Holy Plot Holes, Batman! 9 Logical Gripes With The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises - Bat Fans, First Reviews

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?

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Comments

  • One comment on the ending--
    I think it's totally plausible that Alfred didn't go over and give Batman a weepy hug...at least, from the film-maker's POV. It tied the ending in with the beginning of the movie, where Alfred told of his vacations hoping to see Bruce. Therefore, it kinda works.

    Also--
    In Batman Begins, no one recognized Bruce right before he was imprisoned. He could run through all of Europe and not be recognized.

    GREAT ARTICLE, though! I love your blog. You're an excellent writer.

  • sethbrundle says:

    The Alfred one I disagree with - Alfred's point with his vacation story was that he wanted to see Bruce moved on - seeing Bruce at the end, he was moved on - Alfred knew he was part of the OLD life, and he loved Bruce enough to just be happy for him.

    I'm surprised you didn't mention the whole "ice" scene. You know, how the ice is so thin that people fall through a few steps away from the shore, so Batman drops onto it in full gear two steps away from Gordon and suddenly nobody's concerned about the ice anymore.

    Also, considering how strapped for time Bruce was to disarm that bomb, why did he have to waste what must have been hours putting that bat symbol on the bridge? It looked really, really cool, but tactically it gave away his element of surprise and must've taken a ton of time to erect.

  • zac says:

    I am surprised you didn't mention the prison scene where Bruce manages to jump to freedom, I am sure if the inmates worked together they could of escaped a long time ago.

  • smiley says:

    Where was the joker? He was in Black Gate prison ,wasn't he

  • Billy says:

    I love articles like this, but this totally misses the mark. The fights were acclaimed, and with good reason. Nobody thought Bruce Wayne died the same day as Batman, there was a 5 month span of millionaires getting killed. Miranda and Bruce wasn't out of nowhere. She had been interested in him for a while, and everyone around him vouched for her and even suggested he give her a chance. Bruce had weeks to get back to Gotham. Just an overall bad article. It didn't have to be. You just should probably have paid more attention to the movie. Watch it a second or third time and you might understand some of these things better.

    • germerica42 says:

      Actually you should rewatch the movie..bruce is captured(and recognized "its not everyday you bag bruce wayne") by part of his plan to meet up with lucius with roughly 12 hours to go (as he said when he gets back to gotham and gives Selina the program).

      • Plotholio says:

        Yeah, and the thugs that brought him in got beat up by Catwoman. Now you might say, "What about Miranda aka Talia knowing that Bruce was alive? Wouldnt she tell Bane?" The answer is no, because Catwoman says to the thugs that take Bruce and Lucius, "Alright boys, BANE WANTS THESE TWO TO HIMSELF." They are escorted out, and when they have privacy, Catwoman beats up the guys. Miranda aka Talia is left inside thinking that Lucius and Bruce have been taken to Bane by Catwoman.

        Seriously, there are no plotholes in this film. None.

        • Jimmy says:

          Why didn't Bruce Wayne or the other prisoners in the pit use the rope to climb out rather than as a safety line?

  • you are all wrong, batman was saved from the nuke by... wait for it superman ;).

    ps. the whole movie is full of plot holes, the ending was like rushed to fit, and selina is a bitch

  • Smcinty2 says:

    1. I dont agree with the Alfred one. Before Alfred left Bruce, he had only seen Selena's mugshot once and picked up Bruce after she stole his car at the gala. Kinda far fetched for Alfred to think those two would run off together and live happily ever after..

    2. When Dagget was about to take over Wayne Enterprises, Fox assured Bruce that the Applied Sciences division was "locked up & off the books". If Fox and Bruce Wayne were the only two who knew where all of the Batgear was stored, how did Bane know the exact underground location to rig bombs to gain access to the tumbler and other weapons??

    3. If all of the bridges and tunnels were blown and the only access to Gotham was the bridge guarded by the National Guard, how did Bruce make it back into Gotham?

    Overall still loved the movie, best one Ive seen in a while, plot holes and all :)

    • Redspawnsilver says:

      1. Agree
      2. After Bane figured out Bruce was batman, he had to figure that he had someplace that he made his "super goodies" at, most logically would be in Wayne Enterprises and an unexplained lack of detail on the floors that were already there that would have been in the original architect's diagrams.
      3. Ice... again, trained on Ice... he could have made it across the whole river, or even under the bridge, most bridges have a maintenance system under them.

  • jack says:

    I would also like to know how Bruce made it back to Gotham, and how he didn't fall through the ice.. And how he knew how to randomly find Selena when he got back.

    Some other obvious holes - when Batman and Bane were fighting surrounded by hundreds of people with guns, why did no one shoot either of them? Of course that could be applied to many scenes in the movie (and most action movies) where the hero attacks a room full of thugs with guns and not a single one takes the half second to just shoot him..

    Also what was up with the bomb going from a nuclear core that would become unstable and "eventually blow up" in "about five months" to a ticking time bomb with an exact detonation time?

    And yes, if Bruce could make that jump, so could others in that prison. not only that but they had plenty of rope and other tools, they could've just made a makeshift grappling hook and thrown it out the top of the hole and climbed out!

  • The Dark Knight Rises was epic and awesome. These supposed plot holes are all nonsense. Why do people need to be spoon fed the answers to everything, like how Bruce got back to Gotham? Who cares, would that even be an interesting scene? Of course not. I didn't even notice all this crap when I watched it. and, "terrible hand to hand fighting that made no sense" what? that first fight was the most brutal and unforgiving fight I have ever seen. It was perfect, and the author clearly missed the part where Batman beat Bane at the end. He beat him and had Bane twitching on the ground.

  • Lala says:

    1) That was the plan in the comics, but in the movie it was made a little longer. It was supposed to be a complex plan to show Bane's mind and how he could think long term and be patient in order to accomplish his goals.
    3) So would you want Bane to actually kill him?... Bane wasn't going to be finished in a melee attack. He would have to be killed, which Batman wouldn't do.
    5) By that point, it didn't matter. All Alfred had to do was say he died in the city. But Bruce was long gone and moving on with his life at that point.
    6) Both your points were explained in the trilogy. Alfred said he wouldn't speak because he realized Bruce needed to learn to let go of his past, In Batman Begins, even though he was recognized in Gotham, when he travelled around the world, people didn't recognize him. It's like Americans knowing reclusive Iraqi billionaire playboys or vice versa.
    7) I don't necessarily disagree with this, because I think she was an unecessary character. The only real scene Jen was needed was in the last scene she appeared in to establish Selina's change of heart. That was my main complaint about the movie.
    9) Not even a factor.

  • Rocco says:

    I've just rewatched it twice now and there are even more illogical plot holes:
    1) What did Miranda want to sleep with Bruce Wayne, the person who she hated for killing her father? At that point, she was already given controls of the Fusion Reactor. She could have proceeded with her plan without the rumble in the sack with her enemy.
    2) Why did the reactor need 3 board member hand prints? Wayne said he didn't trust the world with this new technology, yet he still programs 12 board members with access to operate the world's only fusion core??
    3) And why blow up Gotham with a fusion bomb? Would it have been easier to obtain a nuke instead? With the League of Shandows skill and vast resources, could they not have reached their goal a lot faster than a complex plan to wait for Wayne Enterprises to INVENT COLD FUSION??

    • Plotholio says:

      Rocco, you're an idiot.

      1) Miranda slept with Bruce because she realized he was someone genuine and cared about his parents legacy to bring justice to Gotham. Miranda aka Talia wanted to bring justice to Gotham in a VERY different way: destroy it.

      2) No one knew where the reactor was. Just Bruce and Lucius.

      3) It wasn't a fusion bomb. It was a nuclear bomb. Wayne Enterprises didnt invent cold fusion. Oy, get your science right.

  • Bane's plan was VERY cleverly thought, Talia dating Bruce was a part of the plan to broke Bruce's heart, but he found Selina, which was supposed to be killed by Bane but escaped him. The battles were amazing, brutal and rough, why the complain? Fucking auto-pilot did the job and Bruce had ENOUGH time to fly away, it was part of the intrigue too, so we can think he's dead but at the end t's even more emotional cause everyone thinks Batman's dead, but he,s not because he's an immortal symbol and Batman can be anybody. NOBODY knows Bruce is dead cause nobody saw him for three months, and nobody saw him return if its not of Selina, Fox and so on... and at his funeral only the people who knew he was Batman was there. And Bruce was REALLY there, why the f**k would it be an hallucination. So that Alfred know he did his job, protect him, and to know that he is happy. We never saw ANYTHING between Selina and her friend, so she's just a friend, thief as well. Blake as a new Batman is perfect cause Bruce gave the cowl to someone who knows what justice truly is, and he's an orphan just like Bruce (And he has some similarities with Robin the comics but he is NOT) He doesn't need money cause all the things he need are at the applied science, even if bane stole some tumblers and shit. Where is the problem then? I'm afraid it's just some dumb audience

  • John Blake says:

    amen mathew.thats the truth.the real reason for these "plotholes" is bcuz the complainers r FUCKING STUPID.NUFF said.

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  • Bugs says:

    Surely the biggest plot hole is that Bruce Wayne won't release a reactor that could solve the worlds energy problems because it could be turned into a nuclear weapon. Don't those already exist? Since about 1945? Or the 50's for fusion weapons.

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