Originally Posted by Hohenheim of Light
Why did Batman leave Gotham? What what what.
Yeah as mentioned by eddiefan
I took that as the completion of the message about Batman as the symbol that Gotham needs rather than Bruce Wayne as Batman being the symbol the city needs. I don't exactly possess a diverse knowledge of a lot of the comics and stories surrounding Batman, but I've seen Seph
talk a lot about how Batman is essentially insane with his conviction to fight and punish the criminals because of the deaths of his parents, and thought this film did a good job in tackling his unrivalled devotion to serving as Batman in spite of the pain and suffering it was causing his life, and making you question whether Bruce could ever move on and grow out of his obsession with Batman, or whether it would take death to seperate him from the Batman persona.
To me the conversation with Alfred was all about Bruce thinking he and he alone could only represent what Batman stood for: in-corruptable, someone who is not afraid of death and who is obviously skilled enough to fight and terrorise the criminals. Bruce cannot let go of the Batman identity and is so convinced that only he can represent what Batman stands for that Alfred knows he will not hesitate to die in battle, and then the story of the movie slowly evolves into Bruce maybe accepting that Batman can live on forever as a symbol, whilst Bruce Wayne can 'rise' or evolve and lead a new life.
That to me is what I took as the message from the film. Blake proved to Bruce that he was a man who grew up in troubled times and who had retained a strong sense of moral justice throughout his life, and scenes like Blake losing respect for Gordon breaking the code of officers...only to realise near the end of the film that maybe doing things by the book cannot always guarantee what he perceives to be 'the right result' and therefore slowly comes around to the idea that maybe as a Police Officer he's restrained by too many beuracratic procedures to serve as the protector of Gotham. Bruce slowly realised that Batman and his presence, moral code and skill is what the City needs and that he was not the only person dedicated enough to serve as Gotham's protector and that he too deserved a happy ending by safely knowing there was always someone willing and able to act as Batman and keep the city safe.
Agree with you btw about the emotional scenes with Alfred, I could see a few people in my cinema just in awe of that speech in front of the graves. I do agree that in many respects the hints and Alfred's reaction were enough to tell the viewer Bruce was alive without seeing him, but maybe Nolan wanted clarity at the end of his trilogy rather than leaving the viewer in suspense. Seeing Bruce with Selina and actually enjoying life rather than the paranoid/devoted protector he had been since Batman Begins re-affirmed to the viewer that his time as Batman was done, and that indeed that legend had indeed ended.
As for my thoughts on the film, despite some things in the middle I think could have been better (agree with whoever said that the whole Gotham struggle could have been shown better, it was essentially just fast-forwarded to Batman's return, rather than seeing the actual plight of the city aside from the first few moments of rioting and chaos that Bruce had to see) I actually probably thought this was the collectively strongest film in the trilogy, or at least closer to Begins. DK is a great film but aside from Joker's chaos and the slow burning progression of Harvey Dent I don't find much else in the film to be too great, here I thought all the cast were sublime and the likes of Bale, Caine, Oldman and Freeman who were regulars turned in arguably their best performances, and between Hardy, Hathaway and Levitt I thought the supporting cast were collectively stronger in their performances even if Ledger's individual performance likely remains the best in the trilogy. I loved the messages and symbols the film tackled: the message about Gotham being a city not worth saving that was present in Begins and DK was again explored with the citizens acting exactly how Bane believed them to do, Levitt's ideals of moral justice slowly becoming incompatible with the procedures and orders he'd have to follow under a Police Badge were excellent in exentuating his dis-satisfaction with the job and making the ending seem a logical conclusion, Alfred's desperation in trying to convince Bruce he had become too involved with the Batman persona to the point where he would never be happy in his life was a smart and hearbreaking look at the character and his constant source of misery and despite the whole saga of Bruce recovering in the prison (I do think they should have focused more on his physical battle as well as more shots of him being subjected to images of Gotham's decay) being a little iffy to believe as well as some of his antics involving the lighting of the Bat signal I thought as a sum of its parts this was probably the most complete in the series, in terms of story, acting and characters.
The Talia reveal was a nice surprise given I'd forgotten about her playing Talia, but it was clear it was a twist for the sake of a twist at the end. I mean logically speaking when Bane breaks Batman and takes control of Gotham there's little stopping Talia from revealing herself, rather than staying captive. I suppose you could argue it was a contingency plan should Batman return and be so focused on stopping Bane he'd be blind to suspect Talia's deception, but I do think as good as that explanation could be it was little more than a surprise twist for the sake of a surprise twist. Bane's death was well done to me, he went out like a badass having been given a death that no-one could survive, and one that caught him completely off guard rather than a swift and decisive killing by Batman. And it further explored the Catwoman/Batman dynamic with her not possessing Batman's moral stance on not killing.
As for Bane's backstory being killed, going off of my limited knowledge of his entire character, I'll go out on a limb (feel free Sep, WCW or Redead to correct me) but Bane has always been portrayed as a mercenary, albeit an intellectual and skilled one, but a mercenary none the less. I never got the Batman and Robin vibe that Bane was inept and clueless just because Talia was revealed to be the one trying to emulate her father's plan for Gotham, rather I just took it as Bane despite being a monster at one point caring for another individual and therefore vowing to work with and protect Talia, but also that the beating he took at the hands of the inmates further accelerated his psychopathic tendancies. He still remained a feared and badass terror, but grew in depth as it was hinted that like Batman he may well have been born into this persona without any choice and that there was a more complex individual behind the mask rather than a brutal lackey. In many ways I thought of it to be akin to Darth Vader, you slowly grew to learn more about the monster and by the end you realise there was a dark past to his story, just not the one that was hinted at earlier in the film with his escaping out of hell story.
I think as a whole, each film has things you can nit-pick as being hard to believe or lacking, so in many ways I don't think any one film can be conclusively better. But as a complete story involving a range of characters who are capable of being emotionally invested in, a generally sound and well explored story playing off of Begins and focusing on Batman's moral code to continually protect the city in spite of everyone trying to convince him they aren't worth saving and the brilliant acting by the cast I'd say this is my favourite of the three. Nolan's style to me means there are flaws in each film that critics of his work could point to, and the middle stretch and Talia twist would definitely be candidates here, but overall I enjoyed it the most of the three and thought the themes in the movie were well explored, and give Nolan credit for managing to make such a diverse cast all feel integral to the movie in some way, rather than giving unnecessary attention to one or two characters and detracting from the rest.