Holy Plot Holes, Batman! 9 Logical Gripes With The Dark Knight Rises
So, The Dark Knight Rises happened. But as much as Christopher Nolan's Batman finale tied the themes of the entire trilogy together with emotion and weight, capping what began in Batman Begins and continued in The Dark Knight with a full-circle completion of Bruce Wayne's journey as a hero and symbol of hope in Gotham City and the world, well, there were just a dozen too many plot holes and contrivances along the way to ignore. Or were there? Let's dive right into spoiler territory and navigate the WTF-iest of TDKR's more perplexing leaps of logic, shall we?
SPOILERS FOLLOW, OBVIOUSLY.
Bane's Overly Complicated 5-Month Plan
Let's start with the dastardly terrorist plot that sets TDKR in motion. Bane teams with slimy exec guy Daggett, who hires Selina Kyle to steal Bruce Wayne's fingerprints to make some fraudulent deals (via very public hostage-taking assault on the stock exchange) in order to force Wayne Enterprises into Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul's hands, so they can bankrupt the billionaire superhero whose identity they already know and then manipulate him into giving them the technology that can be fashioned into a nuclear bomb. *Gasps for breath* Then Bane destroys Gotham with a few neat set pieces (the football stadium explosion and the simultaneous bridge attack are superb, I'll admit) thereby cutting Gotham City off from the rest of the world, unleashing the prison population into the streets, and imposing chaos on the citizenry... but only for about 5 months, until his bomb will nuke the city anyway — conveniently enough, the perfect amount of time to leech hope from the people of Gotham AND allow Bruce to recover from a broken back, climb out of the pit, trek across the globe with no ID and no money and no smart phone, sneak back into Gotham City, and save the day!
Bruce Wayne and Miranda Tate's Out of Nowhere Hookup
If The Notebook taught us anything, it's that two attractive people caught in the rain will get to boinking sooner or later. That's just what happens. So of course Bruce, who's been grieving the loss of his beloved Rachel for 8 years, will fall into sexytime with the pretty board member who he's never so much as locked eyes with until like two days ago, let alone had any meaningful chemistry with. IT'S SEX RAIN. GET OVER IT. There must be missing footage on the cutting room floor that sets up Bruce and Miranda's chemistry better, and maybe even shows us a bit of the action, so to speak. There must. Why would Gotham's preeminent costumed detective superhero let down his guard enough to leave a strange lady sleeping in their fireside bed, alone in his house of secrets, where the push of a button on a desk opens the door to the Bat-cave? Especially since she herself has mysterious scars and secrets of her own?
Probable answer: The back-on-the-saddle hubris that led Batman to ruin the cops' pursuit of Bane in his first return to crimefighting also makes him underestimate Talia. Bedding her is a step forward in his return to life and becoming a whole man once again after nursing his broken heart (and likely being a celibate creepy old mansion hermit). And maybe he spent a few hours offscreen in his Bat-cave Googling Miranda and doing an extensive background check on her before going there, only the League of Shadows has really, really good hackers and fake identity engineers on their payroll, in addition to prison doctors and Mongolian-chic wardrobe stylists.
Terrible Hand-to-Hand Fight Action That Makes No Damn Sense
Bane's a hulking, physically superior adversary who can kill people with his finger and batters Batman (admittedly, an over-the-hill, hasn't hit the gym in 8 years Batman) around like a rag doll — which explains why their first fight in the sewers is so awkwardly one-sided. But once Batman recovers from his broken back, does a few prison push-ups, and then suits up after focusing his anger into his workout regimen for months... their fist fights look pretty much the same. There's a shot on the City Hall steps where Batman leaps ahead of Bane, then turns to face him like a kid on a playground that made me groan. In no way does Batman seem to have learned from his past failures against Bane; he doesn't employ strategy or gadgetry to defeat his stronger nemesis. When Bane grabs a shotgun, of all things, to finish the Caped Crusader, it's Catwoman who offs Bane with a blast from the Batpod. And then we forget Bane was even in this movie for the rest of the film. Sigh.
Side note: It's worth acknowledging that the entirety of TDKR's final act is constructed so that the people around Batman must step up individually to help save Gotham. The fact that Batman can't do it all by himself, and can't even defeat Bane alone, reinforces the theme. Maybe he's getting too old for this shit after all. Still, it's not very satisfying when the individual parts don't make total sense on their own, is it?
Batman's Superhuman Time Management
Before zooming off in the Bat with nuclear bomb in tow, and shortly after returning to the city after five months in the middle of nowhere prison with about a day to save the world, Batman somehow manages to put all of his legal affairs in order, leaves the pearl necklace for Selina (heh) and detailed instructions to Blake in a duffel bag at his lawyer's office, sets a gasoline fire on the bridge in the shape of the Bat, saves Gordon in the nick of time, saves Blake in the nick of time, and fixes the Bat-symbol. I don't know how he does it! Literally.
Best explanation: He's Batman. Enough said?
Bruce/Batman's Coincidental Death
Are you telling me that nobody notices that Batman "dies" in a blaze of glory the same day that Gotham's most famous billionaire playboy also dies, leaving his estate to a bunch of orphans and willing his duffel bag of spelunking gear to some junior cop? Which brings me to...
Bruce and Selina's European Vacation
I don't believe that A) Emo Alfred would sit there on his fancy-sad vacay, see Bruce at the next table, alive and well, and not go give him a huge weepy hug, or B) a presumed dead billionaire playboy like Bruce Wayne can just go brunching in the open in
France or whatever Florence and not be recognized. I kinda dig the idea that with nothing left in the Wayne coffers Bruce and Selina have retired to the French Riviera Italy to live off of her burgling money.
Possible answer: This is just Alfred's fantasy version of what he's always wished to see, and Batman/Bruce Wayne is really dead, and Chris Nolan has Incepted us all over again.
Selina's Special Friend, Wink Wink
Presuming Selina Kyle has a more than friendly relationship with Juno Temple's minx-in-training is a stretch, though they certainly seem to be BFFs/roommates/collaborators, ladies from the wrong side of the tracks trying to hustle their way up the food chain. That said: What's up with that one hug? You know what I'm talking about. Temple pretty much disappears once the movie gets going, but maybe she has additional scenes that flesh out their relationship that didn't make the edit. Discuss.
Possible answer that I hope isn't the case: Selina is bisexual and uses her sensuality as a tool against male marks... until she falls for Bruce/Batman and runs away with him to live happily ever after, leaving her girlfriend behind in Gotham. Ten bucks says this comes into play in the eventual TDKR XXX porn parody.
Good luck, Robin!
The good news: You've got a cave full of fancy toys and extra Bat-suits. The bad news: There's no money left to finance the operation. At least you know where the Bat is parked, on top of some building under some camo tarp. No one else will find it there, obviously.
Probable answer: Blake will take up the Batman cowl and figure out his own way of doing things, thus launching an entirely new Bat-series which I'll totally watch because Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the best thing about TDKR.
Room For The Justice League?
So WB wants to carve out a superhero super-team up, a la The Avengers, around DC's Justice League. Fair enough. But if folks like Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Superman exist in the same universe, where the hell are they during Batman's five-month absence from Gotham City? If the Justice League is possible in this film world — and maybe it's not, since Nolan's said to be done with his Batman storytelling, and despite his involvement in Man of Steel perhaps the two franchises aren't designed to co-exist just yet — then you have to think some other superhero out there would have swooped by to prevent the total destruction of one of America's biggest metropolitan populations, especially given that even the U.S. government has been rendered useless, leaving the entire city in the hands of a madman.
Does it really matter? Either any potential Justice League spin-off will not connect to the TDKR world, or it'll conveniently take place after the events of TDKR. This will likely be explained away or disregarded if/when the Justice League movie moves forward.
Phew. All that said, TDKR was visually breathtaking and thematically resonant. Plus, it was Batman! At least there were no codpieces or Schumacherisms to complain about. So there will inevitably be two kinds of people: Those who can't help but be irked by the plot holes riddled throughout TDKR, and those who don't care and love it anyway. Where do you stand? Was this the movie Bat-fans deserved, or the one they needed?