The Dark Knight Rises The TDKR General Discussion Thread - - - - - - - Part 156

I think at the end of the day, it was always going to be hard to make a movie work with a protagonist that many find grating, and then multiplying it by 2. I'm separating all the controversy with Ezra from it, I just really never was invested in that version of Barry. I went into this movie hoping Keaton was going to have a really big role and almost carry the movie. They tried to have it both ways and market the film as the Michael Keaton show to generate hype, but in the end they just didn't have enough for him to do.

With No Way Home, yeah everyone knew Tobey/Andrew were going to be in it, but IMO it was 100% the right move to keep them out of the marketing. It made it genuinely exciting when they finally showed their faces on screen. And while the pumpkin bomb was in the trailer, I really didn't go into the film thinking Dafoe was going to have as much of a presence in the movie as he did and be the true main villain. So I feel like there were genuine surprises, which made it a more fun experience. They even managed to pull off an emotional payoff for Andrew's Spider-Man. It was just really well-played fanservice.

I still can't get over how The Flash was being hyped as the best DC film since TDK and one of the greatest comic book films of all time (absolute insanity), and then it turns out to be the biggest flop in superhero history. Maybe a fitting end to the old DCU. :dry:
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Apologies for the long post, but just a few thoughts/changes that always rattle around the ‘ol noggin when I rewatch this movie:


I think The Legend of the Dark Knight could have served as a better title for this finale. Not only does it reinforce the idea of Batman’s legacy and his impact on Gotham, it’s a cool little callback to Bruce’s first conversation with Ra’s in BB—“If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, then you become something else entirely…Legend, Mr. Wayne.

Additionally, I think simply renaming some characters would have gone a long way:
  • Det. John Blake is now Det. Dick Grayson.
  • Deputy Commissioner Foley is now Bullock.
  • Miranda Tate is now Sonya Kinsolving (reference to Shondra Kinsolving, and still a red herring).
  • John Daggett is now Oswald Cobblepot.
  • Father Reilly at St. Swithin’s is now Sister Leslie (Thompkins).
  • Mark (St. Swithin’s orphan) is now Tim (Drake).
  • Jen (Selina’s friend) is now Holly.
A few of the above changes invite alternate casting:
Although I wasn’t originally a fan, I have come around on the idea of Bruce hanging up the cowl after The Dark Knight and becoming a recluse. Despite his leg injury, he remains ever vigilant should Batman need to return (I think this still reinforces Alfred’s point later about not moving on). On a more nitpicky wardrobe note, Bruce would be wearing black turtlenecks (or something else) instead of loungewear / satin robes.

I’m fine with Blake/Grayson already knowing that Bruce is Batman but I would have preferred a revised explanation, intercut with flashbacks to provide a nice little through-line for the trilogy:
  • Jack Gleeson returns as the young boy from Batman Begins (revealed to be a young John Blake/Dick Grayson).
  • After fleeing from the police at the end of The Dark Knight, Batman sought refuge that night at St. Swithin’s where Sister Leslie (an old family friend) treated his gunshot wound and set his broken leg—GCPD were patrolling the hospitals.
  • When an unmasked Bruce was resting, unbeknownst to both he and Leslie, the young orphan was watching.
I do like the choice of Bane as the antagonist but really wish Hardy & Nolan had arrived at a different choice for the voice, although that’s hardly a novel opinion.

I also think there was more conflict to be mined by really leaning into the idea that Bane is the outcast heir of the League of Shadows (LOS) in favor of Bruce, thereby giving Bane more of a personal motivation to break the Batman and watch Gotham burn (and less dependence on Talia). After the death of Ra’s al Ghul, Talia sought out Bane with a plan to exact their vengeance on the man who took everything from them.

Plus, I think we needed to rework the Talia angle & introduce that reveal much earlier in the film—probably around the time when Bane broke Batman’s back. Talia should have been the one to taunt Bruce at The Pit rather than Bane:
  • When Bruce awakens, back broken, Talia emerges from the shadows and reveals her true nature—a kick in the gut for Bruce when he’s already at his lowest point.
  • Talia does not return to Gotham, and leaves it to Bane (as per their arrangement). The Pit still operates the same but Talia resides at a nearby palatial base guarded by the LOS.
  • After escaping the prison, Bruce confronts Talia and closes that chapter before returning to Gotham to liberate his city. Maybe he leaves her in The Pit (“I won’t kill you…but I don’t have to save you.”)
  • Bruce uses LOS resources (and ninja weaponry) to return to and re-enter Gotham.
With Talia no longer posing as Tate/Kinsolving in Gotham after she reveals herself to Bruce in The Pit, give her scenes the original film (albeit, slightly rewritten) to Lucius Fox—after he reveals to Blake/Grayson that it’s a “time bomb,” they both manage to escape when Bane’s army arrive and head to Gordon to inform him (the more scenes with both Freeman & Oldman, the better). Fox would instead be captured later along with Gordon as they track the trucks carrying the bomb (he ends up the same place anyway).

The film could have really benefited from a few more minutes/quick scenes (not much) to focus on Gothamites’ experience during the city’s occupation:
  • How were the people getting food? I’m imagining long lines along chain-linked fences at designated food banks and overrun grocery stores. Show us how desolate things have become for the everyman, not just the 1%.
  • Show cops getting rounded up by Bane’s army (surely the entire police force didn’t march into the sewers, right?). In addition to the sewer encampment, there are guarded makeshift prisons throughout the city.
  • Show more of Foley/Bullock and his home life to highlight the terror that people were feeling while the city was under siege.
After returning to Gotham and reconnecting with both Selina and Lucius, Bruce returns to the Batcave to retrieve a reinforced/modified version of his suit before the finale in a triumphant moment with the Zimmer score swelling. When he arrives, Alfred has already returned—waiting, ever-vigilant, with an elephant gun in hand should any unwanted visitors show up— as he’s finally accepted that the city needs a Batman and the two reconcile.
  • Don’t show (save that reveal for later) but imply that Bruce informs Alfred of his plans to fake his death before leaving to confront Bane. Like Carrie Kelly in The Dark Knight Returns, Alfred is in attendance at Bruce’s funeral but there’s a small smile he allows himself at the end as he leaves a rose or something at Bruce’s grave (and he then sees him later at the café before the credits).
When the freed police storm Bane’s army, instead of a simple rush, there’s some sort of tactical/strategic plan so that so many are not simply running into machine gun fire.
  • While I understand the imagery Nolan wanted to capture, I think you could still maintain that impact while offering a more successful / planned assault.
  • Or, keep the police charge from a single front and have them losing the fight only to be reinforced by Gothamites joining in and flanking Bane’s army on other fronts—again, going back to my point about showcasing a bit more of what life was like during the occupation; perhaps some of the Gothamites we see join the fight could have been highlighted during those earlier proposed/added scenes.
The suggested changes to the finale battle brings me to an overall note for the film’s fight/action choreography. In the script, all the scenes read as incredible but the final execution was lacking in many parts:
  • Although I absolutely adore the shot with hundreds of cop cars tailing Batman upon his return, the overall sequence never reaches the heights of the chases from BB or TDK. Likewise, add a little more oomph to Batman chasing/defeating Bane’s goons after the Stock Exchange with some fun Batpod action / quick maneuvers.
  • Some wonky fight choreography and goons standing around pointing guns without firing similarly held back the rooftop fight with Catwoman & Batman, as well as the scene with Batman and Blake/Grayson liberating the police from the sewers. Go back to quick/up-close cuts from Batman Begins, if necessary.
Overall, I think the amalgamation of The Dark Knight Returns, Knightfall, and No Man’s Land worked well for this finale chapter. Although it’s a long post, Nolan’s ending for the trilogy succeeded more often than not. I’m nitpicking and introducing fan fiction, of course, but all this to say that, even after 11 years and two reboots later, this movie and the universe that Nolan created still sparks my imagination.
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John Daggett is now Oswald Cobblepot.

I think there would have been quite a bit more criticism about him being wasted rather than liking him being included at all. A character with that level of role does make a lot more sense for being a reference to a pretty minor but liked/respected character from TAS.

Father Reilly at St. Swithin’s is now Sister Leslie (Thompkins).

It would be odd to introduce her as being close to Bruce, or even someone we should particularly care about aside from just generally being a good charitable person, so far from the beginning and into the series story.

I think it might have been better, admittedly really different, if Bane had reforged the League of Shadows without him having had a personal connection to Ra's Al Ghul (aside from that he, just after Ra's died, impressed Talia), their connection would just be that they had the basically same ideology. Would make more sense than trying to determine how Bane was/is "too extreme" for Ra's to the point that he expelled him but they don't seem real different.
After David Goyer’s appearance on that podcast last week talking about WB wanting DiCaprio to play The Riddler, I think there is way in which that character could’ve worked well for TDKR in a similar way to how he was used in The Batman.

During the period of time in which Batman was active for BB + TDK, Edward Nashton/Nygma became obsessed with Batman and wanting to prove that he is smarter than him. In the period after Batman disappears at the end of TDK, somehow (this part I’m a bit unsure how it would happen haha) The Riddler finds out the truth about what happened with Harvey Dent and/or gets his hands on Gordon’s speech. He doesn’t necessarily have to be a serial killer in this too but through a series of puzzles and riddles left for Batman, he teases that he has information about that night and that Harvey Dent was not the hero everyone thinks.
It would have been interesting but I'm glad Nolan did what he wanted and chose a more unconventional villain for the third and final outing. I remember him saying he wanted to challenge Batman both mentally and physically and The Riddler wouldn't offer that.
Yeah as much as I would love to have a seen a Nolan Riddler played by DiCaprio I am glad Nolan chose the villain he wanted to use. Experience has taught us you should never force a villain the director doesn't want to use onto them *cough* Spider-Man 3 *cough*
I don't even think Leo is that much of an inspired casting choice for The Riddler tbh. I'm sure he could've been great if Nolan had a vision for it, it's Leo, but the thinking there seems to have went as far as "He's a famous actor and you guys are hot off of Inception", and not much beyond that. Makes you grateful that the suits weren't able to drive the decision making of those films and let Nolan make the movies he wanted to make.
yeah leo as riddler would have been cool, but I feel like, thematically, the Bat being "broken" literally and figuratively, really created a rich bow on the whole trilogy. It tied up all the development that started in Batman Begins in such a satisfying way. Bane was the perfect choice.
yeah leo as riddler would have been cool, but I feel like, thematically, the Bat being "broken" literally and figuratively, really created a rich bow on the whole trilogy. It tied up all the development that started in Batman Begins in such a satisfying way. Bane was the perfect choice.

I remember back in the day when everyone was speculating on what the sequel to The Dark Knight was going to be, A lot of fans were hoping the villain was gonna be Black Mask.

Really makes me happy they don't write the movies
When it was announced that Bane would be the villain in TDKR, it felt like a left field choice at first but it really was the right choice for the finale of that trilogy. Batman and Robin didn't do any favors for the character's reputation and while Hardy's version wasn't very accurate to the comics, the basic idea of Bane being a cunning and brutal force of nature still remained. By comparison, Riddler or Black Mask would have been much less interesting villain choices to wrap up the story. From what I remember post-TDK, all villain fancasting and speculation heavily revolved around Catwoman (which proved to be a predictable guess), Riddler, Penguin and Black Mask. I can't recall anyone wanting Bane as the villain.
I seem to recall early predictions (when actors were announced without the characters being confirmed) being that Hardy was playing Hugo Strange and JGL was going to be Alberto Falcone.
I seem to recall early predictions (when actors were announced without the characters being confirmed) being that Hardy was playing Hugo Strange and JGL was going to be Alberto Falcone.
I remember that too. Both are solid choices for those characters, even if Hardy is maybe still a little too young for Hugo Strange.
I seem to recall early predictions (when actors were announced without the characters being confirmed) being that Hardy was playing Hugo Strange and JGL was going to be Alberto Falcone.

I didn’t remember the Hugo Strange bit but do recall JGL as Alberto Falcone. Would have been cool to have have overarching “sins of the father” motif & tie the trilogy together with more callbacks to Batman Begins.

I never really questioned how Bane and Talia knew that Bruce was Batman. My best guess is that some surviving member of the League of Shadows who was present during Ra's Al Ghul's attack on Gotham in Begins would have told them.

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