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Fridge / The Dark Knight Trilogy

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Fridge Brilliance

  • The idea of Batman as a symbol is explored in-universe and in the trilogy’s film posters/title sequences:
    • Batman Begins has the Bat symbol appear as a cloud of bats.
    • The Dark Knight has the Bat appear from blue flames, the flames representing the Joker’s desire to watch Gotham burn.
      • One poster had the Bat turn into a Joker grin, seen here. As an anarchist, the Joker loves the humor in perverting symbols of order.
      • Another poster had the Bat appear from a bombed building, seen here.
    • The Dark Knight Rises has the Bat appear from cracking ice, the ice representing the winter setting and Bane capturing the world in a frozen tyranny.
      • One poster had the Bat appear in the form of a skyline seen from above, as seen here, representing the pit Bane throws Bruce into that Batman must come from.
  • Bane's treatment of Talia whilst they were both in the pit raises an interesting question: Did Bane choose to blow up the Gotham Rogues as play started because it would be more dramatic or did he hold off so that the child with the "lovely, lovely" voice wouldn't be killed?
  • Bruce Wayne drives a Lamborghini Murciélago when he wants to be "subtle" in both Batman Begins and TDK. Murciélago is Spanish for "bat."
  • "The fire rises."
  • Why does Talia, the daughter of a man known to be largely based out of the Middle East/Far East, have a French accent? What name did Ra's use when he first appeared in Begins? Ducard, which is French!
  • Many epileptic trees have been planted on the nature of Ducard/Ra's Al Ghul. While it seems most agree he was always Ra's, consider this. Ducard teaches Bruce to be more than a man, an "idea", a "legend", and ultimately implants Bruce's idea for Batman to be, not just a man, but a symbol. So could it be, rather than one person, Ra's Al Ghul is something more? A mantle to be taken up, a symbol. Brilliant.
  • Since the original version of the character is literally immortal, it would make sense in the more realistic Nolanverse that Ra's al Ghul would be a name for successive leaders of the League of Shadows to use rather than a specific person.
  • Why does Batman do this growling voice every time he puts on the mask? Iit's another form of disguise. Nobody in superhero-related media seems to be able to recognize the hero by his voice, even close relatives. But here, Batman changes his voice in order not to be recognized (he's a public person and stuff).
  • A bit of music Fridge Brilliance here. Everyone remembers that chilling scene with Joker escaping from prison and the race to the rescue happening concurrently. The track, "Agent of Chaos", contains a particular theme. This is NOT the first time this theme has played in the movie series. Altered from the original format to an extent, but the theme is intact. When did the theme play in Batman Begins? When Wayne Manor BURNS DOWN. We have been CONDITIONED to panic when this theme plays. And hopefully Nolan will be making good use of this in the third film. The Batman Begins version is called Myotis.
  • A meta-example: The first full-length trailer for Dark Knight Rises was attached to Sherlock Holmes 2. This might not seem that significant, until you deduce what Batman and Sherlock have in common...
  • Ducard and Thomas Wayne:
    • Ducard is oddly negative about Thomas Wayne. But then you find out that the League of Shadows tried to destroy Gotham before, by causing a depression. And who messed up that plan? Thomas Wayne. Bruce is not the first Wayne to thwart them.
    • His disapproval makes even more sense as of the backstory revealed in Dark Knight Rises. Ducard failed to protect his wife and child when they were in prison. Of course that would shape his views on how a husband and father should act!
    • After Rises, Ducard's speech comes off at least partially as guilt and self-loathing due to the fact that Thomas Wayne's "failure to act" reminds him of having done the same thing, which led to Ducard's My Greatest Failure.
  • The League of Shadows and the Joker are actually similar. Both believe that humans are bastards, and try to force people into evil acts to justify their actions. The League claimed Gotham was a cesspit of corruption and crime. But they caused a lot of that by putting the city in a depression, increasing the desperation, and thus people would turn to crime because of that desperation. And in doing so, they would have criminals they could kill. The Joker is always trying to prove that deep down inside everyone is just as ugly as he is. He does it by forcing them into sadistic choices, and mind rapes.
  • If you think about it, the Shadows and the Joker came to the same basic conclusion about human nature, but took it in opposite directions. The LoS think Humans Are Bastards but essentially want to scare humanity straight with dramatic examples of punishing evil, and they manipulated the citizens of Gotham towards crime to get the most dramatic example they could. Joker thinks Humans Are Bastards, but he revels in it and wants to force everybody else to do so as well. So the Shadows' response was to adopt an impossibly strict and rigid moral code all about punishing evil, while the Joker's was to gleefully abandon morality altogether.
  • In Batman Begins, Bruce says that as a symbol, he can be incorruptible. At first, it seems that the ending of The Dark Knight proved him wrong: by taking the blame for Harvey's crimes, he corrupted the symbol (Batman). However, there is a character in The Dark Knight who was corrupted as a man, but remained uncorruptible as a symbol: Harvey Dent.
  • Some people get a chuckle from the fact that Batman breathes through his mouth in these films. Look closely at his mask: it covers his nose completely, even the underside. In-universe, there's probably some kind of underwater breathing apparatus in there, but from the outside, it just results in Batman having to breathe through his mouth.
  • A pattern in a few lines from The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, all of which are part of a running theme of the villains, like Batman, holding themselves up as symbols to higher ideals than money.
    The Joker: All you people care about is money. This city deserves a better class of criminal, and I'm gonna give it to 'em.

    Miranda Tate: But you understand only money, and the power you think it buys. So why waste my time, indeed.

    John Dagget: I've paid you a small fortune...
    Bane: And this gives you power over me?
  • In Batman Begins, Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul tells Bruce that he must become a wraith, a terrible thought or idea. What happens in The Dark Knight Rises? Bruce encounters Ra's al Ghul as a hallucination, a haunting thought that exists in his own mind.
  • While Dent has some similarities with Blake as a potential successor and ally to Batman, he's also a good foil with Selina Kyle(who can also be contrasted with Rachel). Both end up getting manipulated by the primary villains of their movies, and betray Batman at some point Dent by succumbing to his rage over Rachel's death, and Selina selling him out to Bane. But their arc goes in opposite directions; Selina starts out as a thief who steals to get by and holds a vendetta against the wealthy, gradually understands the lengths Bruce actually goes towards, while Harvey, despite his initial support of Batman falls to the Joker's manipulations and doesn't see the error.
  • "Either you die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain." First, keep in mind that this doesn't just have to be limited to someone becoming a Fallen Hero, but it can also be merely the perception of the person in question changing, even if their actual nature didn't change. Second, this can be applied to various characters from all 3 movies and, of course, Batman himself. For example:
    • Ducard, it turns out, was always a villain, but Bruce Wayne saw him as a personal hero, and had Ducard died in the explosion, Bruce always would have seen him that way. Because Ducard lived, Bruce later learned that his perception of Ducard was wrong, and Ducard did in fact become the villain.
    • Harvey Dent, obviously.
    • Had Bane died as a result of the beating he took in prison, it would have been quite the Heroic Sacrifice and he would have legitimately died a hero. Because he didn't, he lived, and eventually became a villain. Less obviously, if anything had gone wrong with Talia's plan, and she died before Batman came back and she revealed her true identity, she would have been considered a hero or a martyr by people like Bruce, Lucius, Gordon, etc. Because that didn't happen, she was eventually revealed to be a villain.
    • Batman himself was a hero to the people of Gotham until they came to see him as a villain due to him Taking the Heat for Harvey's misdeeds. (In his own words, "I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be"–and if Gotham needs him to be the villain, so be it.) But that perception was wiped out when he returned to Gotham... and appeared to die heroically.
  • The movies draw a clear parallel between Bruce and Harvey, as both of them are deeply affected by the loss of their families. However, Bruce was able to become a force for good while Harvey stuck to selfish revenge. Why did Harvey turn out bad? Bruce had Rachel to set him straight and Harvey didn't (obviously).
  • The whole Trilogy felt like not a fight between vigilantes and criminals but Vigilantes vs Vigilantes. Both sides wanting to bring forth the problem about how rampant crime was in Gotham, where the police and mob engage in corruption that hurts the good people of Gotham.
  • Word of God has stated that, as far as this trilogy is concerned, "Bruce Wayne" is a mask, a false persona, while Batman is the true person. But that doesn't really hold up. Watch Batman when he's in costume, talking to others with the Bat-Growl, and you see that Batman is just as much an act as Millionaire Playboy Bruce Wayne. Bruce acts like an immature, uninformed idiot when out among Gotham's elite, and like a terrifying, on-the-edge-of-losing-control violent vigilante as Batman. The real Bruce Wayne, calmly intelligent and witty, is only really seen by Alfred, Lucius, and Rachel (and the audience in the scenes where he's interacting with those characters).
    • Combining "Batman is his true identity" with "Batman is a symbol" paints an interesting picture of a man at risk of succumbing to his own self-made mythology. That kind of thing simply isn't sustainable, which may be part of why this Batman seems to have a shorter career than other incarnations.
  • In The Dark Knight, the Joker tells the Chechen that he enjoys dynamite, gunpower and gasoline just before burning his own share of money with Lau pinned over it. He then goes about what these have in common is that they're cheap. It looks at first like the punchline of a gritty joke in typical Joker fashion, then you realize that if the tools of his World-burning antics are cheap, then he doesn't even need the money as a mean to reach his goal to spread chaos. The line then makes surprisingly more sense, for the ramblings of a lunatic.
  • While the character arcs of the main characters like Bruce, Alfred, Selina, etc are pretty apparent, the entire movie trilogy has another less obvious arc going on, that of the Gotham Police Force.

    • First, the police start out as, Gordon aside, corrupt, greedy, and violent almost to a man. Then a large amount of the force goes into the Narrows during Ra's plan and get dosed by the fear gas, driving them irreversibly insane. This clears out a good amount of the corrupt police force, which are replaced by green cops fresh out of the academy and gives Gordon room to advance.

    • Then the Joker shows up and causes his own brand of chaos, likely removing more problematic cops but more importantly killing the original commissioner letting Gordon take his place. This lets Gordon clean house while the newer cops from earlier who were probably mentored by Gordon give him the clout he needs to actually successfully do this. Cleaning out the corrupt cops all but entirely was what finally led to Gotham being truly cleaned up and years of peace, much moreso than Batman himself.

    • Finally, the arc is complete when Rises shows the whole police force following Gordon down to the underbelly of Gotham without hesitation and then gathers together to fight off Bane's men at the end.

    • The police force would've remained largely corrupt if it weren't for the major events of the first 2 movies. If Batman had stopped the Narrows from being gassed, then even if Gordon ended up commissioner anyway (which would be pretty unlikely) the corrupt police force would've worked to shut him down by weight in numbers making his tenure likely very short and ultimately fruitless. If the Joker hadn't killed the original commissioner, even though said commissioner wasn't corrupt himself he still would've stonewalled any attempt by Gordon to improve the police force for years and it's highly unlikely Gordon would become commissioner at all.