Discussion in 'The Dark Knight Rises' started by Thread Manager, Mar 29, 2013.
I agree. The ending almost demands you put some of your imagination into it.
In Nolan's movies Batman/Bruce wayne is'nt the bat-god he is in the comics, he does'nt know everything, matrial arts, worlds greatest detective, scientist, excape artist etc. People always say that Batman is one of the most realistic superhero's and if you were rich enough and had the equipment and the training you could be him. But being the worlds best this and that you really couldnt. What Nolan/Goyer did was strip him of some of those things and said that the training is nothing the will is everything. Yeah you still need the equipment. He still did detective work but he was'nt like the worlds greatest. And also why they made fox do stuff with the weapons. He still was a good fighter and other things but not like the bat-god. I could believe maybe you could be Nolans batman. You need those other things in the comics to compete with super-powered heroes/villians but not in Nolans version. This is also why I could believe blake as Batman. He has the equipment and the will and has cop training, not ninja training but training non the less. He doesnt have to be like Bruce he will be his own Batman because This Batman is a symbol. Alfred also states that the police could need the equipment that Bruce has and he gives it to Blake.
But Bruce was the greatest at something. He was trained by the best(Ra's al Ghul) and he was so great that Ra's wanted Bruce to be at his side because he was Ra's al Ghul's greatest student. He wasn't the greatest scientist, or the world's greatest detective for sure, but Nolan's trilogy felt like the ol' saying of "it takes a village", and it did. Fox helped him with the batsuits, the vehicles, the equipment while Alfred healed up his battle wounds. And we didn't see that side of Alfred with the Burton/Schumacher films.
With Blake, he could be something that even Bruce wasn't. He could be that detective Batman and while never competing Bruce strength wise, it would be dumb for him to not train first and become stronger or faster.
I know he was Ra's greatest student, its in the films but what I was trying to say was that he was never ment or going to be the bat-god of the comics and fans complain that he did become him at the end of this trilogy he was a more attainable Batman. I understand why they said the quote ''anyone can be Batman''. Not the comics Batman but a Batman in Nolan universe. Its a really cool idea.
I'm not saying that Blake doesnt need training because he does. Even Bruce had some training before he even met Ra's. I'm just saying that Blake has atleast some training or start up his sleeve. Oh of course Blake would need more training. And its cool the we can say that yeah he becomes Batman and he's a detective.
I don't think it is so much that Nolan's Batman was not a scientist or a detective; just that Nolan never put emphasis on how smart his Batman really was. We saw a few glimpses here and there of him doing detective work and stuff like that but it was never something that he put emphasis on; we know he has some of them from glimpses we've seen but it basically remained not addressed directly. The lack of emphasis on Batman's genius intellect/detective skills throughout the trilogy along with TDKR as a whole are the 2 things that keep Nolan's trilogy away from being perfect IMO (by perfect, I do not mean that it would have zero flaws period, because everything has flaws, but that it would nail every single aspect of Batman just like Batman TAS and the Arkham games did).
The irony with us criticizing Nolan for his Batman not doing enough detective work is that the film where Batman did the most detective work so far in live-action was The Dark Knight. This is not a defense towards Nolan but a criticism towards all the Batman films we've had so far for their piss poor job at showing his detective skills and overall genius-level intellect.
I personally didn't mind the lack of skills showing he is the world's greatest detective in BB and TDK because I always saw the Batman in those films as the young Batman - the Year One Batman. If you compare the Batman in Year One with the one in BB and TDK, they're not that different in terms of their abilities. Year One Batman wasn't the world's greatest detective yet and the only detective work Batman does throughout the whole book is in the part where he listens in on Falcone finds out he plans to kidnap Gordon's family - Nolan's Batman did stuff like that too. Batman in Year One also got his butt kicked his first night out by a bunch of teen thugs stealing a TV and couldn't just easily escape a SWAT team when he was into his 4th or 5th month as Batman - Nolan's Batman took out a SWAT team and Joker's thugs simultaneously when he was towards the end of his first year as Batman (see the parallel growth?). My overall point is that Batman did not start out as the Batman we all know (this is something true about most superheroes) and since BB and TDK were based on books that take place in Batman's early career and both versions of Batman are in their first year, I think it isn't fair to compare the Batman in BB and TDK with the Batman that fights alongside the JL that we all know. And like I said before, BB/TDK's Batman is not too far from Year One's Batman. Yet Year One's Batman grew into the Batman we all know eventually. Same thing could be said about BB/TDK's Batman. Just by comparing TDK's Batman with BB's, you can also see that Batman has grown in between those movies and grew throughout those movies as well, especially at the end of TDK. As I've discussed before, I believe this to be the original pitch for the first 2 movies, and presumably for the third movie as well, and I base this on all the interviews I've read and on all the things in BB and TDK that allude to Batman being Batman for a long time but that is something I've debated here over and over again and I don't want to repeat myself.
It will also be interesting to see how the young Batman from the upcoming video game differs from the Batman in Year One and the one from BB/TDK, assuming that this young Batman will be in his first year as Batman.
Then we got to TDKR. When I first heard it would take place 8 years later, I assumed he was Batman throughout those years and was really excited because I always wanted to see how Nolan's Batman would be like with a lot of years of experience behind him. The biggest disadvantage Nolan's Batman probably has is that he never got to grow. I'm assuming so much of the things in TDKR would've been much easier for him to handle had he had the experience he would've got out of those 8 years. Also, my defense towards Batman quitting for 8 years is that the Batman I know would find a reason to keep going. People's defense to this is usually "This is Nolan's Batman and he's not that obsessed" and my argument towards that is if that this Batman felt so in need to go out in the world and be Batman that he spent 8 years in his home, then this Batman would also find a reason to keep going.
It's not that Bruce was never obsessed. He devotes himself tirelessly to his mission in Begins and TDK. It's just that he was never foolish enough to think punching criminals in the face endlessly was going to change anything in the long term. He wanted to affect lasting change in Gotham by uprooting organized crime, and by TDKR he had achieved that. He achieved that by taking the fall for Harvey. I still say that if this Bruce was someone who wanted to go out every night beating up criminals, and stubbornly believed that him Batmanning every night was the best medicine for Gotham, he should NOT have taken the fall for Harvey. He should have let the truth be known and decided to handle the fallout. If he was that unhealthily obsessed with being the Batman, that's not an unreasonable conclusion to come to. Gotham gets the difficult truth, but at least they still can "make due" with him as their hero. And at least he'd still have the uneasy alliance with Gordon and GPD. But he didn't want another war. He wanted to accelerate towards peace. That's why he took the blame. But in making himself public enemy no. 1, he made himself much less viable in a practical sense, and as a symbol. Batman remaining active when he's not needed OR wanted (well, he is "wanted") would not have been good for Gotham. And Batman is whatever Gotham needs him to be.
The seeds were sewn in TDK.
I still don't see the big thing with Bruce retiring for those eight years. It's just like The Dark Knight Returns, but with different reasons. Rachel died instead of Jason and Bruce could not live a normal life anymore and then the Dent Act went into place besides a government act of having no more superheroes and Bruce left the cape and cowl because he and Gordon won by using Dent's name and got rid of organized crime.
Over that time though, with out even being able to move on from Batman, he became disheveled and isn't on his game when he finally returns to take down Batman and that's the important part of him being in the Pit, he goes back to his roots and is able to then take down Bane without relying on any of his weapons to even bide his time like his first fight with Bane in the sewers.
As a stand alone film I think it could work very well, or even if this were the 4th film perhaps. But really only having a Batman that was Batman for maybe a little more than a year who retires just isn't Batman to me.
I can understand that view and it is a good point but the problem I have with this is that it would only be true going by the belief that the Dent Act cleaned up Gotham and that Batman was no longer needed which, as we discussed before, I don't believe to be the case due to reasons we've discussed over and over again. I understand your point within the context of what you're saying in your post but I disagree with it within the context of what happened in TDK and in between TDK & TDKR.
We've already discussed this before but I'll address it again in more detail this time. You're basically viewing this with a black-and-white mentality. You can't just say "Batman quit in The Dark Knight Returns so he can quit here too."
The problem with making Bruce retire just like in The Dark Knight Returns does not fit at all with the premise of BB & TDK being about the Year One Batman. You can't just go from a still inexperienced young Batman that hasn't figured out all the kinks yet to the old worn out retired Batman. First you have to show him fully become the Batman. Had that happened in the third movie and then Nolan would've shown the old retired Batman in the 4th or 5th movie, that would've worked. The Dark Knight Returns is allowed to do this because it is not a sequel to stories that were about a young Batman that was still growing into the mantle. It is a stand-alone piece. That is where the problem lies. You might argue that BB & TDK weren't meant to showcase the Year One Batman but that is a different topic altogether that we can discuss. Going by the notion that the Batman in BB & TDK is the Year One Batman, having an old retired Batman does not work at all.
That's the main problem I have with it. There are more problems with that aspect and luckily, a friend of mine made an entire video discussing the difference between the retirement in each story and why it works in Returns while it doesn't work in Rises.
Here if part 1 in case you're interested:
But I think the difference is, you seem to not agree that Gotham would have gotten cleaned up. That's arguing the characterization of Gotham, not the characterization of Bruce Wayne.
From Jonah Nolan's own mouth, the idea was to say "What if the plan worked?" So how can you say Gotham wasn't sufficiently cleaned up when the whole premise of the film was trying to build off that idea? You can disagree with that characterization of Gotham, but given the way they had established Bruce (who wanted to overthrow the corruption in Gotham and move on), it was a consisten characterization in terms of how he would behave in a situation like that.
IMO, that's exactly what TDK gave us. Nolan even said that even at the start of TDK, Batman is the fully formed Batman of the comics, at the peak of his powers. I don't even know that I necessarily agree with that, but I certainly believe that by the end of the film he was "THE" Batman. Even in a pop culture sense, that is where Bale's Batman and Nolan's version effectively became "the" interpretation for the modern era.
The thing is just that the peak of his powers as depicted in the Nolanverse wasn't godly enough for some fans.
Correct. That's what I said in my last post.
The plan was to give Gotham hope by keeping the image of the White Knight alive. However, that does not mean Batman would no longer be needed.
Harvey gave the city hope to fight off the crime and corruption that has been poisoning them for decades but what TDK also established was that there was a "higher class of criminal" (aka "freaks") that now existed in Gotham due to Batman's arrival. This higher class of criminals was something that only Batman could handle, not Harvey nor anyone else which is why the Joker succeeded in corrupting Harvey and not Batman. That was a message in TDK - that no matter how good hearted and inspirational a man can be, at the end of the day he is just a man as opposed to "more than just a man" and they cannot take on that higher class of criminal.
This parallels what happened in the comics. Only difference here is that TDK made the point that only Batman can take on that higher class of criminal. Bruce originally became Batman - an extraordinary being - to clean up the crime in his city but the arrival of an extraordinary being sparked escalation and brought in other extraordinary beings. Joker even talks about multiple times in the movie how Gotham will never be the same. He says the mob will eventually fall and be replaced by that higher class of criminal and that Batman has changed things forever followed by calling him a "freak" just like himself. There is even a point where he brings up the rate at which Gotham citizens are losing their minds. TDK is not the only time we saw the whole theme of the "freaks" being played out. We got a lot of the idea of freaks in Begins too with the Arkham breakout, Crane's descent to insanity, Bruce discovering that there are bigger threats to Gotham than just Falcone, Gordon's line at the end about how escalation is occurring and how people like Batman have started to show up as well, etc. Basically it all parallels Batman's first year in the comics and what happened in his first year.
Your defense may be that Batman taking the blame for Harvey's death is what undid all of that but I don't believe that to be the case. This "higher class of criminal" was something that no man could handle. It was a class that only something "more than just a man" could handle. Someone like Batman. Gotham could not have handled someone like Riddler or Mad Hatter or Black Mask by themselves regardless of how much they tried. They needed Batman. Gotham was given hope to fight off the corruption and crime that has been poisoning their city for decades but this was something new. That hope was not created to fight off the new threat but the old one. It was the beginning of a new age in Gotham. Thus, Bruce would've still had to remain as Batman while being hunted down and while Gotham continued to have hope in Harvey so that he could take out the new disease that arose whenever one tried to do something on the same scale as the Joker before all of that would reverse Gotham to a hopeless Gotham again.
Also, before you or anyone else brings up that the Joker failed to bring in the freaks into the city, I would like to clear that up. The "rise of the freaks" is not something Joker wanted to bring to Gotham nor was Joker the first major freak to strike Gotham (that was Scarecrow). That was something that was already happening in Gotham regardless of the Joker and before the Joker even made his big debut. He did not try to bring in more freaks; he simply knew what was going to happen in the future - that more people like him and Batman would be created in Gotham - and he not only accepted this future but embraced it. It was mainly Batman's arrival that sparked it (and him just leaving wasn't going to take the freaks with him). On top of that, if you want to get technical, the entire mob fell at the end of TDK when the Joker temporarily took it over. That was before the Dent Act was even formed and it was something that was predicted beforehand (that the mob was going to fall). The second part of the prediction never happened though, which was the higher class of criminals AKA the "freaks" would step in.
Overall, they basically dropped an entire theme that ran and was developed throughout the first 2 movies because...well...mainly because they just didn't want to deal with it anymore.
Nolan needs to read more comics then. The fully formed Batman of the comics would be what we saw in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.
I also believe that he became THE Batman at the end of TDK. But that is exactly why the 8 year gap just doesn't work. He finally becomes THE Batman (at least in his mentality) and is more motivated than ever before due to the realization he had from Harvey's death and due to Rachel no longer holding him back and then Nolan has him just quit. This is why I consider TDKR to be the biggest wasted potential to ever exist so far out of all the comic book movies.
He doesn't have to be able to take out someone like Darkseid by just blinking (lol). However, his peak has to be higher than what we saw. Like I said though, this wasn't really that big of a problem with BB and TDK since they both took place in his first year. I really loved how they were developing Batman in both of those films. Had they continued that in TDKR....the pure awesomeness we could've got .
I also sometimes fear that TDKR might bleed into that development of BB and TDK and hurt my enjoyment of them overall when I'll go back to watch them. I hope that isn't the case .
Well I think "the plan" can just refer to his mission as Batman and what he set out to accomplish in the first place. "The plan" was always for Batman not to be needed. So again, TDKR is exploring the idea of what if the plan worked? Where would that leave a damaged Bruce Wayne?
These things were all paid lip service to, but I never took these things as promises that Gotham was going to become overun by supervillains to the point where it became a near replica of the comic book world. Only that the criminals would respond. And they did respond by turning to The Joker. No higher class of criminal existed in TDK. Crane was a like a precursor to a TRUE freak like The Joker, and there were also the fake Batmen that showed how things had escalated in Gotham.
But The Joker himself was the embodiment of "freaks". He was the ultimate freak. Rather than having the entire rogues gallery rise from the madness of Gotham, he existed to personify it all. And why shouldn't he, he's Batman's greatest villain. You can't really escalate higher than The Joker in terms of freaks emerging from Gotham.
He talks about people losing their minds because of all the damage HE was causing the city, like making civilians try to kill Reese. When Joker talks about giving the city a better class of criminal, I always thought that he was talking about himself.
I disagree. The Joker wanted to spread as much madness as possible. That's what he was all about. I think he saw the irony in a city relying on a masked avenger in a cape to save to uphold justice and wanted to exploit that by plunging the city into chaos. And while he didn't have a plan to create a surge of freak criminals, he did send out Gotham's D.A. on a killing spree. He just wanted chaos. He wanted Gotham to know that "a murdering psycho could be anyone".
And as far as the pre-TDK escalation, I do not count Scarecrow as a true full-on freak. He's a blip on the radar compared to The Joker. I see him as the guy who was bridging the gap between common thug and freak. Remember, he didn't actually think the LOS wanted to kill everyone, he thought they were just holding the city to ransom. He was a bit deranged, and enjoyed exploiting the fears of others, but ultimately he didn't have a dedication to a "cause"...he was driven by the same base greed of the common mobsters in Gotham. As far as the escaped Arkham inmates, many of them were employed by The Joker. If any of them had original ideas about becoming a supervillain of their own, TDK would have been the opportune time to step up.
Probably because they felt they had said all they needed to say about the "escalation" angle, and wanted to have the story turn a corner so they could arrive at their ending.
I think you can read between the lines of what Nolan said to mean "this is as close as we're getting" to the fully formed Batman of the comics. You can approximate 70 years worth of adventures and knowledge in a movie, you can't actually approach that, especially when you're trying to tell a 3 part story that starts at the very beginning. He was the Batman of the comics in the same sense that Spider-Man was the Spider-Man of the comics in Spider-Man 2.
I hate to say this, but that is conjecture. How do we know Bruce is more motivated than ever? Again, if he was so motivated to be Batman forever he should have said, "The Joker cannot win. Harvey's case may be destroyed, but we can STILL take Gotham back. I will not let the scum run the streets again on my watch. I'll be the symbol Gotham needs AND deserves to keep hope alive. BECAUSE I AM THE GODDAMN BATMAN."
The whole point is, TDK's ending did not allow us to emotionally check in with Bruce. It was focused on a choice he was making as Batman, trying to make the best out of a crappy situation. We are not privy to Bruce's internal emotions about this, or how he plans to proceed with his life.
Does it though? This is just where fundamental differences of opinions are taking over. To me, using a sonar machine to track down The Joker, taking out an entire SWAT team while they're going after the wrong people and saving all the hostages, and then capturing The Joker, all while placing complete trust in the citizens of Gotham not to kill one another was totally peak Batman kinda stuff. I didn't watch these movies in hopes of seeing the comics, cartoons or video games replicated. It was a decidedly more grounded take, so Batman at his peak is inevitably going to be more subdued. It wasn't like I walked out of TDK thinking, "Man I can't wait to see how much more of a badass Batman becomes!" To me, he already was at legendary status. Just like Keaton's Batman in 89. How long had he been Batman before the start of the movie? Certainly less than a year I would say. But by the end of that movie he still feels like 'the' Batman. Bale's Batman felt like "the" Batman at the end of TDK. Not just because of his sacrifice, but because of everything he had done and dealt with in the movie. For me, it was never a question of wanting to see him become "more" Batman-like from that point, only a question of how he would be redeemed in the eyes of Gotham.
After TDK, he is 'being Batman forever'. He rebuilds his Batcave, for example.
He's being Batman by upholding the lie and not going out to fight petty criminals, jeopardizing the Dent Act.
Only if something was bad enough would the watchful protector coming back be more important than not. (Bane, after Gordon's pleas/permission).
Come TDKR, although he has hung up his cape and cowl (because nothing big enough has come for him to suit up for), he hasn't really. He's still mentally 'Batman'.
That happened at the end of BB.
But I thought by in TDK, it wasn't finished. which is why they used the bunker?
So after TDK, he still thinks that the cave needs rebuilding.
A relatable tale of a man dressed in a costume to take down an element of criminality and only that(the mobs)...I think a year is plenty enough.
I want to answer this first:
We never saw a very amateur Batman to even begin with. You mentioned this in the Arkham Origins thread, but I still don't get how you think we got a 'Year One' Batman when Bruce seemed like a pro from the very beginning of it. We got this capable Batman from the beginning who then just became better during TDK's events. He never felt inexperienced at all except for his first confrontation with Scarecrow.
Yes, in TDKR, he lost his touch, but this is natural for the route of not making Bruce this Bat-god character unlike The Dark Knight Returns. Bruce waits for something to go wrong in Gotham again, but he becomes egotistical and underestimates Bane from the beginning.
But now with everything else, I can easily see how TDKR works from BB and TDK. You don't, and that's your opinion, but I simply do. In Batman Begins, Bruce is wanting to create something everlasting, and a hope for Gotham City and he unwisely thinks Dent could bring this hope to Gotham without continuing this Batman legacy, but the face of Gotham was Batman all along(as given with Gotham building a statue at the end of TDKR). Bruce was wanting to move on with this once it's done in the first place, but the woman he wanted to move on with died, and that kept Bruce from moving on when he should have when the Dent Act started. Instead he waits for when Batman is needed again and is actually doing the smart thing by not going out just whenever and wasting the GCPD's time.
Now you say, a "rise of freaks" should have happened, but I don't see that as clear as you do. I see one freak, Joker, trying to create another and cause a stir with Gotham's soul, but Joker's "protege" is kept a secret, thus no "rise of freaks" as Gotham's soul is left intact. Joker is sent to Arkham Asylum and Dent is favored as a saint to Gotham City.
I too never thought there was going to a "rise of the freaks".
Batman perhaps gave rise to Joker ("and you're wearing a mask. Jumping off rooftops"). But never did I feel that it would go beyond that.
When Batman says "what are you trying to prove? that deep down everyone's as ugly as you", he's not saying that Joker, with his literal ugliness (his facial scars), is trying to turn people into freaks, like Two-Face. Joker didn't plan for Dent to become a 'freak' (visual deformity), but rather just to become a murderer, a madman.
Rather Joker is 'internally ugly', which he's trying to prove that everyone else is. It's about corruption, man's nature, etc.
Regarding the freaks comment towards Batman. Joker just wanted to say that people will screw each other over. Being a 'freak' isn't really a theme of these movies.
By "changing things" Joker means that Batman called out the corruption, standing up for good, which is why Joker wants to corrupt him.
A "better class of criminal" means criminals who don't only believe in just money, but rather in 'sending a message', etc. He's referring to himself.
If anything, there were freaks much before Batman: Scarecrow. Nolan just didn't want to have a "rise of freaks" because he already had his fair share of freaks to begin with. A butcher for the mob, an insane doctor.
Crane wasn't insane, was he?. The mask he uses was simply a weapon.
There was definitely a rise of the freaks message in TDK. Starting at the end of Begins when Gordon said Batman's presence is going to cause escalation and then presenting him with the Joker card.
Zsasz was not proper freak. Zsasz was just a hired killer for the mob. He didn't dress outlandishly, or look like a freak, and Rachel even argued he wasn't insane and said he deserves to be in prison not Arkham. Zsasz in the comic is nuts and belongs in a straightjacket.
Crane was. After Batman Begins he was going around the underworld wearing the Scarecrow mask and poisoning the underworld with his fear toxin. He was making a name for himself. He had his own gang. Another rise of a freak.
When Joker said he was bringing Gotham a better class of criminal, of course he meant himself but not just himself. He wanted to turn Gotham on it's head and make everyone like him. Drag out that inner ugliness he believed was inside all of them. That includes the underworld. Why else did he want the Chechen's men working for him? They'd all be following his example.
Joker equated himself to being like Batman. A freak. He expected to Gotham to turn that way, too. Hence why he said he and Batman could share a padded cell because they would be doubling up at the rate Gotham's inhabitants will start losing their minds, just like Dent did. Another freak.
TDK was the changing point in Gotham. Rise of the freaks. I was expecting Joker's reign of terror to have inspired more freaks like Batman inspired the Joker and the copycats. I didn't expect Batman to be done when Dent died, and Gotham was magically eradicated of all crime.
That is the antithesis of the message TDK and it's ending sent.
And I'd say after the terror the Joker caused, especially with most of his hired help being Arkham patients, Gotham would be more inspired by the Joker than Batman (and the response to Batman was pretty damn extreme).
But the Joker was unsuccessful. There is no changing point because Bats kept the symbol of Harvey Dent alive, suggesting that the people will not 'lose their minds'. That's why that last act is so heroic and badass. Just when you think the Joker has won by corrupting Dent, Batman figures out a way to win. I'm not sure why one would think there would be a rise of freaks after Batman stopped it.
If Joker's way to win 'the battle for Gotham's soul' was by showing people Harvey Dent's corruption, he lost, because Batman covered it up.
Once the truth about Dent is told in TDKR, it's remedied by the ascension of the Batman symbol/sacrifice.
The Joker was unsuccessful in regards to no one finding out what Dent had done. But his plans were constantly changing and evolving. What he successfully did was turn Dent and brought him down. People finding out what Dent did was an ace in the hole, an added bonus.
So because the city didn't find out that Dent turned and the boats didn't decide to blow each other sky high means that some nut in Gotham wouldn't be inspired by the Joker? I don't think so. How about the fact that Batman, the guy everyone trusted, the "hero", is out there a wanted murderer? Shouldn't that cause people to lose it knowing that he's out there at night? They were afraid of him when he was a HERO fighting crime afterall.
How about the panic the Joker caused with the bridges? How about the people he turned by threatening the hospital? Even in the boats the vast majority of the people on the ferries wanted to blow it sky high. They just didn't have the guts to personally do it.
Hell, look at the crazies he had at his side from the Arkham patients like Thomas Schiff to those unflinching nut bags at Gambol's place.
Just because Batman and Gordon covered up what Dent did (somehow, even with the odds and chances of investigations against them) doesn't mean that other freaks wouldn't pop up, original or copy cat. It also doesn't make the Joker automatically lose. He drove Dent to the edge, he made Batman break his one rule, he put the city a chaotic situation, etc. etc.
What Gordon and Batman did was for Dent's reputation and so the city wouldn't lose hope. Dent still did what he did. That's depressing enough. The majority of the people on the boats wanted to blow up the other ferry. That's depressing enough.
It should always be a game of tug of war between Batman and the Joker. In the Dark Knight, while they both have the opposite ideals, one isn't more right or wrong than the other. Did Batman and Gordon really win? Did the Joker really lose? Not really.
The Dark Knight's ending isn't about a sacrifice that somehow makes the city 100% better and cured of disease and peace time. It's about Batman taking on a different meaning to not tarnish Dent's name and give the city some hope.
Gotham being thrust into panic because of the Joker, being forced to choose between loved ones and strangers, attempting to kill Reese, etc, is not the same as people being inspired by the Joker or convinced of his philosophy. It's them being victims of the Joker.
no one was shown to be inspired by the Joker in TDK, or made insane, other than Dent. The citizens wanting to kill Reese, and blow each other up was just highlighting what the Joker already believed (aka what they would have always done, regardless of any 'inspiration').
The only reason Dent went off the edge is because the Joker went after him specifically, killing his girlfriend, toying with him, coming to him personally, etc.