If it wasn’t evident enough from the title, the subsequent piece of writing discusses certain key plot developments in Christopher Nolan’s most recent Batman romp, The Dark Knight Rises. So unless you want to spoil the movie for yourself, you should probably avert your eyes… or at least click on a different article.
But I digress. Now, are you prepared for my wildly unpopular opinion?
Simply stated… Batman should have died.
After letting the movie, and specifically the ending, sink in, it seems pretty obvious that little knuckle-curve Christopher Nolan dropped in didn’t make a ton of sense. Batman should have died.
Some people are still of the opinion that he DID die. The final scene in an Italian café was just esoteric enough to have it seem plausible that it simply took place in Alfred’s mind or a dream or…something. However, most agree Nolan decided to have Wayne escape the bomb at the last second and live happily ever after having saved his city.
The first reason Batman should have died is strictly logistical. He, umm, HAD to have died! It showed our neighborhood crime fighter still in his plane with five seconds ticking on the nuclear bomb. Even if he fixed the autopilot and even if he managed to eject from the plane without us seeing, how would he have escaped the blast radius in time? In a movie where Hines Ward could return a kickoff for a touchdown, I realize there are many unbelievable plot pieces but, strictly from a common sense standpoint, come on; Batman had to have died there.
The second reason a death was needed had nothing to do with whether Bruce Wayne could have made it out alive. Simply speaking, Nolan’s Batman trilogy made more sense with the death of its protagonist. From talking of dying a hero to Batman himself telling Selina Kyle that he had not yet given everything to Gotham, the Dark Knight ending his life to save his city at the end of Dark Knight Rises would have been some powerful symbolism.
To tell you the truth, when The Bat was flying out to sea and Robin was looking on, it got a little misty in my theater. I liked where I thought Nolan was taking us; I really liked the movie in general, until Alfred showed up in that restaurant again.
With supposedly no more Batman movies in the works for Nolan and his gang, why make the ending so surprisingly cheery for such a shadowy trilogy? As far as “tacked on endings” go, it wasn’t quite at Return of the King levels, but it’s up there.