Yesterday, /Film released an article from their staff titled 15 Things That Bothered Us About ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but I felt like their issues weren’t as problematic as they believed. If you consider the Nolan Batman Trilogy like Star Wars, then many of the answers could be found in the other films. Or, in many instances, the answers to their issues could be found by simply paying better attention.
The following rebuttal will be spoiler heavy, so consider yourself warned. From this point on, I hope you’ve seen the film.
1) When and how did Bane find out about Batman’s identity and Applied Sciences?
Talia Al Ghul, in previous incarnations, was Ra’s Al Ghul, second in command. Ra’s believed that Batman was meant to take on his mantle as leader of the League of Assassins (comic book name) and marry his daughter. In this incarnation, Bruce never meets Talia (or Bane) until now. Why? That, I can’t answer. What I can tell you is that there is a lot of time between when Bruce leaves the League of Shadows (film name), becomes Batman, and the Ra’s appears in Gotham. During this time, it is completely plausible that Talia would have been part of Ra’s survival. In addition, as stated in Batman Begins, Ra’s is able to identify Bruce as Batman due to his use of League tactics. As both Talia and Bane were trained by the League, they should easily be able to identify Bruce the same way.
As for Applied Sciences, in Batman Begins, the League displayed ample skill at finding out things that no one else could know. 1) Someone had to build the space in which the weapons were kept, so someone knew. 2) By posing as Miranda Tate, Talia spent years getting into the inner circle of Wayne Enterprises. As skilled as the character is known to be (hacker(see: Tower of Babel), fighter, manipulator), it is with little doubt that I could see her finding out what she needed to know to track down his weapons. Plus, when you consider that in Batman Begins, Bruce first uses technology developed through Wayne Enterprises Applied Sciences and no one seemed to notice – clearly the League noticed. Doesn’t take much to realize you need to find out everything you can about Lucius Fox, head of Applied Sciences.
2) Blake Intuits That Bruce Wayne is Batman
While it stretches things a bit for Blake to figure out Wayne is Batman on sight, Blake appears to be similar to the Tim Drake character, the third Robin and the boy who figured out who Batman was using his keen detective mind. Blake proves himself incredibly clever and becomes a valuable asset to both Gordon (who promotes him from beat cop to Detective) and Batman.
3) Bruce Wayne Is Down, Then Back Up, Then Down, Then Back Up
Can’t argue much here. They do make it clear in the beginning that Bruce likely stopped being Batman due to internal injuries, and less so because he didn’t need to.
In Knightfall, after Bane breaks Batman’s back, Bruce requires mystical healing to walk again, so he can train to fight. HOWEVER, I’m willing to believe that if the doctor who oversaw Bruce’s return to health could bring Bane back from the brink, then the same could be done for Batman. If only because that Batman never quits. Minus my faith in the Bat, yeah, it’s a little weak.
/Film does say that though they’ve been reminded that Bane does state that the bomb has a timer, they have no way of knowing how long Bruce has been in the prison. That one is easy enough to answer – the TV in his cell points out how many days the occupation has taken place. So by the time Bruce is able to do sit-ups, the news report says it’s been a little over 80days, nearly 3 months. So while it’s not blatantly visible, a timeline is provided.
4) Alfred Says Goodbye to Bruce
The dialogue didn’t bother me as much as the /Film staff, but I had no problem with the setting. Bruce has just left the Batcave, preparing for a new mission – something that Alfred vehemently disagrees with. What setting would be appropriate to find out the truth? There is none. However, it could be argued that if Bruce is in-between both the Cave and Wayne Manor (like a hallway), it’s thematic of a crossroads and the choice Bruce makes between the mission and the man.
5) Why Wouldn’t the SEC Just Overturn Bane’s Fraudulent Trades
Lucius Fox tells Bruce that it will take a few months for the lawyers to overturn the fraudulent traders, which is why he is forced to go to Miranda Tate for help.
6) Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard Have Sex
/Film’s argument is that there is no development between the two. Granted we don’t see much of it on-camera, but it’s stated repeatedly that they have worked together for several years. Bruce only goes into hiding about 3yrs prior to Rises, and they speak frequently about the project she paid for, but didn’t work – the fusion reactor later used as a bomb. Tate is shown to have a report with Alfred, and when she gets to see Bruce, they certainly don’t act as if it’s a first meeting.
What makes her betrayal so powerful at the end, isn’t that they had sex, it’s what she represented. As Bane points out, there can’t be great suffering without hope. She was his hope – hope for Wayne Enterprises, hope to stop the bomb, hope for a future past the Batman. As the first woman he’s cared in any way since Rachel, that kind of hope can be destructive. Just the perfect weapon against the Batman.
7) So Batman is a street artist now?
Yes, there is a ticking time-bomb in Gotham. Yes, it’s a little unreasonable that no one noticed Bruce setting up the gasoline required for the set-up. However, the Batman is about theatrics. It’s a symbol to Bane’s men and the people of Gotham that the Batman has returned. If the man beaten by Bane can return, then perhaps they can take back their city.
8) Bruce Wayne Forgets to Do Proper Background Checks
Assume, for one, that Alfred is in charge and doing all the hiring. Assume, for two, that with Bruce serving as the Batman, that their guard is down. Why would they need heavy background checks for wait staff that could very likely have come from the caterers? Alfred typically tends to the grounds, more or less on his own, so the staff he’s scolding is there just for the event. In which case, Selina Kyle need only sneak her way onto the staff. Something we see done frequently on shows like White Collar, Burn Notice, and Leverage – so it would likely be an easy endeavor for a master thief.
9) Why Does Bane Take a Break from His Master Plan to Ship Bruce Wayne Off to the Desert?
Because it was all part of the plan. He knew he was going to take down Bruce, and he even explains that his suffering is to come from watching Gotham be destroyed, knowing he can do nothing to prevent it. His soldiers are shown to be vastly loyal, and none would dare go outside of any instructions he gave them. Besides, as we find out later, with Talia still in Gotham, it’s not like anything is unattended.
10) How Does Bruce Wayne Get Back to Gotham?
As established in Batman Begins, Bruce is able to travel the globe with no financial support. If he can slide around the world that easily, it suggests he can do the same here. Thinking about this film as a sole event, I can understand wondering how he gets around. But if you remember that this is the last of greater story, then it’s easier to see where they set up the precedent.
11) Why Does a Prison Exist Where People Can Possibly Climb To Freedom, And By Doing So, Free All The Other Prisoners?
While I agree with /Film that the prison is meant to serve as a symbolic idea rather than an actual prison, it’s made clear quickly that the prison belongs to Bane. Also, there is no warden or guards, at least none that we see. Why would they need them? Plus, it’s established that a) Bane took over the prison, so it’s safe to assume that anyone there did something to piss him off, and b) that only one person every escaped.
As for freeing the other prisoners – Bruce would never let murderers, rapists, or other vile offenders go, so it seems fair to assume that as a prison for Bane’s enemies, they were wrongfully imprisoned.
12) The Post-Bane Gotham Feels Totally Fake
/Film argues that, essentially, the streets are too clean, relief trucks get in easily, and there is no disorder.
Given that it’s winter by the time we see the streets empty, and Nolan gives us several examples of homes that have been destroyed and riffled through, and even the remaining cops stay inside – I think it’s safe to assume that everyone is hiding in their homes. After the initial takeover, given some time – say 2-4 months – people just don’t go outside. The idea, stated by Bane, is that they are free, but under his dictatorship.
13) Are the Gotham City Police Department and CIA Really THAT Dumb?
The plane they used was neither large nor technologically sophisticated; instead it looked like the type of plane often referred to in drug-running stories. In addition, the CIA agent in charge, while crafty, didn’t appear to be the type of person that always played by the rules. It’s a smart tactic to pretend to kill people to gain information, and he had no reason to doubt that the men who provided the three in hoods couldn’t be trusted. The agent clearly had developed a relationship with them, but he didn’t realize that while they were helping him get a hold of Dr. Pavel, they were also working for Bane. One of them could have easily said, “the dude in the mask you’ve been looking for? He’s hood #2.” But no one did.
Under the leadership of Foley, played by Matthew Modine, yes. Yes, they are that dumb. Something that he showed us repeatedly when he didn’t understand the significance of Bane attacked the Stock Exchange, or when he pulled all his men off the chase to go after Batman instead. Under his leadership, yes – the GCPD were just that stupid. It’s why Gordon was removed from the battlefield. As evidenced by The Dark Knight, Gordon would never sacrifice all his men like that.
14) Most of the Hand-To-Hand Combat Is Terrible
Consider this: a lone man in the center of a circle of armed men, do they fire their weapons inward? The answer is no. Particularly when you consider that the armed men are not well-trained, they would likely shoot their compatriots while shooting their target. Safer, instead, to go after him one-on-one. Also, he’s the Batman – they fear him. To the untrained, he moves too fast to understand how he’s able to take out so many people. Besides, the only time that Batman is involved with hand-to-hand combat on a massive scale is at the end, when everyone is at each other. At that point, taking on Batman means suffering the wrath of Bane.
15) Multiple Ending Syndrome
I hated the 20min worth of ending during Lord of the Rings, so I didn’t mind that through a montage we could get the important bits out of the way. It didn’t dwell, but it addressed certain key aspects and moved on.
1 & 3) Batman always has a Plan B. So finding out that he fixed the autopilot 6months prior to the end of Rises. Plausible. Lucius said it would take a mind like Bruce’s to finish working on the Bat when Lucius gave it to him. That means he had all that time to fix it.
4 & 5) Alfred told Bruce that his dream, prior to Begins, was to see Bruce sitting at another table with a wife and family, not to say a word, but exchange nods and finish their meals. He said that, explaining that he never wanted Bruce to come home because there was nothing for him in Gotham, but out in the world he could have anything. This was the fulfillment of that dream.
2 & 6) Finding out that Blake’s real first name was Robin – yeah, it was a little too on the nose. Couldn’t it have been Dick, Richard, or even Grayson? It would have been more clever. But I do agree, Bruce giving him access to the Batcave, essentially handing the mantle over, without training? Seems a touch dangerous. However, Rises only shows us that the story continues, so we don’t know how it ends. Did Bruce leave Blake instructions? Will he return as a mentor and trainer, similar to Batman Beyond?
With most of the issues above, the key piece to remember is that Bane is a master strategist and that all the pieces to the events in The Dark Knight Rises have been moving for years. The fusion reactor, the takeover of Wayne Enterprises, building trust within the CIA, Miranda’s trust with Lucius and Bruce – all of it took place over years, behind the scenes and off camera. This was a story of vengeance dating back to the first film that we’ve only been witness to at the end of its telling.