Re: Why did the League of Shadows want to destroy a peaceful city?
I respect and appreciate your view RustyCage. All I can say is I view Ra's a bit differently. In the comics and cartoons the clash between Batman and Ra's is perpetual. There's a mutual respect there, but even when they work together their relationship is always doomed because Ra's is a genocidal maniac. He's a father figure for Bruce yes, but ultimately one that Bruce always must reject because their two different solutions for improving the world cannot be reconciled. I understand the temptation to see Ra's as more of a morally grey character, and there's definitely a fun complexity to his relationship with Bruce.
However, because of the real world influence of these films and the very alarming and real nature of terrorism in today's world, it's hard for me personally to view Ra's as anything but evil. Regardless of whatever logic he tries to use, he's still advocating the slaughter of millions of innocents with the very arrogant assertion that this will be for the better of the world. He's no less evil than Lex Luthor or any other mass murdering supervillain in that regard. Because of that it's very hard for me to accept the idea of him or his organization showing any form of mercy or re-evaluation. Those aren't traits I associate with terrorists. And at the end of the day, that's what Ra's is.
Furthermore, I understand why it might have made sense for the League to find out about Dent's corruption prior to attacking Gotham but I very much enjoy the way it played out because I think it underlines the point that they aren't so much driven by factual data as they are core beliefs. It's the fact that their core beliefs just so happen to coincide with this lie Gotham is living under that makes them feel that much more dangerous and scary to me. Also, supposing they did find out about Dent prior to coming to Gotham...why would it be okay for them to attack an "innocent" city then? Wouldn't they still be "causing the problem" by exposing the truth, when the Dent Act had helped Gotham redeem itself? I feel it's still the same end result, because any initiative they might have taken to discover if there was more to the story with Dent would be indicative of a pre-existing mistrust and condemnation of Gotham, which they already have and are acting on in TDKR. Or suppose they didn't trust the official story, but since Bruce and Gordon are the only ones who are in on it, they couldn't prove anything? Considering they would know that Bruce is morally opposed to murder (he did burn down their monastery just to avoid being an executioner), the story that Batman murdered the DA and all those men would probably raise an eyebrow. It just shows how confident and ardent they are in their beliefs that the truth is just fuel to their fire. Even if he never got to the bottom of the big bad secret, Bane could have still made his speech outside Blackgate about "the oppressors of generations" and how it was time to give Gotham back to the people. He had already gotten disgruntled Gothamites to join his underground army prior to finding Gordon's letter.
Finally, I thought seeing Alfred apologizing in front of Thomas' tombstone was a poignant moment, as was seeing Bruce's tombstone next to his parents'. It wasn't the graveyard visit everyone was hoping to see, but to see Bruce "reunited" with them in that way was kind of beautiful. I think Thomas would be extremely proud of Bruce for being able to finally move on with his life, and for opening Wayne Manor's doors for the orphans of Gotham. And I think having the orphanage dedicated to Thomas and Martha's names is probably a stronger gesture than roses. He upheld the Wayne name in the end.