The Dark Knight Rises Themes and Thoughts

The Dark Knight Rises Themes and Thoughts

My Thoughts Concerning the Themes in The Dark Knight Rises

First, this third Batman film is a planned conclusion that is a part of a trilogy. With that comes a simple rule that is prominent in trilogies: the third film mirrors aspects of the first. In a way the third film in a trilogy is a redefined version of the first film. Without exhausting myself with extensive commentary on trilogies, I suggest the reader reflect over the similarities between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as a prime example of this trilogy rule.

If The Dark Knight Rises mirrors Batman Begins then we should look at some of the prominent aspects of Batman Begins and see how they can be redefined or re-explored in The Dark Knight Rises. Batman Begins is about redemption and the emergence of goodness; about “bringing things into harmony.” Bruce Wayne rises from his unfortunate and sad state to his potential as Batman; creating a perona- a symbol- that can save his city. The moment he defeats Ra’s al Ghul at the end of the film is the moment he redeems himself from the guilt of his childhood. Now, the much larger task of redeeming his city becomes his primary focus.

In The Dark Knight Rises we will most likely see this come to pass which could mean a temporary end to the Batman persona. In The Dark Knight, we come to realize that Gotham City cannot be saved by Batman alone, Gotham has to rise on its own much like a child must learn to ride a bicycle on their own (even if the parent is helping; they must learn to rely on their own two legs). That’s why Bruce put so much faith into Harvey Dent because the city had to find a way to heal itself.

Gotham City won’t be a perfect city by the end of The Dark Knight Rises but it will definitely be the strongest it has been since the glory days of Thomas Wayne.

I think we will see Gotham City starting to repair itself and it will start by ridding itself of Batman, the hero that’s not needed but deserved. I think this is where the character Bane comes in. I believe he will be used to flush out the Batman; to bring him out of darkness and have him emerge into the public light. I’m thinking possibly that Gotham City will be rooting for the Batman task force, and by extension, Bane. This would mean to Gotham City that Batman is the villain, even though we, the audience, know that he is the hero. That is why I believe that by film’s end, Bruce may temporarily destroy his Batman persona so Gotham City can move on. I know it sounds crazy but it’s a theory.
I also believe (this is more of a fanboy wish than theory) that Catwoman will also represent redemption but for someone else. Looking at her character’s history and M.O., I believe she will be working to restore her family name which may have ties to Falcone, Maroni, or some other prominent crime family within Gotham City. She could very well be the mob’s very own vigilante. Not necessarily a villain to Batman but, rather an anti-hero trying to restore the once reputable name of her family.

This Catwoman theory could work seeing as Bruce Wayne set about to redeem himself and to be worthy of his father’s name and heroism which were shown in Batman Begins.

This is just to get the theorizing beginning. There are many more aspects of Batman Begins to explore here and within The Dark Knight Rises. I just wanted to focus on what I saw as the most prominent.

Feel free to discuss your theories and parallels because we have until July 20, 2012 before we’ll know for sure.
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Orphix - 1/31/2011, 5:30 AM
Great analysis of the next Batman film. And I totally agree with you about Bane. I feel he will replace the void left by Batman as he is on the run.

And then we will see him 'rise from the ashes' so to speak.
FrankGarret - 1/31/2011, 6:28 AM

Dude. Wall of text.

Good article, none the less. Also, I had the same idea about Catwoman. Glad to see someone thinks the same.
Marxman12 - 1/31/2011, 6:40 AM
@FrankGarret Sorry about the block-O-text. I tried to embed an image but I guess it didn't upload.
Orphix - 1/31/2011, 6:56 AM
Also one of the main themes of Batman Begins was fear - down to it's use as well as how it affected specific characters.

I wonder if they will introduce this element into the third instalment?
Marxman12 - 1/31/2011, 7:31 AM
@Orphix That's a good point about fear. If fear or overcoming fear is not a theme perhaps the opposite of fear will be? What is the opposite of fear? Hope? Courage?
AlexdoxA - 1/31/2011, 10:23 AM
Great article... I am not yet sold on the villains though, but I have a great deal of faith in Nolan. Plus, Bale's performance has also been very solid throughout the films.
Rubbers - 1/31/2011, 5:33 PM
TDKR has got to be loosely based on Knight Fall. Bane defeats Batman which leaves his temporarily disable. A psuedo Batman takes his place by using, or perhaps stealing a new prototype Batsuit that's robotically enhanced. He becomes arrogant, egotistical, a problem, a vigilante. While Bw is heating it up with Anne sexything Hatheway, he secretly works on a new Bat suit that aids whatever disability he suffered from his loss to Bane, which makes him stronger, faster. He uses that suit to defeat either Bane or the false batman, who get blamed for Two-Faces crimes, AND WITH THAT, the dark knight rises.
x2SMONEY - 1/31/2011, 5:56 PM
Why do so many people want Batman to be broken in this next movie. Just because it was in Knightfall doesn't mean it'll be in TDKR
Knightstalker - 1/31/2011, 7:11 PM
Marxman, don't take any heat for your "wall of text". It was a good read and if anyone can't get through your brief article, then I question what they would do if someone handed them an actual book. We all remember books don't we?
WireySpindell - 1/31/2011, 9:41 PM
i think that pretty much sums it up. I don't think there'll be another Batman though, I think defeating Bane will be the climax.
FrankGarret - 2/1/2011, 12:29 AM
Why yes, I do remember books. Nice thing about them is that they're broken down into paragraphs that you can read without getting a migraine.

Orphix - 2/1/2011, 1:25 AM
Though I am sure there will be major ideas taken from Knightfall (the clue is in the title: Knightfall -> The Dark Knight Rises) but I don't thing just technology will defeat Bane.

I wonder if Bane will be almost a government sponsored 'Batman' or created by the crime syndicates that still exist after the joker as a direct antidote to Batman.

Afterall this will be the last instalment - there needs to be a 'complete' resolution. Batman needs to have solved all his main problems both physically and emotionally by the end of this film. Gotham should be in a place where they don't need a batman anymore.

I wonder if he will retire or might even die (making the ultimate sacrifice) so that Gordon can be left to protect the city.
CircadianHour - 2/1/2011, 6:34 AM
I posted something similar on my blog the day after Hardy and Hathaway were announced for Bane and Catwoman. If anyone is interested in reading, it is a fairly in-depth look at the importance that certain themes have carried in the Nolan Batman films, and I give my prediction of what Rises will look like.
nocoolname - 2/1/2011, 11:11 AM
I posted my thoughts on the villains/plot on another thread, for those who would like to read:

Good point on coming full circle with the themes. I think it is important to note that THIS is what makes Nolan's Batman films so enjoyable. I know we'd all love to see heavy Knightfall or Prey influence on TDKR, but I think we have to accept that Nolan will use these only as inspiration for characters, and not necessarily his story. Nolan will thematically (and dramatically) bring a suiting end to his trilogy.
Supes17 - 2/1/2011, 2:48 PM
“We’re going to try, man. Our goal is to shoot as much in IMAX as we can. We’re going to put in on the screen, and put it on the screen big. And I really encourage everyone to see it in IMAX if they can because we’re really going for it this time. In terms of the action, we are all scratching our heads right now trying to figure out how we’re going to do it; how we’re going to do it in the amount of time we’re going to do it in. The opening scene of the movie will blow your mind.”

Read more:
Jer3miah - 2/1/2011, 11:53 PM
I agree wit' everything bein' possible besides the Catwoman thing. In case everyone is still retainin' memory loss or plain fanboy assumption, the casting said "Selina Kyle", NOT Catwoman. So why is everyone jumpin' the gun, still? I can't see a woman in the midst of all this on fightin' terms wit' Batman. I can only see Nolan usin' her as a complicated love interest. I mean, my views ain't in solid, but I'ma hold my ground until proven otherwise.
FrankGarret - 2/2/2011, 7:57 AM
Selina Kyle has always been Catwoman, she didn't start out as Selina Kyle and become Catwoman later on. She was The Cat in her first appearance and Catwoman by her second, but the name Selina Kyle didn't come up until years later.

Expecting Selina Kyle not to be Catwoman is like expecting Jim Gordon not to be a cop.

There could be a number of reasons why she wasn't explicitly announced as Catwoman, but I doubt its that Nolan has reduced her to a "love interest" when he could have easily picked any of Bruce's numerous love interests to fulfill that purpose, or made up his own, even.

Would Nolan do it? Maybe, but none of the characters he's used thus far have been altered to such a degree as dropping their alter-ego.
FutureCBMHero - 2/5/2011, 1:36 AM
The question of what his core themes are going to be is what I'm trying to figure out.

1. Fear
2. Chaos/Anarchy/Chance

We can talk about a lot, there could be Totalitarianism/Control (Gotham turns into a Police State authorized by FBI Agent Bane in order to catch Batman), Revenge (followers of Joker, people faithful to Dent, Mob bosses over loss of power), Desperation, Obsession (both Bruce and Bane) and much more.

The biggest themes that are not talked about much are Corruption and Symbolism. In both films Batman has been using himself as a lasting symbol to fight the lasting corruption in the city. Dent then becomes symbol for progress. So I would imagine that both of these will be present in the next film as well.

AmishKnight - 2/12/2011, 3:13 PM
The theme of the third movie is simple: Harvey is remembered as a marter, and Batman must be found. He may try to stop a criminal or two (including The Cat..who will probably need a rescue since some will mistake her for a bat), but he will realize that most of Gotham hates him...and he won't fight them all to stop a he will lay low until Bane finds a way to face him. By the end of the movie the people will be greatful for Batman, the cops will still think they're on his trail (Gordon will send them the wrong way), and the newly rebuilt syndicate will continue to give Wayne a purpose. Hugo would be too similar to Scarecrow to be in the film unless he's only stalking Batman as criminal profiler, rather than a villain...but I think Bane can handle that role on his own.

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