Originally Posted by Fenrir
To start with, the whole 8-year gap is fine, but I would've made Batman fade from public sighting gradually over the years rather than just abruptly make him disappear. Bruce Wayne would've been a hermit, sure, but in the sense that he has become 'lost inside his monster'. He has isolated himself from the world as Bruce Wayne but not as Batman. He still would go out every other night after Dent's murder being on the run from the police but not finding much crime on the streets as the Dent Act was working perhaps so well that slowly Bruce realizes that he isn't needed out on the streets anymore. Suddenly he has lost all sense of purpose. True to what Rachel said in TDK about "the day would never come when Bruce no longer needs Batman" even Gotham doesn't anymore. He just sulks around the cave hoping for a reason to put on the suit again. This would've tied very well with Alfred's speech about Bruce never moving on and simply waiting for things to go bad.
Secondly, it would've been so much better had they not completely undermined TDK's ending by exposing the Dent coverup. In TDK, Batman and Gordon make a questionable but perfectly justifiable decision for the greater good, and in my opinion was the right thing to do. It was morally ambiguous, but TDKR undercuts it by showing that it was the wrong choice, which takes the ambiguity a step back to the simpler black-white scale. So my version of the script would've kept the truth about Dent concealed. Of course, it would still be killing Gordon on the inside praising Dent as a martyr, but making that conflict permanent as retribution for their lie would've made for better storytelling by showing that Gordon, like Batman, was also paying the price for it.
Now, Bane. Building on the fact that he and his men "were behind the coup in West Africa", Bane would be a genuine extremist revolutionary along the lines of Che Guevara rather than simply wanting to 'destroy Gotham'. Throughout his childhood, Bane himself witnessed the excesses of capitalism sucking the lifeblood out of developing impoverished nations and his crusade against the Western economic imperialists gains him his own group of mercenaries, fanatical followers and resources. Of course, Bane would be ex-LOS who was cast out by Ra's because Bane's methods were too radical as well as too ideologically different, and this would also be one of his motivations for attacking Gotham - to prove Ra's wrong and succeed where Ra's failed. His attack on the stockmarket would bankrupt not only Bruce Wayne, but also pension funds and many social security benefits instruments. This economic collapse would be the trigger for Bane to start his own French Revolution and recruit the common working man who lost everything to the greed of blue-blooded aristocrats. There is actual civil war and Gotham's citizens are given their fair share of screentime. This setup would've made the film much more relevant and resonant to our times just like TDK.
The whole pit prison subplot would essentially remain the same with a few notable changes. First of all, no Ra's flashback. That was just cheesy and unnecessary. The blind doctor, with the help of Bruce's cellmate, would actually do some sort of medical operation on Bruce's back to help his recovery. The mystery of the child who escaped the pit - unchanged. With his mask broken, Bane's crippling pain would be what ultimately kills him. In the climax of the final battle with Batman, Bane would lie there, paralyzed, defiantly refusing to be saved (because as I said, he would be someone who truly believed in his cause) and takes his last breath with words of respect towards his able adversary.
I'd also axe the pointless city orphans subplot and give more screentime to Selina Kyle/Catwoman and Miranda Tate/Talia. Speaking of Talia, she would be this supremely talented infiltrator who had infiltrated both Bane's mercenaries and Wayne Enterprises. Bane would think her on his side, as would Bruce, but in truth she would be working under both their noses to fulfill her father's (and the now scattered and defeated League Of Shadows') destiny. She would also be the one who kills Fox (you really need an important death to raise the emotional stakes) and Batman, thinking it was Bane, let's out all his fury at him in the final battle.
Now, since there is civil war in Gotham, the federal government would want to step in and take control of the situation. However, Bane's deterrent this time around would not be a fusion nuclear bomb (screw the entire clean energy project subplot), but rather a biological weapon - a virus or plague of some sort developed by Dr. Pavell. Bane threatens that if anyone interferes with the revolution, he has infected an unknown number of his people with the virus who would spread the plague throughout the country. Ergo, the U.S government orders a full-on quarantine of Gotham. Boom, you get your No Man's Land scenario and a believable reason for how the army and national guard would not let anyone in or out of Gotham.
Gordon, Blake, the honest cops and some of Gothams upright citizens are trying to maintain order are fighting a losing battle against the revolutionaries and are running out of both time and resources. Before dying, Fox completes working on a cure for the plague and a way to disperse it in the atmosphere. And the mobile core would be the instrument to do so. The cure would need to be ignited at extremely high temperatures to make it airborne a.k.a why The Bat needs to drag it to the skies for your big explosion in the end. After backstabbing Batman, Talia finds out about the mobile core cure for the plague and plans to sabotage it with the help of her loyal LOS members who also had infiltrated Bane's mercenary group. Gordon drives the truck with the core in the back to keep it safe from Talia and her goons in the Tumblers who plan to destroy it and permanently plunging Gotham towards a self-destructive civil war.