Some theological thoughts on the movie.
(Some spoilers ahead.)
There's been a lot of discussion on the Internet about the politics of The Dark Knight Rises with many arguing that TDKR espouses a conservative politics with a repudiation of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The evidence for this line of argument has to do with the actions and speeches of Bane, the antagonist of the movie. For example, one of Bane's early targets in the movie is the Wall Street trading floor (or whatever Wall Street is in Gotham). In addition, Bane uses class warfare as warrant for his actions, actions that espouse a populist, anarchist vision of society.
It is true that TDKR has a fairly positive view of social institutions and the order they provide. For example, the Gotham police force are cast as heroes and protectors of law and order. We also long for a judiciary with integrity after witnessing the actions of "the people's court" under Bane (the Scarecrow is back as judge!). In this sense--a high view of social institutions--TDKR has a conservative sensibility.
That said, I don't think TDKR is a repudiation of the concerns of the 99%. Bane isn't extolling class resentment, he's exploiting it. Cynically so.
It seems clear to me that TDKR sees economic inequality as a problem. Catwoman, a sympathetic figure, sees it this way. Where she parts with Bane and begins to side with Batman isn't in the diagnosis of the problem but in how the two propose to address the problem.
To be sure, Bruce Wayne our hero is a billionaire, a part of the 1%. But he's repeatedly described as a "philanthropist." We also find him acting in very non-capitalistic ways. We learn that he's actually damaged his company by refusing to pursue technology that would be globally dangerous. We learn about his interest in investing in clean, sustainable energy. And at the end of the movie he gives Wayne Manor for the care of orphans.
The point being that Wayne has a strong social and global ethic guiding how he handles his wealth, and he seems more than willing to make financial sacrifices to promote the common good. All that looks sort of "liberal." And that seems to be the ruling ethic of the movie. Wayne gives everything he has to save the city. Toward the end of the movie Catwoman asks Batman why he keeps giving to Gotham. Hasn't he already given them everything? His response is that he has one last thing to give. His life. And he goes on to give it away so that Gotham might be saved. In this, he's a sort of Christ figure.
TDKR is liberal in another sense as well--its view of humanity. Throughout the Dark Knight trilogy there is a running debate about human nature. The trilogy starts with the dim view of humanity offered by the League of Shadows and Ra's al Ghul. This is the view that humanity--epitomized in the life and ways Gotham, a sort of Babylon--is depraved and beyond redemption. That view is continued in the second movie with the Joker, who cynically wants to demonstrate this to Batman by getting two ferrys of Gotham citizens to blow each other up. In the final movie Bane brings us back to the League of Shadows as the views of Ra's al Ghul make a return.
In response TDKR articulates a more positive view of humanity. In the first movie Batman rejects the anthropology of Ra's al Ghul. In the second movie the people of Gotham refute the Joker--they don't blow each other up. In TDKR the themes are about collective hope and social trust. In short, the optimistic view of humanity espoused by liberalism is on display. The more pessimistic view of humanity espoused by conservatism is rejected.
But not completely. Again, when "the people" are left on their own in Bane's anarchical experiment the outcome isn't pleasant. Under Bane we long for social order and stable social institutions. These are conservative themes and values. So in my opinion, the series is a bit of a mixed bag on this score. The trilogy is a mix of both liberal and conservative themes--politically, economically, and anthropologically.
In the end, though, I think the final film isn't about about liberalism or conservatism. I think the film is about love. That might be a bit too sentimental, but I think it's a defensible point. At the end of the day, Wayne loves Gotham and is willing to give her everything. I think that's the main theme of the movie, love and the sacrifices love requires. In a similar way, Alfred loves Bruce and is willing to risk everything, even their relationship, in order to save Bruce.
Other love themes are also present. When Catwoman and Batman are fighting together he says, "no killing." We see (Robin) John Blake, who will become the next Batman, kill two men in the movie. Disgust overwhelms him. We see in his face how he will adopt the "no killing" ethic in taking up the mantle of Batman. We also see Blake willing to sacrifice his life for a group of orphans. And as mentioned above, in the end Bruce Wayne gives Wayne Manor for the care of orphans. True and undefiled religion.
And in giving it all away we see a sort of death and resurrection played out in the movie. Batman gives everything to Gotham and he finds a sort of resurrection on the other side. Batman dies so that Bruce Wayne and Gotham might live.
At the end of the movie we see a statue of Batman unveiled in Gotham. A symbol of the soul and spirituality of a city reborn, a people rescued from chaos and death. A sign of one who gave his life so that others might live.