Article Title
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The Dark Knight Puzzles

by Mike Anton

So I finally joined the rest of humanity and saw The Dark Knight Rises, the thrilling conclusion to the Nolan/Bale Batman collabo. And while it was gorgeous and large and epic and full of ominous music that put me in a constant state of unease for nearly three hours, I left feeling that while the story had been closed, there were a number of questions that lingered after I left the theater. Considering nearly every other conscious 15-30 year old American has seen this movie, and that's almost exactly our audience (hello, advertisers!) I figured I'd come to you guys with my questions and see if I can get some pertinent answers.

 

Spoilers ahead. Cause Christ, obviously.

 

- So Bane's in his mid-50s, at the very least? The dude is bigger than two mid-aughts Barry Bonds put together and is roughly the same age as my dad. For visual aid, this is my dad, seen here in his traditional holiday deep V-Neck shirt and hat:

Notice how much he resembles a man in his mid-50s. Now think of Bane, who is a big, hulking monster in camo pants who can break armored dudes over his leg like it ain't no thang, who can simply one arm himself against the force of gravity as a plane falls beneath him, who snaps people's necks as easily as Peggy Olson pulls apart Popsicles. Does it seem like they could have gone to high school together?

- Seems like Bane has everything going for him, being the world's fittest AARP member and all, but why is his self-esteem so low? He goes around telling everyone this lie about how he was a baby born in the Pit and then he escaped, but that's actually the story of a nine-year-old girl named Talia. So why does he feel the need to brag about this shit to people that was actually accomplished by a third grader? Is it because he got sick and the only doctor in the Pit was Edward Scissorhands who tried to give Bane a tissue for his sniffles which led to him getting hopped up on a never-ending supply of steroids for some reason? Is this whole "unstoppable killing machine" just a plea for more affirmation?

- I know where he won't find it: planning takeovers of major metropolitan cities. He's quite good at orchestrating high-altitude captures where planes are slowly stripped away, and taking major investment trading centers by force, but he's really got to leave the whole "giant master plan" shit to someone else, cause, man:

Why did he leave Lucius Fox, the only person in Gotham who has any idea of the megaton detonation device, completely unguarded, after murdering the doctor who set it up in cold blood? Why does he not chase after the police commissioner when he breaks out of the hospital when he stands as literally the only force available to thwart him? And when he finally does sort of go after him, why is it three months later? Why does Bane have his semi-nuclear device traveling in one of so many trucks along the same routes over and over again when he and nearly all of his gun-toting buddies are holed up in a large, fortified building where the back is a frozen pond that so easily cracks that it's used as a way to sentence people to die, and the only way to attack it is to literally run straight at it like pigs headed to slaughter? 

- Furthermore, if he believes in this Audacity of Hope for Pain plan, where it's far crueler to let Gothamites sorta struggle to live before being obliterated because sure, yeah, cool, then why does the device have a detonator? Thanks to SCIENCE! the bomb is already a ticking clock, providing ample amount of "woe is me" time for all of Gotham to get grossly underfed until they eat the rich or something, so why even have a back-up plan? And if you do have a back-up plan, why wait until 15 minutes before the bomb goes off anyway to try and execute it?

- Let's get back to that whole "class warfare" thing. It's cool and all that Bane decries how much it costs per prisoner in Gotham's prison systems and lets all of them loose, but, as evidenced by the 20 people come out of their homes at the end looking fit and trim and half-heartedly applaud not dying, it doesn't seem like the middle class gets in on any of this wealth re-distribution. If Bane is a Stalinist, why does he consistently flaunt himself as a Trotskyite? 

- Can you believe that this piece is written by the same guy who defended Prometheus?

- For how long was Talia Al Ghul "Miranda Tate"? Does she actually care about the environment, or was that just a clever ruse to destroy...the...environment...? Was her goal to always fuck over Bruce Wayne? And if so, why did she then fuck Bruce Wayne, quite literally, especially as she knew that he was Batman literally the entire time? Doesn't that seem extraordinarily cold to your dead dad?

- Speaking of which, how does one inherit the League of Shadows? Is there a charter? Do the society-destroying lower rungs of the Earth follow a set of bylaws? Or was it just mutually agreed upon by all the followers of this cult-like group?

- And if she wanted to kill Bruce, couldn't she have just gone into his house, literally knocked over Alfred (who's just a shade older than Bane) and torture him for as long as she so pleased? He was a recluse billionaire who everyone unilaterally left alone. Isn't that the perfect circumstance to exact cold blooded revenge? Which seems like the exact opposite of sex?

- Why wasn't Catwoman in all the films? She was great, wasn't she?

- If Gordon, ace cop, is Commissioner, then why is every big decision set by Matthew Modine's character, Captain Dipshit? Why does Cap'n decide to chase Batman, a recluse who hasn't been seen in nearly a decade, instead of the guy who just shot up the Gotham Trading Floor? Why does he decide to send almost every single police officer on Gotham's force into the sewers without giving any credence to the lessons learned by Chief Wiggum in "Marge vs. The Monorail?" Why does he hide in his house with his family, and why does simply chillin' in an apartment a safe thing when anarchy is apparently running wild in the streets? Is he a part of the completely unaffected middle class?

- Why, when his police force magically appears thanks to no effort of his own, does he send all of them en masse through a narrow corridor directly into men on elevated steps hauling automatic machine guns? Did he only watch the first half of 300? But most importantly, why did Nolan waste upwards of twenty minutes establishing this character that is so worthless that when I called him "Captain Dipshit" only about two of you actually knew what his real name was in a movie that's nearly 180 minutes long?

- And why isn't Gordon all torn up that his whole family skipped town after they were almost murdered by his hand? Can only billionaires afford the opportunity to sulk on screen? Is this another monetary thing that Bane should step in for, or is he too busy telling people “well I was the coolest kid at my old high school, which was, like, the hardest prison EVER” while they nod politely and humor him?

- Shouldn't Bruce Wayne be happier? Yes, yes, the love of his life who looks markedly different over the span of a few years blew up and died in a horrible and gruesome fashion all because of his own inaction. But he accomplished what he wanted as Batman, didn't he? Giving Gotham someone to believe in, a symbol that is beyond mere mortality, and did it not as himself, but through a legitimate crime fighter (in the public's eyes, anyway) in Harvey Dent? And didn't crime essentially stop for eight years? Wasn't that everything that he set out to do? Does Alfred ever attempt to repeat this to him, the same screed that Bruce doled onto him years earlier on Wayne's private jet after evading the League of Shadows the first of many times?

- Why does Wayne publicly dress down civilians who dress up like Batman at the beginning of The Dark Knight only to turn around and bequeath the cape, cowl, and cave to John "Don't Call Me Robin" Blake, who doesn't have anywhere near the training or resourcefulness that Wayne has? Clearly Wayne shouldn't trust the training of being a cop as, if they aren't named "Gordon," they are known to be nothing but meaningless creatures (eg, Captain Dipshit)? 

- Is it solely because Blake was an orphan? Clearly orphans have special powers, especially in deduction, as Blake figured out that Wayne was Batman when he was, like, 10 (roughly the same time that Bane was having his first doctor-ordered colonoscopy), but can they fight crime better, too? Is the secret in the gruel? Is that why orphans constantly want for more?

- And if Blake knew that Wayne was Batman for the better part of a decade and a half, isn't it kind of a dick move to show up as the man's in an eight year stupor to ask for money? Didn't he want to knock and see if he's doing alright? Maybe have Alfred whip up some Tang and those peanut butter and banana sandwiches that Bruce always likes, with the crusts all cut off and stuff, and then play a rousing game of “so how did your parents die?”

- Clearly they're going to spin off "Robin" into another trilogy because this franchise is a god damn ATM on a scale only understood by Bruce Wayne himself. Now that Blake has the Bat Cave, which sits directly under an orphanage, will Robin's power be to wrangle the combined power of these super orphans like some kind of earth-bound Aquaman? And if this isn't the case, and considering how nearly every secret anything Wayne has eventually gets found out, isn't Bruce putting the lives of a crap ton of children at risk in this situation?

- Finally, and most glaringly, how does Bruce Wayne possibly survive the blast from that fusion generator that he built that he had to assume would be used as a weapon eventually because he's fucking Batman and it's a shitty idea to have a possible thermo-nuclear device that could be easily mechanized just laying around? Is Nolan lying to us through the sacred trust of parallel editing by cutting to Bruce clearly flying over the water before the auto pilot kicks in some seconds later before the blast comes seconds after that?

- More importantly, are the same fanboys who shit all over the plausibility of the opening of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull now breathlessly trying to defend the logic here because having a man in a flying hovercraft thing wearing body armor is somehow a more believable a scenario? Are these same people using the excuse, "IT'S JUST A MOVIE?" Would these people feel okay if, instead of the filmed ending, a giant, rainbow-colored flying panda flew into the cockpit, high-fived Bruce, said, "thirty yards of rhubarb!" before throwing Batman on his back and transporting him to a land of candy and sprinkles where middle-aged men wearing Zubaz pants sang church hymns on a high hill whilst tap dancing elephants prepared a feast of VHS tapes dipped in gravy for Bruce to much on forever and ever?

Cause if so, I know what this movie needs more of, other than logical plotting, character-based decision making, and decent editing. 

Can anyone help? Leave your answers in the comments if you'd be ever so kind. Or let them stockpile on my Facebook wall and have the bottom section if this be as barren as Bane's self-worth.

Image courtesy of Digital_Rampage

 

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Mike Anton is the Editor-In-Chief at The Inclusive. Mike writes movie reviews and interview pieces for The Film Stage as well as screenplays, sketches, and the like. He lives in New York City and though he's an avid beard and flannel enthusiast, he does not consider himself a hipster. Contact him at mike.anton[at]theinclusive.net or @mpants