Originally Posted by ThePhantasm
I posted this in another thread, and still stand by it:
Blake is two-dimensional. He's a perfect Gary Stu character who has no flaws and no real struggles. He magically intuits that Bruce is Batman. He's apparently the only cop on the force with half a brain other than Gordon. He's tossed the keys to the batcave without ever proving to Bruce or to the audience that he deserves it or has earned it. Basically Bruce goes "oh this guy sympathizes with me here's the keys bro have fun." After being so careful to keep his stuff from falling into the wrong hands, into the hands of someone who would misuse it, Bruce trusts a guy who he has known for about five or six scenes with all of it.
The guy was an unbelievable, two-dimensional, flawless, flat character who was wholly uninteresting. One sob story about losing his father and being angry about it does not a character make, especially when that never gets expressed later at any point in his actions.
Good characters are written according to the addage "show, don't tell." Blake never showed that he was anything but two-dimensional. Oh, he'd "tell" some backstory in here or there, but that doesn't make him a character. He'd "tell" that he is angry all the time, but we never saw it (unlike with Bruce). It makes him a cardboard cut-out with a cliched backstory.
But see, that's where a good actor comes in to imbue the character with something beyond what's on the page. Sure, on paper Blake is generic as it gets. But I thought he was well executed. And I wouldn't necessarily agree that he has no struggles in the film. You can really feel the pent up anger boil to the surface during that bridge sequence in the climax. You see a guy who desperately wants to believe that justice can prevail within the system, placing his trust in the cops to do the right thing, wanting them to see he's one of them. And he just explodes with rage once he realizes how deeply f***ed the situation is. Then the disillusionment sets in. I thought it was raw and engaging. Again, comes down to performance. It's also not true that him losing his family is never expressed in his later actions, as his repulsed reaction to killing that guy with a gun is a directly calls back to his father being shot over a gambling debt.
Nolan has that luxury in his career now where he can write a pretty basic bare bones character to service his film's ideas, aim high with the casting, and rely on that to give it the emotional believability it needs. I take both writing and performance into account when assessing how I feel about a character.