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Old 05-18-2013, 04:06 PM   #589
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Default Re: How long before the fan community turns on the Nolan films?

I disagree with pretty much everything you've posted, Shikamaru, but you sound sane so I'll try my hand at offering my opinion.

Originally Posted by Shikamaru View Post
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.
I guess that depends on how you much you buy the extent of sacrifice Bruce had to make in TDK. He entered TDK with a lot of optimism and belief in his the end of TDK, after the Joker's rampage through the city and tearing through his mission itself as well as striking Bruce personally by killing Rachel and mutilating Harvey, the city's only hope for a public hero, he's really not so sure anymore. He's not so sure if he can continue being the one-man savior for an entire city. It's a lot of responsibility, and he's not sure if continuing would be good for him or even the city.

This manifests into seemingly contradictory actions - he quits for 8 years after TDK, trying to do good as public Bruce Wayne, then falls into a deep depression after the clean energy project fails. When you're in a deep depression and looking for a purpose, you grasp for something, anything to pull you out of your funk. That was Selina Kyle, and later Bane. Bruce has a reason to be Batman again, but in his journey, he hasn't really acknowledged the way the events in TDK have changed the game. He just needs a purpose. And after getting his ass handed to him again and the city in worse shape because of him getting ahead of himself (even Alfred points out it'd be suicide to take on Bane physically), he realizes that he can't do this forever. He makes emotional mistakes, he's too rash. And that's why he's ready to move on in TDKR.

And of course, Miller's DKR Bruce is very different from this. Doesn't mean that Nolan's TDKR Bruce is invalid. It's just different. That's what makes Batman so intriguing - there's so many approaches to the character, and I find a lot of them interesting and valid and deep.

Originally Posted by Shikamaru View Post
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?
Maybe he hadn't had a chance to test the autopilot before he got taken out by Bane. Lying is not necessarily wrong, but giving the people false hope is definitely wrong. That's what they did re: Harvey. Not telling Alfred was stupid, but those two guys hadn't had the best communication in a while, as shown in the movie anyway.

And sure, Batman COULD be anyone, but not everyone SHOULD be Batman. That part was clear in TDK. He didn't want untrained citizens getting themselves into trouble on his account. He CHOSE Blake to take up the mantle, because he acknowledged that Blake was not as emotionally rash as he was. Blake wouldn't make the same mistakes Bruce did. The training is nothing, the will is everything, remember? Blake isn't stupid - he'll seek out training if he thinks he needs it.

The point of Batman possibly being anybody is for the citizens to remember that there is heroism in everyone and anyone. That's what we find masked heroes with secret identities so attractive - who are they? Could they really be walking amongst us? Could I have passed them in the street yesterday? It gives the people hope, and not necessarily false hope either.

Originally Posted by Shikamaru View Post
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.
I don't think Miller's Wayne really got a happy ending. He's always had a purpose, and seems to only be retired at the beginning because he thinks he's losing his edge after losing Jason. He's never lost sight of his mission even in his years of retirement.

Bruce doesn't retire at the end of DKR. He merely goes underground, because he acknowledges that making a big public show of everything would put obstacles in his way. He would be spending more time fighting Superman and the US government, than fighting crime. He'd be doing things behind-the-scenes or on the down low. But he is still very much Batman.

I think of Nolan's Bruce as a modern-day soldier. Soldiers go on deployment expecting that they'll return home someday. That they can live a normal life after they've put in their time or after the mission is done. Usually the mission messes them up along the way, but most of them do eventually hope to find their way back to civilian life. The ones who don't, eventually become paid mercenaries and the like, but Nolan's Bruce is not one of those people. I don't think it makes the characterization invalid or poor.

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