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The Dark Knight Rises Characterization of the Knight - Nolan and Bale's Bruce Wayne/Batman

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batman11

7.20.2012
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It seemed a travesty that amongst all the villain, batsuit, manip and caption threads, the boards were actually lacking a thread dedicated solely to The Dark Knight himself. So let's rectify that.

(I'm sure there was one a really long time ago, but I figured a new thread couldn't hurt. And the dreaded Thread Manager will surely be around to fix things if necessary. :funny:)

This thread is for the discussion of Bruce Wayne/Batman's characterization in The Dark Knight Rises. Naturally, this includes discussion of what we've seen so far in Begins and TDK, and what we expect/hope to see in Rises. Chat about Nolan's take on writing the character, his overall arc, and where he'll wind up at the end of the trilogy, as well as Bale's portrayal, both in the previous and upcoming films, of Gotham's silent guardian.

:brucebat:

:batty: :batty: :batty:
 
***

To kick things off, I thought I'd quote a conversation that was started in another thread (regarding Bruce's enemy), pertaining to where TDK left our protagonist, and where Rises will take him:

Bruce's greatest enemy could very well be himself. The events of TDK leave lots of room for guilt trippin (sounds groovy...), and it would actually be pretty interesting to see some self-deprecation themes come into play. Although I'm not sure it's something Nolan would cover, to me, it wouldn't feel totally out of left-field, and I would definitely welcome it. In one way or another, a common trend in Nolan's films is that his protagonists have all been flawed characters that subtly comment on facets of the human condition. It would be neat to have one of these characters self-aware of their flaws, and actually voice their concerns/disappointment with such issues. We haven't really seen Nolan go that route yet (although there are definitely elements of it in his films - Bruce in BB saying that he failed to save Gotham, reflecting on his failures in TDK after Rachel's death, Cobb confronting Mal about her projection not being good enough for him, etc. etc.), and I think Bruce in Rises would be a good opportunity for some more exploration and experimentation. And there are multiple ways to go.

You could have him harp on himself for not being able to save Rachel and Dent and Gotham, but at the same time, you could have Bruce angry with the fact that he feels so much pain and guilt - he despises that he could be so weak. I think an intriguing element to add to Bruce's arc would be that of his "invulnerability," which I discussed with Saint when we were chatting about the aftermath of a beat-down from Bane. Perhaps it would be cool to not only touch upon that in a physical and mental sense, but an emotional one as well. One of Bale's final scenes in The Prestige comes to mind, where Borden is frustrated with himself (;)) for not being smarter than Angier. "Why can't you out-think him!?!" Again, that idea of Batman being "invulnerable" leaves a lot of doors open, and paints an interesting canvas for the conclusion of Bruce's arc. Just put yourself in his shoes:

"I'm supposed to be this elemental, terrifying being...this inhuman symbol that will not quit, and yet here I am, physically broken and emotionally compromised. I'm grieving over lost friends, like a man, whereas I embarked upon the path of becoming a legend. And most importantly, I'm stuck questioning whether or not I'm actually capable of being that legend, that 'Batman' that I think I should be. What do I do now?"

Gordon also factors in to the issue of "invulnerability." How exactly does he view Batman, especially now after they've been through so much together? What does he think of this man, who puts so much on the line, night in and night out, and only seems to get crapped on for it? How can such a man take it all without cracking?

I think that type of thought process (I'm referring the part about Bruce's mind above) would definitely be something fresh, and it adds a new level to the usual superhero "brooding." Instead of the hero pondering giving up the cape and cowl, or how hard it is to do what he does, we get a man who wants to devote himself to the ideal, and squirms at the notion that his human emotions and struggles are holding him back. And then of course, Selina, Alfred, Gordon, Lucius, and the "why do we fall?" idea can all come into play. Bruce may think that his humanity is holding him back, but perhaps he learns that it's the only thing left that separates him from someone like Bane, the Joker, etc. It's what makes him so unique. It's that sliver of humanity, that fraction of hope and of faith that remains. This point sheds a little more light on what exactly makes Batman a watchful protector, as opposed to some nut in a costume who happens to not murder (surely this 'murder' part will bring out the vultures and be argued :funny:).

Anyhow, I'm almost 100% certain that's not the type of answer that the OP was looking for in regards to the topic, but the thread name inspired me to write up my thoughts on who, aside from the main villains, Bruce's "enemy" could be.

Just wanted to respond to the part I bolded...that could very well tie in with the exchange Bruce had with Ra's in BB about his compassion being a weakness: 'That's why it's so important. It separates us from them'(in other words, I think he's already aware of the importance of his humanity, he's just overlooked it after all the crap he's been through). I think Bruce needs to remember this in TDKR, in order to fully accept his destiny as Batman. Anyway, I'd love it if at least some of the aspects you mentioned in your post would be addressed in TDKR.

Yes, definitely. Good connection. :up: :up:

And I totally agree with the notion of Bruce knowing/overlooking things, or accepting things without having a full realization of his choices yet. You bring up a good point about humanity here, and on several occasions, I've posted about how by the end of TDK, I feel that Bruce has shown that need for Batman that Rachel voices in her letter, yet he doesn't entirely realize it yet. Rachel knew it, and he's on the path to discovering it; the concluding elements of TDK set that journey in motion. I think/hope a large part of his arc in TDKR will be piecing everything together, leaving Bruce in a place where there is both clarity and certainty. So far we've seen a range of emotions from him, peaking with overconfidence ("I am going to stop you!" / "One man or the entire mob? He can wait."), and hitting a low with depression and doubt ("I wanted to save Gotham...I failed." / "Did I bring this on her? I was meant to inspire good. Not madness. Not death."). With Rises, it will be interesting to see the culmination of his inner turmoil, which is why it's so exciting that this is planned and written as an ending.

BatmanBeyond said:
When you think about it, Bruce really has gone through a lot during these two movies, hasn't he? I definitely agree that it's going to be interesting to see the culmination of his emotional turmoil(again, when you think about it, Bruce's character has taken us on a really compelling ride so far, in other words he's an interesting and complex character...and his story's not finished yet:woot:). Damn, 2012 seems so far off! The anticipation's killing me!
 
Best opening to a thread ever. :woot:

And a well warranted idea, by the way.
 
Let's hope it thrives. I love what has been done with the character so far, and I think the setup for the finale has been crafted quite well. As you mentioned in another thread, it's a shame that Bruce is overlooked in TDK, as his arc, while somewhat unconventional (yes, I know the whole "quitting" thing has been done before), was both powerful and interesting for me.
 
I think this was a unique way to go about him quitting, so I enjoyed it. I mean, he had set out to from the beginning, it was a finite quest to him. The movie was more about him learning that he can't quit than it was about him deciding to quit, imo.

Perhaps this thread can also serve as a point of education on this misunderstood matter. :up:
 
Yes, that's how I feel as well. It was a compounding effect of lusting after normality with Rachel, the weight of having blood on his hands, and seeing a greater hero in Harvey. But yeah, I agree with everything you said. :up:
 
Mmmmhmmmm. And I'm sure we weren't the only fans thinking that either. His word choice is indeed quite reminiscent of his role as Bruce, not to mention a few of his other more recent roles.
 
Great thread! :up:

Not sure how but I think Selina will help Bruce with his self-discovery and him coming into terms with his issues.


You know, I feel what Christian says at about 1:15 here definitely applies to our point:

[YT]CvlQv-3u1v8[/YT]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvlQv-3u1v8

He repeated the same thoughts too at the backstage interview at the SAG awards (specifically when they asked him why Wahlberg was not nominated).

Full interview: http://www.examiner.com/celebrity-q...kstage-at-the-2011-screen-actors-guild-awards

Mark Wahlberg wasn’t nominated for best actor for his role in "The Fighter." What do you think about that?

Listen, I really look at any performance as dependent on everybody else. It’s a domino effect. It’s collective work, always. Movies are so much more a team effort than most people realize, even on the part of the director. We’re relying on so many people to try and support our vision. Every single actor shares this [SAG Award] with me, because no one is an island on a movie …
It’s an incredible compliment to get this [SAG Award] from my fellow actors. It’s tricky when there’s a quiet role to really recognize how much is going on behind the eyes. You’ve got to be really attentive. And that was Mark’s role in this one. I’ve had those roles before as well. And that’s just the way that it goes, but to me, I share this [SAG Award] with him. I share this with all the other actors.
 
You know, I feel what Christian says at about 1:15 here definitely applies to our point:

[YT]CvlQv-3u1v8[/YT]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvlQv-3u1v8

Heh, never thought of that when I first saw his acceptance speech, but it's so true(and especially for his role as Bruce in TDK). His more subtle growth as a character is what gave Heath's Joker and Eckhart's Harvey Dent the chance to shine as brightly as they did.

Also, great thread idea, batman11!(though now I'm feeling guilty for derailing the thread in which we started this discussion hehe) I must say that I agree with what you and RustyCage have said so far, especially regarding Bruce's original character arc in TDK.

RustyCage said:
Perhaps this thread can also serve as a point of education on this misunderstood matter. :up:

I'll agree to that! :up:

kvz5 said:
Great thread! :up:

Not sure how but I think Selina will help Bruce with his self-discovery and him coming into terms with his issues.

Interesting idea. I'm also certain she'll have a role in Bruce's further growth as a character...what isn't clear is in what way she'll influence him.
 
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I'm hoping we really see Bruce embrace his destiny as Batman to the fullest in this film.

In Begins - We saw the beginning

In Dark Knight - We saw Bruce struggle with being Batman and is looking for a way out and believes he found it with Harvey Dent as Gotham's White Knight until Dent falls and Bruce is force to continue carrying the mantel of being Batman.
 
I don't know if you guys remember the way Strange's analysis of Batman was getting into Bruce's head in Prey, but it could play very nicely into the ideas about Bruce's potential emotional challenges in this film as suggested earlier in the thread so eloquently.

If you haven't read Prey, check out the scans in this article. :up:

I can just imagine the stress of that on top of everything else making him all the more vulnerable to Bane, and to himself - or maybe it could even make him more susceptible to Catwoman? Prey does address the thought of the sort of sexual psychology of going out dressed as Batman and stuff, and she's in the book of course. ;)

And naturally in this state he'll seek out the solace of someone he sees something of himself in. A mirror like her..

Seem like a good fit, or am I being reckless?
 
Seems like a logical line of thought to me. But I am crazy, so I may not be the best person to ask. :) ;)
 
There's a lot to be excited about with TDKR, but where they take Bruce is probably #1 for me. One of the best things I think Nolan and Bale have done with this series is making Bruce out to be a real, human, and at times, flawed character. He's made mistakes and he's paid for them, that's basically what TDK was ultimately about. But it's all about character growth, progression. Expect to see more experienced and mature man this time around.
 
Yeah when Nolan said the third film will be about telling Bruce Wayne's story I got very excited. I think the reason the Bruce Wayne character resonates so well with people is because he is a human being, flaws and all. And while I do expect him to fully mature into himself as Batman I can also see him losing a part of himself with Rachel and becoming even more detached emotionally. What's interesting about Bruce Wayne is he is kind of a hopeless character in regards to his life. He willingly renounces a normal life and denies himself the possibility of being happy.

I love how Nolan's Gotham reflects Bruce. In the first film, Gotham is decidedly darker, more angry looking. Could be a reflection of Bruce's anger towards the death of his parents. In TDK, Gotham is cleaner, sharper, more corporate. In TDK we also see a more confident, mature, Batman. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but I have a feeling they'll go way darker in "Rises". I love how Batman's presence sort of brings out a worse, more insane type of criminality.
 
Characterization. Now this is my type of thread :cwink:

Personally, I want Bruce to start becoming a bit colder. From his actions in TDK, it seems to me that he now realizes this isn't a finite mission. This is something he can't stop now, there's been too much sacrifice and too much bloodshed. As such, he should assume a more stoic, icy demeanor.

One of the few things I liked about Burton's interpretation of Wayne was his darkness. One of my favorite scenes still to this day is from BR, when Bruce is just sitting in the dark, waiting for the signal to shine, to become alive once more.

I enjoy the playboy persona, and it still serves a purpose, but these events have to start taking a toll. In TDK, he barely had time to reflect on Rachel before the Joker was back at it again. I need a Bruce who's been through the ringer and now, has even more of a hardened exterior. When he's alone, I want to see that brooding Bruce Wayne who sits in the cave with his suit on, waiting for that signal to shine. To be born once again.
 
Now's a good opportunity to make Batman the cold, no-nonsense, paranoid crimefighter he is in the comics.

His faith in Gotham and himself should be severely damaged. Dent and Rachel both died because he trusted Gordon's men to do the right thing, instead they handed them over to Maroni's men. His entire plan fell apart because it relied on trust. In TDKR he should be the crazy-prepared Batman that always has a plan to bring down even his closest allies. He starts to alienate Gordon and Lucius, acting like he doesn't trust either of them when in actuality he just doesn't want to put them in danger. He becomes more alone in his war on the cowardly, desperate, increasingly vicious and completely a-moral criminals of Gotham. He starts getting "lost in that monster of his" and devotes nearly all of his time on Batman.

Enter Bane and Catwoman. Batman's cynicism ends up working in Bane's favor. After The Joker, Batman now views the Criminals of Gotham as vicious psychopaths with no rules and no honor. Bane is someone Batman isn't ready for, a criminal mastermind who not only matches him physically, intellectually, and tactically, but also matches his determination and has rules and a code of honor. He'd figure out Batman is Bruce Wayne, and trick Batman into completely cutting off ties with Lucius, Gordon, and even Alfred, forcing him to work completely alone and wearing himself out, leaving him completely vulnerable to an attack by Bane, leaving him nearly out of commission for good.

While The Joker was a test of Batman's faith in the people of Gotham, Bane could be his punishment for losing it. Bane's code of honor calls for him to take out the most powerful to become the most powerful. He had no interest in killing Lucius, Gordon, Gordon's family or anyone else. They're weak, not worthy of his effort. He just wanted to take out the most powerful and feared man in Gotham. He just wanted to break The Bat. Bane could explain his plan during his beatdown of Batman, destroying him mentally, emotionally, AND physically.

While he's out of commission Gotham becomes a hellhole, Bruce realizes why Gotham needs Batman, returns and defeats Bane. He can meet Catwoman early on. She's the opposite of Rachel, devious, manipulative, and a criminal, yet unlike Rachel she connects with Batman. It'd be a nice reversal of Begins, with Batman questioning whether he should reveal himself as Bruce Wayne rather than Bruce questioning whether to reveal he's Batman. Anyways, after Batman gets defeated, Catwoman is seen as the new "Batman". Bruce realizes that this means she's in Bane's crosshairs, and drives himself to recover and stop Bane, however now he realizes that he can't fight his war alone, and re-allies himself with Gordon and Lucius, and all three of them devise a way to capture Bane. By the end of the movie he's transformed into the iconic Batman, complete with a Nolan version of the Bat-Family (Gordon, Lucius, Alfred, Selina.)

Sorry if I got carried away, but TDKR has potential for awesome characterization for Batman. I just tried to think of a way to "Complete" Batman as a character by the end of the trilogy. Nolan said he wanted to end the story, and that doesn't mean "Kill off Batman". The trilogy is about Bruce and Batman, and what better way to end it then to "Complete" him as a character. War movies rarely end showing the end of the war.
 
Wow, we've probably been discussion about Bale's portrayal with great insight in some of the other threads! From the controversy surrounding his Bat-voice, to the way he had many characteristics of a real-life migrating bat in TDK, to him being a super-sleuth. I'm sure some of those old subjects can be breathed through new fire again. The hype for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is just beginning!
 
There's a lot to be excited about with TDKR, but where they take Bruce is probably #1 for me. One of the best things I think Nolan and Bale have done with this series is making Bruce out to be a real, human, and at times, flawed character. He's made mistakes and he's paid for them, that's basically what TDK was ultimately about. But it's all about character growth, progression. Expect to see more experienced and mature man this time around.

I love that they've made Bruce out to be a flawed character. Considering these are his first years as Batman, it makes sense that he makes mistakes and (hopefully) learns from them. Another thing I love about Nolan and Bale's take on the character is the fact that they've actually made me care about the character. I was genuinely sad during that scene in BB where young Bruce blames himself for his parents' death, only to be comforted by Alfred(one of the most powerful scenes of these two movies IMO). Not to mention the scene at the end of TDK...I mean, he's been through so much crap throughout the movie and he still chooses the crappiest path he can take, just for the sake of the city. These are just two of the character's highlights. I also like the selflessness of the character(always telling Gordon 'you don't have to thank me'). Nolan and Bale's take on the character is what actually got me back into Batman. They made me care about a guy who dresses up like a goddamn bat! :brucebat:
 
There's a lot to be excited about with TDKR, but where they take Bruce is probably #1 for me. One of the best things I think Nolan and Bale have done with this series is making Bruce out to be a real, human, and at times, flawed character. He's made mistakes and he's paid for them, that's basically what TDK was ultimately about. But it's all about character growth, progression. Expect to see more experienced and mature man this time around.

I completely agree. And I have the impression Nolan will give his leading man some great juicy things to do in TDKR (acting wise) as it’s their goodbye to the character. And I think it will inspire Bale even more so seeing how well has his year started with all the recognition and people being vocal about him being long overdue.

Only the thought of all the emotional things Batman may go through in this movie, makes me super excited, psyched even. I might need a thorough check-up in July 2012 in order not to die during the movie. :wow: :dry:
 
I started writing a fanscript after TDK came out, which extended the chase sequence at the end of TDK into the beginning of my script...anyway, that whole scene idea with Bruce at his parents' graves really struck a chord with me, and I'd love to see something like that in TDKR. Probably won't, but it would accomplish two things at once, at least in terms of establishing Bruce's arc.
 
I'm hoping we really see Bruce embrace his destiny as Batman to the fullest in this film.

In Begins - We saw the beginning

In Dark Knight - We saw Bruce struggle with being Batman and is looking for a way out and believes he found it with Harvey Dent as Gotham's White Knight until Dent falls and Bruce is force to continue carrying the mantel of being Batman.

Ditto. :up:
 
Seeing what Bruce will go through and his arc and as Batman is the thing I am most excited about. Especially with the possibility of Bane effecting that.
 
I'm not really sure what to say until we get some concrete synopsis and/or plot points. It's a safe bet that by the end of TDKR Batman and Bruce will be in better states than they were at the end of TDK, but beyond who know's what'll happen. As long as there's an unimistakable focus on Batman and Bruce I'll probably be happy with whatever direction Nolan takes him in.
 
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