Photo: The Dark Knight Trilogy Explained
would love some re-shares on this one

The amount of negative reviews received by The Dark Knight Rises completely baffles me. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate negative reviews if they actually have a point but movie-goers are basing their criticisms on plot-holes which don't exist! Was TDKR too smart for the average movie-goer? I really don't think it was.

As one user on reddit aptly put, people were spoiled by The Dark Knight; that film was lightning in a bottle that couldn't possibly have been replicated. Ultimately, people went into this film expecting something transcendent, something magical, something that would shatter every preconceived notion of what a superhero movie could be. Maybe they didn't realise that was what they were hoping for, but it was. When the film inevitably could not satisfy those hopes, it came down in a thundering cacophony of disappointment unseen since Episode I (maybe that's hyperbolic, but only time will tell). People are reacting out of grief, and a little bit of embarrassment that they could allow themselves to be so emotionally invested in something that is, ultimately, just a movie about a guy dressed as a bat.

Being a die-hard fan of Nolan's masterpiece I want everyone to see why The Dark Knight Rises wasn't just a movie about stopping a bomb from exploding. It was so much more than that and fit in perfectly with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

Initially I thought about writing a plot explanation myself but then I found this beautiful piece on reddit from user freedomnexttime which does the trilogy complete justice. It is a must read for any one who has seen the Dark Knight Trilogy:

"Nolan’s Batman films are often praised for how they mesh topical socio-political commentary with explosive super-hero action. Batman Begins focused on poverty vs. opulence, corruption in authority, the failure of law and order, and the nature of justice as opposed to revenge. The Dark Knight mixed comic book icons with themes of post-9/11 anxiety, the breakdown of civility and decency in the face of chaotic terror, and the question of “how far is too far?” in dealing with overwhelming threats. Finally, The Dark Knight Rises examines notions of assumed power vs. true power, the need for hope in the bleakest of times, and liberation from and revolution against the constraints of capitalist society. Although the topical nature of these three films certainly adds to their overall cinematic quality, there are a series of more personal themes prevalent throughout the trilogy, the importance of which may be overlooked in the process of viewing each film as a contained story. The core element of the trilogy-the fall and rise of Bruce Wayne – is a personal character arc defined by duality, rage, grief, redemption, and finally acceptance and ties with the evolution of Gotham City as a whole.

In order to fully grasp the true quality of the storytelling craft inherent in Bruce Wayne’s arc, one must first understand the nature of the man and the mask as three intertwined yet separate entities. Bruce Wayne is not a complete human being – there is a part of him that was ripped away the night his parents died and he has replaced that lost innocence with what Bruce and Alfred refer to as “the monster” (“I am using this monster to help people” – BB). The third piece of this persona is the symbol of Batman: the ideal that the people of Gotham associate with the name, and which in the end inspires them to act on behalf of their city. This symbol is what Bruce was originally hoping to establish, and transcends the identity of any one man.

The Bruce we meet in the prison at the start of Batman Begins is fueled by the desire for vengeance. As we learn in a later flashback, he was denied the closure and satisfaction of murder Joe Chill and so he has put himself in a position where he is guaranteed to be accosted by criminals on a daily basis; he can exact what he believes is the closest thing to vengeance he is ever likely to have. Every criminal he beats is Joe Chill to him. As Ra’s al Ghul says when he first finds Bruce, “you have become truly lost” (BB). Bruce beats these fellow prisoners out of necessity to quell the rage of his darker half; he himself takes no pleasure in the action because he already knows the truth in his heart: that Justice and Vengeance are never the same. It is this truth, learned from Rachel Dawes, that inevitably puts Bruce and Batman at odds with the League of Shadows.

Just as Bruce molds his monster into a productive force, Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows aimed to mold Bruce into the figurehead of their twenty-year old plot to eradicate Gotham from the face of the earth. The League helps Bruce create the physicality of Batman and his methods of fighting crime. They give Bruce the tools to confront his grief and anger and use them as the driving force behind his developing second persona. Most importantly, they give him the will to act in the face of apathy and overwhelming odds. The rift between Bruce and his mentors forms when they also attempt to convert him to their own ideal of uncompromising justice. Deep down, Bruce has already developed a sense of morality from Rachel. He combines this with his training, and gives his monster and ideal: there is always hope, and that with dedication and perseverance, Gotham can be brought back from the brink of darkness, just as Bruce was. He gives his darker half a face and name, and saves his city from annihilation. In the wake of his victory, however, he learns two truths about what he has done in bringing Batman to Gotham. The first, from Rachel, is that the Bruce Wayne has become the mask that hides the monster. Batman is now the crutch that Bruce relies on. In using it to move past his parent’s death and save the city from the League, he has given it much more control. The second, from Gordon, is the escalation: Batman has the capacity to inspire hope and action in the people of Gotham, but he also makes Gotham a target. His presence will serve as a beacon to draw out madness worthy of fighting a man dressed as a bat. This realization is expanded upon in The Dark Knight.

The Gotham City the audience sees at the beginning of The Dark Knight is much cleaner that what we saw in Begins. Though the key figureheads of the mob are still at large and Crane’s drugs are still making a small circulation, Batman, with the help of Gordon, is making definite progress in cleaning up the city. The emergence of Harvey Dent as the public face of Batman and Gordon’s crusade builds hope in the people of Gotham. Dent also inspires Bruce in a more personal manner. When Bruce sees Rachel with Harvey, he realizes that Rachel will not wait forever for Batman’s fight to end, and so Bruce begins to look for ways to put Batman to rest so he can be with Rachel. He puts his faith in Harvey as the one who can continue the push for justice when Batman is gone. Likewise, Harvey relies on Batman to do the things that he, as an elected official and the “White Knight” of Gotham, cannot be associated with. The Joker also sees the importance of Harvey Dent as the figurative spirit of Gotham. When Harvey survives the explosion that kills Rachel, the Joker takes advantage of Harvey’s shattered emotional state and converts him, leaving a corrupted perversion of the man that once stood for hope and justice. Bruce is spared a fate similar to Harvey’s by once again relying on the monster, this time to such a degree that Bruce Wayne is all but consumed by his alter ego. However, there remains a faint shadow of the man that clings to the knowledge that Rachel had chose him over Harvey, and so Alfred burns Rachel’s letter in order to preserve what is left of Bruce Wayne. Ironically, Harvey gives in to his twisted sense of vigilante justice because he wrongly believes himself to be like Batman in taking matters into his own hands.

In The Dark Knight, the Joker is the antithesis of Batman in his own philosophy that anyone can be brought down with the proper push. Harvey Two-Face is the proof that the Joker is indeed right. As he stands over Harvey’s body, the monster (and what is left of Bruce ) realize the true nature of what they have created with Batman, and what they now must do with this symbol. Batman and Gordon cover up Harvey’s actions and allow his untarnished legacy to become the symbol of hope that Batman was meant to be because he was the hero the people believed Gotham needed, and Bruce decides to reward them for that faith. The true hero of Gotham adopts the consequences of Harvey’s actions and becomes a symbol of darkness.

The Dark Knight Rises is the conclusion to two stories that began the night Martha and Thomas Wayne were murdered: the intertwined salvations of Bruce Wayne and Gotham city. In Begins, Bruce dedicated himself to ensuring that Gotham would never produce someone like him again. In The Dark Knight, he learned that Batman would be whatever Gotham needed it to be, even if that meant standing as the paragon of the darkest depths of the city’s soul.

Despite being the longest of the three films, The Dark Knight Rises features less of Batman than the other two. The film is not about Batman; it is about what Batman has inspired in the people of Gotham and Bruce Wayne’s personal journey toward a life without his alter ego. Eight years after Bruce hung up the cowl, the legend of Batman has become infamous among the people of Gotham, though some remain stout in their belief of his original ideal of hope. However, although the essence of Batman is now beyond any one man, Bruce still relies on his monster. He has added his grief over Rachel’s death to his original grief over the loss of his parents and is unable to move on with his life. He believes that Rachel would have chosen him and so dwells on what might have been. For a time, he attempted to do good as Bruce Wayne by investing in a clean energy project
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Ahmed Zeeshan
Public
The Dark Knight Trilogy Explained
would love some re-shares on this one

The amount of negative reviews received by The Dark Knight Rises completely baffles me. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate negative reviews if they actually have a point but movie-goers are basing their criticisms on plot-holes which don't exist! Was TDKR too smart for the average movie-goer? I really don't think it was.

As one user on reddit aptly put, people were spoiled by The Dark Knight; that film was lightning in a bottle that couldn't possibly have been replicated. Ultimately, people went into this film expecting something transcendent, something magical, something that would shatter every preconceived notion of what a superhero movie could be. Maybe they didn't realise that was what they were hoping for, but it was. When the film inevitably could not satisfy those hopes, it came down in a thundering cacophony of disappointment unseen since Episode I (maybe that's hyperbolic, but only time will tell). People are reacting out of grief, and a little bit of embarrassment that they could allow themselves to be so emotionally invested in something that is, ultimately, just a movie about a guy dressed as a bat.

Being a die-hard fan of Nolan's masterpiece I want everyone to see why The Dark Knight Rises wasn't just a movie about stopping a bomb from exploding. It was so much more than that and fit in perfectly with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

Initially I thought about writing a plot explanation myself but then I found this beautiful piece on reddit from user freedomnexttime which does the trilogy complete justice. It is a must read for any one who has seen the Dark Knight Trilogy:

"Nolan’s Batman films are often praised for how they mesh topical socio-political commentary with explosive super-hero action. Batman Begins focused on poverty vs. opulence, corruption in authority, the failure of law and order, and the nature of justice as opposed to revenge. The Dark Knight mixed comic book icons with themes of post-9/11 anxiety, the breakdown of civility and decency in the face of chaotic terror, and the question of “how far is too far?” in dealing with overwhelming threats. Finally, The Dark Knight Rises examines notions of assumed power vs. true power, the need for hope in the bleakest of times, and liberation from and revolution against the constraints of capitalist society. Although the topical nature of these three films certainly adds to their overall cinematic quality, there are a series of more personal themes prevalent throughout the trilogy, the importance of which may be overlooked in the process of viewing each film as a contained story. The core element of the trilogy-the fall and rise of Bruce Wayne – is a personal character arc defined by duality, rage, grief, redemption, and finally acceptance and ties with the evolution of Gotham City as a whole.

In order to fully grasp the true quality of the storytelling craft inherent in Bruce Wayne’s arc, one must first understand the nature of the man and the mask as three intertwined yet separate entities. Bruce Wayne is not a complete human being – there is a part of him that was ripped away the night his parents died and he has replaced that lost innocence with what Bruce and Alfred refer to as “the monster” (“I am using this monster to help people” – BB). The third piece of this persona is the symbol of Batman: the ideal that the people of Gotham associate with the name, and which in the end inspires them to act on behalf of their city. This symbol is what Bruce was originally hoping to establish, and transcends the identity of any one man.

The Bruce we meet in the prison at the start of Batman Begins is fueled by the desire for vengeance. As we learn in a later flashback, he was denied the closure and satisfaction of murder Joe Chill and so he has put himself in a position where he is guaranteed to be accosted by criminals on a daily basis; he can exact what he believes is the closest thing to vengeance he is ever likely to have. Every criminal he beats is Joe Chill to him. As Ra’s al Ghul says when he first finds Bruce, “you have become truly lost” (BB). Bruce beats these fellow prisoners out of necessity to quell the rage of his darker half; he himself takes no pleasure in the action because he already knows the truth in his heart: that Justice and Vengeance are never the same. It is this truth, learned from Rachel Dawes, that inevitably puts Bruce and Batman at odds with the League of Shadows.

Just as Bruce molds his monster into a productive force, Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows aimed to mold Bruce into the figurehead of their twenty-year old plot to eradicate Gotham from the face of the earth. The League helps Bruce create the physicality of Batman and his methods of fighting crime. They give Bruce the tools to confront his grief and anger and use them as the driving force behind his developing second persona. Most importantly, they give him the will to act in the face of apathy and overwhelming odds. The rift between Bruce and his mentors forms when they also attempt to convert him to their own ideal of uncompromising justice. Deep down, Bruce has already developed a sense of morality from Rachel. He combines this with his training, and gives his monster and ideal: there is always hope, and that with dedication and perseverance, Gotham can be brought back from the brink of darkness, just as Bruce was. He gives his darker half a face and name, and saves his city from annihilation. In the wake of his victory, however, he learns two truths about what he has done in bringing Batman to Gotham. The first, from Rachel, is that the Bruce Wayne has become the mask that hides the monster. Batman is now the crutch that Bruce relies on. In using it to move past his parent’s death and save the city from the League, he has given it much more control. The second, from Gordon, is the escalation: Batman has the capacity to inspire hope and action in the people of Gotham, but he also makes Gotham a target. His presence will serve as a beacon to draw out madness worthy of fighting a man dressed as a bat. This realization is expanded upon in The Dark Knight.

The Gotham City the audience sees at the beginning of The Dark Knight is much cleaner that what we saw in Begins. Though the key figureheads of the mob are still at large and Crane’s drugs are still making a small circulation, Batman, with the help of Gordon, is making definite progress in cleaning up the city. The emergence of Harvey Dent as the public face of Batman and Gordon’s crusade builds hope in the people of Gotham. Dent also inspires Bruce in a more personal manner. When Bruce sees Rachel with Harvey, he realizes that Rachel will not wait forever for Batman’s fight to end, and so Bruce begins to look for ways to put Batman to rest so he can be with Rachel. He puts his faith in Harvey as the one who can continue the push for justice when Batman is gone. Likewise, Harvey relies on Batman to do the things that he, as an elected official and the “White Knight” of Gotham, cannot be associated with. The Joker also sees the importance of Harvey Dent as the figurative spirit of Gotham. When Harvey survives the explosion that kills Rachel, the Joker takes advantage of Harvey’s shattered emotional state and converts him, leaving a corrupted perversion of the man that once stood for hope and justice. Bruce is spared a fate similar to Harvey’s by once again relying on the monster, this time to such a degree that Bruce Wayne is all but consumed by his alter ego. However, there remains a faint shadow of the man that clings to the knowledge that Rachel had chose him over Harvey, and so Alfred burns Rachel’s letter in order to preserve what is left of Bruce Wayne. Ironically, Harvey gives in to his twisted sense of vigilante justice because he wrongly believes himself to be like Batman in taking matters into his own hands.

In The Dark Knight, the Joker is the antithesis of Batman in his own philosophy that anyone can be brought down with the proper push. Harvey Two-Face is the proof that the Joker is indeed right. As he stands over Harvey’s body, the monster (and what is left of Bruce ) realize the true nature of what they have created with Batman, and what they now must do with this symbol. Batman and Gordon cover up Harvey’s actions and allow his untarnished legacy to become the symbol of hope that Batman was meant to be because he was the hero the people believed Gotham needed, and Bruce decides to reward them for that faith. The true hero of Gotham adopts the consequences of Harvey’s actions and becomes a symbol of darkness.

The Dark Knight Rises is the conclusion to two stories that began the night Martha and Thomas Wayne were murdered: the intertwined salvations of Bruce Wayne and Gotham city. In Begins, Bruce dedicated himself to ensuring that Gotham would never produce someone like him again. In The Dark Knight, he learned that Batman would be whatever Gotham needed it to be, even if that meant standing as the paragon of the darkest depths of the city’s soul.

Despite being the longest of the three films, The Dark Knight Rises features less of Batman than the other two. The film is not about Batman; it is about what Batman has inspired in the people of Gotham and Bruce Wayne’s personal journey toward a life without his alter ego. Eight years after Bruce hung up the cowl, the legend of Batman has become infamous among the people of Gotham, though some remain stout in their belief of his original ideal of hope. However, although the essence of Batman is now beyond any one man, Bruce still relies on his monster. He has added his grief over Rachel’s death to his original grief over the loss of his parents and is unable to move on with his life. He believes that Rachel would have chosen him and so dwells on what might have been. For a time, he attempted to do good as Bruce Wayne by investing in a clean energy project

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