Warning; Don’t read this if you Don’t want Dark Knight Ruining for you!!!
This one isn’t for those of you out there who always look on the bright side; this one is for the pessimists. So I’ll just come out with it, Christopher Nolan Kills Batman! Now I hear the optimists amongst you say ‘That’s bullshit because we see Bruce Wayne nomming Breakfast in Alfred’s favourite holiday Café with the slinky Miss Kyle’, but no we don’t, this never happened; it’s a dream. Normally I would be able to spout off about how Bruce Wayne would never quit being Batman as long as he is alive. It is often stated in the comic books as it is with Superman, that Batman is not the alter ego. Kal El (Superman) Disguises himself as the pussyfied reporter Clark Kent, Batman disguises himself as the dick head Billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, the super hero personality is the dominant one. With superman it’s a given he’s an alien hiding amongst humans, with Batman it’s a little bit more difficult to quantify, but it basically comes down to this. Since he was a small child Bruce has obsessed over avenging his parents death by fighting crime, his formative years were spent with the same obsession that has driven him in his adult years he essentially became Batman the day his parents died, a being who exists to take vengeance against all crime.
But Nolan pretty much throws that idea out of the window with Dark Knight Rises and instead has a reclusive Bruce Wayne hiding in his big house for the last eight years, no longer kicking ass and hanging upside down from shit. Don’t get me started on how wrong this is especially as all it takes to get Bruce back in the suit after eight years is a leg brace. This obviously means he was still training, and still keeping himself in shape. The film states that he stopped because of a combination of Gotham being cleaned up and Rachael’s death. I’ll leave the notion that Gotham’s been cleaned up alone because it’s so ridiculous to think of an entire city being crime free that I can’t bring myself to acknowledge that particular piece of asshatery. So let’s stick to Rachael’s death. The entire reason Bruce became Batman was to avenge the deaths of the innocent, in this case mama and poppa Wayne. So what we have here is Batman quitting being Batman for the exact same reason he chose to be Batman; the death of a loved one……Bullshit!
So maybe I could try a different tactic and pursue the trail of rationality. So first some Maths so i found a link to a site that will help me work out the distance of the Horizon (a quick google search)
This is important as we saw Batman fly over the horizon carrying a nuclear bomb. Now Batman had a very limited amount of time to get that bomb as far away as possible. He wouldn’t have been able to hop out of The Bat leaving it on Auto-pilot until after he passed the 16km Horizon threshold lest he be seen doing so. The explosion from Hiroshima was 1.6Km in width with damage and fires happening 4.4km away, I’m presuming the Gotham explosion to be much bigger as this was a cutting edge reactor. He would have roughly needed to be at least 30km away probably more just for the explosion to not do any damage to Gotham, all this against a very small time limit. So how fast is that Bat plane? Because even if he did try to be smart and eject before the bomb went off there’s no way he would have been clear of the blast unless the Bat was travelling supersonic, and the Bat is basically a helicopter, last time I checked no one had broken the sound barrier in a helicopter. So at best Bruce would have been disintegrated in a fiery nuclear inferno, at worst he would have been irradiated to fuck and died slowly and painfully. Then again maybe I’m giving Nolan’s attention to reality a bit too much credit. After all this is the film that tells us that severe back trauma can be cured with a punch to the spine and a month hanging from a piece of rope.
So Instead I’ll use what the film definitely does tells us. While Bruce was off training to be Batman Alfred used to go on holiday to Venice every year. Have breakfast in the same café, and imagine that one day he would see Bruce sitting across from him enjoying his life.
Bruce Wayne spent eight years training to become Batman, and the space between Batman Begins and Dark Knight is officially stated as being 6 months so let’s say Bruce was batman for a year before he quit. Then he stayed in retirement for 8 years. This means Alfred was going on holiday from sixteen to nine years ago and having this dream. However in the dream we can clearly see that Alfred is old. He is as he is now. Meaning that when he tells Bruce of his dream his mind is adjusting it to his current appearance. When he was actually visiting Venice he would have been closer to the Alfred we saw in Batman Begins, at least nine years younger. I know it’s a movie and these scenes were shot in 2011 and not 2004 but take a look at young Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy! They could have changed Alfred’s appearance.
Then at the end of the film we once again see the same sequence only this time Bruce is with Selina, in the same Café with Alfred looking on. Alfred’s older appearance in the earlier dream sequence means that Alfred’s dreams are an evolving entity and his subconscious mind has merely fitted Bruce out with Selina. Remember Alfred was off the scene when Bruce got to fumble with Talia on the living room floor, and prior to that he had been locked away mourning Rachael. So the only girl he could pair him up with is Selina, the last woman Bruce had involvement with; even if it was investigating her and her nefarious deeds.
The other argument for this to be an adapted version of the previous dream is the fact that Alfred never tells Wayne the name or exact location of the Café in Venice. And the fact that everything about the second sequence is the same as it is in the original; earlier in the film. The tables are in the same position, and Bruce is sitting at the same table Alfred imagined he would. It’s been nine years since Alfred went to this café, he clearly states he went there when Wayne was away training; the chances of the cafe having the same layout and furniture nine years later are remote at best. Let alone the place still being open. Also when Wayne was off training everyone thought he was dead, this fantasy was Alfred’s way of dealing with Bruce’s death. Which is why it appears once again at the end of the film to help him and the audience deal with the death of the character that they have invested so much love and time in, in an imagined happy ending?
If the earlier dream had a young Alfred then I would accept that that was the dream and that this is really happening but the similarities and uniformity of the sequences lend them to being the same scene, only played with a few differences influenced by what has gone on before.
Hence Batman Is dead!!!!