I love The Dark Knight movie. In fact I believe it's the best superhero movie ever made and it's on my list of the best movies ever. For me, it is a cerebral ride of awesomeness that will leave you breathless and amazed in every scene you watch.
The one thing it is lacking or had difficulty with, in my opinion, is the emotional connection. You never really felt the pain and anguish of the heroes. When then Lt. Gordon "died", I was shocked but I never felt bad. When Rachel Dawes died, I never felt bad. When Harvey Dent died I never felt bad. You might experience the heavy moral dilemma (like in the ferry scene) but it has no emotional weight, it just seemed like a philosophical exercise. The dominant emotion is that of fear every time the Joker is in the scene, courtesy of Heath Ledger's masterful work.
It's the one thing other movies have better. In Ironman, I felt sad when the doctor who helped Tony Stark died. I felt Stark's anguish. In Captain America, I felt bad when Bucky died (I might feel the weight of the death of any of the Howling Commandos if that would happen). Thor also delivered many emotionally captivating scenes, especially with Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of Loki.
There is none of that in The Dark Knight. Maybe there is, but it didn't leave a lasting dent (no pun intended). One might say, "It's a goddamn Batman movie", "There is no place for emotions". But no, In Batman Begins, you will feel Bruce's pain as a child when his parent's died. You would almost feel Gordon's sympathy as he console Bruce. And you will feel Alfred's grief as well. In the comics, there were many stories that poured a lot of emotional scenes. Grant Morrison has made many.
In Batman #701, when Batman returned after his encounter with Dr. Hurt, Alfred welcomes him in his extreme butlering mode and the following dialogue took place;
Alfred: Master Bruce? Oh my goodness gracious!
Bruce: How's the "Extreme Butlering" thing working out for you, Alfred? Tell me you didn't use up all the band-aids.
Alfred: I believe the correct term is "Butling", sir.
Bruce: Good to see you, old friend.
Alfred: Likewise, Master Bruce. A tense few days, but I know you'd work it all out in the end. I prepared Mulligatawny Soup, your favorite.
That short interchange, with Alfred giving that terse smile, and with all those bruises on his face, is very heartfelt. In Batman: The Return, Alfred delivered yet another emotional dialogue;
In The Dark Knight, I feel like every emotion is actually just a battle of morals and ethics.
The Superman movies have it better. Every time Superman carries Lois while flying, or save her from danger, the scene is so memorable. When we look back into those scenes now, we would have a feeling of nostalgia for the movies, even if they are not that great to begin with.
10 years from now, if we see a scene from The Dark Knight, like when he saves Rachel from falling, I doubt if we will feel nostalgic and reminisce the times past.
I think that's what may be needed in the next movie. A heart-wrenching scene. An uplifting moment. I have no doubt that the trilogy will end with a big and spectacular bang. I believe it may well be one of the greatest trilogies ever. I'm just not sure if it will leave a deep enough mark in my heart that I will carry even as I get older, the way the Superman movies did.
What could it do to leave that mark?
Include a good soundtrack perhaps. Or evoke the nostalgic feeling of Winnie the Pooh in the trailers. Or both.
Or maybe not.
That's just my two cents. I think 'The Dark Knight Rises' will be an amazing finale nonetheless. As they say on many forums, "I believe in Christopher Nolan."