challenge to Batman has always been a psychological one. Once Batman created an antidote to the toxin, Scarecrow is just a skinny guy in a burlap mask.
The disturbingly realistic style in which exploding buildings and subsequent wreckage were shot can't help but evoke 9/11 somewhat. There's a reason people referred to Joker as a terrorist in the film.
The use of unwitting Gotham residents' cell phones as a kind of sonar absolutely reeks of current political battles over the legality of wiretapping calls overseas. It seems to come out vaguely in favor of its use in extremely limited situations, but also recognizes that those uses must be accounted for as Lucius and Bruce destroy the surveillance device once the Joker is apprehended.
And it's worth pointing out that Lucius' own reaction to the revelation of the sonar-net is "What The Hell, Bruce"?
Selina Kyle/Catwoman's statement to Bruce at the costume party calls to mind a lot of the current rhetoric surrounding the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The Dark Knight Rises got this in the week prior to its opening. First liberal pundit Christopher Lehane tried to make a connection between Bane and Bain Capital. Then conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh started up his own counter-interpretation. Needless to say, Christopher Nolan and Morgan Freeman (and for that matter, almost all comic book aficionados) went on record to declare how stupid Rush was being. Limbaugh and Lehane also got some flack from Chuck Dixon, Bane's creator (and a conservative). By the way, neither Lehane nor Rush had seen the movie yet.