Originally Posted by DACrowe
Indeed. BB was a loose adaptation of Year One. TDK was a loose adaptation of The Man Who Laughs, The Killing Joke and, most of all, The Long Halloween. TDKR is a VERY loose adaptation of Knightfall and No Man's Land.
Which again makes claims that TDKR is a major departure from the comics a head scratcher for me.
That's not how I view it. All 3 films are heavily influenced by stories in the comics as opposed to being loose adaptations. The difference is that BB and TDK meshed elements from those stories together really well and created their own unique stories whereas the comic influences in TDKR's story feel a lot more cut-and-paste than in the previous two films.
Basically, it felt to me as if Nolan sat down and said "Ok, let's have some No Man's Land stuff going on in this scene with some Knightfall stuff in these scenes with some Dark Knight Returns stuff here at the beginning and then right at the end" whereas in BB and TDK, it felt to me as if Nolan sat down and said "Ok, how could we create an interesting story out of these books we have here?" That is the difference. This is also part of the reason why I feel that unlike in BB and TDK, Nolan did not have a story to tell with TDKR even though he did say he won't come back unless he has a story.
Also, the problems I have with the departures from the comics present in TDKR mostly are character departures and essence departures as opposed to story departures (like I said, No Man's Land and all that other stuff is still there). All of that though is on top of the fact that I don't think TDKR works as a sequel to the previous films, which has always been my biggest problem with the film, and on top of the fact that a lot of things in the movie don't make sense when you look at the whole bigger picture overall.
What you seem to be upset by is, again, that Nolan ENDED his story. You have never seen Batman retire because comics never end. By their nature they are a cyclical status quo that can always be renewed. Conversely, Nolan's films had to end one day and he chose to be the one to do it. Add in that he wants to ground his Batman somewhat in a false reality (note the words "loosely" and "false"), he had to acknowledge such a lifestyle would have negative effects on a human's body and psyche.
I actually like TDKR all the more for its uniqueness. The movie where Bruce Wayne must give up his pain and mental anguish to move on and the one where Batman ends.
That to me is why fans really dislike the movie.
That would be true if I didn't have so many problems with the film prior to the ending. The ending is a problem, arguably one of the biggest ones, but even without it, the film still has tons of flaws.
The biggest problem with retiring Bruce are the following:
1) It was really forced. Nolan had to contrive a story in a film series where it looked like Batman would be Batman for a long
time just so that he could say "I'm done! I don't want to make any more movies." BB and TDK were never building into a trilogy; they were the first two stories in a new franchise. It wasn't until production on TDKR started when Nolan decided it would be his last film when it became considered the epic conclusion to this "epic three-act trilogy". It wouldn't be a big problem either if TDKR didn't try to act as if, in retrospect, this was always
meant to be a 3-act trilogy in the same vein as Star Wars and LOTR when that is just false. Heck, it almost wasn't even a trilogy originally looked like he wasn't coming back. I believe we had this discussion before though.
2) Overall, the whole ending was poorly executed. The way they made Bruce quit completely goes against what Batman is all about. Gotham was in a worse condition than ever before - even worse than at the end of BB and TDK respectively - and Bruce decides to hang up the cape & cowl, pass the mantle on to a rookie cop without giving him training or anything like that, and move to Europe with Selina. Technically, he didn't even need to get into the Bat since he fixed the autopilot months ago. He lied
that it was broken and lied
about his death - in a movie with the message that lying is wrong even if it's for the greater good - entirely out of selfish reasons. On top of that, an even bigger problem with the ending even more so than Bruce quitting is the overall message of the ending: Anyone can be Batman and Batman is a legacy. That
is the message in the film that completely flies in the face of the essence of Batman and is perhaps my biggest problem with the film on top of the messages and themes ignored/contradicted from the previous 2 films. You're telling me there was no way to do an ending with Bruce retiring more in-character and in an ending that didn't have all those messages in them that go against Batman's essence?
The comics have technically given Batman a "happy ending" before (no sexual pun intended
). The Dark Knight Returns managed to do just that. Frank Miller made Batman retire by the end in a way that still honors everything Batman is all about and still delivers a happy Bruce Wayne by the end, hence the last line of the book being "This will be a good life, good enough". It's also important to note that Bruce has a very
different outlook on life than we do. What you and I consider to be a happy life is not what he would consider to be a happy life. Bruce is a guy that constantly needs & wants to do something that benefits the world even in retirement - i.e. in TDK Returns when he decides to teach the Sons of the Batman everything he knows and guide them through everything so that they could continue his work.