Rachel Dawes annoys the hell out of me, but that's hardly surprising. She lands in the already well-populated category of 'female character adored for no apparent reason', joining Lana Lang and Mary Jane Watson. It's a personal thing.
I do, however, have a legitimate narrative bone to pick, both as a fan of the comics and as a feminist. And that bone is Barbara Gordon. More specifically, how mercilessly she was cut from the story line. Here was the perfect opportunity for the writers to set up a strong foundation for her adult passion for justice. Here was where we could begin to understand why the daughter of the commissioner could turn to being a vigilante, and continue to hide it from her father. Batman's crusade against the Joker's "human experiments" and Gordon's comments about hunting Batman because 'he can take it, he is Gotham's guardian' are the early experiences that could easily sketch the relentless, courageous Batgirl (and later Oracle) we see in the comics.
What did we get instead?
Some boy-child, the holy patriarchal son, conjured up from nowhere to be Jim's 'most beloved-family member'. Why, Nolan, why? I can understand the bad writing behind Rachel; some of it is plot-driven (in order for Bruce to fully dedicate himself to Gotham, she must always be out of reach), some of it is just the fact that a lot of male writers seem to have trouble writing fully-fleshed female characters.
(Not to get sidetracked here, but I do apologize for the generalization. There are men out there who write amazing female characters. Joss Whedon, is an awesome example. Stephen King is another. Theodore Sturgeon wrote amazing, subtly strong females in a time where "handing the action to the girl" was no accepted. But sometimes, I think guys-- particularly in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, just don't get it. Do I have to bring up 'Samantha Carter' from Stargate? I didn't think so.)
Anyway. I can handle Rachel-- she's very useful dead, I will say that. But I just don't understand why there was any need to create a whole new random character to be threatened, when it would have been so much more in keeping with DC canon for Gordon to have a close relationship with little Barbara. It would have been great, to see a young Babs staring after Batman as he flees from the very people he's worked so hard to help. What an easter-egg for comic fans!
God, it just makes me crazy. Maybe you'll think I'm paranoid, placing the gender-swap at the feet of the patriarchy, but it seems justified. That's always been the assumption: that sons are more valued by their fathers than daughters. (Hell, it was certainly true with mine. ^^;;;) But I'd just loved to have seen a close bond between Barbara and her dad. I love her comic character so much.
Maybe I'm picky. *rolls shoulders* But I had to get that off my chest.