Much in the same way he captured Joker, Catwoman and Bane lose much of their ridiculousness from the comics to give us much more realistic and gritty characters. Anne Hathaway, in my opinion, did an excellent job convincing me that she holds no allegiances to anyone but herself. Tom Hardy played a great Bane, even if he didn't get to shine much as an actor. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is quickly becoming a favorite actor of mine.
Is it better than the Avengers? I couldn't say for sure, but it is certainly a great movie for completely different reasons.
Once more people see it we get to talk about those sweet, sweet SPOILERS!