Home > Reviews > I just watched THE DARK KNIGHT RISES again… (spoilers)

I just watched THE DARK KNIGHT RISES again… (spoilers)

…and this time around I definitely noticed a lot of the flaws that have been pointed out in the film by various reviewers. The stock market and chase sequence going from broad daylight to pitch darkness in under 8 minutes of story time is one of the most glaring. And while, sure, the cops still being clean-shaven after months in the sewers is a problem, I’m more troubled by a) why they sent virtually the entire police force on the manhunt in the first place instead of keeping a reasonable number of cops in reserve aboveground and b) why all the cops were still trapped by the explosions even though we saw Matthew Modine order the cops out of the sewers a whole minute before the bombs went off.

As for Commissioner Gordon still having the speech in his jacket pocket at least a day after the scene introducing it, I can buy that. I’ve been known to leave things in my coat pockets by accident. So that part didn’t bother me. Although I did wonder if maybe the scenes with Selina getting her payoff and the police raid afterward, leading to Gordon’s capture in the sewers, were perhaps scripted to take place on the same night as the opening scenes but then shuffled later in editing to improve the pacing.

But there was a problem that occurred to me about the film’s plot that I haven’t heard anyone else point out. Namely, the idea that Bruce developed this revolutionary fusion reactor technology, the key to clean energy and saving the world from environmental disaster, and he just sat on it and refused to put it to use because… because he was afraid someone would use the technology to make nuclear bombs.

Now, never mind the physical absurdity of turning a fusion reactor into a fusion bomb. In real life, fusion bombs need fission bombs as triggers, so the only way to make a fusion reactor explode is to drop an atom bomb on it, in which case it’s pretty much going to explode anyway. But this is fiction, and it’s supposed to be a whole new kind of fusion power, and only one guy in the world has ever figured out how to turn it into a bomb so clearly it’s not easy to do. That’s enough of a fudge that I can suspend disbelief for the sake of the story.

No, my problem is with Bruce’s moral reasoning. I can understand someone not wanting people to build nuclear bombs. I think just about everyone not of the supervillain persuasion can agree that those are bad things. But, see, here’s the thing… we’ve already got nuclear bombs. There are already more than enough of them in existence to destroy all life on Earth multiple times over. So, really, how would things have gotten any worse if Bruce had distributed the reactor technology? He deprived the world of something very beneficial and positive in order to avoid the creation of a threat that was already created nearly 70 years ago! I’m sorry, but that seems like an indefensible moral calculus. Okay, maybe the danger was of the reactors falling into the hands of terrorists or rogue nations, but there’s already that same danger with nuclear arsenals and weapons-grade materials. Bruce was desperately holding the barn door closed, but the cattle were long gone. He should have released the reactor tech — and made the world’s governments fully aware of the potential dangers of its abuse so they could be safeguarded against. There was no good reason for him not to do that.

Also, if Bruce and Lucius Fox were so concerned about preventing dangerous technologies like the reactor and the various weapons and military vehicles in Fox’s secret warehouse, then why did they keep them? Why not dismantle them or not build them at all? Didn’t it occur to them that if you don’t want the bad guys to get their hands on this stuff, then maybe it’s not wise to stockpile it all in one handy location?

On the plus side, Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is still awesome. It’s totally unfair that they aren’t making a spinoff movie about her.

  1. February 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Thinking abut the speech, there’s a question that I’m not sure was answered in the movie: Why did anyone believe Bane? Accepting that he had a document written by Gordon confessing the true story of Harvey Dent’s madness would be a bit much for Gothamites who saw him break a man’s neck after assassinating their city’s governnment. Perhaps his wife, safe in Ohio, broke her silence?

    • February 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      I’m not sure we ever really saw how people other than Blake reacted to the speech. Blake knew it was true because Gordon confessed it. As for the others, we didn’t actually see what the rank-and-file public felt. All we really saw was Bane’s gang and the criminals they freed from prison wreaking havoc. So we have no evidence that Bane’s words really convinced anybody. Anyone who bothered to think about Bane’s rhetoric would’ve seen it for the self-contradictory, self-serving snow job it really was. “Hey, folks! I’ve blown up half your city, trapped all of you here without any law and order to protect you or economy to sustain you, and primed this here nuclear bomb which will kill every one of you the moment someone crosses me, so you’re now all free and safe and it’s a new golden age! You’re welcome!” Yeah, right. Like anybody’s actually going to fall for that hypocritical twaddle. Sure, there must’ve been people who did go along with it and join in the looting and the assaults on the one-percenters, but those would’ve been people who were primed to act up anyway. It wouldn’t have mattered whether they believed Bane was telling the truth; all that would’ve mattered was that his words gave them an excuse.

  2. March 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Everything about this movie is just so darn epic, that I honestly couldn’t wait to just stand up, cheer my head off, and show my love for the epic trilogy that Christopher Nolan has made for me, and made for me with total love and care. Great way to say bye-bye to everybody’s favorite Bat. Nice review.

  3. March 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Agreed. Based on what little we saw, I’m not sure that Gordon’s reputation would’ve suffered much harm outside of his own inner circle by the time the end came for Bane’s dictatorship…

  4. April 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Despite this flaws, I still like a lot of this film.
    It’s true that there is a strange incoherence in the plot, it’s almost like a old comic book plot, with all its little logical holes. Are they intentional? A critic here in Brazil sad that this was the more comic bookish of Nolan’s Trilogy. Maybe it’s true. There is even a villain that seats and tells his evil plan for the hero.
    The continuity errors are annoying, for sure, but the thing that really bothers me is the night/day leap. It seems a edition problem and how a director so good and his crew didn’t notice this.

    You are right. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is fantastic.

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