Were there story problems in the Dark Knight Rises?

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Answered by: Emma, An Expert in the Movie Reviews and Ratings Category
Don't get me wrong, I love Christopher Nolan, but I'm not fangirl enough not to see the massive problems with the third in his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. The following are some that warrant discussion.

I doubt I have to mention that spoilers will follow. Read at your own risk!

Batman is a superhero. Sure, he doesn't have laser eyes or superhuman strength, or turn into a giant green hulk when angry, but what Batman is is a strong, stoic defender of the weak. He doesn't give up. Colour me surprised when he has done exactly that. We're meant to believe that Bruce Wayne, billionaire, genius and all around tough guy has retreated so deep into his manor that rumours about his nail length are flung around before we see him. I was glad when Catwoman knocked him on the floor. He could have done with a bit more of that in the years he spent isolated, just to wake him up.

See, that's the thing: sure, he lost Rachel, the love of his life, but the city needed him. We're meant to believe that due to a law passing all criminal activity stopped; that would never happen. For those about to cry out, "It's a comic book film", my retort is thus: yes, it is based on comics and graphic novels, and so on, but Christopher Nolan has always aimed for realism in his Batman trilogy. It's ridiculous that Batman would not be needed just like that.

Which brings me onto Alfred. Alfred would never leave Bruce. Never. Nolan's need for Bruce to be isolated at his tipping point is understandable, but the way that he does it left me scratching my head. Alfred leaving Bruce after everything they've already been through together directly contradicts their relationship. Michael Caine nearly had me in tears because he's just that good, but it just doesn't fit his character motivation.

The opening sequence with Bane in the airplane was chaotic, tense and frankly brilliant. Exactly what I had expected. Precisely what I'd wanted. Unfortunately for Bane, and for us, they reduced him to a simpering punching bag. Considering Bane could punch right through concrete walls, the damage he inflicted on Batman was too little. Yes, he broke Batman's back, but the damage was undone so quickly that it makes me laugh. The next time someone breaks their back they should visit the underground prison and be hoisted into a harness. Talia--who I will get to in a minute--reduces him in the final Act to a puppy dog with a sore mouth and from there on he disappears, defeated without much fanfare. So much for the main villain of the film.

Nolan misuses its female characters throughout the trilogy; let's face it, Rachel was only slipped into the trilogy for Batman to have someone to cry over. The Dark Knight Rises is no different. This version of Selina Kyle loses any understanding from the audience by floating over her motivation for being involved with Bane, and then throwing her onto a plane without the girls she is meant to be protecting in the larger Batman universe.

I won't start on the incredulity of her stilettos as many others have already done this job for me. Talia is a fascinating character; we have her back story teased through the film and the reveal should have been a grand moment, but most of the audience already knew who she was before they saw The Dark Knight Rises, and the rest were given so few reasons to care about her that the moment floated over most people's heads. Within 5 minutes of the reveal, she's dead, and we don't care much more about that either.

While The Dark Knight Rises did extremely well in the Box Office, there's no denying that this was the weakest of the three. It might be because we've seen it post The Dark Knight, which was an incredible film all round, but its story logic for me was by far the strongest reason for its failures. That said, there were some incredibly well shot moments, in particular the goose-bump worthy climb up the tunnel in the underground prison.

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