Dumb Things In The Dark Knight Rises Everyone Just Ignored

Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy is one of the greatest comic adaptations ever put to film, but that doesn't mean it's perfect.

Where Batman Begins does a fantastic job of kicking off the story, and The Dark Knight is the pinnacle of superhero filmmaking, Nolan doesn't exactly stick the landing with The Dark Knight Rises. Ambition has never been Nolan's problem, and he goes a bit too far off the reservation with The Dark Knight Rises. He makes one of the biggest superhero movies ever conceived, but all that grandiosity does lead to a few head-scratching decisions to tie it all together. So what are the dumb things we ignored to fully enjoy The Dark Knight Rises?

Batman apparently has Wolverine's healing factor

Seriously, this is just silly. Yes, we realize that, even retired, Bruce Wayne is still in insanely good shape. But we see he has a bum knee (which he fixes with a high-tech brace) and the doctor told him he's on the verge of falling apart. Then Bane beats him to a pulp and practically breaks his back. Then he locks him in a deep, dark hole. Then Bruce manages to fix himself with the equivalent of a medic and a rope, and he comes out even stronger than ever and saves the city. Yes, it's a spin on the classic hero's journey, but it's also a bridge too far for a franchise that made its name on being grounded and gritty. We also realize the story is meant to represent Bruce coming back from defeat and "rising" up (get it?). But he'd have to pretty much be Wolverine to actually make it to the end of this movie alive.

Wait, how did Blake figure out Bruce Wayne was Batman?

Bruce Wayne went two full movies in the Nolan-verse without anyone connecting the dots to his alter ego, but it turns out local beat cop Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) figured it all out when he was just a kid. Look, it makes sense someone would be able to put the pieces together (it'd require huge financial resources to actually be the Batman, and he did arrive in Gotham at about the same time Bruce Wayne returned). But the fact that Blake would just show up at Wayne's manor and lay it all out there is one heck of a risk. And it's not even deductive reasoning that led Blake to believe Wayne is Batman. It's because he met Wayne when he was a kid and saw the look in his eyes that he was hiding something. Like an orphan psychic connection—which is about as silly as it sounds.

How is the CIA this dumb?

When you first see The Dark Knight Rises, you're mostly distracted by the awesomeness of that opening set piece to realize that it really makes no sense. Bane's entire plan is to get his men on board the CIA plane at the last minute, then commandeer it with his bigger plane and stage a crash so he can kidnap a scientist. It's all very elaborate, and there's no denying it's an ambitious and stunning action sequence. But let's break down Bane's brilliant plan. He flips the plane and lets the wind rip the wings off it, then carries the fuselage several miles upside down attached to his larger plane. He tries to use this event to stage a crash, though it'd stand to reason the CIA would realize the fuselage would end up several miles away from the wings. He also leaves one of his men on the plane to die to fool the authorities, but he also shoots some of the CIA agents during his siege. Wouldn't they find bullet holes in these agents and realize, hmm, maybe there's more to this random crash than meets the eye?

So why did Batman retire, anyway?

The film picks up several years after The Dark Knight, with Bruce Wayne long since retired from being Batman. Gotham has enjoyed a period of relative peace, and with Batman on the run at the end of the movie, Wayne eventually opted to hang up his cowl for good. But why, exactly? For Bruce Wayne to pretty much give up on life and become a recluse is wildly out of character. At first, it seems like he retired because of his physical limitations—but all it takes is a quick robo-knee brace to make him seem as sharp as ever. As for locking himself in a wing of Wayne Manor, why would a man who wants to save his city not even spend his extra free time pursuing philanthropic initiatives? When we catch up with Bruce, he doesn't even know his foundation has stopped donating to the boys' homes in Gotham.

So the Gotham PD sent every cop into the sewers to look for Bane?

Once the Gotham PD finally realize Bane and his army pose a real threat, they send pretty much the entire police force down there to try and flush him out. And we mean virtually every police officer in the city, who are all immediately trapped in the underground tunnels once Bane's bombs start going off. This is arguably one of the dumbest strategic movies in the history of tactics, and leaves the entire city effectively defenseless. The remaining cops on the surface look to be around a dozen (or less), which is a big reason Bane is able to take over Gotham so easily. Had they actually kept some officers on the ground, they might've had a fighting chance to push back Bane's forces.

They turned that power source into a bomb in about 10 seconds flat

Seriously, Dr. Pavel is some type of bomb-making savant or something, right? When Bane's forces finally infiltrate Bruce's secret energy project, Bane tasks Dr. Pavel with converting the device into a bomb so he can eventually destroy Gotham. And then he's done. Bomb made. Wait, what? We certainly believe Pavel has the skill set to make this thing go boom, but he did it a bit too quickly and conveniently.

How did Bane know Bruce was Batman, and where he kept all his gear?

Bane seems to have pretty much everything about Bruce Wayne figured out, from his secret identity to where his super-secret cache of weapons is located. But... how? We know he trained with Ra's al Ghul (but was kicked out of the League), and is working with Talia al Ghul. So maybe Talia found out from Ra's? But even if he found out Bruce's secret identity that way somehow, how the heck did he know where Fox has been storing all the goodies? Did Miranda/Talia find out by being on the Wayne Enterprises board? Unknown, though Fox says he's kept it all under the table, so it stands to reason no one else would know.

How did Talia al Ghul infiltrate the Wayne board?

Bruce doesn't know anything about Talia's past, as we see when she's talking about her childhood growing up poor. She plays a key role on his board, and bought in with Wayne Enterprises when Bruce was still active in the company. You're telling us the Batman didn't do a basic background check on the mysterious woman looking to bankroll his energy project? The woman he asks to take over and keep his company safe? She is Ra's al Ghul's daughter, and obviously fabricated pretty much all of her identity. Yes, she's a lovely lady (and Bruce obviously has some feeling for her)—but that's just negligent, man.

How do Bane's fraudulent trades actually hold up with the SEC?

Yes, they use Wayne's stolen thumbprint in an effort to verify the bad buys that pretty much bankrupt him, but those trades took place when the Gotham stock exchange is literally under armed siege by Bane and his thugs. How on Earth does that actually hold up? It stands to reason it might take a bit of time to prove to the SEC it was fraudulent, but the action just moves right along with Wayne broke and the coup underway at Wayne Enterprises. This seems to happen more for the sake of plot than anything else, and it's absurd to think anything that happened during Bane's siege could actually hold up.

That weird prison makes no sense

When Bane breaks Batman, he takes Bruce away to a mythical prison in a "distant land." But on a practical level, it makes pretty much no sense. Who runs this prison? Who feeds these prisoners? Also, we get the idea of making a prison with a hole in the top so you can see your salvation but (theoretically) never reach it. But, c'mon, that's like the worst design ever. Nolan treats this prison as more of an idea, than an actual prison. Which is fine, but it feels a bit out of context when this surreal location is dropped right in the middle of a superhero blockbuster.

Wait, how did Bruce get back to Gotham after breaking out of that prison?

Speaking of that prison, how exactly did Bruce get back to Gotham once he actually escaped? We're told it's in a faraway land, and although they never actually pin down the location, it stands to reason it's quite a long way from Gotham. He breaks out with just a backpack full of a day or two of supplies, somehow makes it from this mystical land back to Gotham City, and manages to break back into the city that has been locked off and quarantined. All without any of his Bat-gear, because Bane stole it all. And all of this happens offscreen in just a few minutes (though the passage of time has obviously taken place).

So Batman found the time to make that giant, gasoline Bat-signal?

When Bruce returns to Gotham after his stay in Bane's weird prison, he starts putting plans in place to lead the rebellion and take on Bane's forces. One way he looks to inspire the city is having Gordon light up a massive, fiery Bat signal. It's a pivotal moment that helps push the people of Gotham to fight off Bane's men. But how exactly did Bruce actually set it up? We're to believe that when he got back in town, he spent his first several hours climbing up on this bridge and painting a gasoline Bat signal? Again, it's something that works more symbolically than logically.

So the state and federal government just abandoned Gotham City?

It's quickly established that Bane has the state and federal government over a barrel with his threat to nuke the city. But can you seriously imagine the U.S. government cowering down and essentially abandoning one of the largest cities in the country? It's ludicrous. We're not exactly sure how the government would handle an American city under terrorist siege, but leaving the people there for months just doesn't seem like the answer. The only real effort we see by the government outside Gotham is sending in a special forces guy who is almost immediately killed. That's weak sauce.

So nobody is going to mention the Joker?

Considering The Dark Knight ends with Heath Ledger's Joker still on the loose, it stands to reason Nolan had originally planned to bring him back into the fold. With the tragic passing of Ledger, the character was omitted, since it'd have been pretty much impossible for anyone to actually step into Ledger's shoes in Nolan's universe. But how does he not even get a reference? We're told Gotham has spent the past several years enjoying a state of peace. But with the Joker still on the loose, how did they achieve that peace? We're obviously not saying they should've tried to bring the Joker back, but they could've at least referenced him to try and wrap that story.

Why did Bane and Talia wait five months to nuke Gotham?

This seriously just feels like a contrivance for the sheer sake of a contrivance. Bane's forces convert the clean energy source into a bomb, which will take approximately five months to explode. In that time, Gotham is thrown into a state of chaos, largely ruled by criminals. But they defeat Batman right at the start, and as far as anyone knows, Bruce is going to rot to death in that prison. So why wait so long to nuke the city? If Talia's goal is to destroy Gotham and complete her father's work, why spend months hiding out in the top of Wayne Tower and remaining undercover with these people when your end goal is to just kill them all? Why allow them time to start up a resistance movement?

The entire McGuffin of the Clean Slate program is ridiculous

If there was a definition for "unbelievable McGuffin" in the dictionary, this should be among the top examples. Catwoman gets involved in the larger narrative because she wants to erase her criminal record and start a new life. The key to all that is the mythical Clean Slate, a computer program capable of erasing her entire criminal history from every database on the planet. And, uhh, apparently every paper file and every cop in Gotham who's on the lookout for her too? The idea that a program would be capable of erasing someone's history like this is just silly, and Nolan doesn't even try to explain how it's possible. It's a McGuffin, just accept it.

Why didn't Bane's thugs just mow down the cops during the big face off?

The battle for Gotham culminates with the police and angry citizens going toe-to-toe with Bane's army. But look closely—the cops are severely outgunned. Bane's soldiers have machine guns. Yes, Batman apparently took out the tumblers decked out with rocket launchers, but they still have the advantage. The police, fresh off their months-long stay underground, look to be armed with a few sidearms and batons—not exactly the makings of a triumphant army. Then, when the fight begins, both sides just charge toward one another. No battle strategy to be seen. Bane's guys don't even use their firepower to mow down the cavalcade of cops, and instead pick off a handful of them and opt for a street brawl. Which they lose.

How on Earth did Batman escape that explosion at the end?

This is obviously an open-ended narrative choice by Nolan, but it could've been handled a bit more smoothly. When last we see Batman, he's flying off with a bomb strapped to his jet, prepared to sacrifice himself to save Gotham from annihilation. It looks like he's dead...but then much later, he's spotted by Alfred, hanging out with Selina Kyle and living his dream life. It's left up to interpretation, but the fact that he apparently repaired the autopilot (as Fox learns) and left directions for how to find the Batcave to Blake makes it pretty clear he's alive and well. Star Christian Bale himself has said he believes the ending is as it seems, with Wayne alive (as opposed to the theory that Alfred dreamed seeing him there). But ... how? Even with the autopilot, we see him take off on the jet and he only has a handful of minutes to get the bomb clear. He's literally in the cockpit. When did he get clear? How?