As Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy comes to a close we present the five things we’ve been thinking about since the end of TDKR… it’s pretty spoiler heavy so if you haven’t seen the film steer clear until you have.
What part, if any, would the Joker have played in the film?
The devastating loss of Heath Ledger rocked the entertainment world and real world alike back in 2008. Although he had wrapped his part on Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight (released later that year), the tragedy of his death robbed Hollywood of one of its rising stars. Providing a memorising performance as the Joker, Ledger created a legacy that is neatly respected in The Dark Knight Rises. Whilst this avoidance means that his character is left untouched we couldn’t help but wonder what part Ledger’s Joker would have played if he had not passed away so sadly.
Rumours were rife that someone would take up his mantle in the final Nolan Batman instalment but it soon became clear that no-one had (confirmed upon the film’s release). Whilst Nolan has said that he didn’t want Harvey Dent to appear in the final instalment (the character falling to his death at the end of the second film), the fate of the Joker wasn’t made quite so clear when the credits rolled on The Dark Knight.
Liam Neeson‘s Ra’s Al Ghul and Cillian Murphy‘s Scarecrow both appear in TDKR (as a vision and as the face of the law respectively) but it’s hard to know where the Joker would have fitted. Could he have taken the place of Scarecrow as Gotham’s judge? The role seems fitting but constrained. With a character as bombastic as the Joker its hard to find screen time for any other threat. Had the Joker appeared in this instalment the threat posed by Bane may have been diluted.
Why did Bruce Wayne become such a recluse?
Eight years have passed since the ending of TDK. Laws have been passed in Harvey Dent’s name and the crime rate in Gotham has relaxed as a result. Whilst on hiatu,s Batman’s alter ego Bruce Wayne mourns the loss of the love of his life Rachel Dawes in the newly constructed Wayne Manor. Limping through the shadows, he rejects all forms of social contact (bar Alfred who he soon shuns too).
Though the loss of Rachel must have been devastating, Bruce’s reactive detachment and subsequent abandonment of reality smacks a bit hard to believe. Though he had clearly become attached to the pursuits of Batman and the hope he offered Gotham he seems unable to realise that his actions have led to what he dreamed of – a safer city.
While we’re thinking about Bruce, we’re also struck by the incredible recovery time his body exhibits. Overcoming years worth of agony in a simple trip to the doctors, he then recovers from a nigh-fatal back injury without the help of doctors. Wayne Enterprises should tap his DNA and remake the millions Lucius Fox haphazardly lost.
Why did everyone know Batman’s identity except Gordon?
After years of secrecy by the end of TDKR it seemed as if everybody and his dog knew the identity of Batman. Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s character Blake visits Bruce with the outright intention of confronting him about the whereabouts of Batman. His explanation as to how he deduced Batman’s identity seems rather convenient… and makes us wonder why others didn’t put two and two together before the film’s final act.
Commissioner Gordon’s reaction seems unbelievingly stunned (his comic counterpart in Frank Miller‘s Year One seems to deduce the connection almost instantaneously) whilst Marion Cotillard‘s ‘Marion’ (with whom Bruce shares a hurried relationship) seems to know just because her estranged father knew – who knew that families shared telepathic connections in the Batman universe?
Will there be a Robin film?
The ending of TDKR offers the most tantalising food for thought. Whilst the previous two entries above are basically us just nitpicking, ROBIN (collective gasp from the audience) John Blake’s discovery of the Batcave not only provides some hope for those who love Nolan’s Batman universe, but also justifies varied rumours that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be appearing as Batman’s long-standing sidekick Robin.
Whilst seeming to be an impossible character to bring to the darker reality of this Batman trilogy, the ending, mixes with Blake’s character (a character who stands for justice) in such a way that it just about seems plausible. Will they do it? It’s hard to say. Whilst nolan has said this will be the last entry in his Batman canon that’s not to say he wont reappear with a Robin film.
Though this may undermine the work he’s produced in this trilogy it just could work. Although Robin’s dynamic works as part of a duo he could carry the mantle. Could he battle an incarnation of the Riddler on his own? Could Nolan (or his own successor) bring the Penguin into this Gotham?
Did Batman really survive?
Whilst the answer seems to be an invariable yes, some have pointed out that the ending of TDKR could, in fact, be seen as being as ambiguous as that of fellow Nolan outing Inception. Let’s take a look at a couple of facts…
- Lucious Fox is told that the auto pilot was fixed by Bruce, meaning that he could have easily jettisoned from the Bat before it exploded (much like Iron Man escaped the explosive end of Avengers Assemble).
- Alfred sees both Bruce and Selina Kyle as he suggested he hoped to whilst holidaying. The pair could have used the USB stick Batman offers Kyle as a means of escaping their lives and starting a new one.
- There’s an actual tombstone in the grounds of Wayne Manor. That’s quite final.
- Batman was pretty injured. To escape the Bat with only light injuries would take a miracle.
- Alfred may have been dreaming. This idea is supported by the fact that the scenario is hugely reminiscent of the scene shown when he describes to Bruce that he wished Bruce would disappear. Could wishful thinking really be the end of one of the biggest trilogies ever?
In the end the thing that matters is that Batman’s legacy continues – whether Bruce lived or died Batman survives, testament to Nolan’s fantastic trilogy.
Got any thoughts to share? Let us know below!