"You see, it's all part of the plan."New entries go on the bottom of each section. The individual films' Headscratchers can be found at Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises.
— The Joker
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- Why is the mayor wearing eye-liner?
- If you type in the name "Nestor Carbonell" to google, it tries to autofinish it with "eyeliner." Suffice it to say, he doesn't wear eyeliner. It's just what he looks like.
- Original Troper here: Wow. Those are some pretty damn awesome eyes then. Unless its something bad that causes that.
- Different troper — I'm pretty sure he just has really beautiful dark eyelashes.
People and Bruce Wayne
- How do you think the people of Gotham view Bruce Wayne in universe? On the one hand in Batman Begins you have him jumping into fountains with supermodels and giving his car as a gift to the valet, then apparently insulting and pissing off some of the richest and most influential people in the city before drunkenly burning down his own home. That screams Rich Idiot with No Day Job. But the very next day he pulls off a plot to purchase the majority share in his company while pulling the wool over the eyes of every major business and financial expert around. Does that make him an Obfuscating Stupidity Magnificent Bastard, or maybe a Bunny-Ears Lawyer? Considering his behavior in The Dark Knight with stuff like falling asleep in business meetings and randomly taking an entire ballet troupe out on a cruise, do people think that Wayne really is that much of an idiot, and is just a pawn for The Man Behind the Man: Lucius Fox?
- Perhaps not Lucius Fox specifically, but they probably assume he's a Rich Idiot with No Day Job who just has the best team of business gurus money can buy running the show for him.
- I imagine they view him they way society currently view Richard Branson. As an eccentric weirdo we all secretly envy.
- The only smart thing they saw him do is buy up Wayne Enterprises. He did this via phone while the extremely intelligent, disgruntled former employee who had been friends with the Waynes for years was standing in the board room. Oh,... and it just so happens that he is in charge now. The obvious connection would be that he was pulling Bruce's strings. Even in the second movie, Reese comments about Bruce acting in an embarrassing manner despite the fact that he was simply hired from a firm and not an employee. If he's openly critical of Bruce, then everyone in the company probably thinks he's an absolute idiot. The public just sees him as a playboy.
- Since when is it a trilogy?
- Since Nolan announced it was a trilogy way back when Begins was released.
- In Begins, Gordon is a normal Detective Sergeant. Nothing particularly special about him. Except for the fact that he is one of the few honest cops in Gotham City. Perhaps this is the reason he's still a lowly detective after 20+ years of service. In TDK he is a Lieutenant in charge of the Major Crimes Unit. Then he gets promoted to Commissioner. Okay, two things: 1) Why is a Lieutenant placed in charge a major police unit, while in most departments, a captain would only run a precinct? And why is said Lieutenant promoted straight to Commissioner? Gotham PD is seriously screwed up. You know, besides the corruption and all.
- The guy captured the freaking joker. I think that deserves a promotion.
- A police commissioner is usually a political appointment, not a promotion. New York had at least one commissioner who had retired as a captain.
- It's probably also easier to move up the ranks when the last person was killed. And by Dark Knight, it was implied he was on the fast track, with his predecessor grudgingly acknowledging it.
- He was promoted back in the first movie too.
- In The Wire, which is a pretty realistic show, Baltimore's Major Crimes Unit was consistently commanded by a Lieutenant throughout the show's run.
Cops on the payroll
- Gotham City is portrayed as a pretty big city. Lucius Fox says there are "30 million people" in (presumably) the metro area. That would mean that Gotham has around the population of New York City within its borders. NYPD has almost 40,000 cops on its payroll. Let's presume Gotham has a similar amount, probably less (let's say 30,000). How can most of those cops be on the mob's payroll? I can understand paying off certain parts of the force (Narcotics and Vice detectives, beat cops who patrol areas where the mob deals usually take place, etc.) but the majority of the force is portrayed to be corrupt. I doubt the mob can afford to pay all these cops without bankrupting themselves.
- They don't need to corrupt everyone, just enough to ruin the Gotham PD's efforts at investigation. Claims that the entire PD are corrupt are probably just overblown; the majority of the cops in TDK, for example, seem perfectly upstanding.
- Also, there's not just one "mob" in Gotham, there's multiple mobs who were competing with each other until Batman showed up. And even in real life, it doesn't take much to corrupt a police department. Generally powerful gangs have a few patrol cops directly on their payroll, a few investigators in divisions like burglary, homicide and narcotics, someone in the evidence room and maybe someone in Records. And then they regularly try to suborn judges and city officials on top of that. Spread that out over multiple precincts and turn it Up to Eleven, and you have Gotham City.
- They don't have to actually keep them all on salary. If the mob knows that most cops will change testimony or destroy evidence for an envelope full of cash, then it has the same effect. And its demoralizing to the remaining cops.
- There's also the fact that once they get a cop to look the other way once, they have 'em for life. They can use it to blackmail them, sink their careers, and likely get them sent to jail themselves. This is why Gordon's partner in Begins mentions that Gordon not taking a slice makes them nervous; they have nothing to hold over his head. On top of that, if the police department is as corrupted as we are lead to believe, they're likely investing their bribe money right back into the mob one way or another. They're drinking away at mob-owned bars, slipping it into the g-strings of mob-employed strippers and hookers, and snorting mob-supplied cocaine through it. Hell, the mob likely supplies a few of these services (hookers and blow) to the cops at cost in lieu of actual payment in exchange for a few favors, not to mention, additional blackmail material.
- It kinda bugs me why Nolan refused to incorporate Robin in the trilogy. I mean, yes, I do understand that the addition of Robin will add some light-heartedness that Nolan is trying to avoid. However, I recall that there are some serious contents that can be done with Robin and they can still make it 'With sidekick, but STILL gritty'. For instance, the first instance of Dick Grayson quitting as Robin (due to injury) can be incorporated. So let's say for the next part, Robin is featured and is eager to be Batman's sidekick, but Batman kept refusing his offers. He lets up, and lets Robin join the climax battle... only for Robin to be gravely wounded (might be in a bizarre way) and in the end of the movie, Batman told him to quit, Robin reluctantly agrees and they go separate ways, Batman resumes being solo again, and now with knowledge that "It's dangerous to take sidekicks". How is that 'light hearted'?
- Well, for one thing, that will majorly piss off Robin's fans. Introduce him just to have him get a bridge dropped on him to teach Batman a lesson that his job is dangerous? Of course it's too dangerous to have a freaking kid with him. That's why he wears state of the art body armor, and he still takes pretty bad injuries on a nightly basis.
Plus, the scenario you described is a movie all about Robin. A movie all about Robin where he learns that it's too dangerous to be Robin. I dunno about you, but do you want a Batman movie that's not about Batman, that ends up as a "Shaggy Dog" Story? I'm a big fan of the Boy Wonder (particularly Tim Drake), but I would hate a movie with that scenario.
- To be honest though, there was actually only one movie about Batman Begins.
- And Nolan has a point. Bruce Wayne is still fairly young, Dick Grayson is still in kindergarten somewhere. I don't want Robin to be in any Batman movie just 'cause the audience expects it to be a package deal. If the director thinks Robin would be a meaningful addition to the plot, and they've found the right actor to pull it off, more power to them, but until then stop demanding a character be shoehorned in.
- Think about this: in the first two movies, almost every incident Bruce has been involved in has ended with him being suffering from at least one serious injury. He's been set on fire, beaten severely, dangled underneath a train, been dosed with fear toxin, mauled by a dog, thrown into a support beam in a parking garage, had his vehicle destroyed, was thrown off the other vehicle he used and was shot. Now, considering how screwed up Gotham is at this point (the Joker may be gone, but most of Arkham's inmates are on the loose), would you really want to introduce a young kid or teenager trying to fight crime into this mix? If anything, any interpretation of Robin should (at the very least) be outfitted in the same body armor Bruce wears.
- Incidentally, Batman: The Brave and the Bold sidestepped the whole thing by revealing that Robin had already split off as an independent hero himself before the series started.
- As of The Dark Knight Rises, it has been revealed that Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale both outright lied about not incorporating Robin, and that Joseph Gordon-Levitt supported them by not saying anything to prove otherwise. Robin John Blake is a composite of Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and Jason Todd, who discovers the Batcave at the end.
- This is hardly a lie. John Blake is a composite character based on some aspects of the backstory of Robin, certainly, and he's named 'Robin' as a cutesy little shout-out, but he's hardly the same character. He doesn't act as Batman's sidekick, he doesn't put red, green and yellow tights on, he doesn't become a superhero until the very end... he is to all intents and purposes an original character who has some nods to the character of Robin as a homage.
- As interesting a character as some of the Robins can be, I have always thought them an unnecessary and emotionally/thematically stifling addition to the Batman mythos. Think about it: criminals are a cowardly, superstitious lot. He must become a creature of the night: black, fierce, terrible...with this twelve-year-old, wisecracking, wholesome fellow in brightly-colored circus clothes flipping about nearby!
- While I respect Nolan for pursuing his own vision of the series and for only including characters he feels he can use well, this argument — the argument that Robin must always be tonally inconsistent with a darker Batverse — is a minor pet peeve of mine. I consider it the Straw Robin argument. In a reboot where every element of the mythos is being reinterpreted to create a darker and more "realistic" tone, why assume Robin would have to be a garish little ray of sunshine that spews bad puns and wears pixie boots?
- Some Alternative Character Interpretations claim that Robin's real purpose is just to be a distraction. Canonically, he needs a lighter influence to balance his own darkness. Which makes Damien hilarious when you realize that he's even more GRIMDARK than Bruce or Dick ever were.
- This was also back in the day when everyone and their mother was getting a kid sidekick. Seriously. DC was crazy-bad with that. Even Aquaman, the joke of DC, got a sidekick. (Though my favorite, just in concept, was Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy who wore red and, much later in the comic, developed a heroin habit. Almost as nutty as that was the Flash's sidekick, who just happened to be involved in nearly the exact same accident hoopla.) The Robin concept's just basically the only one that actually made a permanent mark.
- I've never bought into the concept of Robin either, although I can tolerate him (in varying degrees depending on who the Robin and writer are). None of the excuses I've heard for his existence come within a thousand miles of holding water. Batman has plenty of ways of distracting criminals. He's the goddamn Batman. Hello? He needs no one's outside help in that regard, and if he did, he wouldn't be the same. If he needs anyone to team up with, there's always the Justice League or any of the other crime fighters who live in the Gotham area, or they could just make up a new guy. As for needing someone to confide in and be close to so that he won't have to suffer alone (would it be so bad if he did? May I remind you who we're talking about here?), he has Alfred. And whatever rationalizations people may come up with for the concept, the fact remains that a menacing bat-like shape speaking from the shadows in an infernal voice loses some of its effect when it's accompanied by an unfunny, brightly colored thirteen-year-old wisecracker.
- On the other hand: incomprehensible is scary. If there's no reason for Robin that the average mook can discern, than he's probably making Batman seem more intimidating, not less. See also: dressing up like a bat.
- Or just don't have him be Robin yet. Have Bruce adopt Dick after he's orphaned. Of Course Dick finds out Bruce is Batman. Bruce tries to dissuade him from becoming a vigilante, but of course it doesn't work. So Bruce begins training him. But only training him at this point. It'll take years before Bruce is going to consider Dick trained enough to join him on the streets. So you can set up for Robin, but not have Batman performing child endangerment.
- "have Bruce adopt Dick" um... as Bruce's public image is probably somewhere between Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, except you know, a dude, any judge that gives him sole custody of a minor would be up for review... especially in light of the still recent "burning down the house" episode so w/o a real good reason why would Bruce invite the scrutiny
- I always liked the explanation for Robin from New Frontier - that Batman had him help with situations where there were kids in peril/involved, because having Robin around made him seem more approachable and kept the children from running away in terror, when he only wanted the criminals to. Another thing that always helped me deal with the idea of Robin was the very, very crucial concept that Robin does not go along for every mission. With regards to his effect on Batman's own dark and formidable image, that's easily explained by the differences in mentalities between kids and adults. Kids see Batman hanging around with another kid and find him less scary, since, obviously, he doesn't mind kids. Adults see Batman assigning a child to fight crime and assume that he is too cold to care what happens to him. Also, the brightly colored thing - well, by the time Robin turns up in Gotham, I think most Gothamites (honest or otherwise) would find bright and cheerful colors much more terrifying than simple black. Still don't think he should be in Nolan's movies, though. Robin is (usually) a sign that whatever he's in is kid-friendly.
- I think Batman took a Robin not because he needed him for something but essentially to give Dick a chance at having his own revenge. He saw this kid who had his parents killed by criminals in front of him, only without Bruce's resources, and decided that, like him, the boy deserves a payback. Besides, Batman probably realizes that he isn't an immortal and doesn't want his accomplishments to die with him, so he raises himself a replacement who needs to 'practice'.
- One comic stated that when Batman and Robin save people Batman would stop their attackers while Robin would be the one to actually make sure the victim is alright. Batman has to appear as this infernal force of vengeance in the minds of Gotham, which is really incompatible with soothing a hysterical victim. Batman exists to terrorize the guilty, Robin to protect the innocent.
- Well, for one thing, that will majorly piss off Robin's fans. Introduce him just to have him get a bridge dropped on him to teach Batman a lesson that his job is dangerous? Of course it's too dangerous to have a freaking kid with him. That's why he wears state of the art body armor, and he still takes pretty bad injuries on a nightly basis.
- In Gotham Knight, Neko Inc can't help but observe that Batman looks a teeensy bit too much like, of all people, Yagami Light. And it wigs him out... Maybe he's just seeing things, though.
Getting into the Batsuit
- The new Batsuit is composed of 110 individual pieces. How does Bruce get into it so fast? It took him like 3 minutes after the Joker appeared at the part. Does he have a bunch of robot helpers like Stark?
- 110 individual pieces doesn't mean they're all separate all the time. He was probably referring to 110 different panels of armor in the suit.
Hair under the helmet
- Bruce Wayne's hair. He's got this thick, slicked-back business hairdo, but that's gotta be annoying under his helmet/mask. Why doesn't he have something more practical? I'm not asking for an army-issue buzzcut, just something that would work in both Bruce-mode and Bat-mode.
- Hair is pretty flexible. I've seen people with thicker heads of hair wearing just as—if not more—restrictive headware (football helmets, hockey helmets) without problems.
Body armor and armor-piercing
- This has always bugged me about Batman in any media (but at least the recent films have corrected it): Batman would need to wear body armor rather than just "dodge bullets." Why haven't the crooks in Gotham figured that out and started using armor-piercing rounds? Also why doesn't Batman suffer most of his injuries from the kinetic impacts from the bullets that hit him? And really, even if Batman's armor could stop armor-piercing rounds, why wouldn't Wayne Industries patent and sell that type of anti-ballistic armor and make even more money than they have?
- Batman does take the kinetic impact of being shot; watch the end of The Dark Knight, where he falls to the ground and is visibly injured after it. And the armor is a failsafe; Batman does depend on not being shot, and while he might not dodge bullets, he does everything in his power to avoid his enemies getting good aim on him (sticking to the shadows, taking them by surprise, in close, and scaring the shit out of them). The armor is just in case one of them happens to get in a lucky shot.
- And really, even if Batman's armor could stop armor-piercing rounds, why wouldn't Wayne Industries patent and sell that type of anti-ballistic armor and make even more money than they have? Who said they haven't?
- Also, the batsuit is stupidly expensive.
- Yeah, Fox points this out directly when they introduce the bat-armor. It was too expensive for the US Army, so Batman's got the only prototype. Lucius rattles off the figure at around $300,000 per suit. Whether that's the prototype cost or production unit cost...
- That's actually a pretty common problem for the US military. They keep having companies develop or bid on replacements for their stuff, but can't come up with the money to pay to equip every soldier with new gear. One can assume this sort of thing is where a lot of WE's RND stuff comes from.
- It was established that the Tumbler (Batmobile) was fully functional. It's just that it was designed as a river-jumping vehicle, and that the bridge it was supposed to be able to deploy didn't work.
- Here's what bugs me: Why is Wayne Industries a publicly traded company? ONE accountant is shown discovering Batman's identity by looking closely at the books. Wouldn't the dozens (if not hundreds) of people working in finance at a publicly-traded company have discovered the same irregularities? Or their auditors? Or the government? This wouldn't be as big an issue if Batman's identity was already public knowledge. It seems to be one considering that it is not. Why not say it's a privately-held company and move on from there?
- It was privately held. Part of the first movie is how the board decides to make it publicly traded. The one accountant figured it out because Lucius essentially made him go over it again as busywork; the first film goes over how Bruce would get the equipment through dummy companies to avoid that thing. What really tipped Reese off was things like the Tumbler, which isn't disguised in the least aside from being painted black, being used by Batman, not necessarily irregularities in the bookkeeping.
- He might well have been looking for something completely different to blackmail them with. Like embezzling.
- Not to mention the only reason Reese could find any irregularities was because Bruce have little time to plan the whole Radar thing while hiding it from Fox.
- Reese found the irregularities through recognizing RND equipment from the news. He explicitly points this out to Lucius. At no point is it suggested that Bruce was simply too busy to cover his tracks.
League of Shadows
- This might be solved in the upcoming third movie but I have trouble believing the League of Shadows has been wiped out. If Ra's claims that they secretly run governments is true then they should still be in heavy operation. If not, they still proved to be an ominous, international terrorist group. It was obviously designed to continue functioning after its leader died so Ra's death should not be a problem. They should still be out there and they should be pretty interested in visiting Gotham again.
- From what has been released, Bane is likely working for or possibly running the League now. A "young" Ra's Al Ghul has been cast for "flashbacks" also.
- As The Dark Knight Rises reveals, yep, The League of Shadows is back, with Bane, as well as Talia, as its leader, with the goal of finishing what Ra's started in the first film.
Shooting in the mouth
- All right folks, this is maybe just me, but I have yet to see someone aims for Batman's mouth. You see, that part of him isn't armored.
- Hitting a target that small is nowhere near as easy as most people think. Especially if you're in the middle of fighting someone.
- Yeah, you might as well ask why criminals don't do that now. Even a SWAT cop in full body armor has no armor over his face, yet you never hear about SWAT teams routinely getting their faces blown off in busts.
- SWAT teams typically wear helmets with visors that are more than likely bullet resistant, so they're still protected there.
- Not all the time they don't. And those visors are really only good for protection against ricochets and shrapnel from explosions. A direct hit from a bullet will rip right through them.
- Its a small target that is difficult to hit at any range past point-blank, and that's if the target is perfectly still. Batman doesn't stand perfectly still, and is constantly moving. He rarely gives his opponents time or a target to even shoot, let alone enough time to draw a bead on his mouth.
- First off, hitting is in reality much harder than movies present. This is why body shots are more common than headshots. Add to that that mouth area is much more smaller.
- Why doesn't anyone shoot him in the chest until he falls over, and THEN shoot him in the face?
- You don't think they're trying to already? Batman only works because he avoids situations where his enemies have a clear shot at him. The armor's for the off chance that his stealthing and close-quarters training fails and he ends up getting shot.
- More Dakka, then. Doesn't matter how badass he is, nobody can stand against 10 guys with FN Minimis.
- Like the above troper said, Batman is careful to avoid that kind of situation.
- No amount of dakka will allow you to take down a target you can't find.
- Yeah, despite what the US military may tell you, having a shitload of guns firing at once will not solve all your problems or kill all your enemies.
- In addition, I don't have a lot of experience with FN Minimis, but I wager that they're probably incredibly heavy and awkward to carry around and use (there's a reason you only ever see soldiers using them when they're lying down). If you're in a face-to-face combat situation with someone, or if you're in a situation where swift and efficient movements are essential (as most criminal activities tend to be), then 'heavy' and 'awkward to use' aren't exactly advantages when it comes to weapons. Especially if it's all to deal with just one person.
Gotham in different movies
- I find the different versions of Gotham in Begins and Dark Knight very jarring. In Begins Gotham was grimy, cramped and dirty looking. In Dark Knight it was modern day Chicago. I can understand how Batman and Dent helped clean up the place, but the geography seems entirely different.
- Gotham is a very large city and is comprised of districts varying in economic growth, etc. Begins focused on the poverty stricken slum areas and Dark Knight seems to keep us in richer company (the banking, wealthy mobster districts). Many cities in the world have sections that seem incredibly different from each other in their architecture and such, which will be what's happening here. Hopefully Dark Knight Rises will somewhat link these two styles together in some way, to help the audience feel a continuity in Gotham locations across the trilogy.
- You also have to consider the type of person he was fighting in either film. In "Begins," he is fighting a mobster who preys on the poorest and most desperate people in Gotham. The scenery reflects that. In "Dark Knight," the Joker is going up against the Gotham elite, so the scenery reflects this as well.
Coleman Reese making the connection
- Why would Coleman Reese be the only person who figured out that Bruce Wayne or someone affiliated with Wayne Industries is Batman? Considering the fact that most of Batman's tech was contracted by the military, shouldn't some general see the Tumbler on the news and say "Hey, isn't that the tank we contracted Wayne Enterprises to build for us?"
- Knowing the Batmobile is the Tumbler wasn't the same as knowing Bruce Wayne is Batman. If you look closer at the exchange between Reese and Fox, you'll see that at first Reese didn't know Bruce Wayne was in fact Batman, only that Wayne Enterprises might have connections with the vigilante (that was why he confronted Fox, not Bruce). It was actually Fox who cued him in.
- The Microwave Emitter was Wayne Tech as well, Wayne Enterprises must be on League of Shadows payroll!
- The Tumbler is a military prototype that was never put into operation. There are thousands of those that never see the light of day. Nobody knows about the Tumbler. Reese only discovered the Tumbler because he Fox had him recounting their numbers over and over.
Skin around eyes
- Simple one, why does the skin around Batman's eyes appear to be black to match the suit? Is there some sort of felt padding or is it makeup? Either way, it's not addressed and when he takes the cowl off his face appear clear. Why do we never see him put it on, or, more tellingly, why when he takes the cowl off is there nothing on his face (see the scene Batman Begins after he gives Rachel the antidote).
- It's make-up, same as with the Burton/Schumacher Batmen. As I understand it, Batman Begins originally had a bit where Alfred stopped to remind Bruce to take the makeup off before going into his birthday party.
- Besides, we never see his clean face after he took the cowl off. There was a reason his back was turned to us in that scene.
- Now that The Dark Knight Rises is out, there is indeed a scene with Bruce's cowl off while he's still in the Batsuit. And... no makeup.
Threatening to kill
- I suppose here is as good a place as any to put this. We all know that Batman will not kill. However, it's addressed in The Dark Knight that the criminals have caught on to this and no longer fear Bats anymore, since they know he just won't go that far. Is there anything about this particular version of Batman that would prevent him from successfully pulling off the trick he does in the comics? The one where he takes care to mention that if he ever DID kill, there wouldn't be any evidence of it? Because he's just that good?
- This version of Batman is not real talkative. I doubt there's anyone he could mention it to that would spread it all over the city. Secondly, I did not get the impression that all criminals knew he didn't kill as most of them seemed still very scared of him. The only one who seemed to know for sure was Joker who happened to be very smart and quite probably good at guessing.
- There's an easy answer. Unless he actually kills someone, the threat is worthless. The criminals have "compared notes" and realized that he isn't killing anybody. Nobody is suddenly going missing because of the Bat. Therefore, they have nothing to fear. Part of the reason for throwing the blame for Two-Face's murders on Batman was to help reinforce fear among criminals. Now, they'll think the Bat is willing to kill.
- Was it ever a big problem that he doesn't kill? The Joker is the only one that uses this rule to his advantage. The rest of the movie demonstrates quite clearly that the criminals are afraid of him. That's why the Joker was able to enter the plot in the first place. Blaming Dent's death on Batman just ensures that no one will ever be able to use that argument again, and allows Harvey Dent to die with a clean reputation.
- It doesn't really make that much of a difference if he kills or not. Maybe the high level guys who can make bail don't need to worry, but the lower level criminals still don't want to go to jail. And they also don't want to get the shit beaten out of them. Batman, even if he doesn't kill, can do both of those things. Therefore, they are still afraid of him. Maybe not as much as they would be if they were willing to kill, but they're afraid enough.
- For any criminal, having Batman constantly up your ass every night, getting you arrested (and putting you in the hospital) has got to be a pretty horrible thing to look forward to for the rest of your criminal life. You can only be killed once, but being persecuted and forced to live in fear for the rest of your life might be considered worse.
- Whether or not they consider Batman a killer, the criminal community has no doubt whatsoever that their caped-crusader nemesis is freakin' insane. Sane people don't dress up like giant bats to kick the crap out of thugs. For all they know, he's been teetering on the brink of committing a vigilante-style mass murder, all this time, and none of them want to be the one he's pounding on when he finally cracks completely. More likely, it's the existence of Bat-wannabes who aren't competent enough to kill, even if willing, that's diminished the real Batman's intimidation-factor: unless and until he proves he's the genuine article by whipping out some serious tech and/or ninja moves, they probably assume they're facing just another copycat.
- There's at least one comic where the criminal nutcase of the week that Batman's just captured is mocking him by pointing out that he's borderline insane and is bound to snap and go psycho at any moment, only for Batman to interrupt by pointing out that a likely trigger for him to snap and go psycho is some criminal nutcase he's just arrested mocking him and calling him insane. The criminal nutcase decides to shut up at that point. Yeah, you don't have to actually kill anyone to give off the impression that you're dangerously insane and ready to snap.
- The soundtrack for Batman Begins gave each track a seemingly random-word title. Any idea why Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard dropped this practice from the sequels?
- The tracks are the Latin names of bat species.
- So why didn't they follow that practice with the sequels?
- Its possible they ran out of cool sounding Latin bat names, or they felt people would be confused if there were many soundtracks with Latin track titles.
- It may also be because actual bats are most prominent in the first movie, with its central theme of fear.
- I may incur the wrath of fanboys, but.. maybe it's possible that giving the tracks Latin bat names wasn't a good idea in the first place? I'll admit it's "cute," but it defeats the purpose of naming when someone wants to listen to a piece of music from a certain part of the score, and the only clue you have is the track order.
- In fairness, you could say that about any music score which doesn't call the tracks something like "The Bit From The Scene Where Batman Punches The Joker And Throws Him Off A Building".
Building/stocking the Batcave
- This is from cracked.com, but how did the stuff in the batcave get installed, and how is it cleaned?
- Guess: private contractors excavate the area and then build the tech into the cave up to the point just before it's clear that it will be used as the batcave. From there, their contract is finished for the reason of secrecy. From then on, Bruce and Alfred install the remainder of the equipment themselves and clean it as best they can. What do you think it would need cleaning from? Guano? Batman showed he's capable of controlling his bat population and, presumably, making them excrete waste outside of the cave.
Gotham vs the League
- What did Gotham City ever do to the League of Shadows?
- Seriously. I get that they want to cleanse the "corrupt" and all but Gotham is hardly the only "corrupt" city in the world. Why travel all the way around the world when they can target another "corrupt" city closer to home? It just doesn't seem very practical. Or maybe they do? Is the league wiping out other cities the viewers don't care about off-screen? Or do those other cities have their own superheroes stopping them in order to maintain the status quo in which case does the League ever succeed at all?
- Maybe Ra's just got short-changed one time when he was doing mercenary work in New York?
- Because Gotham City is a big, well known city—it would serve as a bigger example than some place that was equally corrupt but not as well known. Same reason the NCAA recently smacked down Penn State over the Sandusky scandal and they've done nothing while a nearly identical situation happened with Montana's football team—Penn State is one of the biggest, most well-known schools in the world, and Montana...isn't.
- Except - what's the point? Unless the League of Shadows issue a press release saying "We burnt down Gotham as it was corrupt and other cities better watch out!" which seems unlikely (OK, Liam Neeson's Ra's died before he could claim responsibility for anything, but he didn't seem to have any plan to do so), it seems highly doubtful anyone's behavior will change as a result of their actions (at least, not for the better). The likely result of the League's actions isn't to end corruption but to increase regulation of new chemicals & technology.
- You're missing the point. It's supposed to look like Gotham just became that bad that it tore itself apart, not that the League of Shadows is going to come and get you like the bogeyman if you don't shape up. The idea is that cities will see Gotham fall apart, think it happened because the city just was that corrupt, and the citizens would then be spurred to clean up their own cities.
Only use it once
- In Batman Begins, Batman uses the sonic bat attraction signal in his boot to attract the horde of bats only once. Why didn't he ever use it again? There would've been plenty of uses for it, like in the final battle against Bane. Imagine the police charging Bane's men, with an enormous cloud of bats overhead, attacking the terrorists and Batman swooping in and delivering his boots right into Bane's face. That would've been an awesome opener for the fight.
- OK, while I haven't read as many Batman comics as I would've liked to, nor have I seen the whole of Batman Begins, there are a few things that seem like easy explanations. First, the attack took place in what seemed like the middle of the day, when bats usually sleep. Second, even if it was night, when Bruce pulled that trick in the first movie, it was in a cramped building that officers were going INTO; the final battle with Bane takes place in the open streets. Third, ignoring that, Bane still had a few tumblers with weapons that could've most likely included flares or flash bang grenades, dismissing the bats quickly. And fourth, as said before, this is a fight in the OPEN STREETS in the DAYLIGHT; odds are, Bruce's stealth tactics wouldn't be as effective. Then again, I don't know everything so I could be totally wrong in some areas, in which case, my bad.
- The face-off with Bane happened in the wintertime. Temperate-zone bats hibernate in winter.
- Something I have wondered over is the timeline for the events of the first two films (I searched through, and didn't notice that anyone else asked this.) How much time passes between Bruce returning to Gotham (around age 30) in Batman Begins, and the end of The Dark Knight? From those two points (the return to Gotham and the deaths of Harvey and Rachel), did only about a year pass? Two years? Five years? Is there a canon answer to this?
- Normally, timeline stuff like this doesn't bother me in movies, but I'm really curious here. The reason I ask is because the amount of time, to me, subtly affects how we perceive the characters. If it's only a year, it sort of become a statement that Bruce just doesn't have the endurance to be Batman, as if he drastically fell short of achieving what he wanted. If it's somewhere in the range of five years, it's a huge testament to Alfred's commitment to, and Rachel's trust in, Bruce during that time. It also might make a bit more sense regarding Bruce's physical condition in The Dark Knight Rises, as he could be anywhere from his late 30s to his late 40s.
- I always got the impression that a year had passed and as a result in TDKR Bruce is around 38-39.
- At the parole hearing in Begins, it's stated that Joe Chill had already served 14 years. In the Nolanverse Bruce was 10 when his parents were shot, which makes him 24 when he left Gotham. In TDKR, when talking about his fantasy Alfred explicitly states that Bruce was gone 7 years. That means that Bruce was 31 when he first became Batman. One year passes between Begins and The Dark Knight, based the Joker's comments when he crashes the mob meeting. TDKR explicitly states that 8 years have passed since Harvey Dent's death, which means that Bruce is 40 in the third movie.
- In Batman Begins, he is canonically 29 when he first starts as Batman. Source: the decorations at his birthday party show him to be turning 30. So if he starts at 29, turns 30 during the first film, then if the Dark Knight is 1 year later he is 38-39 in the Dark Knight Rises.
- Did it explicitly state that there is only a one year gap between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight? I know the Joker says that the mob wasn't all that scared of anyone a year prior to TDK, but that could just mean Batman was busy trying to get the fallout from the Narrows going to hell under control for a while before targeting organized crime became a reasonable goal. I might be and probably am reading too much into that, but is there a point where the film (or the top guys working on the film) unambiguously state its only been a year like they did with eight years in The Dark Knight Rises?
- Yes, it was explicitly stated. The Joker's line when he crashes the Mob meeting is this: "A year ago these cops and lawyers wouldn't dare cross any of you. What changed?"
- Did Batman spend his entire career breathing through his mouth, with his mask covering his nostrils?
- Possibly the mask had air-channels built into its cheeks? It's certainly thicker than cloth.
- His mouth is never hanging open in any of the dialogue scenes in suit. He's probably nostril breathing somehow.
- I was looking closely at Batman's mask during the scene where Joker's pinned him down, and noticed there are indeed two nostrils poked in the mask's nose. You can see them here when he says "But I know how you got these!"
- There is something that bugs me off about the Tumbler. Thorough the movies we have seen that the vehicle (both the one Batman uses, and later others that Bane stole) is armed with some SERIOUS firepower: high caliber machine guns, rocket launchers, auto cannons, missile pods, and I recall reading the vehicle even had mine-laying capabilities. But in the first movie it's established that the tumbler was created with one purpose, to quickly lay out mobile bridges for the military. Why would they arm such specialized vehicle with much more firepower than most actual fighting light armored vehicles posses?
- There's a couple explanations. If it is meant as a bridging vehicle, it may find itself physically cut off from the rest of the force and need to defend itself until it can complete the bridging mission and be reinforced. Another possibility is that those weapons were meant to destroy obstacles in or around the river that would block the bridge. Another possibility is that when they couldn't get the bridge function to work, they tried adding guns to it to sell it as a LAV, and either failed to secure a contract or were shut down by Wayne Enterprises' Board.
US government and Batman
- How does the US government view Batman in the Nolan universe? In Man of Steel, they are paranoid and afraid of Superman. How would/do they view an ordinary human running around in a mask, taking matters in his own hands?
- In the latter, the government are paranoid about Superman because Superman's a Physical God who could theoretically take over the world if he so wished. Conversely, Batman's basically just a guy running around dressed up as a bat beating up criminals and doesn't really do much outside of Gotham City (in this universe at least). The US government's position on Batman is most likely that it doesn't really have one for the most part outside of "well, this is probably a matter for the local authorities".
- This is just nitpicking, but, the GCPD is clearly based on the NYPD. That is obvious if you know where the paint design used on their patrol cars comes from. But in the NYPD, SWAT teams don't exist but rather are just one function of many performed by the Emergency Services Units. Why doesn't the GCPD refer to its SWAT units as the "ESU"? That would make it even more like the NYPD.
- Because viewers know what a SWAT team is but wouldn't know what the hell ESU means. Taking some visual cues from something doesn't mean you're trying to copy it down to every last detail.
- The Tumbler and The Bat look cool and all, but how the heck doesn't Batman get caught using those huge things? You have a weird looking bat-shaped jet flying around the city, and no one decides to follow it? As a citizen, wouldn't you find it odd that a strange jet is flying so close to the buildings? Because of the tumbler's size, it's a miracle he doesn't get caught.
- The Tumbler has a cloaking function which is capable of turning off street lights in the surrounding area among other things. It's very likely that The Bat has a similar functionality. And even if the police are able to maintain pursuit regardless, he can rely on superior horsepower and/or brute force regardless to evade or disable their cars. It's easily capable of driving along building rooftops to traverse the city as a parkour runner would, something cop cars clearly can't hope to match. With the perfect trifecta of speed, stealth and strength, they don't have a chance. And if I were a citizen of Gotham, I would assume that it's Batman's personal jet flying around, and whatever my opinion of him I would just leave him to it. There's no method or reason I would have for intervening, much less pursuing him.
- How is it that Batman can teleport to where ever the plot conjures drama for him to be involved in? Usually this isn't a problem because he's got both a lead and a vehicle to travel with. But in TDK, the very next scene after he breaks Maroni's legs is the one with Dent interrogating the Arkham Joker recruit, just in time to prevent the coin toss no less. How can he know to be there, even if it's just two blocks away? And "he's the goddamn Batman!" is not a valid explanation particularly as Nolan strived to make his films realistic.
- Rule of Drama. Like any story, the narrative is arranged so that the most relevant bits are presented to us in the clearest and most efficient fashion possible, which doesn't necessarily mean the events are taking place in strict Real Time. We're meant to assume that events took place in such a way that there was a sufficient amount of time and distance to enable Batman to go from dealing with Maroni to finding and stopping Dent. Willing Suspension of Disbelief, deal with it and move on.
- That would be more acceptable if it didn't seem that the events were intercut (with an implication of Real Time indeed) so that Batman probably wouldn't have time to get there.
- Maybe, but almost every movie probably has these little knots of linear passage of time if you look close enough. Again, it's where Rule of Drama meets Rule-Of-Making-The-Movie-Interesting-To-Watch, and an implication of real time isn't the same as a 100% concrete confirmation of real time. If it's otherwise impossible, then clearly despite what it looked like it wasn't actually in real time, since movie editing isn't the gospel truth delivered under oath in a court of law testifying as to what actually occurred, and it's not like there were shots of clocks that showed that the two scenes were occurring at the exact same time. Ultimately, the only real answer you're ever going to get to this conundrum boils down to "obviously there actually was a sufficient amount of time and means for Batman to get from Maroni to Dent, because he did", and you can accept that or not, but it's what there is.
Fox and Thomas
- How close were Lucius Fox and Thomas Wayne? They had to be pretty close for Fox to risk his life, career, and freedom to help Thomas's son. If Bruce gets killed and unmasked, the FBI would most likely go after Lucius for supplying him the gadgets and weapons. Why take that risk for a guy's son he barely knows?
- Fox mentioned that he helped Thomas build his train and he's on first name basis with Alfred so he and the Waynes probably go way back. He might be helping Bruce out of respect for his friend's memory.
Fox and Bruce and Batman
- How did Fox find out that Bruce Wayne is Batman? In Batman Begins, he suspects that there's more to Bruce's requests than he's letting on, but he says he won't pry into them as long as Bruce doesn't take him for a fool. Then in the Dark Knight, he suddenly knows and is an active participant in Batman's operations. What happened between movies that causes the secret to come out?
- It's implied that Fox knew all along. In Begins, he clearly suspects that there's more to Bruce's requests than just rich-guy goofing off, and when Batman shows up he's clearly smart enough to join the dots together. The reason he doesn't pry further is for reasons of plausible deniability (so if Bruce gets caught and someone comes around asking questions he can honestly say he didn't know anything for definite). Even in The Dark Knight, for most of the movie Fox is clearly acting in a nod-and-wink "we both know what's really going on but I don't want the full details" sense. He only becomes an active participant at the end of The Dark Knight when Bruce shows up in full costume to seek his help in dealing with the Joker, and that's only because the situation is bleak enough to warrant it.
- While it was suggested that he knew in Batman Begins, even before the climax in the Dark Knight, there was no hiding of anything by Bruce and Fox actively assisted him in taking down Lau. How did the relationship go from "I know what you're really doing but I won't say anything" to "I'm going to go to Hong Kong to set up your capture of this mob accountant."
- That's still done in a fairly nod-nod-wink-wink fashion, though; it's not like Bruce is calling Lucius up on a bright red phone and giving him instructions in full Batman costume. Lucius, after all, has a valid (if flimsy) business reason to be at that location. Just assume that Lucius decided to help out more actively at some point between the movies; we don't need to see every step in the working relationship between these two guys.
- Fair point, it just seems odd to go from Fox suspecting but not knowing for sure and Bruce remaining cryptic about his activities in one movie to Fox being officially in the know and Bruce opening making clear what he's doing in the next without explantation for how the dynamic changed.
Burning the money
- The scene where the Joker sets all the money he is paid by the mob bosses on fire was fairly interesting, and one of the few moments where the Joker stops being profoundly terrifying for a minute and is funny again. Until half an hour after walking out of the theater, when I thought back, and remembered that there was a man, bound and gagged, sitting on top of the money. And the camera cuts had managed to make me forget about it by simply not showing him. It turned the scene all the way around to "creepy" again.
- That was no random Mook, that was Lau, the Chinese mafia accountant. I had to watch it a second time before I caught that.
- And what was Ra's al Ghul's long-term plan in Batman Begins? Destroy Gotham's economy. The Wayne family screwed that up, so he went to plan B and failed. OK, kids, what happens when you take a bunch of money from a given economy and destroy it in one fell swoop? GO JOKER!
- You get a small decrease in overall liquidity, but actually, having less currency in circulation is de-inflationary. Not that it matters much today anyway, when most of the money in existence is purely digital.
- In the scene where Harvey Dent is at the dinner party, shortly before the Joker arrives, he has a conversation with Alfred. He asks him "So you've known Rachel your whole life?". He replies "Not yet, sir." Guess who dies first?
- At first, I passed off the "only burning my half" as a brilliant example of The Joker's humor. It wasn't until later that I thought about how vital this scene is to setting The Joker up as Batman's mirror. To be a mirror, his motives have to be as pure as Batman's are. He's as dedicated to mayhem as Batman is to justice. He's more than a man — he's a force. For that to be legitimate, money can't play into things. The money scene, which for any other villain would be the sum of all their efforts, their crowning moment before the hero intervenes to set things right, instead serves as an opportunity for The Joker to declare exactly what kind of man he is. Money doesn't matter to him. He's doing this because Gotham deserves a "better class of criminal", one that isn’t in this for monetary gains.
- "Only burning half." Foreshadowing, foreshadowing, foreshadowing!
- One problem, that scene came AFTER Harvey's disfigurement.
- I never noticed that, that's interesting! And it gets me thinking: specifically, the Joker says, "I'm only burning my half." (I checked). Now, what is the Joker trying to prove throughout the movie? That everyone is as ugly on the inside as he is. By saying he's only burning his half, it implies that the half of Harvey that he burns is already "his" - that is, there was already the potential for madness and evil in Harvey. The Joker (or so he believes) only brings it to the surface. The burns visually represent Two-Face's "evil" side, but the burns themselves were only part of the equation.
- Well, of course there was already potential for madness and evil in Harvey. He's a lawyer.
- To add another foreshadowing twist, remember Alfred's story to Bruce Wayne about his trip to Borneo and met the sadistic leader with a horde of diamonds he did not care about having as a warning about the Joker's behavior. "Only burning half."
- Which makes the Joker, in a way, better than Alfred's company—they burned the whole forest down for money, while the Joker is burning his half of the mob money.
- Yep, it's pretty unsubtle: "Some men don't care about money. Some men just wanna watch the world burn."
- Also, the Joker says "only burning my half" - claiming full responsibility for Harvey's transformation, that the "evil" half of Harvey essentially belongs to him.
- The best part of that scene for me is that "only burning my half" is absurd: the fire's gonna spread to the entire pile anyway. Symbolic of more than one thing: symbolic of the way the Joker's chaos spreads around the city, and also of the way Harvey's burns actually turn him entirely evil (with things like shooting the driver) instead of only half.
- I always saw that as the Joker's literal half. There was another pile just as big that belong to the mob. Maybe I missed something.
- Yeah, he was just Joking to the Chechen to Troll him For the Evulz.
- And I only realized when someone pointed it out to me that the Joker lied! Batman goes to rescue Rachel and sends the police after Dent. But it's Batman who rescues Harvey and the cops who see Rachel blow up. Knowing that the Joker does things like this adds another layer to the scene with the two boats...
- Oh, but that's the whole point, don't you see? The way the Joker explains it to Batman in the interrogation room, he makes it out that his game is to force Batman to make the devil's choice about who to save between Dent and Rachel - the man Gotham needs versus the woman he loves. But by switching them around, he forces Batman to commit to his choice, only to find out that he's got the OPPOSITE of what he wanted. Either way, Joker wins TWICE.
- Additionally, that little maneuver was pivotal in getting Harvey to do his Face–Heel Turn. By saying "I just do things. The mob has plans. The cops have plans. Gordon's got plans. You know... they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I'm not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are." and later "Nobody panics when things go 'according to plan'..." Joker was implying to Harvey that it wasn't his fault that Rachel died, it was the Police and Batman's for choosing their precious district attorney over her, while at the same time admitting that he did the switch to screw with them.
- But if the Joker admitted that he did the switch to Harvey that meant that when Batman, clearly the more effective rescuer, pulled out Harvey he had actually been trying to save Rachel. No one chose Harvey over Rachel. Rachel was the one who was supposed to get saved while the less-effective police force was sent after Harvey in the unlikely event that they could save both. The Joker admitted that not only is it his fault that Rachel is dead because he put a bomb on her in the first place but it's also his fault in that his lies prevented Batman from saving her. And he blames Batman for this because...?
- The Joker's switch was a brilliant move because it ensured that Dent would live. Think about it... he knows Batman will save Rachel. He is trying to corrupt one of the two knights Gotham has. If Dent dies, he loses one knight and the other manages to save his love. By tricking Batman into saving Dent, he ensures that both knights are in play while also pitting them against each other. The Joker can lie all he wants about plans... but he truly is a chessmaster.
- With the reversed choice in that scene in mind, consider the Ferry Boat scene. The Joker plainly lays out two choices, kill, or die. But what reason does he give us to believe that he is playing the choice straight this time? The thought occurred to me in a moment of chilling Fridge Brilliance: what if the detonators that each boat holds in their hands do not trigger the explosives on the other boat, but the ones on the same boat? Then, anyone who triggers their detonator would be killing themselves instead. Given the Joker's love of irony and glee in twisting familiar concepts into cruel mockeries, I found it to be exactly the sort of thing he would do to display 'Justice' in this manner. Fortunately, there was a Third Option.
- Actually the idea that the detonator on each boat blew up the actual boats they were on would be in a reference to the early "Only burning my half" scene. Look at it like this: The Joker wants to bring humanity's true nature to the surface, to show how they're like him, to show that they're his people. Whoever pulled the trigger would be his people, and that would be the half that burned in a fiery explosion.
- Am I the only person who, upon hearing the Joker's statement regarding the bombs on the ferries, assumed that had one of the detonators been triggered, both ferries would have exploded? Because that would have been in character for the Joker?
- I'd always had a problem with the "it'd blow up your own/both boats" theory, and I just now realized why, conveniently in a moment of Fridge Brilliance. Joker is trying to prove Humans Are Bastards, right? If the people who turned the key died, they would be dead bastards. However, if they were to actually live through the ordeal, they would go through the rest of their lives knowing Joker was right, and that they sentenced hundreds of people to their deaths. How's THAT for breaking Gotham's spirit?
- Well, consider this: If it was rigged to blow up the boat that gave in, he could have never explained this. As a result, everyone on the surviving boat would be viewed as the people who blew up a bunch of others in cold blood. Most of the boat, in fact, would probably have no idea it wasn't true, and would be suspicious of the rest of the passengers, thinking they did it. And god help whoever happened to be near the controller at that point; they'd probably never be trusted again. So he gets some extra psycho irony to laugh about: not only do the people who take his Schmuck Bait die, the other group gets viewed as evil no matter what they actually did.
- Alternately, the Joker probably guessed it would be the "good people" who pushed the button since they had more to live for. I always thought he would have let Gotham remain under the idea that the thugs killed a bunch of innocent citizens to save themselves just long enough for a lynch mob to form, then after utter mayhem erupts and a few more people die, call the news and tell everyone the truth. That'd give Gotham something to chew on.
- On the other hand, the detonator was in clear view the whole time, and even if Joker were to create suspicion like that, each person on the boat would still be convinced of their own innocence. It works a whole lot better for Joker to prove Humans Are Bastards if he were to actually make people kill each other; it just doesn't seem like something Joker would lie about this time. True, he could have the guy holding the detonator look like the bad guy without his doing anything, but how much better would it work out for him if he successfully proved people can be made into monsters, as his victims actually realize this for themselves?
- Doesn't seem like something he would lie about this time? That's exactly the attitude that he would exploit. He's not JUST trying to prove something. He also wants to create havoc for kicks. Having the detonators blow up their own boats would satisfy both goals just fine.
- I had a weird moment of Brilliance with this scene; you see, I had always been absolutely certain that the Joker had given the people on the boats the detonator for their own bombs; it wasn't until later that I realized that the fact is never mention or implied or as some mention not that at all! I just knew it because that was what the Joker do and there was no need to establish that.
- It's entirely possible that neither boat would have blown up. That would be quite a prank, wouldn't it? And still sit on the detonator's conscience all his/her life. I think that may be part of the point: that there is no telling what would have happened. Maybe neither boat, maybe both boats, maybe the same, maybe the other. Maybe it wouldn't have been an explosion at all but his laughing gag or something. With the Joker, you just don't know. His unpredictability is his deadliest forte.
- No, because when they didn't blow up by the deadline, Joker tried to fire his detonator.
- Going on if the detonators blew up their own boats, it works out either way for the Joker. It doesn't matter what the people on the ship know, they're being watched by the entire city. The Joker making it clear that he intends to blow up both boats is the perfect cover. If only one boat blows up, nobody is going to believe that the Joker was responsible for it. Also, if the citizens boat blows, the criminals become dehumanized and mobbed after. If the criminal boat blows, there'd be no way to determine which citizen did it, so they would all be criminalized by the city. In truth, Joker blowing both ships us was the last thing he wanted because it only makes him out as more of a monster when what he really wants is to make himself and the people of Gotham city indistinguishable.
- I just had a thought, but it isn't very plausible, the biggest joke on them would not to blow up the other boat, not to blow up theirs, not blow up both; Blow up a part of the city or something. This doesn't really fit with The Joker's plans, but hey it would be scary.
- The problem with the "blow up both boats" and "blow up own boat" thing is that it doesn't really fit what the Joker's trying to prove. It would be great if he was just trolling them for the lulz, but he's trying to make a point about how, when people have their back against a wall, they're just as murderous as he is. Now, the public perception of the people on the boat is ultimately meaningless. You have one boat of innocent civilians and one boat of murderous criminals. If the criminal boat explodes, people outside the situation will reason that whoever blew up the boat did it to protect innocent people. Given the choice between the two boats, a lot of people who don't have to push the button themselves would immediately say, "Blow up the criminals, save the innocents." It's only a hard decision when you have to be the one to take a life. Nobody would care that they think someone on that boat murdered a bunch of murderers. Similarly, if the civilian boat explodes, everyone would look at that as, "Oh, a bunch of murderous thugs killed people. What else is new?" No matter what happens, even if the detonators blow their own boats up, nobody cares because either outcome would be reasonable and within expected parameters as an outcome of the situation. The only people who will be affected by the events are the ones on the boats. Forcing one group or the other to murder a lot of people to save themselves will have a devastating impact on the people who had to commit the act, and makes a point to those people about what atrocities they are capable of when cornered and desperate. Killing them in the process serves no purpose, undermines his goal, and leaves him walking away with nothing to show for his efforts. Yes, I get that this is the Joker, but he was trying to accomplish something, and when the only evidence for why he would completely undermine his own goal is "because he's the Joker", it's not a terribly compelling argument. A point could be raised about how we know that he cared at all about making the point he claimed to be trying to make with the boats, and the answer is because he had a detonator too. If he just wanted to kill a bunch of people for the lulz and make the other boat think they did it, he could have rigged his detonator to blow up one of the boats and fired it himself at any point during the deliberation process. He clearly wanted them to make the choice to commit the murder of their own accord and act on it.
- I always assumed that all three detonators (the Joker's plus one on each boat) would just blow up both boats. Remember, Joker isn't trying to prove anything to the people on the boat - he's trying to prove it to Gordon and Batman (he's already turned Harvey). Going back to the money burning scene, he said that he was only going to burn his half of the money - but sets the whole pile on fire anyway, along with Lau. It's symbolic of Harvey - Joker burns half of his face, but destroys all of the man. He says that only one of Rachel or Dent can be saved, but in the end neither can be. So, he might say that he's going to only blow up one boat but in reality he'll take both of them. Batman and Gordon will be left with the knowledge that people will turn on each other when their backs are against the wall and that the complete destruction of everything is inevitable. In a way, it's very similar to Bane's philosophy on despair and hope: show them a way out and let them tear each other apart trying to get there.
- That doesn't work at all, though. Even if the Joker's point is to teach Gordon and Batman and not the people on the boats, if both the boats explode, Batman and Gordon will just assume that the Joker blew them both up because he's an asshole, and nothing will be "learned" from the experience. Killing both the boats defeats the entire purpose of the boat exercise regardless of whether it's meant for the people inside the boats or out.
- One final, defining moment of Fridge Brilliance from this moment AND the Debate over it: that's the point. The Joker is chaos and madness incarnate. There's no way to tell what would have really happened if one of them pressed the button, until it happens. That's the point of Chaos Theory; until an event is observed, there's no way to tell what will happen. We never saw what would have happened, so it's impossible to know. Besides, he is definitely insane, so you know, applying logic doesn't always help.
- Concerning the "burning his half": that huge pile of money was conceivably indeed HIS money, due to the deal he'd made with Gotham's mobsters (he gets half of the money Lao had took with him). As for his plan with the boats, remember the line he uses on Dent earlier, about how people freak out when their plan doesn't go...well, as planned. It's one of the few times that his plan fails/backfires completely, he gets exasperated by the failure, goes to do it himself (the exasperation shown especially in his expression and what he mutters as he pulls out the detonator), becomes distracted enough by the failure that his usual "know how I got these scars?" line becomes his downfall. All of this proving his thought about "normal" people falling apart when their plan does.
- The Joker's dual backstories. I realized several hours later that the back stories have not one, not two, but three completely separate layers. Layer the first. He's trying to scare Gambol and Rachel by telling them about his scars. Layer the second. Each story is tailored to the listener. Rachel is a woman about to be married... so he tells her a story about how his wife committed suicide. Gambol is a gangster, likely with a higher emphasis on family... so The Joker tells him a story about how his father was an abusive alcoholic. Finally, both scenes are parodies of the stock standard Freudian Excuse in comics. Where the majority of super villains were either abused by their fathers (literally, 90% of all male super villains), or had self-inflicted misfortunes (Penance, anyone?).
- This was before Rachel had agreed to marry Harvey or before anyone but Harvey, Rachel, and anyone they might have told knew about it. Why would the Joker realize that she had been proposed to but was thinking about it?
- He knew she was in a long-term relationship with Dent. Marriage is a reasonable assumption.
- Now you've got me wondering what story he was going to tell Batman.
- I've always thought it'd go something like this:
- Heath Ledger: He was a great knife-maker, my father. When the one-armed man appeared and requested a special knife, my father took the job. He slaved a year before he was done. The one-armed man returned and demanded it…but at one-tenth his promised price. My father refused. Without a word, the one-armed man slashed him through the heart. I loved my father, so naturally I challenged this man to a duel. I failed... the one-armed man left me alive, but he gave me this (a scar on his cheek) and this (another scar)...
- Batman, of course, being who he is, would know exactly where it came from.
- Batman is many things, but I have trouble believing he's seen too many movies in his life. He doesn't exactly have time for Movie Marathon Fridays.
- Considering Batman's obsession with law and order, he'd probably say that they were inflicted by a sadistic cop or something. Or better yet - a vigilante!
- While reading all these things about the Joker, I came to the conclusion that they're probably all TRUE. It's the Joker. He'd just as easily lie to you as tell you the truth, but there's really no way to prove it. Which just makes it that much more frustrating, which is EXACTLY WHAT THE JOKER WANTS!
- They all ARE true. He only tells two stories, two scars, two scars that look different in type. While it does make it impossible to conclude what he would have said to Batman, my assumption would have been something simple that would have compared them to each other, like "These are from my loved ones. They made me who I am."
- "If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!" - Joker, The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
- The Joker was almost certainly lying about the scars, and about the boats, and about almost everything he ever said. Why? Because the only true thing he ever said is that he's an agent of chaos. He's never going to tell you the truth, if he can help it, because the truth is neat, and orderly, and boring. And it's not like any of the people he tells about his scars are there for the other stories. If he lies to someone, and they know he's lying, they still don't know anything. If he lies to someone, and they believe him, then he's successfully gotten to them. If he lies, then the net effect in every scenario will be to further his goal of spreading confusion and chaos. If, however, he tells the truth, then some people might not believe him, and he's trolled them by not trolling them, but a lot of people will believe him. Which means he told the truth, and they accepted it at face value, and everything is copacetic. And that is NOT acceptable.
- The Joker said a lot of things that were true. Like when he pointed out that the TV's plan was terrible because Batman has no jurisdiction. Or when asked if he thinks he could steal the mob's money and walk away, and he replied, "Yeah." How about, "I kill the bus driver." or "Every day that Batman doesn't take off his mask, someone will die," or his promise to blow up a hospital? Even during his manipulations, he says a lot of things that are, in and of themselves, true, like "I just want my phone call." To my knowledge, the only lie he actually tells in the entire movie is when he mixes up Rachel and Harvey's locations. The rest of the film, every word that comes out of his mouth is true.
- Except for the mutually contradictory backstories, and when he says he doesn't make plans, and...
- One does not have to lie to deceive. Picking and choosing which truths to tell, and what context to tell them in, is a pretty good way to lie without lying.
- Joker licks his scars several times during the movie, implying that either or both of them were attained much more recently than he's letting on.
- I'm going with the assumption it's more of just a mannerism to show insanity.
- Joker couldn't tell Harvey a scar story because Rachel had almost certainly told him already. So he gives him another tailored lie; he says he's an Agent of Chaos (true), and that he doesn't make plans or have any real direction or sense of morals (false). This would twist the knife for Harvey, who is a man who lives his life by rules and plans and justice and morals.
- Consider that in prison, convicted child abusers need to be isolated. In short, criminals like kids. In the good way. I thought it was absolute perfect genius the prisoners would give up their lives for the kids.
- Adding to that is the line the Scary Black Man says: "Give it to me, or we'll kill you and take it from you." In light of what happens a moment later, that line actually means he was fully willing to kill the police officers just to make sure they didn't have a spat of cowardice and blow up the boat of children.
- To add more,"Give it to me and I'll do what you should have done 10 minutes ago." Some of us think that scary black man is going to blow them up. He didn't. The brilliant part is, he basically telling the cop: "Give it to me and I'll do what you should have done as sworn officer of this state and public servant, 10 minutes ago."
- I always had the idea that Even Evil Has Standards in regard to the criminals on the boat. Hence why the Scary Black Man threw out that detonator.
- In a movie full of Ironic Echoes, one struck me hard, just days after getting the DVD, even though I saw it in the theater. Harvey and his trademark two-headed coin, an obvious sign of things to come, is first indicative of not his reliance on chance, but his apparent vigilant philosophy, as noted by Rachel: "You create your own luck?. It demonstrates just how far things have gone when Joker pulls his Break Them by Talking and convinces him that luck and chance are inescapable. Despite the fact that Harvey and Rachel weren't targeted by chance at all, nor that he'd be the one saved instead of Rachel, Joker successfully convinces him that it was so. And thus he creates the Two-Face we all know and cringe from.
- And on top of that, as I realized on rewatching it on DVD myself, Two-Face's coin doesn't work with pure randomness: it comes up good head, then bad head, then good head and so on in a perfectly alternating pattern until the end. The instrument Two-Face uses to enact random chance is perfectly, mechanically predictable, which tells you just how twisted he is (and helps undercut the Joker's logic).
- Uh, I think that was just an unfortunate coincidence that it turned out that way, since there's never any suggestion that Two-Face is cheating on the coin toss (at least, not after his double-headed coin is burned on one side anyway).
- This is more of a Two-Face in general thing, but the scars on the "bad" side make it lighter, and therefore, it's more likely to come up in a toss.
- By the logic of perfect switching back and forth between life and death sides of the coin, Two-Face's last flip should have ended up on death. But after Batman tackles him, the coin landed on the cement on the life side. Because he refused to believe in the "One Bad Day" theory like Two-Face and the Joker, Batman changed the outcome of that flip and thereby disproved the theory. What a perfect way to subtly reinforce the theme of the movie.
- Another thought on the coin. When he was the idealistic crusading DA, his coin had two sides, both of them the "Good" side. Regardless of chance, he was going to do the right thing, no matter what, because there is no other option. After Rachel dies, the coin is defaced on one side, showing that he now has the capability in him to do bad.
- After Harvey becomes Two-Face, he goes around claiming that "the only morality in a cruel world is chance". Except he doesn't, really, shoot people by chance; he's the one who chooses who he shoots, made very clear in the scene where he shoots Maroni's driver. Bit of an Ironic Echo of his line from before "I make my own luck"...
- Paying close attention to the scene, Two-Face clips the coin twice: One for Maroni (which comes out heads, sparing Maroni the gunshot) and one for his driver (which comes out tails, ergo Harvey shooting him and crashing the car). He's been stated to be going for everyone involved in Rachel's death, including people indirectly involved, hence why his shooting of Maroni's driver is perfectly in accordance with his current M.O. of leaving EVERYTHING to chance.
- On subsequent viewing, I picked up some richer subtext than the first time around, particularly regarding the scene when the Joker is apprehended. I had thought Batman's game of chicken, resulting in his Batpod wipeout, was a little odd. Now I see that this happened because he really was thinking about running the Joker down (in keeping with Batman's struggle over what he "had to become" to beat men like him), but couldn't do it at the last second. I also realized this was the exact moment that the Joker decided Batman was "just too much fun" to kill.
- Under this interpretation, when the Batpod crashes, look at the Joker's face when he turns to look at Batman. Not before, not after, during.
- It wasn't until I got home from the theater that I grasped the subtleties of the ending. Earlier in the film, it is very briefly alluded to that Batman is having difficulty: the criminals of Gotham have figured out that Batman won't kill them, and they no longer fear him as they once did. By accepting the blame for the killings committed by Two-Face, Batman not only prevents Dent's name from being tarnished, but he gives the crooks reason to believe that he's willing to kill. They have a reason to fear him again, and Batman doesn't need to violate his code against killing.
- He also solved the problem of the copycats that were emulating him. People stopped "looking up to him". He didn't wanted to be a symbol of what's good, he wanted to be a symbol of fear to the criminals of Gotham.
- But none of that matters since he then retired for eight years.
- I realized that the Rachel/Dent choice isn't just a cruel trick on Batman and the cops, it's also one for the victims. Both Dent and Rachel think that they are the one that's going to be saved over the other. As D.A. is more important than A.D.A., Dent sees himself as more valuable to the police. Dent also thinks he has a stronger relationship with Batman since Batman met with him face to face and he just risked himself to protect Batman's identity. Rachel thinks she's going to live because of her own relationship with Batman, who might take the chance to get rid of her fiancee. If you listen to their conversation, both Rachel and Dent are trying keep the other calm because they know the other is being left to die.
- Having just read this, I re-watched it and saw Rachel's expression as she realizes Harvey is being rescued, and not her... and she seems to suddenly realize she is about to die. Never saw that expression before.
- And that lead me to the realization that even after all the talking Bruce had done about giving up being Batman, and his clear intent to save her, she died thinking he chose saving Harvey over her. Thus she died believing that in the end, Bruce chose the Batman over her. Relief, betrayal, and sudden fear of death.
- This sounds good for further tragic value, but what I distinctly remember was that, like many lovers, they are precisely wishing that the other would be saved instead of them. For one, Harvey was going ballistic ("NO! WHY ME! NOT ME!") when he saw Batman about to save him. And even if Rachel showed a few seconds of shock at these turn of events, she went back to being resigned to her fate (not too different from Ducard/Ra's al Ghul).
- I came to understand that the day after Rachel's death and the death of Batman's parents are stylistically very very similar. First, there's Bruce Wayne looking out in his own world, when Alfred comes in wanting to prepare something to help take his mind off of things. Initially Bruce is unresponsive, so Alfred leaves with a "Very well", but then Bruce says, "Alfred." and then Alfred has to give some comforting words to Bruce in order to help the disillusioned person. In the first movie it was to help rid Bruce of his self guilt over leaving the theater, to provide comfort, and the first spark that "It was his fault, and his alone." to inspire the future Batman. In The Dark Knight, it's to remind him that, "You have inspired good, but you spat in the face of Gotham's criminals. Things were always going to get worse before they got better." This congruency makes the scene much more different because it lends extra depth to the idea of Alfred as Bruce's father figure after the death of his real father, and that even in the worst of time, he'll have something to say to comfort and encourage him.
- There is a further, stronger, parallel between Alfred and Bruce across Batman Begins & The Dark Knight. In Batman Begins, there is a subtext of Bruce searching for a father figure, which by the end of the movie and throughout The Dark Knight, is Alfred. When Rachel gives Alfred her letter to Bruce, Alfred reads and then later burns the letter because its contents would destroy Bruce after he'd sacrificed so much. For Alfred, the truth is not as important as giving people the reward they deserve and the drive to keep going. Then, at the end of The Dark Knight, Bruce/Batman takes the blame for Two Face's murders, and he gives the reason that "the truth isn't good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded". Bruce has taken on Alfred as a father figure so completely that he's internalized Alfred's values and is expressing them as Batman, and without even realizing that Alfred is treating him the same way. The fact that Batman delivers his reasoning as a voice-over to Alfred burning the letter is very anvilicious.
- When Alfred tells Bruce that the only way he caught the jewel thief was to burn down the forest, I thought that he was just providing a cautionary tale about the lengths Bruce might have to go to stop the Joker. However, then I remembered Alfred describing earlier that the only thing the thief wanted was to "watch the world burn". So, in order to catch the thief, Alfred had to do exactly what the thief wanted! This is prophetic because in the end of the movie, in order to stop the Joker, Batman has to sacrifice his heroic image by taking the blame for Harvey's crimes. If you remember from earlier in the film, the Joker's main strategy was to turn Gotham against Batman!
- That sounds cool, but there's no indication the thief wanted them to literally burn down the forest. Maybe you're right, but it doesn't actually say that.
- No, even better than that: there are three things the Joker wants: to kill off the criminals who are in it for the money, to make Harvey Dent violate his moral code, and to make Batman violate his "one rule". He gets all three.
- It gets even better for him than that. Batman doesn't kill the Joker - he kills Dent. He broke his code not by becoming a criminal, but by killing to fulfill his goal. It was to save Gordon's son, but he was still forced to cross the line just like Alfred did - and it was in a way that even benefited the Joker, who still lives to see his triumph. Conversely, Batman and the Joker both won - the Joker accomplished his three main goals; Batman accomplishes his, in becoming the hero the city needs (though in a horrible, twisted way).
- I never got the impression that Batman was trying to kill Harvey, just that he was trying to stop him and killed him inadvertently.
- What I took from Alfred's line was that it had to do with Batman's use of the cellphone sonar device, which in Lucius's eyes seems incredibly immoral. Just as Alfred exposes the thief by burning down his hiding place, Batman exposes the Joker by removing all of the privacy and anonymity of not only the Joker, but all of Gotham.
- The Nomex survival suit Batman used in the first film was capable of stopping a knife attack and a glancing hit from a bullet. Batman eschews it in favor of lighter armor that makes him more vulnerable to both. In The Dark Knight, Batman suffers a glancing gut shot and in The Dark Knight Rises, he gets a knife in the kidneys. How easily he could have turned the tables if he'd kept the tougher armor...
- The new armor being lighter than the first one is exactly the point in changing the armor. Batman traded protection for mobility. In his original armor, he couldn't even turn his head.
- Taking that painful gut shot was also actually a good thing. It caused him to fall to the ground in apparent death, which dropped Dent's guard and allowed Batman to ambush him before he could hurt Gordon's family. If he had shrugged off the shot like nothing as he might have with the original suit, Dent might have tried to kill Gordon's son before he could intervene in time.
No Harley Quinn
- Did Nolan think Harley wouldn't work in his vision of Batman and Gotham?
- Possibly. This version of The Joker is a bit too chaotic to really have the time and wherewithal to have a Psycho Supporter like Harley, but I find it far more likely it was more because the movie already had plenty of villains, save some for later.