Batman: The Dark Knight Rises part 14

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As The Dark Knight Rises heads into its final long, sustained suspense-action sequence, it pauses to give a moment of truth to Foley, its most lily-livered character.  Foley, who, just yesterday, was seen scurrying into the darkness of his home to avoid confrontation, is now leading an army of cops (freed by Blake and Batman) into an all-out assault on Bane’s headquarters.  It seems that, after all, Gordon and Blake have finally inspired Foley, even Foley, to action, to take back his city.  For, the question rises, to whom does a city belong?  It belongs to its citizens.  The Bruce Waynes of the world may think it belongs to themselves, and the politicians may think it belongs to themselves, but a city without citizens is nothing — society is the responsibility of everyone.

Bane’s forces, bless their hearts, give the cops warning before firing.  How odd, that they have rules of engagement at this point, against men they entombed months earlier!  The beat is meant, of course, to show the complete inversion of roles: the police are now the brave dissidents heading into confrontation with the now de facto criminal police state, ensconced in the corridors of power, complete with Attic Revival Greek temple style white-stone columned buildings.  Whatever his pretensions, Bane is the new boss, same as the old boss, but with sharper fangs.

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Batman appears, briefly, to spur on the cops, like a magic talisman, and we’re reminded that he, officially, was a wanted criminal at the top of the narrative.  Now he’s a police mascot, defender and cheerleader.  The police assault, as it happens, is a distraction, to concentrate Bane’s forces on his HQ while Selina blows a hole in the tunnel blockage, Blake organizes an orphan exodus and Gordon searches for the bomb.  (Even with Bruce being his most selfless, it still pays to be his friend — no one he cares about is on the front lines of the assault.

Batman parks The Bat somewhere and joins in the fray at Bane HQ.  “You came back to die with your city,” snorts Bane, and Batman answers “No, I came to stop you.”  It seems like an odd answer, a little on the nose even, except that it means that Bruce/Batman no longer considers Gotham “his city,” or even Batman as his identity, he’s simply here as a defender.  Maybe that’s why he’s finally appearing in daylight — he’s not even a Dark Knight anymore, he’s become his own Daytime Batman.

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In the fracas, Batman punches Bane’s mask and damages it, causing Bane to blanch.  How strange, and how fitting, that the World’s Greatest Detective couldn’t figure out that his nemesis’s weakness is his mask.  He keeps going until Bane is broken, using the time-honored World’s Greatest Detective method of obtaining information, punching and screaming a question over and over.  Bane, still stunned that Bruce made it out of the pit, fills him in on the final clue (the last person to help Bruce solve a case by giving him information): he is not the child of the pit, he never did escape the pit (literally and metaphorically).  The child of the pit, Ra’s Al Ghul’s child, is Miranda, or rather, Talia, who now takes over as lead villain of the piece (a belated anti-Catwoman to Bane, to match being an anti-Selina to Bruce), who now literally stabs Batman in the back and reveals that she is the trigger-man for the bomb.  “Although I am not ordinary,” she says, wielding the detonator, “I am a citizen.”  So, while Bruce has been hemming and hawing about what to do with this city he think of as his, he’s forgotten that he is not the only one who thinks that way — Talia has been planning, for years now, to dispose of a city she lives in, a full anti-Bruce.

And so we learn that Talia is the child of Ra’s Al Ghul, and that Bane is her protector, was her protector, her Blake, her Batman, in the society of the Pit, and that Bane’s illness, the reason for his mask, sprang from his fatherly love for Talia, and was the reason he could never be with her again.  Ra’s Al Ghul, we are told, couldn’t accept Bane as a brother because he was too dark, too much in the shadows for the League of Shadows, but it seems that Ra’s real problem with Bane was that he was a competitor for his daughter’s love.  Which makes Bane an anti-Alfred, a fill-in for Talia’s absent father, tossed aside when he is no longer needed, reclaimed by the daughter who loves him.  Bane has given himself utterly to Talia as Alfred gave himself to Bruce, but Talia stood by Bane and made her part of her life while Bruce ignored Alfred, took him for granted and let him walk away rather than change his life.

Bruce went into this Bat-venture in order to sacrifice himself, but has now changed his mind.  Talia, on the other hand, the True Believer, is prepared to kill herself for the sake of her point, and detonates the bomb.  Except, of course, Gordon has blocked the signal with the thingymabob from The Bat.  Batman the strategist, the showoff, the boy most likely, has brought all the attention to himself to deflect it from Ordinary Citizen Gordon, the anti-Talia, who has been toiling, without witnesses or glory, to save the city.  For eleven minutes.


6 Responses to “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises part 14”
  1. Curt Holman says:

    I just thought of this: perhaps so much time elapses between TDK and TDKR simply to give Talia a reasonable amount of time for ‘Miranda Tate’ to establish herself, ingratiate herself with Wayne Enterprises and in general set up her plan.

    I remember hearing rumors that Talia al Ghul was going to be in TDKR, and had forgotten them so thoroughly that when the film got to the Talia/Miranda reveal, I was taken completely by surprise.

    • Darren J Seeley says:

      Exactly. I’ll even go as far as to say “Miranda”, although not seen or mentioned, was around in Gotham during…Batman Begins or shortly after. The evidence? In ‘Begins’ not ALL of the LoS was captured or stropped by Batman. Ghul also stated that the LoS had infiltrated Gotham’s infrastructure. She may have also been part of Wayne Enterprises outside of Gotham as well.

      If nothing else, it is mentioned that “Miranda Tate” partnered with Bruce in building the fusion reactor. So she has been around for at least eight years. I’ll even concede six – after giving up Batman and then becoming a hermit, he wouldn’t run a complete bg check.

  2. Dave says:

    Somehow I was able to delude myself into not thinking Marion Collitiard would be Talia. So that reveal completely worked for me. I didn’t pick up on any of the dialogue where she invokes her father’s beliefs (restore balance, do what’s necessary). And they had planted enough seeds that I really thought Batman might die. So the reveal was nice. But that she had stabbed him is what floored me.

    I like your explanation for that line, “No, I came back to stop you”. This war (as he calls it) isn’t exactly what Bruce wanted from the beginning of becoming Batman. But his goal was to inspire people to stand up to crime and take back their city. And I love how you make the connection between him fighting during the day and not being the Dark Knight anymore.

  3. Awkshwayrd says:

    The ‘Batman stepping out into the light’ is interesting ‘coz of the way it’s set up throughout the movie. Bane says earlier that Bruce ‘merely adopted the darkness’ and we see him ‘break’ Batman while in darkness.
    Batman literally steps into the light (in the camera frame) when he tells Gordon to light up the Bat-bridge-signal. It ties in to what Alfred says earlier about Bruce needing to be more proactive in the public light as Bruce Wayne rather than as Batman in the darkness. Due to that whole structure, I really thought the movie would somehow go down a path where he would literally unmask and declare himself publicly. We see him fail in the darkness with his secrets as Batman, and that story arc taken to a satisfactory conclusion would mean an ending where there are no more secrets and the people of Gotham are no longer lied to for whatever reason … and yet, it feels like Nolan takes that up to a point and then chickens out ‘coz it would feel too much like a critique of the entire ‘billionaire dresses up as Bat to beat up thugs’ concept.
    I’m not too sure how I feel with the very last shot of the movie in this light. Surely a Gotham which truly belongs to its people now would no longer need another masked vigilante operating from the darkness? The whole movie has been a critique of keeping too many secrets and power concentrated in too few hands and here we have the secretive billionaire anointing a successor. It goes against the whole ‘Tale of 2 Cities’ ending. Would BatBlake turn into an Adam West Batman, operating in the light?

  4. BenjaminJB says:

    It’s already been stated by other commenters previously (Marie, Emmar), but now that we’re finally in the cops-vs-robbers climax, I have to express again a wish that there were some citizen-citizens in that crowd, along with the police-citizens. I don’t endorse Reservoir Dogs for its civic-mindedness, but:

    Mr. Pink: You kill anybody?
    Mr. White: A few cops.
    Mr. Pink: No real people?
    Mr. White: Just cops.

    Or, for a much campier superhero movie, I think of the rah-rah ending to The Rocketeer, where the gangster Valentine turns on the villain once he’s revealed as a Nazi:

    Neville Sinclair: C’mon, Eddie. I’m paying you well. Does it really matter where the money comes from?
    Eddie Valentine: It matters to me. I may not make an honest buck, but I’m 100% American.

    Which is my way of saying that, sure, Bane and his international terrorists might be leading the bad guys, but many of those bad guys are also citizens. It’s a citizenry free-for-all. Bane is the only one who can’t legitimately chant “Whose streets? Our streets!” Which is why I want to see the average citizen–not a cop, not a criminal–take the streets back, to prevent this looking so much like a triumphant return to a police state.

    Or in question form: how much do you want to bet that the Gotham elite use Bane’s army as a reason for an even stricter anti-citizen Dent Act?

  5. Mark says:

    I was surprised about the Talia reveal, when I first saw it. I figured she was just the female counterpart to Blake: an honest, good person in Gotham. (Or as Todd mentioned earlier, Rachael part II.) With Blake representing the orphans and the underclass, and Miranda the upperclass.