Batman Retires

The first two films in Nolan’s Batman trilogy were bizarre, dark, and fun. We got to see some interesting villains, some fantastic set-design, some exciting fight sequences, some compelling storytelling, and some fascinating ideas.

Why would someone dress as a bat, and beat up street thugs? What kind of training would he need? What kind of equipment would he need? How could he do it?

These are all easily addressed in the films. And thanks to Nolan’s commitment to realism, the entire idea of Batman seems much more plausible, and in turn, much more compelling.

Sadly, by the time the third film rolled around, it seems the well ran dry for interesting villains, fantastic set-design, exciting fight sequences, compelling storytelling, and fascinating ideas. Because while the third film does maintain the realism, themes, and characters of its predecessors. It’s boring as hell.

We open in some field in the middle of mystery country #457 where Joshua from No Ordinary Family, playing a guy who I guess is ostensibly an official with the local government, is delivering a man named Doctor Pavel to a CIA agent.

He says they also caught three mercenaries who were trying to steal Pavel, and offers them free-of-charge. The CIA guy says he doesn’t care, until he learns they work for ‘the masked man.’ Bane.

They get on the plane to, I guess, return to the United States. CIA guy starts interrogating each of the three mercs, all with bags over their heads, threatening to throw them out of the plane. Guess they weren’t high enough for pressure to be a problem.

He fakes shooting one of them and throwing him out the plane. Moving to the second guy, the third one interrupts him and calls him out on the oddity of shooting a man, only to throw him out of a plane. He’s so far the only one of the three to say a word.

The CIA guy pulls the bag off the talker’s head, and we meet Tom Hardy with some type of cyberpunk respirator glued to his face.

Um... what?

This is Bane, the film’s big bad.

I find it odd they cast Tom Hardy for this role. I’m not fully abreast of the man’s work, but I do know he played a suave con-man in Inception, and this role is a very sharp contrast to that.

CIA guy asks if removing the mask would kill him. Well, I find that unlikely, since I assume Bane has to eat at some point.

Bane explains that he planned to get caught. He needed to ensure that Pavel didn’t tell the CIA what his own offer was, since he took the CIA’s proposal over Bane’s.

Now, time for phase two of the plan. Which is, actually a bit crazy and roundabout. A larger plane above them drops down troopers hanging by ropes. The troopers start shooting through the windows, and place bolts attached to cables in the fuselage. The plane above pulls the cables and the plane tips forward, nose pointing straight down. The wings are ripped off, presumably by aerodynamic forces, and the tail is blown off by explosives. The agents go in, kill all the CIA people, and grab Doctor Pavel and Bane. They put some of Pavel’s blood into a dead man’s body. Probably so they think it’s his body in the wreckage. They also leave one of their own men within the plane, since one of them is expected. As Bane grabs Pavel, he pushes a button, releasing the cables, and the plane falls straight to the ground below, while Bane and Pavel are attached to a cable floating high above the ground, as if they were being carried by Skyhook.

It seems pretty crazy, and a bit absurd. They probably could have done the exact same thing with a few hidden pistols and three parachutes, since one of them was left behind anyway.

So, as they’re flying at the end of the cable, it’s surprisingly calm. I’m surprised there isn’t more wind.

Here’s a question: Did they actually use a real plane for that sequence? I mean I guess the interior shots were done on a set, but the rest… I think they did. They literally tore apart a plane for that.

Six months later, Gotham City is celebrating Harvey Dent Day, the eight year anniversary of his death. Gotham is now free of organized crime thanks to a piece of legislation called The Dent Act, and this is the day they celebrate that.

You remember Dent. He killed five people and tried to kill Gordon’s son. But Batman took the fall and quickly retired, saving his reputation.

Gordon himself is about to give a speech about Harvey at the celebrations. He is about to come clean. He is about to reveal that Batman didn’t kill Harvey. He saved his reputation. But instead, for some reason, he decides it’s not the time, and pockets it.

The celebrations are being held at Wayne Manor. Bruce himself is nowhere to be seen. Apparently he became a recluse a few years back, which is odd… I think. It’s not clear when exactly he shut himself in, or what his reasons were, but it’s quickly made clear that people see him as a modern-day Howard Hughes. All sorts of rumours are spread about him. None of them true, as we find when a random maid volunteers to drop off a platter of food in the east drawing-room. Instructions are very specific and Alfred tells her to do ‘nothing more.’

She obeys the directions, then starts wandering around. So she doesn’t obey the directions.

We also meet a Mr John Daggett, played by one of the California Raisins, and a Miss Miranda Tate, played by one of the doctors from Contagion who previously played Mal Cobb in Inception. So, so far we have two major characters who are played by Inception alums, and we’ll include Michael Caine, who plays Alfred, so that’s three. Curious. I guess we can’t be too surprised, Inception was also Nolan’s last major project before this one. Anyway…

Daggett and Tate are two of Gotham’s local aristocrats. Daggett is a shallow corporate tool who only cares about money. But Miranda is a bit more idealistic. She wishes to speak to Bruce about some save-the-world project that she invested a boatload in, but hasn’t returned dividends.

Back at the party, several of the guests are socializing. It seems Gordon is still working as hard as he’s ever been, even though crime is at an all time low. We learn that Gordon’s divorced, and the mayor is going to fire him in the spring.

Switching back to the nosy maid. She’s examining an archery target with two arrows embedded within as another arrow misses her head by inches, scaring the shit out of her. We finally meet Bruce Wayne, who walks with a cane and hasn’t shaved in months.

Batman has a cane… that is sad.

He notices her wearing a familiar set of pearl, one last worn by his mother, and seen by us in Batman Begins. But it can’t be the same ones, because they were stored in a safe that the manufacturer said was uncrackable. Oh, and the door of said safe is wide open.

Sadly I can’t tell if he’s impressed or angry, thanks to his beard. I’m going to say a weird fusion of the two.

He says he can’t let her take them. So she kicks his cane out from under him and makes her escape, getting a ride from a congressman who was attending the festivities.

As they’re leaving, Alfred arrives, and Bruce explains that the pearls have a tracking device on them. But the most curious thing is this: she was dusting for prints on the safe.

Later that night, we meet new character, John Blake, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or Arthur from Inception.

He arrives on the roof of the MCU, where Gordon stands next to the busted Batsignal, to inform him of a missing Congressman. Which is now a job for the police. That’s right, screw the 24-hour waiting period. They don’t have much else to do, so let’s look for a Congressman who’s running late.

Blake then asks Gordon about the night Dent died. Here, we sorta get the impression that he doesn’t buy the official story. After all, the way he explains it, it doesn’t seem plausible.

Blake asks Gordon if he wants to know who Batman was.

“I know exactly who he was,” says Gordon. “He was the Batman.”

The next morning, Alfred finds Wayne in the Batcave, which had been rebuilt since the first film, and likely gone unused ’til this moment. Kinda sad, the reconstruction was probably finished not long after Batman retired.

Anyway, the two are discussing the robbery. The thief is IDed as Selina Kyle, who’s played by Anne Hathaway. For those of you not in the know, Selina Kyle was previously played by Michelle Pfeiffer in the Burton movies. That’s right, we have our Catwoman. Though she’s not actually called Catwoman, and I’m thankful since that’s a stupid name anyway. Instead, the closest we get is the papers referring to her as ‘The Cat.’ Interesting.

Alfred suggests he asks her out. Random. Does he do that with every woman in Bruce’s life? Apparently yes. It seems after retiring from Batlife, Bruce never really moved on. He’s still pining for Rachel, who you’ll remember, died in the last film.

Alfred then explains something interesting. During the seven years Bruce was gone in Batman Begins, Alfred took regular holidays to Florance, Italy. There, he found a really nice cafe that he would regularly go to. As he was waiting for his meal, he kept searching, hoping he would spot Bruce there, with a wife and kids, happy. It’s all he had hoped for. He never wanted Bruce to come back, because nothing was left here.

A bit different from his perspective in Batman Begins, isn’t it? Where he said that the house was very important to Bruce’s family. It sheltered six generations of Waynes. I find that odd.

But on the bright side, at least Alfred, in this series, is an actual character. In the last series, he didn’t do much of anything. Then again, most of the cast didn’t do much of anything. True, Alfred occasionally helped Batman with his work, and at one point, randomly let Vicki Vale into the Batcave. (Seriously, what the fuck!?) But he never was more than a consummate professional.

However here, with Michael Caine in the role, Alfred is more than just Batman’s butler. He’s a true father figure to Bruce, unlike Michael Gough’s Alfred, who was just there. Who just stood around, filling a gap.

We then turn to the new character, Blake. He’s just a regular beat cop, responding to a dead body found in one of the outlets for the storm drains.

Who is this guy? I don’t remember him from the comics.

Whatever, doesn’t matter.

Anyway, Blake quickly recognizes the body as an old friend he knew from the ‘boy’s home’ he grew up in. I think it’s similar to an orphanage.

So Blake goes to the orphanage and tell’s the priest running the place what happened and asked why he left. Apparently the government won’t provide for the boys after they turn 16. Blake’s surprised, after all, the Wayne Foundation is supposed to provide money for those kids. However they stopped a few years earlier.

Blake tells the dead kid’s brother what happened, and after a bit of questioning, the brother explains that some kids have been going to the tunnels after aging out, saying they can find work down there. Work in the sewers? Curious.

Okay, it’s not the sewers, but whatever.

The boy is busy drawing as he talks to Blake. He draws the Batman emblem. Turns out some people never gave up on the Bat. The kid asks if Batman will ever come back. Why? I thought crime was at an all-time low. What possible reason would Batman have to return!?

That night, the ersatz-Catwoman arrives at a bar, with a date, to drop off her prize from Bruce Wayne’s mansion. No, not the pearls, the man’s fingerprints. She gives them to Owen Harper from Torchwood, who I remember was really good at playing a lecherous zombie. God that was a weird show. Anyway, he gives off the same vibe here.

So of course when Owen doesn’t turn over payment, and has his henchmen lock the doors, Kyle points out that he’s probably going to need the thumb. His henchman pulls a gun and she hands over a cell phone with her friend’s number waiting to be dialed. She comes in, drops off the print, and leaves.

Owen points out that they can’t have any loose ends and she’s just a thief, no one will miss her. But many will miss her date. It’s the congressman who she hitched a ride with earlier in the film, and he’s been missing since the night before. Of course the cops are actively searching for him, and Owen just happened to use his cell phone.

She’s smart, I’ll give her that.

Sirens cry out, as she takes the opportunity to shoot as many of the mobsters as she can, before the cops burst in and she puts on her role as the damsel in distress. The congressman gets shot in the leg, and she slowly makes her getaway. You know, I think she should have acted a bit more concerned for the congressman, since he could probably drastically fuck up her life. But as she’s leaving, he says, “call me?” So she’s probably fine.

Blake and Gordon are among the cops on the scene. They chase some of Owen’s lackies down the back allies. Among their opponents we see Joshua, with a sniper rifle, on the top of a fire escape, firing at the cops. So I guess he wasn’t a government official.

They eventually chase the minions to a storm drain. Gordon and a bunch of cops follow them down. They are soon met with resistance, and one violent explosion later, Gordon is the only cop left breathing. But he is quickly knocked down and dragged off. Blake insists they go down. But Foley, the Deputy Police Commissioner, says the gas explosion means they wait until the DWP gets down there. So Blake runs off.

Back in the tunnels, Gordon is taken before Bane, who question’s his lackie’s judgement in bringing the Commissioner to their base. Gordon is searched and they just so happen to find his Harvey Dent Day speech. It’s been a full day. He’s still holding onto that? Unless… it’s the same day and that scene with Blake and the orphans happened earlier on Harvey Dent Day, they just showed them out-of-order… I don’t know.

So Gordon takes the opportunity of a distracted Bane to roll over, into the flowing waters, and out of their underground base. Bane is not so happy. He ends up killing both of the lackies who brought Gordon there to begin with. Throwing one of their bodies down the drain with a GPS device and instructions to follow Gordon. I think he’ll have a hard time following anyone while being dead.

Blake runs across the city, to the outlet he found the dead kid at earlier, and finds the Commissioner, in dire straights.

We quickly cut to Blake at Wayne Manor, demanding to speak to Bruce. But Bruce normally doesn’t accept visitors. However Alfred lets him in once Blake hints at Bruce’s alter-ego. Saying he could come by with a warrant for the murder of Harvey Dent.

Blake explains what happened to Gordon. What the Commissioner saw, or what he claims to have seen. That there was an army led by a masked man named Bane under the city streets. He also said the other cops don’t believe him, asking if Gordon also saw any giant alligators. Well, I’m pretty sure they’re saving that for the next movie.

Anyway, Blake explains that the Batman needs to come back. Something like this might require his specific skill-set.

So, wait. What does that have to do with Bruce? Well, it turns out Blake found out a long time ago that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one in the same.

Turns out Blake and Bruce are kindred spirits. Both of their parents are dead, and both witnessed at least one of them dying. They became very angry, at the world and themselves, and it’s an anger that rests within them. It’s embedded in their bones. Eventually both learned to hide it.

One day, at the formerly Wayne-Foundation-funded orphanage Blake grew up in, Bruce Wayne arrived. He was all suave and cool, and Blake noticed the man’s face. The look. It was the same look he taught himself. He realized then that Bruce Wayne was Batman.

I don’t quite understand that. Just because Bruce learned to bury the anger does not mean he’s beating up criminals on the streets of Gotham City. It could easily be someone else. But I guess there was other reasons he didn’t quite share.

But Bruce notices something. Blake said the orphanage isn’t funded by the Foundation anymore. Curious.

Alfred looks up the details on Bane, and finds connections to Daggett. Coincidence? Probably not.

Bruce then asks about the Foundation, and why it cut funding to the orphanage. The problem is, Wayne Enterprises funds the Foundation, and there isn’t much money in those coffers.

Then, Bruce shocks Alfred by asking to bring the car around. He needs to check into a hospital, for his leg. He also needs to have a chat with Morgan Freeman.

But first, the Hospital, where the doctor explains Batman’s current condition:

“I’ve seen worse cartilage in knees… that’s because there is no cartilage in your knee, and not much of any use in your elbows or your shoulders. Between that and the scar tissue on your kidneys, the residual concussive damage to your brain tissue, and the general scarred-over quality of your body; I cannot recommend that you go heliskiing, Mr. Wayne.”

But that doesn’t stop Bruce from repelling out the window and breaking into Gordon’s room. They talk for a few seconds, and Gordon is still feeling bad that their victory since the last film was based on a lie.

Gordon explains that Batman needs to come out of retirement. If only to deal with this new possible threat.

Bruce then heads over to a masquerade charity ball and as the paparazzi are snapping photos of the man, we see his newest gadget. With the press of a button, all the cameras suddenly malfunction. Okay, that’s… odd.

Within the building, Miranda Tate greets Wayne and asks about their save-the-world project. The clean energy project.

Bruce tries to explain that sometimes things just don’t work. But I guess Tate’s a little skeptical. She says the project took a great investment from Wayne Enterprises, and that Wayne went into hiding after the project failed. Something unusual for a man with the apathy he projects.

Then, we see why Wayne is there to begin with. He meets Kyle on the dance floor, and they begin dancing a bit as Kyle explains who her next mark is, and how she got to where she was.

In the beginning, she had to do what she had to do. But now, even if she wanted to turn legitimate, she couldn’t, because of her record. Anyone with a cell phone can find her criminal history. She’s stuck where she is.

Bruce takes the pearls back, and as he’s leaving is told by the valet that his wife said he’d be taking a cab.

Kyle stole his car. Natch!

The next day, Freeman and Wayne discuss business. Turns out the clean energy project is a fusion reactor that Bruce let mothball. It works, but he’s currently unwilling to turn it on, and we still don’t know why.

Freeman then asks Bruce if there’s anything else he needs, after all “these conversations used to end with an unusual request.” Yeah, eight years ago, you’d think he’d be used to it by now.

He drags Bruce to the armoury anyway, and shows him a new helicopter-like flying machine for use in large cities, like, for instance, Gotham. He calls it The Bat. Only problem is the autopilot. It doesn’t work. But someone less busy than him could probably find the time to fix it.

Seems Freeman’s been collecting the prototypes from all of their defence subsidiaries to keep them from falling into the wrong hands. They’re now all under one roof. I don’t know if that’s a good thing.

In the Batcave, Bruce straps a device to his leg which appears to be some sort of bionic assist, so he can finally use it again. He kicks a brick wall, breaking it. Forget the knee, that would break his ankle.

Alfred tells Bruce what he learned about Bane. That he was born and raised in a prison known as the Pit. People are thrown in to suffer and die. But sometimes, someone gets out: Bane. After which, he was trained by Ra’s Al Ghul, and later excommunicated from the League. Probably because he was too brutal for them… Shit.

It seems now, Alfred is trying to convince Bruce not to pull Batman out of retirement. Sharp contrast to the last film, where Alfred tried to convince him to not go into retirement. Seems odd to me.

[Last film]
Bruce: I’m going to retire.
Alfred: No sir, you can’t, Gotham needs you.

[This film]
Bruce: I’m going to come out of retirement.
Alfred: No sir, you can’t, Gotham doesn’t need you.

So it seems Alfred’s an indecisive prick.

Later, at the Gotham Stock Exchange, we see Bane arrive on the scene. With all of his lackies already in place, they start firing shots into the air and take the entire trading floor hostage. Hold on, how’d they get their guns past the metal detectors?

They quickly get to work and start running some type of program on one of the computers.

Outside, the police start to arrive, and (I presume) the manager explains to the police that it’s not simply a hostage situation, it’s a robbery. With access to the trading floor, they can really mess with the entire economy. To make his point, when one officer says his money’s in his mattress, the man responds with: “You don’t put these guys down, that stuffing in your mattress might be worth a whole hell of a lot less!”

They cut the fibre and nearby cell tower.

Bane is told they need another eight minutes, so they switch to the cell networks, and make a break for it, on motorcycles, with hostages in tow. The sun sets at some point, and suddenly, Batman arrives on the scene and goes after the gang. At one point he fires some type of energy gun at them, and I’m not sure what it did, or what it was supposed to do.

He even uses his light deactivator to kill the lights in the tunnels. How exactly does that work? Ugh, I don’t care.

Foley pulls every cop off their assignments and tells them to go after Batman. He even tells them to ignore the robbers.

Batman catches one of them, and takes the cell modem from their computer which had already finished whatever it was doing. But the cops have him surrounded. He makes a break for it, and goes straight into the downtown core. Making his final getaway in The Bat, which he happened to have strategically stored in a hidden ally. Lucky it just happened to be the one that the police cornered him into.

While all this is happening, Kyle is breaking into Daggett’s house. We see him with Owen discussing Bane’s robbery. Kyle holds a gun to Daggett’s head once he’s alone, demanding what they owed her. Something called the Clean Slate. It’s a computer virus that can wipe out one’s identity on every computer on the planet. Turns out, it’s a myth.

She gets away, but finds herself surrounded by Bane’s lackies. Batman arrives and quickly backs her up, but he insists she follow his no killing rule. She doesn’t like that.

They get away, and Batman asks what she did with Bruce’s prints. She tells him that she gave them to Daggett and it might be related to the mess at the Stock Market. She sneaks away and Wayne arrives at the Manor, where Alfred chews him out.

He suggests that Bane is part of the League of Shadows. Since Ra’s died, whoever’s in charge might have brought him back in.

It’s at this moment, that Alfred quits. For some reason he’s worried about Bruce’s safety, but oddly, wasn’t worried in the last two films. Alfred’s convinced that if he leaves, it might clue Bruce into the fact that he’s not Batman anymore. He then tells Bruce about the letter Rachael wrote in the last film, explaining that she was going to marry Harvey Dent, and that he burnt the letter.

Bruce doesn’t take this well, and Alfred leaves knowing Bruce hates him for it.

The next morning, Freeman arrives at the manor, and tells Bruce he made a series of investments that cost him everything. It appears that was exactly what Bane was doing at the Stock Exchange. He was messing with Bruce’s accounts.

There’s a good chance that because of this, the entire company will fall into Daggett’s hands, and they certainly don’t trust Daggett. Instead they get Miranda Tate to take over the company, and decide to show her the fusion reactor she invested in. It’s hidden under the river, so it could be flooded in case of a security breach. The machine is small, and looks pretty damn simple.

We then learn why Bruce was so cautious. Three years ago, a nuclear scientist published a paper, explaining how to weaponize this kind of reactor. His name was Doctor Leonid Pavel, and he died in a plane crash six months ago. Of course, we know he didn’t. We know he was kidnapped by Bane. The filmmakers are not very good at hiding things.

We then switch to Daggett, who’s upset that he’s not in control of Wayne Enterprises, like they planned. He starts yelling at Bane, as Bane explains that his plan is proceeding exactly as planned. Then he starts mumbling something that sounds like, “[I’m] here to end the bollock town you ball been living um.” What?

Actually, let’s talk about Bane. He’s boring. There’s absolutely nothing interesting about this character. He just mumbles a lot and smashes heads.

This isn’t the same Bane from the last franchise, who was basically a big huge ball of idiot. This one is closer to the comics. He’s an expert tactician and brutal fighter. He’s strong as hell, and that might have something to do with his mask. But why he’s doing this isn’t fully explained, nor does he have any kind of screen presence. He’s just a brick wall.

Goddamnit! The slab of plywood named Hicks, from the movie Aliens, was actually a more interesting character than Bane.

This disappoints me, because in Inception, Hardy played my favourite character. Here, he plays a mumbling piece of muscled driftwood.

Also… How does he eat!?

So Bane kills Daggett and leaves his body in a dumpster. We can assume Owen gets away.

So, Bruce, now broke and unemployed, after being kicked off the Wayne Enterprises Board of Directors, finds himself outside the building with his car being repossessed. Blake arrives to give him a lift. They talk about Batman’s origins, and Bruce says that the whole point of Batman was that he could be anybody. That was part of the reason he wore a mask.

They then start talking about tracking down Bane, and Blake says he could use some help in that area. It appears the rest of the Department still doesn’t believe that Gordon saw anything down there.

I’m shocked, since Bane wasn’t subtle when he attacked the well-surveilled Stock Exchange.

So Bruce asks to be dropped-off at Kyle’s residence. He asks for help finding Bane, in exchange, he’ll get her the Clean Slate.

Blake then goes to Gordon and explains that Daggett’s body was found, and his name is all over permits to map Gotham’s tunnels. There is probably a connection.

Foley explains that the underground tunnels are too extensive to search. Gordon doesn’t appear too happy about this. He then promotes Blake to Detective and says he reports directly to Gordon.

Miranda, for some reason, arrives at Wayne Manor, and she finds Bruce locked out in the pouring rain. Because while he gets to keep the house, he doesn’t have any keys, since he never needed them. They find an unlocked door, get in, and for some reason, fuck. Wow, that was quick. I didn’t think Bruce was this suave.

Batman meets Kyle in the Subway tunnels. They take out several of Bane’s men, and she lures Batman into a trap. Placing him in a cage match with the behemoth, who addresses him as Mr. Wayne.

Oh, come on Kyle, you can’t be that surprised.

Fight scene ensues, and Bane mops the floor with the Bat. It seems Batman hasn’t been training as much as he used to. His retirement has cost him his strength. Even the theatrics don’t work on Bane, since they were both trained by Ra’s himself.

Then, as Bruce is subdued, Bane let’s off a series of explosives, causing a hole to blow in the roof of their base, and a spare Batmobile to fall from it. The biggest difference: this one is painted desert camo, not jet black. They start pulling equipment from his armoury.

Bruce attacks again, and Bane picks the man up, and throws his down on his knee, breaking the Bat’s back.

Well, that’s the movie over people. Goodnight!

Okay, no, but… It probably should have been.

Actually this scene is a bit of a tribute to Bane’s comic book introduction where he does the exact same thing.

The next morning, Blake notices Wayne has gone missing. He tracks down Kyle, who was trying to catch a flight very far away, probably to run from Bane. He asks her about Bruce, and she doesn’t even know whether he’s even alive.

Turns out Bruce is alive, and currently resides in a middle eastern prison called the Pit. It’s underground. The only way in or out is though a large pit in the ceiling. Bane explains that it’s designed to give prisoners hope that they can one day escape by climbing the walls. But no one ever does. Bane explains that here, he learned there can be no despair without hope. Which is why this is the worst prison on earth.

He explains that he’s going to give the people of Gotham false hope that they can survive, and as Bruce watches the events unfold on television, he will understand just exactly how much he’s failed. Then they will destroy Gotham, just as Ra’s intended.

Here’s what bugs me. Ra’s plan was to destroy Gotham because the city was so corrupt. So loaded with criminals and mobsters, it had to be wiped clean. But that’s over! That’s in the past! Batman, Gordon and Dent cleaned the streets of Gotham, and now it’s a much better place. The only problems, the only criminals in Gotham, are the ones Bane brought there. Is he some type of moron!?

So Kyle was arrested for the Congressman’s kidnapping, but I don’t quite understand. He seemed like a willing participant. I mean up until the point he got shot. He probably didn’t know he was being used as insurance, but that just makes her a con-artist, not a kidnapper, and I don’t think that’s illegal in and of itself. In order for conning to be illegal, wouldn’t it have to involve stealing?

Anyway, she’s brought to Blackgate, a men’s prison mind, because the Dent Act allows non-segregation. Apparently it’s too easy to break out of woman’s prison… Why?

Bane somehow arrives back at Gotham pretty damn quickly and he holds the Board of Wayne Enterprises hostage. As part of his demands he pulls Freeman, Tate and one other board member into the tunnels, straight to the Fusion Reactor. They are forced to turn it on, and unsurprisingly, we see Doctor Pavel, who’s told to get to work.

Gordon is informed of the situation, and demands every available cop go down and smoke him out. Foley apologizes for not believing the Commissioner. Yeah, maybe you should listen to the veteran police officer and your boss.

Blake has a different assignment, to follow-up on the Daggett leads. It appears his construction company has been pouring concrete in strategically placed locations across the city. He visits one of the sites, and recognizes one of the workers from the Stock Exchange hit. He was in a truck, blocking the street, and preventing cops from getting in. He realizes there’s a connection, and as one of the workers attacks him, he ends up inadvertently killing both of them. When he notices this, he throws his gun away in disgust.

Blake checks out the area around him and notices the materials they’re using don’t really match up with simple concrete. It’s concrete, laced with explosives, and it’s all over the city. If those are set off, there’s a good chance the tunnel entrances would collapse. The tunnels currently filled with every cop in the city.

Meanwhile, a big football game is taking place. Even the mayor is in attendance. And as kickoff begins, Bane presses a single button, and hundreds of explosions go off across the city. The tunnel entrances collapse, the football field caves into the garage below, the mayor’s private box get’s incinerated, and all but one of the bridges collapse.

Bane enters the stadium and announces that he’s staging a revolution. He plans to lock down the city, using the fusion reactor that was recently converted into a bomb, as leverage. He wants to give control of this city back to the people. What he means by that isn’t exactly clear.

Wait… How did the ref die?

The last remaining bridge is used to transport supplies. But no individual is allowed to cross. Bane’s men use the military to enforce the quarantine, under threat of nuclear bomb!

Blake goes to rescue Gordon from Bane’s thugs, and they decide to hide in Blake’s apartment, until Gordon can address the citizens of Gotham.

The next morning Bane arrives at Blackgate Prison, where thousands of criminals are incarcerated, mostly under the Dent Act. He reads the speech he stole from Gordon, explaining who Harvey really was, Two-Face; and that Batman was innocent. Ruining Gordon’s reputation.

This is enough to allow Bane to stage a breakout. Releasing all the criminals from Blackgate, and letting them roam the streets.

He forms an army to pull the rich and powerful from their homes, and forms kangaroo courts to try them for… something.

He basically turns Gotham into an anarchist utopia as the city cops are trapped in the tunnels below. Crazy fuck!

He ends his speech by saying this city will survive. But what no one knows is that he’s lying through his muzzle. You see, since they removed the core from the reactor, the fuel started to decay. In five months, the bomb will detonate, regardless of whether someone pulled the trigger.

So, this is… interesting. But what about Batman? Well, he’s still in the Pit, with a broken back. He’s told stories about Bane. How the prison’s doctor once treated Bane after he was torn apart by the other inmates. But it turns out he’s a shit doctor, because the work left Bane in perpetual agony, and the mask holds the pain at bay, whatever that means.

Again, how does he eat?

There’s also the story of a mercenary who fell in love with a warlord’s daughter. But the warlord wasn’t happy about that, so he had the mercenary sent to the Pit. But eventually, changed his mind and exiled the man instead. Why? Because his lover decided to take his place.

Well, that’s… odd. Actually, it makes no sense. Assuming the warlord did it because he loved his daughter and thought the mercenary wasn’t good enough for her, why did he have her sent to the Pit? Unless he didn’t love her, in which case, why did he want to have the mercenary thrown down there. What’s with the hoopla!?

Anyway, turns out she was pregnant when she was sent down. The child was born, and one day, it’s mother was killed. But one of the prisoners took it upon himself to act as the child’s protector. He did a bang up job by the way. Especially since the child managed to escape.

So Bruce is recovering from his broken back. Being held in the air by a rope around his chest. I guess it allows his spine to straighten. Then he starts to hallucinate. Ra’s Al Ghul comes to him, and Bruce realizes: The mercenary in the story was Ra’s, and Bane is his son.

Back in Gotham, stuff happens. People are getting by… for the most part.

Batman’s back recovers and he goes back to training, apparently he even regains the use of both knees, without the bionic accessory. Yeah, given the speech his doctor gave earlier, about him not having any cartilage in his knees, I’m gonna call bullshit on that.

Eventually, he tries to make the climb out of the Pit, as many have before him. But he fails, and falls to his death, till the rope catches him.

You know, that’s the odd thing. At that speed, without a decelerator, the rope should have bisected him.

The realism in this movie seems to have gone walkabout.

Back in Gotham, some Special Forces guys arrive in the city. They determine the bomb is on a moving truck with a led-lined roof, backed with two decoys. Then, they are told about the fact that the bomb is a time bomb. They only have 23 days until it goes off. They’re about to inform their superiors, when they are gunned down by Bane’s men.

As the last man is dying, he looks up at Bane and they have a bit of a conversation, where Bane refers to him as ‘Captain,’ before suffocating him. How did he know the man was a Captain? Curious…

Bruce continues to train to make the jump out of the Pit, but the doctor tells him he fell because of fear. He says he’s not afraid, he’s angry. But after another failed attempt, the doctor tells him that he had it backward. It’s not having fear that caused him to fall, it’s the lack thereof. Since he doesn’t fear death, he fell. The fear of death would have pushed him to the limits of his abilities. The doctor suggests one more attempt. This time, without the rope. Fear of death will save him, and he’ll make that final jump.

Bruce climbs out, shocking the hell out of the one man who kept telling him it was impossible, and he returns to Gotham.

By the way, remember when I mentioned the kangaroo court? Well as Owen Harper is dragged before it, we see the Honourable Douche Scarecrow presiding, played by Cillian Murphy, another Inception alum (that’s five). He was also in the last two films, and is the only villain that has appeared in all three films. The only thing that upsets me about his appearance here, is his lack of a Scarecrow mask, and Fear Gas. Here he’s just Johnathan Crane: asshole.

He offers Owen two options: Death or Exile. He chooses exile. Natch.

Now I know what you’re thinking. I thought Bane didn’t want anyone to leave. Well, it seems their method of exile is to cross the icy river, which could easily fall beneath their feet. Owen falls under the water and dies.

We come to the day before detonation. Gordon is trying to come up with a plan. In the interim, they’re looking to deal with the smaller problems. Which include determining where the bomb is. As his men come together, one of them is missing. His number two: Foley.

Gordon makes a bold move, going out in the streets and demanding he join them. But Foley says it’s too risky, since cops are being targeted, and they need to keep their heads down until the feds fix things. Gordon says he’s not asking the man to walk down Grand Avenue in his Dress Blues, but he has to do something. Turns out Foley’s skeptical of the time bomb story, and is hoping that they can make it to another day.

Tate then appears on the scene, with Blake, and offers to help any way she can. Gordon reluctantly accepts.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, Kyle takes down some thugs who are harassing a young child who stole an apple. Obviously he was desperate for food, the whole city is. Kyle knows that. She gives him the apple and tells him to run off, when she hears a very familiar voice coming from behind.

Batman’s back my friends. But I have a few questions. First of all, how did he get in? Bane locked down every passage in or out. Is there a secret tunnel from Wayne Manor? Possibly. But if that’s the case, maybe he could use it to evacuate a few citizens. Also, he was already on the outside, and he already knew it was a time bomb. So why didn’t he get in touch with the military, and tell them? Because later we see it’s clear they don’t know that.

Bruce asks Kyle for help, explaining that he needs to get to Morgan Freeman, and he needs her to start getting people off the island. In exchange, he offers her a way off, and the Clean Slate.

Okay, here’s another question: Why does he need Freeman? It’s not to get access to his equipment because he was already on the outside, so he also could have easily accessed the Batcave, containing all, or most of his gear. Unless he only kept one Batsuit there, and that was taken by Bane when he was kidnapped.

Back to Gordon. As they find the truck containing the bomb, IDed with Tate’s help, Gordon and his men are quickly surrounded and placed under arrest by some of Bane’s minions. They are brought before Crane, who explains that their guilt has already been established, which is why they only get a sentencing hearing. Guilt of what, exactly? And how was it established? I think they know it’s a farce. There’s no way someone as smart as Crane could possibly lack such self-awareness. Not even someone as crazy as Crane would buy the legitimacy of this ‘court.’

They’re given the same offer as Owen: Death or exile. Of course Gordon has balls. He says they’re not going to go onto the ice willingly. So Crane sentences them to Death… by exile. Cheeky cunt.

Bane asks to see Tate first, before she is executed.

So while all this is happening, Bruce manages to get himself caught, and the thugs happen to drop him off where Freeman and Tate are. They have twelve hours to get the bomb back into the reactor, to stabilize it.

Kyle shows up in her Cat outfit and tells the thugs that Bane wants to see Bruce and Freeman personally.

Ah, I didn’t talk about her outfit yet. She actually fits the role of Catwoman very well. A skin-tight body suit. Domino Mask. High heels, stilettos, and by ‘stiletto’ I mean the type of dagger. And finally, her cat ears.

Now why would a self-respecting burglar wear cat ears? Well, if the ears are actually a set of goggles, it might make sense. You see when she’s not wearing her goggles over her eyes, they stay above her head. The arms up, the lenses facing down. So they look like a set of cat ears. Nerds everywhere applaud. But I don’t know exactly why they’re stored like that. There doesn’t appear to be any specific function to that position. Though, perhaps she just liked the look. But where did she get them anyway? They don’t look like something you’d buy in any spy store.

So Kyle takes down Bane’s thugs, and Bruce and Freeman make their getaway. They arrive in the Warehouse, and get their most crucial supplies. Freeman explains that he can block the signal from the remote trigger, but he’ll need some supplies from the Bat. Oh, that’s great, he last left it in the Batcave… Okay, no, it’s on the roof of a building. Convenient.

Later that night, Gordon and the other cops are being exilecuted. As Gordon is crossing the ice, he sees a road flare lying there, as their exilecutioners are taken down with Battranqdarts. Gordon lights the flare and throws the thing into a small puddle. I’m not sure why.

The puddle lights up, and a trail of flame runs across the ice, up the nearby bridge, and at the top of the tower, a fiery Batsignal lights up the sky. You know, one would think he’d try for some subtly, considering Bane has his finger on the button.

Bane sees the signal, and can hardly believe it.

Batman gives Gordon a simple device, and tells him to get it on the bomb by sunrise, so the trigger won’t work. Because it’s likely they’ll try to set it off, once the war starts.

Meanwhile, Blake tries to break his comrades out of the tunnels. But he fails when Teal’c arrives on the scene, and shoots Blake’s former partner. He then drops a grenade down the manhole cover, likely killing a few cops. Blake is thrown down a pile of rubble, and about to be executed by Teal’c. When suddenly, Batman arrives, and they efficiently take down the thugs.

Batman suggests he wear a mask if he decides to work alone. Saying it’s not for him, it’s to protect those close to him.

But of course, they still need to get the cops out. Batman pulls out the Bat, and shoots a giant hole in the rubble. Allowing the police to escape. You know, after five months down there, I expect they’re pretty ripe.

But showers will need to wait. It’s time for war, and now they have an army.

He tells Blake to get as many across the bridge as he can, and gives Kyle the Batpod so she can blow a hole in one of the tunnel blockades, so they can begin exodus.

If they mess up, they need to save as many lives as they can.

Kyle tries to convince Batman to come with her. But he’s not done yet.

Then, on Grand Avenue, an army of Police officers stand, ready to fight, and in the middle of all of them, stands Deputy Commissioner Foley, in his Dress Blues. Hell yes! They approach city hall, and are about to be fired upon by one of the annexed Batmobiles, when Batman arrives, in the Bat, destroying the Batmobiles, and giving the cops a fighting chance. Several are gunned down, but they don’t stop running. In the middle of the scuffle, thugs against cops, Batman stands in the middle, and takes on Bane once again.

Meanwhile Gordon goes after the truck with the bomb. They manage to stop the truck and get aboard… to find it empty. But didn’t Miranda say this was the truck? How’s that possible!? But they still have two more to check.

Batman and Bane are still fighting, and we see the Bat damage Bane’s mask, dislodging some of the pipes. He feels the effects immediately. Begins losing stability and concentration. They still keep fighting, but Bane tries to fix his mask between punches.

They eventually fight into City Hall, with Batman demanding to know where the trigger is. He takes down the thug guarding Tate, who he tells to watch the doors. Batman keeps on damaging the mask, making it harder for Bane to do… anything. Apparently he’s quite dependant on it. So, again: How does he eat?

It’s also worth noting that this is a sharp contrast to Two-Face, who was supposed to be in constant pain, but was still able to go on his coin-toss revenge-spree. So either Gordon lied, or Bane is a pussy.

Anyway, Bane is confused. How could Batman have escaped, after his spirit was broken so badly? Of course Batman is incensed. Bane has the gall to think he’s the only one who could learn to escape!? But Bane reveals, he didn’t escape. Turns out he wasn’t the child of Ra’s Al Ghul, it was actually Talia Al Ghul, a.k.a. Miranda Tate, who stabs Batman from behind. Both literally and figuratively.

Turns out Bane was actually her protector. The one who saved her after her mother died. Which actually makes sense. Because here’s what Batman knew/thought before then. He knew Bane was torn apart by the prisoners, and the Doctor’s work left him in constant agony. But Batman presumed that Bane also escaped as a child. Now, that makes no sense. If he was torn apart as a child, then he would have been in too much pain to do anything, much less make the climb. I doubt he was able to get that mask down there. If it happened after he got out, then… well we know that didn’t happen because he was already out of the Pit. The timeline would make no sense.

Was Batman really that stupid, he didn’t notice this gaping plot hole!?

So after Talia got out, she found Ra’s and they got Bane out, and trained them. But Bane’s existence only reminded Ra’s of his failure. He was excommunicated for this reason only.

Meanwhile, Gordon’s men get one of the trucks to slow down long enough for the Commissioner to board it. He finds the bomb, and manages to get the jammer on it.

Good timing, since it’s at this moment Talia, who was also the trigger-man, tries to set the device off.

At the bridge, Blake tries to get as many people across as possible. But is stopped by the police. Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone who was on the outside told them what was really going on before reentering the city? Because you see, they don’t know that the bomb will go off regardless. It would help Blake immensely if they did.

The guards try to stop them, but eventually notice he’s not going to give up. So they blow the bridge. Causing a large chuck of it to fall into the river, and Blake to curse them out. He then tells all the kids from the orphanage to go back on the bus, to protect them from the blast.

The priest who runs the orphanage mentions that Blake is full of shit. Yeah, the kids don’t need to know that you moron. If they’re fucked anyway, false hope is better than no hope.

You know, this is interesting. Earlier in the film Bane explains his philosophy. That you welcome death, you don’t fear it; and hope causes despair. But it’s the fear of death that allows Bruce to escape, and here, we see Blake give the children hope to cling to. This is the exact opposite of Bane’s twisted worldview.

So when it doesn’t go off, Talia decides to personally go after the device, guarding it until it finally detonates. She gives Bane orders not to kill him. But after she leaves. He ignores her and tries to kill him anyway. But at the last millisecond, he’s saved by an incoming Cat. As Kyle shoots Bane with the Batpod’s cannons. Where the fuck was she!?

Talia manages to get into the moving truck, as Gordon tosses and turns in the rear compartment.

So Kyle and Batman go after it as well. Kyle on the Batpod, and Batman from The Bat.

A chase through the city occurs, and I think I need to say it again, the Batpod is a fucking awesome machine! I want one!

At one point during the chase, Batman is trying to out fly a set of missiles. He gets some of them to impact on buildings and such, and the final one, he directs to the very machine that fired it. One of the desert Batmobiles that Bane annexed. It’s pretty cool.

Eventually, they get the truck to crash, and somehow, Gordon didn’t get crushed in the process.

Kyle, Gordon and Batman spot Talia in the driver’s seat, which she took over once the driver died. By the way, where did he go? Whatever. She explains that she activated a remote override of the reactor, triggering the emergency flood, foiling their plans to stabilize it.

But Batman comes up with a new plan: tow the bomb on the Bat, and bring it out to sea. Kyle presumes he’s going to eject, but Batman explains there’s no autopilot. She gives him a goodbye kiss.

Now it’s Gordon’s turn. No, he doesn’t kiss Batman, as awesome as that would be, he simply asks him who he really is. Not that he personally cares, but because the people deserve to know the hero who saved them.

But Batman simply says, “A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know the world hasn’t ended.”

You see, that’s exactly what Gordon did to Bruce, as the young man sat in the police station after his parents died. He quickly catches on. So who doesn’t know Batman’s identity now? I got no one.

Bruce flies away, far out to sea, as the bomb ticks off the final seconds.

All of Bruce/Batman’s closest friends mourn him on the grounds of Wayne Manor. Gordon gives the eulogy. We also see Blake, Morgan Freeman, and even Alfred makes his return, with tears in his eyes. He apologizes to the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Since he failed to keep their son alive. He appears extremely broken up about it. I can’t say I blame him. Not that it was really his fault.

As they’re leaving the funeral Gordon tries to convince Blake to return to the force. Apparently he quit, mostly upset that no one would know who saved them.

“They know exactly who it was,” says Gordon. “It was the Batman.”

At city hall a bronze statue is erected to honour the Batman. The stoic face a permanent symbol. No one will ever forget him, that’s for certain.

Now, Bruce’s will still needs to be dealt with. The house and grounds are left to the Gotham City, to convert into an orphanage, on the condition that they never be altered or demolished.

Smaller issues also have to be dealt with, and it appears that Bruce also left something to Blake. He gives the clerk his full, legal name. Legal name? What?

The clerk comments that she likes that name, he should use it instead: Robin. Wait…

WHAT!?

GAH!!!

This entire time we had a Robin!? And no one told us!? GODDAMMIT!!!

You know, if you were only exposed to Batman through the first series, you might be forgiven for not knowing that Batman without Robin is kinda like Mario without Luigi. It really doesn’t feel right, and Luigi’s my favourite character.

You see, for the comic books, Robin was there since the beginning. He actually made his debut only a year after Batman did. These two were sorta joined at the hip. I’m also pretty sure the pre-Robin Batman was also the pro-killing Batman.

But obviously it could be done, Batman without Robin. I would have just like to see the two together.

But I guess we already had that. Even if Blake never wore the mask and the tights, he still played like Batman’s assistant. He already was Robin.

So it appears that Bruce left Blake a backpack. Interesting. Within, we see a GPS device and a sheet of paper with a set of coordinates.

Meanwhile, Morgan Freeman has his guys look over the Bat. Asking them what could have been done to fix the autopilot. I guess he wants to know if he could have actually saved Bruce’s life.

But the nerds notice that the autopilot was fixed, six months ago. Some type of software patch by… Bruce Wayne?

Also of note, the clerks in charge of Bruce’s estate notice a set of pearls, the ones Kyle stole at the beginning of the film, well, they appear to be missing.

At the MCU, Gordon stands on the roof of the building. He notices something. The old Batsignal… it’s been fixed.

Alfred is back at that old Italian Cafe. Across the tables, he sees an old friend. Bruce is alive, and apparently dating Selina Kyle. He’s happy, and content.

So Bruce faked his death huh? Well he didn’t do a very good job of it since everyone now knows.

Blake follows the coordinates to a waterfall. He swings through it, and finds himself below Wayne Manor, in a Batcave… The Batcave!

With that, the film ends with us finally getting a title. The Dark Knight Rises… creative.

So… What happens now? Does Blake take over the Batman mantle? Or does he create one of his own? Is he going to become Robin? Nightwing? What about Gordon? And Freeman!? Then there’s those pearls, what happened to them? Because I didn’t see Kyle wearing them. Or Bruce, though they would look good on him. How about Alfred, is he just going to retire in Florance now? Damn you ask a lot of questions!

All in all, it’s a good film, but the problem with Dark Knight Rises is this: It’s not as fun as Dark Knight. Bane is uninteresting. Talia is uninteresting. The only interesting characters we get out of this film are Catwoman and Robin. But even then, just barely. They develop, but they’re not fun in any way. Even Batman himself we find at his most boring, spending most of the film whining about his bad back.

The lockdown of Gotham City just sort of happens, and seems so roundabout. I don’t understand why they decided to let Gotham keep going on if they just wanted to blow up the city.

We also have the numerous plot holes I’ve mentioned.

Then we get the ending, wrapping most of the loose ends, while still keeping the door open for a sequel or two, which I would love to see. There are plenty of villains Batman could still face. Bring the Riddler back, he could work so well as a Nolan Batman villain, and no matter what, would certainly be more interesting than Bane.

In fact that’s my biggest complaint about this film, they ended up featuring two of the franchise’s blandest villains. Back before the film was released, there was a lot of speculation. So much that fans started creating posters of what they wanted to see. Such as David Tennant playing the Riddler, and Kristen Bell as Harley Quinn.

The Tenth RiddlerInsert Flatland: The Movie joke

Wouldn’t that have been awesome? But what do we get instead? A brick wall and a piece of driftwood with breasts.

I would have loved to see anyone else take over these roles. But since Two-Face and the Joker are out, our options are limited. But I’ll give it a shot: Hugh Laurie as Mr. Freeze. Some may say this character is too fantastical for the series, but notice that we already have Fusion reactors and memory cloth. A man who is transformed in a genetic experiment, permanently lowering his body temperature? Not that much further outside the realm of possibility. We’ll say he was working on a serum that would allow soldiers to withstand extremely cold temperatures. But since he couldn’t get it approved for human testing, he tested it on himself, unfortunately it worked too well.

It would actually be kinda nice for Nolan to take a different perspective. Instead of dealing with characters who are simply insane or out for vengeance. Try a character who’s desperate and passionate. A scientist who wants to cure his own illness, and perfect his formula. And research ain’t cheap.

But the cryo-suit being powered by diamonds? Ridiculous. Don’t do that.

Unfortunately, word is, neither Nolan nor Bale have any desire to return to the Batman mythos. I hope, one day, they change their minds on that. Because if you’re going to end this franchise, it should be on a bang, not a whimper.

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