PART 2: DARK KNIGHT RISES - Did Christopher Nolan Get it Right?

PART 2: DARK KNIGHT RISES - Did Christopher Nolan Get it Right?

In the second installment of his three-part in depth analysis of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, writer Vic Frederick shifts focuses on how the characters of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's John Blake and Anne Hathaway's Catwoman were utilized.

by Vic Frederick.

Elementary, my dear Batman

Besides “The Batman,” Bruce Wayne’s alter ego has been given many names. “The Dark Knight” and “The Caped Crusader” are common examples, but one that is lost in the shuffle of Christopher Nolan’s films is perhaps the most important name of all: “The World’s Greatest Detective.” Batman is known throughout the DC Comic universe for always being ten steps ahead of the crowd and having a contingency plan for every possible (and even impossible) situation that he may or may not encounter. This perhaps is best portrayed in the famous story arc Tower of Babel (2000), in which Batman makes a contingency plan for each member of the JLA (Justice League of America) on the off chance that one of them would ever get out of control. His brilliant mind is unsurpassed by any other character, and yet the Batman we see in the Dark Knight Trilogy is being outsmarted all the time.


Portraying Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) as the man that trained Bruce Wayne was a new and fascinating approach, given the facts that Ra’s had never been portrayed in film before and it offered a plausible explanation for Bruce’s abilities. In the origins of the comic character, however, Ra’s did not train Bruce, but rather respected him as a worthy adversary and possible successor to his throne. The relationship is paralleled well in the film, but has one large flaw. In all other depictions, Ra’s al Ghul’s exclusive way of addressing Batman is by calling him “Detective,” as he respects Batman’s superior sense of deduction and wit. This is lost in Nolan’s universe not only in Neeson’s character, but in Batman himself.

In the first film (Begins), we get to see Batman use his infamous interrogation skills as he hung a crooked cop up by his ankle five stories above the ground and scared him into talking. We see it again in The Dark Knight when he drops a mob boss far enough to break his leg, but not far enough to kill him. What we don’t see, however, is Bruce Wayne huddled over a table of forensic science equipment in the Batcave or doing undercover investigation from the rooftops. Batman’s first appearance was in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, making his detective skills paramount to his character from day 1.

Needless to say, this hole in Batman’s character shows in instances such as in The Dark Knight when Bruce Wayne spent millions of dollars of his company’s money to build a machine that violated the privacy of millions of citizens due to his own lack of ability to find the Joker. Bruce also lacked the wherewithal to realize the daughter of his ex-mentor was working with him for years, attempting to infiltrate Wayne Enterprises, which proved an almost fatal error. The climax of this character hole was indeed in DKR when Batman fails to find the triggerman to an atom bomb, so he delivers a savage beating to Bane while wailing “Where’s the trigger!? Where is it!? Where is it!?” and then being stabbed by Talia (the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul) as she reveals her true identity to him and holds the trigger in her hands.

Holy Falling Football Fields, Batman!


In 2008, when discussing the potential for a “Robin” role to surface in Nolan’s Batman films, Christian Bale said during an interview that he would refuse to take part in any such project (Fun Fact: Christian Bale auditioned for the role of Robin in Tim Burton’s film franchise and was turned down!). Fans and followers had no delusions about the Boy Wonder making an appearance on screen after seeing Bale’s vehement objection. This is understandable, given the background of the role. Robin is somewhat of a controversial character in the Batman universe and has only been adapted to film a few times, the most recent being considered an immense failure. The Nolan films created their own mythos in some ways, but they did have a general way of adhering to certain truths. This made Robin most unlikely by the third film, considering how early Robin is meant to come into Batman’s life.

In the comics, Robin was introduced as a ray of light in an otherwise abysmal and hopeless life Batman was leading. He wore bright red, yellow, and green colors and made wisecracks on every page. He humanized Batman by giving him a father-like responsibility and even a new sense of humor. Later on, the role became much more essential as Bruce Wayne learns how important the role of Robin is to Batman. Even after the first Robin quit and the second was murdered, Batman couldn’t deny that he needed a partner. When Tim Drake (the third Robin) deduced on his own that Batman was Bruce Wayne and Robin was dead, he approached him and insisted he hire him. Batman couldn’t refuse. “The Dynamic Duo,” as they came to be known, has been essential to Batman since the 1940’s.


Officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon Levitt) made his debut in DKR and shocked viewers in many ways. Nolan’s Batman seldom needed or accepted help from anyone, as was made clear in the introduction to The Dark Knight when he apprehended “copycats” and proclaimed to them “I don’t need help!” The loner character of Batman comes to fruition in DKR when, after his retirement from crime-fighting, he becomes a shut-in that seldom shows his face to the world. It takes the words of a young man who still has faith in the Batman to shake Bruce back into the cape and cowl. This scene was a stroke of beauty in Nolan’s universe. Blake encompassed every Robin character at once and then filled the space in Batman’s character with perfect grace. He was an older orphan that believed in true justice, like Dick Grayson, the first Robin. He came from parents that made poor decisions in life that led to their deaths and his unfortunate childhood, like Jason Todd, the second Robin. And he deduced on his own that Bruce Wayne was Batman, recognized that he needed help, and took it upon himself to elbow his way into his world, just like Tim Drake, the third Robin. All three original characters came together to become Nolan’s very own Jonathan Blake, which was received very well by fans everywhere.

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Filed Under "Batman" 2/7/2013 Source: Voices From Krypton
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JerseyJoker - 2/7/2013, 9:46 AM
No he didn't.

That was easy.
JordanKing - 2/7/2013, 9:47 AM
Really dragging this one out aren't we.
SageMode - 2/7/2013, 9:47 AM
Once again, no, he didn't.
OrsonRandall - 2/7/2013, 9:49 AM
Lets just say he didn't get it completely wrong and have done with it.
thetrojan - 2/7/2013, 9:51 AM
which was received very well by fans everywhere

Not Me!
PapaEmeritus - 2/7/2013, 9:52 AM
Mighty Crom, when this shit will stop? Ok, we get it - same biased opinions from the same biased people, same obsessions, blah, blah. BORING!
BIGBMH - 2/7/2013, 9:53 AM
They give WAY to much credit to TDKR's adaptation of Robin. John Blake was a pretty well-written character, but a poor adaptation of Robin.
darkimage - 2/7/2013, 9:54 AM
There are so many aspects to the Batman in comics, it would have been pushing it to try and address all of them in the trilogy. You could have similar articles about every film version of Batman. They have all touched on different aspects of the character, and fallen short on others.
Also it did not bother me that Talia, a formidable agent of the league of shadows, was able to pull one over on Wayne. He was basically a hermit that was no longer leaving the mansion, it wasn't hard for someone of her training to operate undetected.
TheFox - 2/7/2013, 9:56 AM
After I get back from the ridiculously busy day I have ahead of me, I am going to tear this article just as much of a new one as I did for Part One. (Unless the guy has some valid points this time. It's possible, I guess-- but going by the last one, I doubt it.)

DukeAcureds - 2/7/2013, 10:00 AM
He got it right. It did refernce every major '90s event and a lot of other classic tales. Like Batman and Robin. In fact the whole thing was basically just a remake of Batman & Robin. Whole scenes were in fact adapted.
Paragon79 - 2/7/2013, 10:02 AM
Are you just trying to cause more flame wars by posting this?
thewonderer - 2/7/2013, 10:03 AM
People have a very very strict definition of accuracy here for some reason.

Nolan tries his best to be accurate WITH his changes. Ras is symbolically immortal in BB because his organization lives on, while not a direct strict take from Ras' true immortality, the dedication of his character and symbolism of it I find is there.

Go to John Blake, whose personality directly mirrors the first three Robins. Idealist, Angry, Detective. Dick Grayson was a cop in the comics later turned detective.

To portray a Robin in bright clothes is a huge risk, and maybe someone will attempt it later on, but as of now Nolan didn't.

And Nolan got it right and more. The haters can keep on typing no, but the user and critic consensus is there.

A few easy to self answer plot conveniences do not make a movie even near terrible as shockingly mostly marvel fans assert.
thewonderer - 2/7/2013, 10:04 AM
And MCU lovers who attack this franchise for its somewhat lack of accuracy have NO room to talk at all.
buzzman - 2/7/2013, 10:05 AM
Honestly - let it go - the movie was a success - Let. It. Go.
DukeAcureds - 2/7/2013, 10:08 AM
Y'gotta love Bane, though, right? That voice is sooo addictive. Tom Hardy's an absolute fruity loop in that movie. Psychotically funny.
"What a lovely, lovely voice" gets me every time.
HRDWYR - 2/7/2013, 10:10 AM
I love/hate these movies. I love the realism and how nolan made me believe That "Batman" could really exsist. I hate how Nolan wasn't as true to the source material as he should have been/needed to be. I look at his DK trilogy as a "alternate reality" version, for lack of a better term.

I enjoy every cinematic "outing" of Bats. I loved the dark Burton versions, I laughed and had fun with the campiness of the Sh!tmaucher films, and I loved Nolans realistic version as well. Like someone said all these movies, even the 60's and even the old serials had something to offer and showed some aspect of Bats, but no one has gotten right yet. I just hope they keep trying. I know I'll keep buying tickets.

-just my two cents-
marvel72 - 2/7/2013, 10:13 AM
didn't like the film that much it had its moments,i watched it a second time round a mates house & apart from some action scenes i found it really difficult getting to the end without talking through it.

EdGross - 2/7/2013, 10:13 AM
Just for the record, I'm not trying to start flame wars. The author wrote an interesting article which I stated right at the outset was a three-parter. The reason it's a three-parter is that in total it runs about 5,000 words...In all honesty, do you think the majority of people are going to have the patience to read a 5,000 word article?
Paragon79 - 2/7/2013, 10:14 AM
Levitikuz: Actually what makes him Batman is more than that. After seeing his parents killed he vowed to devote his life to helping those in need, and taking down crime I'm Gotham(and the world once he branches out) so that no one would have to suffer like he did. Also, one could argue that Batman is the man, and Bruce Wayne is the mask. Batman is driven to continuously and tirelessly fight crime, almost like a compulsion. So while I thought the movie was ok, having him be Batman for around 2 years, and then quitting for 8, takes away from what Batman is at his core. I understand this was a different take on the character, but for me that kinda ruined it.
MarkV - 2/7/2013, 10:16 AM
I would love to see a colder, more analytical Batman.
DukeAcureds - 2/7/2013, 10:20 AM
I want to see a Batman that just goes around eating people. Like a really scary Batman, but with a totaly camp salt-shaker.
Maximus101 - 2/7/2013, 10:28 AM
The dark knight trilogy was awesome!
RPD - 2/7/2013, 10:32 AM
Batman's over...
DrDoom - 2/7/2013, 10:34 AM
Levi, you need to stop calling people idiots if you want people to take you seriously.
AsianVersionOfET - 2/7/2013, 10:34 AM
Pointless, didn't read. But yes, he did.
BlackHulk - 2/7/2013, 10:38 AM
True Batman fans would probably be disappointed at the portrayal of Batman in the Nolan films. The one thing I couldnt forgive regarding how Batman was portrayed is lack of intelligence. Not to say that Nolans Batman was ignorant, but in the comics, his intelligence level is up there with Tony Stark. In the Nolan films, Lucious Fox is the true brains behind the operation, with Bruce Wayne making small contributions here and there. Then I guess the movie needed some diversity in its cast.
DukeAcureds - 2/7/2013, 10:39 AM
AcidicHeart@ You're an idiot.
RPD@ I know, duder, Batman was so 74 years ago.
BboiBlack - 2/7/2013, 10:40 AM
If Marvel can nail Tony Stark(not Steve Rogers though), why can't Batman fans expect the same of the Worlds Greatest Detective?
SuperDan89 - 2/7/2013, 10:43 AM
He did with what he had e.g. Hedger dying put a spanner in the works. Still TDK is the greatest superhero film of all time. No other will be so critically acclaimed or have such a cultural impact, not for the foreseeable future anyway. Especially with the half hearted WB produced films and churned out Marvel movies. Dredd came close but now hoping Man of Steel proves me wrong.
silverdog - 2/7/2013, 10:44 AM
DARK KNIGHT RISES - Did Christopher Nolan Get it Right?

Marqy - 2/7/2013, 10:45 AM

nice one, never saw that one. They couldve included the one with maroni " Wheres the Joker ? he mustve frieeeeends !" :D
DefcoN - 2/7/2013, 10:47 AM
What about the scene in TDK where Batman scans fragmented bullet pieces to find fingerprints? Doesn't that fit as a detective's skill??
DukeAcureds - 2/7/2013, 10:54 AM
BATMAN - "But, Alfred... Why does the bad man run around burning things and killing people?"
ALFRED - "Well, some people are just like that, Master Bruce."
BATMAN - "I can take this Bane guy, right, Alfred?"
ALFRED - "Look at him you rich twit, his speed, his ferocity, his strength, he'll brake you like a twig, sir, I'm not kidding"
BATMAN - "Ah, what do you know?"
Marqy - 2/7/2013, 10:55 AM

Thats true. :D But just knowledge of the criminal mind, not much when it comes to police rights and "innocent until proven guilty". I mean he let Blake in without a warrant just because Blake said he "knows about Dent". Its like admission of guilt.
thewonderer - 2/7/2013, 10:58 AM
Apparently interrogation isn't a detective skill.

Yeah in the movies, we should totally have great villains like Bane, Joker, and Ras conveniently leave their operations with open gaps so Batman can detect them.

On top of that, do it like the Arkham games, with stupid henchmen talking openly about their plans. That'll make for a better movie!

Jesus, some people can't tell the difference between mediums.
CCR - 2/7/2013, 11:11 AM
TDKR is an excellent Batman film. I'm actually still on the fence about which is better, TDK or TDKR. Most people liked TDKR. A lot of people loved it. And then we have the small percentage of haters. That's fine, some people don't like pizza. But you're in the minority guys, and every time you cry about it on the internet it just looks pathetic. We get it, you didn't like the movie and for whatever reason, you think constantly posting your distaste will change minds or something, lol. It ain't workin if that's what you're trying to do. And if it's not, guess what? MOST people don't care about your opinion because MOST people liked the movie. Make sense?

The thing that pisses me off is you guys just didn't understand the movie. Most people did. And when you bring up all your stupid plotholes I just have to let you know everything makes sense in the movie. I really need to write "The Dark Knight Rises For Dummies". Have a nice day hatin', losers, lol.
DukeAcureds - 2/7/2013, 11:23 AM
Ciph'@ - Violating virtuous innocence 24 hours day.
TheDetectiveComicRises - 2/7/2013, 11:24 AM
EPIC Trilogy I am honored to have it in my film library :)
TheDetectiveComicRises - 2/7/2013, 11:26 AM
@CCR good points I totally agree with you.
Stumblin - 2/7/2013, 11:28 AM
teabag, that last image was hilarious! I'm saving that come back for later...that's what she said...boom!
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