25 reasons why I placed TDKR as no.1 on my list of the most disappointing films of 2012

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If we never got to see Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) then The Dark Knight Rises (2012) probably wouldn’t even end up as no.1 on the worst list. But we did. This sequel had so many plot holes and inconsistencies that I felt the need to single out 25 most obvious ones….

25. Nolan’s Batman is suppose to become a legend, right? And it’s Bruce Wayne who created a symbol – The Batman. Throughout the TDKR we kept hearing how anyone can be Batman which was sort of proven at the very end, right? So, apparently Batman’s ultimate goal as shown in TDKR is to prove anyone can be Batman, despite the fact in The Dark Knight he clearly tells guys trying to be Batman that they can not be Batman?! Contradict much?

24. Batman taking Banksy’s advice

After months away, being mentally tortured and physically broken, Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham. He spends the first few hours of what could be the final day in Gotham history getting purposely caught by Bane’s goons, a huge risk, and then escapes and saves Commissioner Gordon and John Blake with mere seconds to spare. Yet somehow, with this impossibly frightening ticking clock, he finds the time to use gasoline to make a huge Bat symbol with the pre-knowledge Gordon will be there (Batman is also psychic now), pick up the flare, and light it up. Theatrically is part of Batman’s persona, yes, but it seems like there might have been a better use of his time in these “last hours” of his beloved city.

23. Parked Bat was not discovered by Bane and his goons.

Come on…..

22. Bruce Wayne Forgets to Do Proper Background Check on His Employees

You would think that after Ra’s al Ghul and members of the League of Shadows crashed Wayne’s birthday party and burnt down the Wayne mansion (Batman Begins) that a stricter security policy would have been implemented for Wayne Manor events. First he hires a maid who’s actually a notorious cat burglar, then he hires a woman to head his board who’s actually the daughter of one of the most villainous individuals out there. Shouldn’t he have done a little more digging before surrounding himself with these individuals? Speaking of which, if Anne Hathaway’s Selina is easily able to adopt fake identities and hack super encrypted passwords (like the one on Wayne’s expensive safe) why does she need the Clean Slate program so badly? I mean, its probably the worst MacGuffin in the Nolan Batman trilogy.

21. Bruce Wayne and Miranda Tate’s Out of Nowhere Hookup

If Hollywood romantic comedies have taught us anything, it is that two attractive people caught together in the rain are, in the lack of better word, destined to have sex sooner rather than later. That’s inevitable and needless to say, Batman is defenseless against this rule. So of course Bruce, who’s been grieving the loss of his beloved Rachel for 8 years, locked in the East wing of Wayne Manor living a hermit life in the style of Charlotte Bronte’s novels (Jane Eyre comes to mind), will fall into sexy time with the board member who he’s never so much as locked eyes with until like two days ago, let alone had any meaningful chemistry with. But come on…he was caught in the rain with her for about a minute… It is logical…and after all it’s a sex rain so GET OVER IT. I cannot help but wonder was there any missing footage? There must be some on the cutting room floor that sets up Bruce and Miranda’s chemistry better and… There must. On another note, why would Gotham’s costumed detective superhero let down his guard enough to leave a stranger sleeping in his “bed”, alone in the house of secrets, where the piano opens the door to the Bat-cave (what he actually did right after the sex none of us witnessed)? Especially since she herself has mysterious scars and secrets of her own? We are getting reckless, aren’t we? c c c

20. The Curious Case of  Blake, Robin….whatever his name is.

What is up with Robin? And how is he gonna be new Batman when the entire world witnessed Batman’s heroic death in the nuclear blast? Didn’t the city of Gotham erect him a statue after his heroic fake death?

And really, did his name had to be Robin? And did this entire situation, this scene really had to be executed in such a cheesy manner?

19. Blake Intuits That Bruce Wayne is Batman

WTF? First of all, I’m a skeptical person by nature so it doesn’t come of as a surprise that I cant just buy that anyone could “see” just by looking at Bruce Wayne’s face that he was Batman. But even if this was not-at-all implausible, the fact that this development occurs in the first act of the film is a strong indicator of this film’s issues (namely, the need to cram in as much plot development as possible). In any other film, such a reveal would normally come after the end of some sort of prolonged interaction between the two characters, where it might be somewhat understandable that one character saw the true face of the other. Here, they get it out of the way right from the beginning in a fashion so abrupt that it has no emotional resonance whatsoever.

Also, if Blake was able to put this together, wouldn’t other Gothamites have started to put two and two together? Commissioner Gordon, anyone?

As a separate issue, by the end of the film, practically all the main characters of the Batman saga already know that Bruce Wayne is Batman. By the time Commissioner Gordon figures it out (in the very last minutes of the film, again super abruptly) while Batman is taking off, I didn’t think “Wow, what a moment! What a revelation” There was also no emotional impact on me whatsoever…Rather, I thought, “Oh man…poor Commissioner Gordon, he is so late to the party on this one.”

18. When and how did Bane find out about Batman’s identity and Applied Sciences?

When Bane and Batman first meet, Bane knows his true identity. He likely learned this from Talia Al Ghul, his boss, who likely learned it from Ra’s Al Ghul, her father. But the timeline doesn’t quite fit. Talia Al Ghul and Bane were trained when Taila was young and escaped the pit. Maybe around 12. She and Bruce seem to be around the same age so, that was about 15 years before Bruce met R’as in his late 20s. Bruce then kills Ra’s mere months later at which point Ra’s finds out Bruce is Batman. So did Ra’s call his daughter at some point in this small window, tell her Bruce is Batman, then give her the idea to become a Wayne Enterprise Board Member (even though the nuclear device didn’t exist yet) as a long con back up if his plan in Batman Begins failed? Seems like there should be a more concrete explanation, as this information is crucial.

And even if that’s how it went down, it doesn’t explain how she or Bane knew about the existence of the Applied Sciences wing of Wayne Enterprises, that it was Batman’s armory and its specific location in the building. Yet they do because Bane was building his hideout right below it. Even if the aforementioned identity leak was possible, Lucius Fox himself said Applied Sciences was “completely off the books.”

17. Are the Gotham City Police Department and CIA Really THAT Dumb?

First issue – why would they send every member of the Gotham City Police Department including the SWAT Team, into the sewers? Seems like a stupid move that wouldn’t be made by any reputable agency of law enforcement.

Second issue -When your CIA agent introduces himself as “Hi, I’m CIA” you probably aren’t hiring the best people out there. When they also accept three additional prisoners WHITOUT BOTHERING TO CHECK THEM OUT, but I mean AT ALL, they’re not working at the highest capacity. When they also apparently buy the idea that this plane crashed and nothing was weird about it, come on. The wings would have been found several hundred miles away from the fuselage, so the official cause of the accident would be – both wings pretty much fell off at the same time and then it continued on the same course for several minutes before crashing.

Also, a lot of the bodies had bullets in them and the world-renowned physicist had the right blood but THE WRONG TEETH.  But yeah, it’s the League of Shadows. They can pretty much do anything at will. And no one will ever suspect a thing. Obviously.

Third issue – to make matters worse we see Blake wondering on the streets of Gotham ALONE in the search for a magical manhole that will set 3000 police officers free, if you rub it hard enough?!? Yeah it will take ages (getting them out one by one from a narrow shaft seems like it takes some time, aprox 25 days if you don’t sleep at all), and yeah we are running out of time because the bomb is about to explode any time now (if one of the Gotham’s citizens – whose identity logically we don’t know – decides to push the button – WTF was that?!) but a boy has a plan…it’s not as complicated as Bane’s but it is a plan nevertheless. There is only one thing this plan is lacking – Gotham is in the hands of Bane, so didn’t it occur to him that Bane’s people would guard every possible way out? Apparently not.

And no, this is no Peña Dura my friends. This is a prison you cant escape by simply climbing your way out. Ninja Turtles would find a way tho. Of that I am sure. But Blake is no Ninja Turtle. Blake is Robin.

16. The Post-Bane Gotham Feels Totally Fake

Sure, it’s cinematic to have Scarecrow hosting weird trials and sending people off into icy exile. But after that initial, effective sequence of watching rich people ripped out of their homes on 5th avenue, nothing about this Gotham feels real anymore. The streets are barren, but nearly pristine. We see only rare glimpses of the occasional Tumbler patrol. Emergency relief trucks pull up with ease. There seems to be no disorder on the streets, but hell breaks loose indoors on a regular basis. This never felt like a fully-realized place, only a series of gorgeous tableaus.

15. Hand-To-Hand Combat Is Terrible

+ For the most part, all the bad guys have guns and none of them use them. Each one just waits for their turn to get their ass-kicked by Batman. Now I know why Nolan shoots all the action up-close and nearly indecipherable: because if you had a wide angle shot, seeing armed thugs stand idly by would look absolutely ridiculous.

14. The Police vs The Goons, a Battle of Stupidity

Luckily for the stupid police lead by the incompetent Foley, Bane’s forces are pretty stupid as well. The police who are armed with a few handguns and some night sticks launch their plan of battle: marching down the street against hundreds of men armed with assault rifles who have the support of several tanks. Batman takes out one of the tumblers, why not all of them?

Then the police begin a long run towards the bad guys. Why? Why not try to sneak up at them? Was this the Revolutionary War? You don’t stand in a line and run at guys with guns. Luckily, Bane’s followers have the accuracy of a blind Stormtrooper, as apparently they manage to only kill around twelve of the cops who are standing in a massive line of 3,000, despite having 30 seconds of uninterrupted time to shoot at them as they march forward in a line.

13. How did Batman escape the blast radius?

We clearly see Batman in the pilot’s seat with seconds ticking on the clock before the nuke detonates in the bay (sucks for whatever is the Gotham City version of Coney Island), so regardless of the secret (but not-that-secret, as outlined above) fixing of the autopilot, how would he have escaped the blast radius? Did Aquaman with the help of Ariel swim him out of there super fast?

12. Why would Bruce Wayne sign the software patch for The Bat?

So Fox tells Bruce that the Bat is fully functional aside from a broken autopilot, which is apparently all part of the misdirection at the end of the movie. The audience is told repeatedly the autopilot doesn’t work, so we know that Batman using the Bat to fly the bomb out over the water is a suicide run. Only it wasn’t. Batman fixed the autopilot on this crazy flying wonder months ago. We then deduce that the Bat must have been on autopilot and that Batman somehow escaped the nuclear explosion, faking his death in the process.

And that’s all well and good, except why would Bruce Wayne leave behind a paper trail (that multiple technicians at Wayne Enterprises are now aware of) that he fixed the autopilot on this crazy piece of technology that nobody uses but Batman? Seems foolish for a man that once created entire fake companies in order to hide who Batman’s real identity was.

11. How did Bruce Wayne get back to Gotham City after escaping the pit hell prison?

He had no money (he bankrupted in the Wall Street heist), he had no ID on him, Alfred abandoned him, he had no means of contacting anyone, the prison was somewhere in Asia..so, did Superman give him a ride?

10. Ok, so he got out of the God forsaken hell pit, he somehow transported himself back to the Gotham city and then what?

The entire city is in lock down. No one gets in or out. Bane was very clear on this. Albeit, few subplots were developing around this fact…and furthermore why else would we have that magnificent scene (visual effects are the only strong point of this film) of the entire city burning in the various bomb explosion where all of the bridges except for one  got ripped in pieces. One of the possible ways that I can think of is walking across the frozen river (another one of Nolan’s decisions that lacks logic) and sneaking in to the city. Could it be that Batman finally learned to mind his surroundings as Ra’s al ghul tried to teach him in Batman Begins? Or the most common explanation like “He is Batman!” could suffice? Or did in fact Harry borrow him his cloak of invisibility? Seems more plausible than Bruce Wayne walking in to Gotham City without being noticed, and all the way from Asia, with his broken back btw?!

09. And when we are at it, the case of a broken back and a weird character arch

Bruce Wayne’s rise and fall…rise..fall..only to rise again..and then fall again.. up and down…up and down…???

Film begins with Bruce Wayne who has a significant limp, which is remedied with a pretty cool-looking electronic brace. We spend a lot of time watching him ramp up, loose the cane which was kind of sexy, and we’re thrilled to see Bruce Wayne finally kick ass again…only to see him get totally incapacitated by Bane about two thirds of the way through the film. At first, I thought this is it…I almost stood up in the cinema…I was neither standing nor sitting…I though to myself: “No he wouldn’t! No he didn’t!” My face was turning into a giant smile…I expected him to kill the hero, but not after an hour and a half of a three hours long movie…I thought this is brilliant and unprecedented move: will Nolan really take the hero out of the final battle sequence?! Nope, instead he serves us with pathetic concept of rise and fall of a hero which was relentlessly ongoing from this moment till the very end of the film, meaning for about hour and a half…not very amusing…

How do we got to be so lucky, I wonder? We got to watch Bruce Wayne recuperate again before finally facing Bane at the end. So, wait, WTF was the point of having Bruce Wayne go through that arc twice in one film?

Also, I’m no medical doctor, but I have a feeling a broken back takes more than just a few weeks, some ropes, and a firm smack for the vertebrae to fix. And let’s not forget Batman is no John Locke..and he was shipped of somewhere to Asia and not to the island as far as I remember + there was no Jacob there to provide him with a magical touch…so how did he do it? Apparently you don’t need the island, nor do you need Jacob, not to mention the medical assistance. No, all you need to do is hang yourself of off some ropes in a magical pit in the middle of nowhere and hang there for lets say about two weeks until you start walking again. Nothing more, nothing less.

Then you do some pushups for about another week and you are good to go, meaning you can climb out of the prison no one before you, not even Bane managed to pull of, except for the little girl that is…oh.

08. What exactly happened at the stock exchange?

For the life of me, I can’t wrap my head around this one. OK, I get it, Bane and his crew burst into the stock exchange and use Bruce’s fingerprints to make risky stock transactions that bankrupt the company. Now, wouldn’t this work better as some sort of covert plan, rather than one that draws a lot of attention to itself? I know Lucius explains to Bruce that they can most likely prove it’s fraud … well, yeah. I mean, how hard would that be? “Hey, remember when those armed thugs took over the stock exchange? You probably saw it on television?” I rest my case.

07. Bane’s Anti-Climactic Death

Batman is one of the world’s most highly trained fighters – Bane is his near equal in terms of technique, and his superior in terms of strength. Their final battle, where both are 100% of their own capacity, should have been one for the ages.

Rather, it kind of fell flat. Bat gets the upper hand, but never resoundingly defeats Bane while the villain finally shows off impressive speed and strength (while missing Batman and punishing a wall), but two and two never quite make four and the fight is lackluster. Than Catwoman shows up and shoots Bane with a cannon, which is pretty funny, but not climactic.

06. Bane’s Overly Complicated 5-Month Plan

Let’s start with the dastardly terrorist plot that sets TDKR in motion. Bane teams with executive guy Daggett, who hires Selina Kyle to steal Bruce Wayne’s fingerprints to make some fraudulent deals (via very public hostage-taking assault on the stock exchange) in order to force Wayne Enterprises into Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul’s hands, so they can bankrupt the billionaire superhero whose identity they already know and then manipulate him into giving them the technology that can be fashioned into a nuclear bomb. (Gasps for breath) Then Bane destroys Gotham thereby cutting Gotham City off from the rest of the world, unleashing the prison population into the streets, and imposing chaos on the citizenry… but only for about 5 months, until his bomb will nuke the city anyway — conveniently enough, the perfect amount of time to leech hope from the people of Gotham AND allow Bruce to recover from a broken back, climb out of the pit, trek across the globe with no ID and no money and no smart phone, sneak back into Gotham City, and save the day!

05. Why Does Bane Take a Break from His Master Plan to Ship Bruce Wayne Off to the Desert?

I don’t believe the prison’s location is ever named (it should’ve been the Peña Dura prison located in the fictional island Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca but don’t get me wrong, there was nothing Caribbean about it). The sequence was suposed to be shot in Jodhpur-Rajasthan, India..but lets forget about where was it suppose to be and what was it suppose to be. The more important thing – its not Gotham and it sure seems like it’s way the hell far away from Gotham. Would Bane really just hop a flight with Wayne at this crucial juncture in his grand master plan, just to make sure Bruce has a front row seat to the world’s destruction?

04. Why Does a Prison Exist Where People Can Possibly Climb To Freedom, And By Doing So, Free All The Other Prisoners?

Seems like pretty poor design to me.

Also, what the hell is the deal with this prison? Who runs it? Are there guards? Did Bane just put him in the prison without the warden and guards knowing? Do they just accept anyone who gets thrown into the pit? As with many elements of Nolan’s film, the prison is more of an idea than an actual place that makes sense. But who runs it? Are there guards? Did Bane just put him in the prison without the warden and guards knowing? Do they just accept anyone who gets thrown into the pit? Should we do another circle? Or you get the picture?

03. Why is this film 3 hours when it could’ve been easily 1.5 hours long?

There were two possible ways how this could’ve been executed:

(a) instead of gearing up for two hours Nolan could’ve cut the long story short and start the film at least an hour earlier;
(b) if only instead of decoy character of Bane Nolan simply introduced Thalia al Ghul right from the start sparing us all of the biggest let down (in my opinion), miss Miranda Tate? If she is the grand villain in this sequel (and in the last 5 minutes it turned out it was her and Bane as we were all led to believe) why were we all deprived of this? It felt like a cheap trick.

And couldn’t her death be more worthy after all she is the only person who escaped the Peña Dura prison. You will say “yeah but Bruce Wayne also escaped the Peña Dura”. Yes. But this happened only after the infamous league of Shadows trained him, after he had killed the infamous Ra’s al Ghul and outsmarted many other infamous villains in the Batman world, after he had been Batman for about 15 years, after all that physical training he undergone in order to stay in shape. He is also a man. So this comes of as no surprise…Sure, his back was broken…I’ll give him that. But I mean if Batman can’t do it who can?! Well, Thalia al Ghul can, obviously. With this being said, are we suppose to buy into the idea that a simple, somewhat ridiculous and abrupt car crash gets her? Really?! I guess, after all, she is just following her father’s footsteps…

02. Tell It To Me More. Tell It To Me One More Time

There is plenty of exposition in the film, in case you need to go to the bathroom. Alfred will break down why Bane is a threat for you and explain it on a point by point basis. If the twist catches you off guard, if you need to go to the toilet, if you need to smoke a cigarette (after all it’s a 3 hours long film) no worries, it will be explained to you. Every single detail will be explained to you not through images, through words my dear friends.  Through words. The actual ending should not come as any surprise, either, since Alfred also spelled that out for you, perfectly. In fact, there is very little to misunderstand (and even if you didn’t understand half of the things Bane was saying, save it) because it is all explained to you. Except some major plot holes. On this one you are on your own. Nobody explained that.

01. Inception

The closing scene had led me to believe that the last three hours we have witnessed were in fact Cobb’s dream (if only!). I kept waiting for Christian Bale to turn into Leonardo DiCaprio. After all, half of the gang was already there, Arthur as Blake and Robin, Eames as Bane, Robert Michael Fischer as Scarecrow, Mal as Miranda Tate and Thalia, prof. Stephen Mills as Alfred, Ra’s al Ghul’s decoy as Mr. Saito…well, you get the picture.

Originally published on Facebook in July of 2012 as the serious statuses in an exchange with a friend, Graeme Pente.  

 

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