For a film so heavily advertised as an epic conclusion, The Dark Knight Rises isn't all that conclusive. We've still got plenty of questions about Christopher Nolan's final entry in his Batman trilogy and hopefully some of you have the answers for us.
But before you break out the pitchforks, we need to note that we think having questions about a film after the credits roll is a wonderful thing. Films shouldn't be passive experiences that exit your brain the second you leave the theater. They should be discussed and debated. Some of these questions might be plot holes, some of them might just be intentional triggers on the part of the filmmakers. In either case, please know that we're not picking apart The Dark Knight Rises out of malice, we're just not done talking about the movie yet.
Obviously spoilers abound.
Why is there a tracking device in the pearls?
Such a seemingly mundane detail and yet it's responsible for such a crucial chain of events in the film. Wayne's attachment to the pearls is obviously sentimental (his mother wore them the night of her murder), but why would he alter the object he's so attached to by sticking a tracking device in it? Does Wayne Manor have a history of break-ins or something? Also, Chill, his parent's murderer, rips the necklace off his mother right before shooting her, and we clearly hear the pearls break apart. Who put the necklace back together? The police? Bruce? If it's the latter, I suppose his paranoia over their loss makes more sense, but even still, wouldn't the pearls have burned in the fire at the end of Batman Begins alongside his other parental keepsake, his father's stethoscope?
Why is Daggett trying to get Bruce Wayne's fingerprints?
Bane and Talia clearly already knew that Bruce Wayne was Batman, so why was Bane's corporate puppet trying to obtain Bruce Wayne's fingerprints? Was it so he could somehow use Wayne's fingerprints to make the trades that would ruin his and Wayne Enterprise's fortune? But if that's the case, what was the point of the entire stock market heist, anyway? If they can shift around everyone's money at will, what were the fingerprints for?
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.
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 swim him out of there super fast?
How did Bruce Wayne get back to Gotham City after escaping the prison?
Did Superman give him a ride?
What exactly was the villain's master plan?
So Bane's stock-market heist was really just a gambit to get Bruce Wayne to cede control of Wayne Enterprises to Miranda Tate, which would then put her in a position to gain Wayne's trust and thus complete access to the fusion reactor, learning everything about it (even though it was her brainchild all along, remember?) so she and Bane could turn it into a bomb that takes five months to blow up. So the end game is twofold: 1) To blow up Gotham City since that was Ra's al Ghul's plan before, and Talia al Ghul inherited it. 2) To get revenge on Bruce Wayne for killing her father in the process.
Remember that bit in Austin Powers where Seth Green points out how much easier it would be if Dr. Evil didn't turn his back on the master spy he's just locked in a room, how easy it would be to just shoot him in the head instead? And Dr. Evil says he's going to just assume everything went according to plan. Well sticking a guy in a hole in the ground on the other side of the planet for five months is that silliness taken to the max.
If the fusion bomb has a radius of six miles, why not just stick Wayne in a house seven miles away and watch Gotham's slow crumble from up close. Wouldn't being so close and yet so helpless be even more agonizing? Or how about this: Skip the entire five months and just kill Alfred in front of Bruce's face. Wouldn't his death and the emotional bombshell it would drop on Bruce be the revenge Talia seeks? Then blow up Gotham and take a five-month vacation with all the time you've just saved.
Why did the city's entire available police force go into the sewers?
Is the most resourceful search pattern really to just run hundreds of people in a straight line through tightly packed corridors? We know Matthew Modine's character is a hothead (even though he hates hotheads) and makes the call, but it still doesn't make physical sense yet alone practical sense.
What did the Clean Slate do?
I didn't quite catch it the first time and wish a character would have slowly explained the function of a piece of software as enigmatically named as Clean Slate.
Why didn't Bane use the Clean Slate on all of Gotham?
Admittedly this is Monday Morning Quarterbacking the screenplay, but if the reborn League of Shadows' plan was to give Gotham back to the people, to right institutional injustices and level the economic playing field, why didn't Bane use the Clean Slate program controlled by his corporate puppet to wipe out everyone's financial and identity records? As evidenced by the stock market heist, we know he has the computer hackers to do it, and he controls the man who owns it, so it would have been easy. It also would have caused just as much chaos but would actually fit in with the League's goal of giving Gotham a fresh start (though does it even really need one now that Comissioner Gordon and the mayor have cleaned up the city?). It would have been a hell of a lot easier than waiting months to detonate a bomb and still achieved the same result for the citizens. Unless, of course, the only thing Bane wanted to do was kill people and blow up a city, but then we're just back to the five-months question again.
How is Bruce Wayne funding his retirement after faking his death? Why is Selina Kyle enjoying his rich lifestyle?
So Bruce Wayne fixed the autopilot months ago and never told Fox (but still signed his name to the software update) and Batman gets away while Bruce Wayne is presumed killed during the Gotham riots. This leads to a happy ending with Bruce and Selina having a cup of coffee at the cafe in
France Florence that Alfred told him about months ago. But the man is still broke, isn't he? What little assets he had left were all divided up and given away.
But even if Bruce had money stashed away to be living it up carefree in
France Florence, why is Selina Kyle into that lifestyle? She's the one who chewed Bruce out about living large and that there was a storm coming for people like him. And now she's one of those people living so large. What changed?
Why would Blake become Robin?
This is a question for a film beyond The Dark Knight Rises, but it's worth pointing out. Throughout the film Blake, who has an uncanny and unquestioned sixth sense given to orphans that lets him see right through Batman's mask, makes it clear that he thinks hiding behind a mask is a silly thing to do. And he makes a pretty great point considering he ends up being a fantastic hero without a mask. So why then do we think Blake would even become Robin just because he gains access to the Batcave? Doesn't that go against what he stands for and does so well?
How does Bane eat?
Very painfully, I guess.
Let us know your answers for the questions above, and feel free to throw out your own unanswered questions in the comments.
Follow along on Twitter: @PeterSHall and @Moviesdotcom.