For what seems like the last two or three hundred years, fans from all over have been feverishly speculating about how “The Dark Knight Rises” will end. Well, speculate no more my friends. For the time is now. Let the games begin!
We may have spent incalculable hours pondering thousands of questions, but the moment for answers is finally upon us, and we are now gazing down the barrel of the very gun that could, at last, give us the answer we have all awaited so patiently. The one answer to the question that continues to plague the lot of us, the question of all questions: “At the end of those glorious two hours and 44 minutes, what will become of Batman/Bruce Wayne?”
For so many, this alone has been a more distressing thought than “Obama vs. Romney?” or “Was ‘The Avengers’ really worth that $8.50?” It has somehow even been able to lure the best of us into some ill-fated purgatory, merely giving birth to countless other riddles meant to send the masses off to Arkham. However, none of those babies are more perplexing than “Will Nolan kill off Batman?”
Now, some may cringe, but when you consider it, in my opinion, it is an almost curiously beautiful thought, and while I cannot speak for the masses, and they may not like what I have to say, allow me to speak for myself, will you?
Yes, I have been a loyal and loving fan of the franchise for nearly 20 years. That has not changed, nor will it. I even had the stomach to take “Batman & Robin” with a smile.
Throughout the decades, I have embraced and loved every plot twist and new adaptation that has come my way. However, as just pointed out, I have also suffered through bright colors and cheesy lines galore. It is because of this last point that when faced with this one menacing question, the 9 year old in me cannot help, but claw to the surface, lash out and scream “YES! DO IT! PLEASE!”
In fact, I strongly feel the question should not be “Will Batman survive?” but “How graphic should Christopher Nolan allow the on screen death to be?”
Unfortunately, I know countless numbers of you will likely vilify me for speaking out on why I feel this to be the right move. When everything boils down to it, while they may have been swift and painless for audiences, it is not as if death is a new concept for the Caped Crusader. In fact, quite the opposite. Especially in the last twelve years or so.
Many do not realize it, but since 2005 Mr. Nolan has made clear that he is in no way above throwing us through a loop and unexpectedly killing off a major character or two, or 75.
Case in point: In Batman Begins, before the name “Batman” is even uttered, Liam Neeson’s ‘Ra’s Al-Ghul’ and a liberal estimate of about fifty others all expire in one fell swoop during an oversized house fire. That is, unless you count the temporary reemergence of Neeson near the end, just a short while before he, again, goes up in a raging ball of smoke and flame.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, let us fast forward to 2008’s record shattering “The Dark Knight”, shall we?
After all, within the first six minutes of the film you have, at your feet, a hand full of henchmen, all dead in one of the most beautifully executed bank heists ever portrayed. Luckily for those who don’t mind stepping over a few lifeless bodies to get to a great story, that wasn’t all we had in store. Over the next one-hundred and forty-six minutes we are then taken on an amazing journey that sees the demise of so many. From several nameless henchmen and cops who are collectively blown to bits within a police station explosion, to key players such as Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes being picked off one by one, they all seem easily expendable.
It is thanks to this stunning tapestry of death that, in this movie alone, all together I count close to 20 unlucky souls left in the wake before Christian Bale rides off into the darkness.
So there you have it, a perfect example of why it would not surprise me one bit if they attempted to end this movie while ending Bruce Wayne all together. Plus, let’s face it, shall we? Anyone who has even glanced at the source material should not be surprised if this was to happen.
It has not exactly been kept secret that bits and pieces of this final installment will have been influenced by storylines such as “No Man’s Land” and “Knightfall,” which in itself saw the famous cape and cowl donned by the likes of Jason Todd and Jean-Paul Valley after a history making, back breaking story arc. Then again, we don’t have them to take up the fight after Bale’s passing, do we? Or do we? Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems like an awfully big talent to waist by shoving him in as some rinky-dink beat cop.
These storylines, along with “The Killing Joke”, “A Death In The Family” and a hand full of others, are some of the darkest ever to have graced a fanboy’s finger tips. What is within those pages says more than I ever could and because of their content I feel it can be fairly easy to deduce that there may be, in the very least, a minuscule chance that in closing his story, Nolan may kill the man in order to allow the bat to live and become more than just a symbol.
In doing this and giving Bane the screen time he is so richly overdue after having been kicked in the canisters by the late Jeep Swenson, this one death alone would allow the Batman to become something much more altogether, the stuff of legends. You see, you can easily kill a man, but you cannot kill a legend.
Besides, in all reality, if the idea of Batman is all that is left for us to toy with from here on out, it may be the best thing to have happened to us as fans. This is especially true when you consider that such an ending could easily close the door on anything and everything that Nolan and crew have done up until this point, all while leaving the door open for any ungodly reboot studio execs may attempt to concoct within the years to come. It could leave directors all over the globe salivating at the possibilities while still giving everyone involved reassurance that, when the time comes, whatever heaping helping they try to force feed us will do no damage to the memory of what has, up until now, been a fabulous ride.
In closing, if Christopher Nolan does it right, and he almost always does, it could easily be surmised by those walking out of thousands of cinemas around the world, that “The legend shall live on, always and forever, even well after the man/hero is well and gone.” Thus, giving the eternal breath of life to the idea of, not only the Batman, but the franchise that Joel Schumacher left breathless and dying a slow, flamboyant death; and personal preferences aside? As a fan? That is still all I could ever truly ask for.