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The Dark Knight Rises The Themes And Ideas Of TDKR!

TheIrishAvenger

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From my experiences watching the film, the themes seem to mainly be Hope, Pain and Fear once again (full circle). Discuss these ideas here. :)
 
Hope- not dying without hope, holding onto hope, and hope being used as a tool of manipulation

Pain- Bruce's pain, Bane's pain, Talia avenging her pain at her father's death, overcoming pain

Fear- overcoming fear, and at the same time realizing that fear is a powerful driving impulse for survival

I would also add

Truth- facing up to the truth. Gotham learning the truth about Harvey Dent. Bruce learning the truth about Rachel's letter.

"Rise"- Batman "rises" by returning from retirement after eight years. Talia and Bruce "rise" from the pit. Blake "rises" as Bruce's successor.
 
Hope - Bane gives the people false hope, Batman gives the people real hope!

Pain - Bane and Taila hide their pain and fail to overcome it, Batman overcomes his pain.

Fear - What Schlosser85 said!
 
I think Pain is the overall theme of the movie. Bruce's pain, Bane's pain, Talia's pain, Gordon's pain over Harvey Dent, Alfred's pain in failing to help Bruce, Blake's pain of being unable to operate in the police system, Selina's pain over not being able to stop being a criminal.
 
The overall theme is what Ra's al Ghul told Bruce in the first movie........
Ra's:"But, 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."
Bruce:"Which is?"
Ra's:"Legend Mr. Wayne."
 
The overall theme is what Ra's al Ghul told Bruce in the first movie........
Ra's:"But, 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."
Bruce:"Which is?"
Ra's:"Legend Mr. Wayne."
Yup
 
That's the overall theme of the trilogy. Each movie has their own. Fear, Chaos, and now Pain.
 
Inability or ability to move on from pain determines the fates of the main characters. Bane actually had a compassionate side to him when he saved young Talia, but once he was punished for that and left to suffer the rest of his life, all of that went out the window and he was happy to dole out as much pain to others as he had received.

We have no idea what kind of person Talia was before her father was killed, but as with Bruce's journey as Batman, her fate was sealed after the events of Batman Begins. And in addition to punishing Bruce with as much emotional and physical pain she could muster, she still harbored a special hatred for Gotham because of the mission her father never came back from. Both Bane and Talia's sadistic tendencies spread from being justice to sheer revenge that ended both their lives in infamy.

Bruce managed to escape their fates after he realized he wanted to live, not die in the name of his pain. And I actually do think that his parents' legacy in an orphanage is especially fitting for closing that theme. Bruce does not want whatever happened to him to happen to another child....but it's about Batman. He suffered almost unbearably, both physically and emotionally, being Batman for 40 years. His parents would not have wanted Batman for him. Nobody who cared about Bruce wanted Batman to continue in his future. So Bruce moving on from Batman's pain and giving other children the chance to move on, as he did although very late in life, is very fitting.
 
I felt a search for purpose was present; Bane and Talia both seemed happy to go up in flames with the rest of Gotham. Alfred called Bruce out on confronting Bane after years out of the saddle as him seeking his demise.
 
I think the theme of Gotham rising up to take hold of it's own destiny after the truth of Dent's murder being revealed was the only logical conclusion after the Joker's escalation. Gothamites would now take care of their own instead of waiting for the rich and powerful to do it for them and leave giant monuments to themselves at the same time. Even without Dent, a white knight, look what they could accomplish by themselves and probably should have done themselves so that it doesn't take another generation for crime to be taken care of in Gotham and normal citizens do the job instead.
 
I think the theme of Gotham rising up to take hold of it's own destiny after the truth of Dent's murder being revealed was the only logical conclusion after the Joker's escalation. Gothamites would now take care of their own instead of waiting for the rich and powerful to do it for them and leave giant monuments to themselves at the same time. Even without Dent, a white knight, look what they could accomplish by themselves and probably should have done themselves so that it doesn't take another generation for crime to be taken care of in Gotham and normal citizens do the job instead.
Yeah, Bruce's mission in TDK to find a hero with a face was a mistake - it's too much responsibility and Dent obviously cracked. It's already too much responsibility for Batman, and the public doesn't even know who he is or how he works.

Instead, the message in TDKR is that the ability to be as heroic as Batman is within everyone. Blake was the personification of that, and they touch on it with Selina and Gordon and even Foley.
 
Dont forget resurrection and coming back from adversity, thats strong in TDKR.
 
Rising to the light and being the public hero.

The shadows betrayed Batman because they belonged to Bane. To me TDK was all about Batman being the DARK knight who had to operate at night in the shadows and ultimately perpetuate a lie to keep peace.

Rises is about truth, light, Batman not being vigilante by night but hero by day and showing himself as the savior of gotham and defeating Bane in the sun.
 
Big spoilers just in case anyone's in here that hasn't seen the film even though nobody else seems to use spoiler tags anymore:

Most of these dwell strictly in the surface level and don't inform the more specific and complex character and societal explorations Nolan pursues throughout the film. For Rises, there's a big obvious link to Nolan implying the general risk of a collapsing society and how that can happen.

It's alarming and almost inspiring the prophetic nature of broader strokes of the narrative being laid down long prior to the wall street movement, and for a film making Gotham a contemporary Pars from the French Revolution and hinting our current society is beginning to be at risk of similar social and class problems, albeit in a far less extreme way, we may face a sort of revolution and then there's the wall street movement and others that are sure to follow. It sort of exposes Nolan's pulse on what "worries' society today, making me wonder what sort of impact his films will have on future audiences because his films seem at times so tailored to the audiences viewing them at the time of release. The risk of total societal collapse is terrifying to many, and given how Bane basically merely enables the lower class to rise up by (mostly) telling them the truth about Gotham, it has pretty horrifying truths within society, theirs and ours. If the aristocrats continue oppressing the lower class, there's an inevitability to an uprising vying to reverse the roles and revert to essentially a "share the spoils" communistic or socialistic (are those words?) dominated by a dangerous mob mentality overflowing with brutality (the courts, general treatment of the upper class, seemingly condoning mass terrorist attacks across Gotham- it's indicated the lower class were well aware of a "storm coming" and were excited for it).

I'm not sure if it can be classified as a "theme' as much as a storytelling and thematic tool, but (like A Tale of Two Cities) the notion of "doubles" plays heavily in most major arcs.

-Foley and Gordon: political climber vs someone to show everything Gordon isn't and it's Gordon's "fault" cops like this exist because of the Dent act.

-Blake and Gordon: Showing Gordon who he is.

-Blake and Bruce: Obvious- they're essentially the same person. Natural detective, similar emotional paths, similar stance on guns, similar disregard for one's own safety for the sake of helping others.

-Bruce and Selina: Challenges most of his thinking in a playful and seductive manner, she's searching similarly for redemption, etc.

-Bruce and Bane: Obvious, both have masks, both interacted with the league, Bane is everything Bruce would be had he made one different choice going back to Begins enriching the power of Bruce's own choice while tearing down everything Batman was and is, both are driven by compassion for the innocent (Bane's entire story starting with his desire for redemption by protecting the innocent).

There's other things like every major character actively seeking redemption and relief from past misdeeds and consequences. The primary exception is John Blake, making him the noble and powerful underpinning that grounds much of the narrative.

Not that this is a theme necessarily either, but the notion that the key to escaping past demons and achieve ultimate redemption is embracing fear and living through that, showing a healthy sense of self worth. When Bruce escapes the pit, he no longer needs Batman to become the monster within, Batman's no longer an outlet for Bruce's negative, damaged emotions, but becomes the symbol and guardian for a city that only he could then be while preparing Blake for the task. There's that notion of immorality and the legend and legacy Bruce leaves as a measure for a city to repair itself. Foley, a character representative of the political climbers in Gotham that were previously dismissive of the city's well being (going for Gordon's commissioner position and consistently undermining Gordon) is finally redeemed in the final act, implying that growth within Gotham's citizens.

Finally, in the ending of the film, (and this connects back to what opened this rant/analysis with) Nolan makes the bold choice to imply the system's of man are perpetually flawed and will always, on some level, necessitate justice outside of a system, even a mostly good one. There's no 'fixing' the problem, the system itself is part of the problem, and always will be.

Even in the emotionally uplifting conclusion, this is by far Nolan's most cynical and critical film of society on every level, frankly condemning the upper class and lower class in spades, but always remembering the triumphant quality of redemption. Heavy stuff for a 250 million dollar spectacular.

-Vader
 
i thinks "rises" also means "redemption"

bruce is trying to find another worth cause

selina searching for "clean slate"

bane returning favor

all 3 were "rising" from some some low point in their lives
 
Inability or ability to move on from pain determines the fates of the main characters. Bane actually had a compassionate side to him when he saved young Talia, but once he was punished for that and left to suffer the rest of his life, all of that went out the window and he was happy to dole out as much pain to others as he had received.

We have no idea what kind of person Talia was before her father was killed, but as with Bruce's journey as Batman, her fate was sealed after the events of Batman Begins. And in addition to punishing Bruce with as much emotional and physical pain she could muster, she still harbored a special hatred for Gotham because of the mission her father never came back from. Both Bane and Talia's sadistic tendencies spread from being justice to sheer revenge that ended both their lives in infamy.

Bruce managed to escape their fates after he realized he wanted to live, not die in the name of his pain. And I actually do think that his parents' legacy in an orphanage is especially fitting for closing that theme. Bruce does not want whatever happened to him to happen to another child....but it's about Batman. He suffered almost unbearably, both physically and emotionally, being Batman for 40 years. His parents would not have wanted Batman for him. Nobody who cared about Bruce wanted Batman to continue in his future. So Bruce moving on from Batman's pain and giving other children the chance to move on, as he did although very late in life, is very fitting.

Yupp agreed, good post
 
Big spoilers just in case anyone's in here that hasn't seen the film even though nobody else seems to use spoiler tags anymore:

Most of these dwell strictly in the surface level and don't inform the more specific and complex character and societal explorations Nolan pursues throughout the film. For Rises, there's a big obvious link to Nolan implying the general risk of a collapsing society and how that can happen.

It's alarming and almost inspiring the prophetic nature of broader strokes of the narrative being laid down long prior to the wall street movement, and for a film making Gotham a contemporary Pars from the French Revolution and hinting our current society is beginning to be at risk of similar social and class problems, albeit in a far less extreme way, we may face a sort of revolution and then there's the wall street movement and others that are sure to follow. It sort of exposes Nolan's pulse on what "worries' society today, making me wonder what sort of impact his films will have on future audiences because his films seem at times so tailored to the audiences viewing them at the time of release. The risk of total societal collapse is terrifying to many, and given how Bane basically merely enables the lower class to rise up by (mostly) telling them the truth about Gotham, it has pretty horrifying truths within society, theirs and ours. If the aristocrats continue oppressing the lower class, there's an inevitability to an uprising vying to reverse the roles and revert to essentially a "share the spoils" communistic or socialistic (are those words?) dominated by a dangerous mob mentality overflowing with brutality (the courts, general treatment of the upper class, seemingly condoning mass terrorist attacks across Gotham- it's indicated the lower class were well aware of a "storm coming" and were excited for it).

I'm not sure if it can be classified as a "theme' as much as a storytelling and thematic tool, but (like A Tale of Two Cities) the notion of "doubles" plays heavily in most major arcs.

-Foley and Gordon: political climber vs someone to show everything Gordon isn't and it's Gordon's "fault" cops like this exist because of the Dent act.

-Blake and Gordon: Showing Gordon who he is.

-Blake and Bruce: Obvious- they're essentially the same person. Natural detective, similar emotional paths, similar stance on guns, similar disregard for one's own safety for the sake of helping others.

-Bruce and Selina: Challenges most of his thinking in a playful and seductive manner, she's searching similarly for redemption, etc.

-Bruce and Bane: Obvious, both have masks, both interacted with the league, Bane is everything Bruce would be had he made one different choice going back to Begins enriching the power of Bruce's own choice while tearing down everything Batman was and is, both are driven by compassion for the innocent (Bane's entire story starting with his desire for redemption by protecting the innocent).

There's other things like every major character actively seeking redemption and relief from past misdeeds and consequences. The primary exception is John Blake, making him the noble and powerful underpinning that grounds much of the narrative.

Not that this is a theme necessarily either, but the notion that the key to escaping past demons and achieve ultimate redemption is embracing fear and living through that, showing a healthy sense of self worth. When Bruce escapes the pit, he no longer needs Batman to become the monster within, Batman's no longer an outlet for Bruce's negative, damaged emotions, but becomes the symbol and guardian for a city that only he could then be while preparing Blake for the task. There's that notion of immorality and the legend and legacy Bruce leaves as a measure for a city to repair itself. Foley, a character representative of the political climbers in Gotham that were previously dismissive of the city's well being (going for Gordon's commissioner position and consistently undermining Gordon) is finally redeemed in the final act, implying that growth within Gotham's citizens.

Finally, in the ending of the film, (and this connects back to what opened this rant/analysis with) Nolan makes the bold choice to imply the system's of man are perpetually flawed and will always, on some level, necessitate justice outside of a system, even a mostly good one. There's no 'fixing' the problem, the system itself is part of the problem, and always will be.

Even in the emotionally uplifting conclusion, this is by far Nolan's most cynical and critical film of society on every level, frankly condemning the upper class and lower class in spades, but always remembering the triumphant quality of redemption. Heavy stuff for a 250 million dollar spectacular.

-Vader

Good points, Nolan's movies have always included sub-texts and that sets them apart from usual cbm's.

TDKR contains themes like redemption and sacrifice but as you have pointed out it also provides a commentary on how the system (social, economical, political and legal) are not without flaws.

Flaws that could be minimized but cannot be eliminated entirely, the movie's message is to rise to the challenge like Bruce's parents, Bruce and Blake did.
 
The overall theme is what Ra's al Ghul told Bruce in the first movie........
Ra's:"But, 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."
Bruce:"Which is?"
Ra's:"Legend Mr. Wayne."

Also this quote from Batman Begins -

Bruce Wayne: " People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy. I can't do this as Bruce Wayne. A man is just flesh and blood and can be ignored or destroyed. But as a symbol... as a symbol, I can be incorruptible, everlasting."

In TDKR we see that Bat is not the symbol it is Batman himself as the symbol.
 

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