Franchises of All Time
The Batman Films
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Batman (1989) | Batman Returns (1992) | Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) | Batman Forever (1995)
Batman & Robin (1997) | Batman Begins (2005) | The Dark Knight (2008) | The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Batman (1943) - serial | Batman and Robin (1949) - serial | Batman, The Movie (1966) | Catwoman (2004)
The Dark Knight
Film Plot Summary
The superhero film, a bleak and despairing story, opened with a brief scene - Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) was at an outdoor function at the Wayne Manor mansion celebrating the memory of beloved Gotham City politician Harvey Dent ("I believed in Harvey Dent"). It was eight years after Dent's death (and after the events of the previous film).
The first action sequence occurred in Uzbekistan as three hooded prisoners were driven to a CIA plane. With them was Russian scientist Dr. Leonid Pavel (Alon Aboutboul), a nuclear physicist whom the three had attempted to capture. When airborne, the CIA officer in charge, CIA Op (Aidan Gillen) faux-questioned the trio at gunpoint, threatening to execute them by throwing them off the plane. The third one to be interrogated was bald-shaved Bane (Tom Hardy), the muscle-bound mercenary ring-leader with a pain-killer injecting muzzle-mask. Bane's plan was to be intentionally captured, to find out how much Dr. Pavel had told the CIA about them and to fake the scientist's death while on board their flight before the plane was crashed. Suddenly, a larger C-130 air transport plane dropped cables down to the fuselage (to tow it) during an aerial assault and successful skyjacking by terrorist Bane's rappelling commandos. During the rescue, a cadaver was brought on board and used to transfer Pavel's blood in order to fake the scientist's death (presumably, Pavel would be used later for Bane's evil purposes). One of Bane's mercenaries was sacrificially left on the plane, to have at least one body remaining as proof of the attack.
Gotham City was celebrating Harvey Dent Day. Mayor Anthony Garcia (Nestor Carbonell) commemorated his "stand against organized crime" due to the Dent Act, eight years after his death. The city was now a safer place with an "historic turnaround" after the eradication of the mob and organized crime. The Wayne Foundation was hosting the function, but Bruce Wayne was not in attendance. In fact, the Dark Knight had disappeared over the past eight years, and was now regarded as "a murderous thug in a mask and a cape." Batman had taken the blame for Harvey Dent's crimes, and was charged with "murdering him (Dent) in cold blood." During the speech-making, conflicted and guilt-ridden Commissioner Gordon was planning to divulge "the truth about Harvey Dent" and the 8-year conspiracy, but then changed his mind and put the speech in his inner coat-pocket. He muttered to himself: "Maybe the time isn't right."
Rumors existed that self-tortured Bruce Wayne had an accident, was disfigured or wounded (with a limp), and had locked himself in the East Wing of Wayne Manor, in the manner of Howard Hughes, living a life of "pain and tragedy." Loyal butler Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) and Wayne's business rival Daggett (Ben Mendelsohn) noticed attempts to see reclusive Bruce Wayne by temporary-hired maid service employee Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) and philanthropic businesswoman Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), a pretty Wayne Enterprises board member. During the function, feisty, amoral, slinky high-society con-artist, pickpocket and cat burglar Kyle brought a tray of food to Wayne's quarters and stole his mother's pearl necklace from his "uncrackable" safe. Her hidden objective had been to dust the safe to acquire Wayne's fingerprints. She backflipped out a window and discarded her maid outfit on the grounds of the Manor. Acting cunning and seductive, she was given a ride by Congressman Gilly (Brett Cullen), who soon turned up missing.
Idealistic and earnest Gotham City police patrol officer John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) notified Commissioner Gordon that the Congressman never made it home from the Wayne Foundation function. Blake knew of the last confirmed sighting of Batman eight years earlier before he vanished, and had always pondered his identity.
Selina exchanged Wayne's stolen fingerprints with assistant and hitman Phillip Stryver (Burn Gorman), VP of Daggett Industries, in a Gotham City bar. [Note: In exchange for assisting terrorist Bane, Daggett was anticipating the take-over of Wayne Industries, via help from Miranda Tate.] Selina had anticipated being set up and double-crossed, and brought along abducted Congressman Gilly as her insurance policy. A shoot-out broke out when she cleverly tipped-off police and a SWAT team (led by Commissioner Gordon and his Deputy Peter Foley (Matthew Modine)) to their location. The police forces surrounded and attacked the establishment. Congressman Gilly was shot in the leg during exchanges of gunfire, while Selina pretended to be a victim and evaded capture into the night.
Searching in the underground sewers for the criminals, an ambushed and wounded Gordon was dragged by mercenaries to meet with terrorist leader Bane and his underground army in their new headquarters. The speech Gordon was to deliver at the function was taken from his coat-pocket by Bane. (It exposed the truth behind the events of Dent's death.) Although Gordon escaped in rapid-flowing sewer pipe water, he required hospitalization for his serious injuries.
Blake met with Bruce Wayne at Wayne Manor to ask him to return to crime-fighting ("He needs you. He needs the Batman"). Blake had correctly guessed and known Batman's identity from when he was a young orphan at St. Swithin's Orphanage (that had been funded by the Wayne Foundation, but was now underfunded) ("Right when I saw you, I knew who you really were"). Blake told Wayne: "I don't know why you took the fall for Dent's murder, but I'm still a believer in the Batman even if you're not."
Alfred provided background on mercenary Bane: "Him and his men were behind a coup in West Africa that secured mining operations for our friend John Daggett." Daggett had employed Bane and the mercenaries to secure diamond mining rights in West Africa before bringing Bane to Gotham City, to help take-over rival Wayne Enterprises. In the previous few years, the profits of Wayne Industries had dwindled to nothing, due to Wayne's reclusiveness and inattentiveness.
Donning a ski-mask to disguise his identity, Wayne met with Commissioner Gordon in his hospital room, who assured him that Gotham was imminently threatened by the evil Bane. Gordon implored him to return as Batman:
Wayne emerged out of hiding and attended a charity ball, funded by clean-energy socialite Miranda Tate. She noted that Wayne Enterprises had lost money after his failed investment in a clean energy project. Afterwards, Bruce had became reclusive. He danced and argued politely with Selina Kyle, who was looking for a "fresh start" and claimed that a "storm" or social revolution was coming - something she seemed to look forward to. She was compared to a 'Robin Hood' who stole from the rich. She whispered to him: "You and your friends better batten down the hatches, 'cause when it hits, you're all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could ever live so large and leave so little for the rest of us." Then after leaving, she impersonated being Wayne's wife with his valet ticket and drove off in his car.
Wayne Industries gadget-guru and inventor Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) described how Wayne's investment in the fusion energy project had been "mothballed" - causing his fortunes to crumble. At the moment, however, his majority interest was still keeping business rival Daggett at bay (from aggressively taking over the company) while he was working with wealthy partner Miranda Tate on the energy program. Fox urged: "Show her the machine" (a nuclear fusion reactor), but Wayne rejected the idea. Fox convinced Wayne to see his other newest creations in the Applied Sciences Division warehouse where secret prototypes were being developed. He showed off the latest (offscreen) - the Bat, a flying vehicle (which was available "in black").
Bruce began to prepare to return as the suited-up Batman, with a strengthened leg brace, and he resurrected his Batman costume. Alfred revealed rumors about Bane. He had been trained by Ra's Al Ghul, Bruce's own mentor. Bane was a member of the League of Shadows, but then ex-communicated for his extreme views. Bruce deduced: "The city needs me." Alfred was pleased that Bruce was returning to normal, but worried that Bruce was going too far by bringing back Batman ("I'm afraid that you want to").
Bane and his group of mercenaries attacked the Gotham Stock Exchange, and gained direct access to the online trading desk. Bane was planning to use Bruce Wayne's stolen fingerprints (obtained from Daggett via Selina Kyle) to have access and trade stocks in Wayne's name, but then the fiber signal was cut. The four suspects, with the aid of a cement truck blocking the way, escaped the Exchange on motorcycles, taking hostages. During high-speed pursuit led by Deputy Commissioner Foley in an underground garage, as the lights powered out, Batman appeared on his Batpod vehicle. With a long-standing hatred of Batman (believing that he had murdered Harvey Dent), Foley ordered his men to focus their attention on pursuing and killing Batman ("I'm gonna take down the Batman!") instead of Bane. Batman was able to down and confront one of Bane's thugs and retrieve a flashdrive holding important information. When cornered in a one-way dark alley, Batman surprised the GPD forces by flying out in the new aircraft - the Bat.
In Daggett's penthouse headquarters, Selina Kyle/Catwoman (now in her tight-fitting cat outfit and wearing bladed high-heel stiletto boots) cracked his safe, but it was empty. Angrily confronting Daggett and pinning him against a wall, she demanded her payment for Wayne's fingerprints -- a USB "clean slate" device that would erase her existence from every database on Earth. After fighting off Stryver and continuing to interrogate Daggett on a scaffolding, Catwoman learned that the device didn't exist (it was "a little too good to be true...it was a gangland myth"). Batman appeared on the scene when she was surrounded by a group of Bane's trained killers. As Batman rescued her and disarmed her, he demanded: "No guns, no killing," to which she retorted: "Where's the fun in that?" Together, they fled in the Bat (Catwoman: "My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men"). On an abandoned rooftop, she revealed that she had sold Bruce Wayne's fingerprints to Daggett, but didn't realize what would be done with them. There seemed to be a link between the stolen prints and the stock market assault.
After his return to Wayne Manor, Alfred resigned, fearing that Wayne was endangering himself as Batman: "I've sewn you up, I've set your bones, but I won't bury you....You see only one end to your journey. Leaving is all I have to make you understand. You're not Batman anymore. You have to find another way." To try to dissuade and demotivate Bruce from continuing as Batman, and to save his life, Alfred explained that before Rachel Dawes had died, she had written a letter saying that she chose Harvey Dent over Bruce. To spare him pain, Alfred said that he had burned the letter. Bruce was incensed and ordered Alfred to leave the Manor: "How dare you use Rachel to try to stop me!"
The next day's news in the Gotham Times, after the stock market assault, was that Bane had placed risky trading investments in Wayne's name (identity theft), in order to bankrupt Bruce (by lowering the value of shares) - to force him to give up his control of Wayne Enterprises to John Daggett. Wayne was worried about the potential threat: "The weapons. We can't let Daggett get his hands on Applied Sciences." Their worst fear was loss of control of Wayne's clean energy project, in which Wayne had invested a large amount of money, including a nuclear fusion reactor. [Note: The potential danger was that the core of the reactor could be modified to make a nuclear weapon.] Wayne decided to trust Miranda Tate and get the board "behind her" so that control could be kept out of Daggett's hands.
Fox invited Miranda to Wayne Industries to show her the clean energy fusion reactor (capable of providing "free clean energy for an entire city"), located in its protective bunker under the Gotham River. Wayne was fearful that if it became operational, it might endanger Gotham if terrorists got ahold of it. Miranda stated that three years earlier, a Russian scientist (Dr. Pavel from the opening sequence), had published a paper on weaponized fusion reactions. She claimed the scientist died six months earlier due to a plane crash. Wayne responded that there would be others who would threaten its safe use: "Someone will figure out a way to make this power source into a nuclear weapon." Miranda was entrusted with control of Wayne Enterprises and the reactor. He stipulated that nothing would be done with the reactor "until we can guarantee its safety." If it couldn't be kept safe, he proposed to destroy it: "Decommission it. Flood it."
At the next board meeting, Miranda was appointed the new CEO of Wayne Enterprises, to stave off a take-over attempt by Daggett. Daggett insisted that Bruce Wayne had to resign and leave. After the meeting, angered Daggett accused Bane of messing up their plan in taking over Wayne Industries. Bane refused to be confronted:
He retailated by snapping Daggett's neck and killing him (and placing his body in a dumpster).
In Old Town, bankrupted Wayne met with Selina Kyle at her humble apartment to ask her assistance in locating Bane - he promised that his "powerful friend" (Batman) would give her what she wanted for the information - the fictional clean slate device, although she was doubtful. Meanwhile, the police were mapping the large sewer system networks to try to locate Bane in the underground. Incapacitated Commissioner Gordon appointed Blake to serve as a detective and report directly to him, to bypass Foley's obsession with locating Batman.
At Wayne Manor, Miranda met up with Bruce and promised that she would take care of his parents' legacy. She saw a picture of Rachel Dawes, and noted that Alfred had left. They kissed, and with the power cutting out during a rain storm, they had sex together (off-screen). Later in front of a roaring fire, she spoke about her poor background, and offered to fly away with him on her plane. He postponed her suggestion: "Someday, perhaps. Not tonight." Soon after, Wayne donned the Batman costume and met with Catwoman in a subway tunnel, before she led him to Bane. On the way, she double-crossed him. She entrapped Batman in the sewage drainage area, explaining that it was the only way for her to survive: "I had to find a way to stop them trying to kill me."
Batman was quickly overpowered by Bane during brutal hand-to-hand combat (Bane had been trained well in the League of Shadows, and he was continually being injected with powerful pain-killers), as Selina watched from afar (and slowly regretted her decision to betray him). Bane bragged to Wayne: "I am here to fulfill Ra's Al Ghul's destiny." During their fight in pitch-black darkness, Bane claimed: "I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man." He then revealed that they were directly under Wayne Enterprises' secret armory ("I will show you where I have made my home, whilst preparing to bring justice"). He detonated the floor below the warehouse, sending Wayne's military arsenal to their level. Then, he broke Wayne's back over his knee, crippling him before he was dragged away. Bane removed Batman's mask, revealing his identity to Catwoman.
Detective Blake trailed Selina Kyle (in a taxi) to the Gotham City airport, where she attempted to flee, but was intercepted. She was apprehended by Blake, cuffed and interrogated on Bane. She answered a question about the evil villain: "You should be as afraid of him as I am." When Blake also asked about Bruce Wayne's fate, she answered that she wasn't sure whether he was dead or not. Soon after, she was led as an inmate into Gotham's correctional institution, Blackgate Prison.
Bruce Wayne was interred in a round, deep cylindrical Pit prison, where Bane had been formerly imprisoned (it was where Bane had "learned the truth about despair"). [Note: According to legend related by an inmate, the underground Pit was Bane's home when he was a child, and he was the only one to ever escape from the Pit.] Bane described why Wayne hadn't been killed yet: "You don't fear death. You welcome it. Your punishment must be more severe." Psychological torture of his "soul" was planned for him, as he helplessly witnessed Gotham City slowly terrorized and destroyed:
The new CEO and Chair of the Board of Directors of Wayne Enterprises was Miranda Tate, now that Bruce was ousted. Lucius Fox had been demoted to company president. Terrorist Bane interrupted the assembled board meeting, and took three individuals hostage: Fox, Tate, and John Fredericks (John Nolan) who volunteered himself. They were taken to the underground bunker in the sewers where Wayne's nuclear fusion reactor was being kept. After threatening Fredericks with a gun to his head, Bane convinced Miranda to have Fox unlock and activate the nuclear reactor with her - as their two handprints were read by a scanner. Dr. Pavel stepped forward to convert the reactor into a 4 megaton nuclear bomb, to destroy Gotham, by separating it. Bane ordered the nuclear core removed from the reactor to a protesting Dr. Pavel, who predicted it would decay and become unstable in 5 months - and then explode.
Meanwhile, as GPD officers swarmed into the sewers, Blake was investigating Daggett's construction sites, and uncovered four barrels of polyisobutylene and other barrels of motor oil - ingredients to make explosive cement. He deduced that the lured police were heading into a trap - the concrete structure had been laced with explosives. An outdoor football game in a stadium, between Gotham and Rapid City, was also threatened.
A chain of explosions completely and effectively cut off Gotham:
Bane and his mercenaries marched onto the field and ordered Dr. Pavel to explain the nuclear device that had been wheeled out onto the decimated field. He called it a fully-primed neutron bomb with a blast radius of six miles. After Pavel claimed he was the only one who could disarm it, Bane twisted and snapped his neck. He then announced to the stadium audience that his goal was liberation - to "return control of this city to the people." Any "interference from the outside world or from those people attempting to flee" would cause an "anonymous Gothamite, this unsung hero" to trigger the bomb. He was claiming that the detonator had been given to an ordinary citizen who would push the button if they didn't comply with his rules. Martial law was now in effect. The National Guard surrounding the city was told that the bomb would be detonated if they entered the city. At the same time, Blake had aided the rescue of Commissioner Gordon from his hospital bed, who was threatened by Bane's assassins.
The next day outside of Blackgate Prison, Bane announced that Harvey Dent had been a "false idol" to the "corrupt" city. He read from Gordon's planned speech (including his resignation) to prove his point about the cover-up. Therefore, he was able to justify the release of the prisoners incarcerated due to the Dent Act, who were denied parole. Bane continued his speech about the liberation of Gotham:
Bane's men stormed the prison and freed the enslaved prisoners, who were now recruited as his dangerously-armed army. The riotous mob took over the city and raided the homes of the rich and powerful, to be put on trial: "The powerful will be ripped from their decadent nests and cast out into the cold world that we know and endure. Courts will be convened. Spoils will be enjoyed. Blood will be shed. The police will survive as they learn to serve true justice. This great city - it will endure. Gotham will survive."
In the Pit, one of the other inmates (a doctor) told Bruce Wayne part of the story of Bane's past. As a child, he was born in the Pit. He was the son of a mercenary and his secret lover, the daughter of an angry local warlord. She had the mercenary's child after he was exiled, but she was condemned to be imprisoned in the Pit herself to take the mercenary's place.
Wayne was hung by ropes to help him to stand on his own power. As he was healing and becoming stronger (through physical training), he had a vision of Ra's Al Ghul (Liam Neeson). He believed that Ra's Al Ghul was the exiled mercenary - whose child (and heir) was Bane (although he was mistaken). The child was born to "restore balance to civilization" as part of the League of Shadows, after his escape. In the belief that the child had escaped from the Pit, Bruce was inspired to also free himself by climbing out of the Pit.
Three months after the explosions rocked Gotham City, Special Forces snuck in, posing as relief workers providing assistance to the self-destructing city. The location of the nuclear reactor core was unknown - it was housed in one of three constantly-moving trucks with lead-lined roofs. It was due to detonate in only 23 days. However, the Forces' efforts to strategize against Bane failed, when someone sold them out and they were killed. Meanwhile, Wayne made one final attempt (without a rope, the same method used by the child) to escape the Pit. At a ledge near the top after bats flew out of a hole in the rock, he jumped forward to another protruding stepping stone and made it without falling, before climbing out.
In Gotham, 'Judge' Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy) presided over a kangaroo trial court of rich citizens. [Note: Crane, aka Scarecrow, was a psychiatrist at the Arkham Asylum who had conducted experiments on inmates in a previous Batman film.] Daggett's assistant Stryver was given two sentencing choices: death or exile, and he chose the latter. He was forced to cross the deadly frozen river channel of ice surrounding Gotham. While Stryver was walking across the ice, he fell through into the frozen water. There was no time left - only 18 hours remained before the unstable bomb would detonate.
Wayne met up with Selina Kyle again, not demanding an apology but asking for help. He again promised her the "clean slate" that he handed to her, if she would help locate Lucius Fox (who could stabilize the bomb by reconnecting it to the reactor). She reluctantly agreed to help. At the same time, Commissioner Gordon and other officers (but not Blake) were apprehended by Bane's forces, led to Crane's court, and ordered to die by exile.
Bruce allowed himself to be captured in order to find Fox. With Selina's aid, Fox and Wayne were both freed to retrieve a disruptor device installed in the Bat. It would effectively block the remote triggering detonator signal for the bomb (now set to explode in only 12 hours). Costumed as Batman, Bruce then rescued Gordon and the others at the frozen river. Batman told Gordon to light a flare and a fuse - to ignite a flaming, giant bat shape on the top of a bridge, surprising both Foley and Bane ("Impossible").
During a failed attempt to free the officers trapped underground, Blake was apprehended by Bane's thugs. Batman freed Blake as he was about to be executed, and suggested that he wear a mask - a hint regarding their future collaboration:
A hole was blown in the ground with the Bat to free the trapped officers, who now were organized as an army to conduct an all-out assault on Bane, who was headquartered in City Hall. Blake was assigned by Batman to help evacuate the city and get people across the bridge ("Save as many lives as you can") within 45 minutes. He also instructed Catwoman, with his borrowed Batpod, to blast the rubble blocking an escape tunnel. She begged him to escape with her ("Come with me, save yourself. You don't owe these people anymore. You've given them everything"), but he refused.
Foley (in uniform) emerged from hiding in his home to confront and attack the clamoring mob of Bane's mercenary thugs and stolen Wayne Enterprise "Tumbler" tanks, as he led the charge of a phalanx of police officers. Simultaneously, Catwoman blasted a passageway to open the tunnel. Batman joined the fray as hundreds of lives were lost, and fought against Bane in vicious hand-to-hand combat on the steps of City Hall. At the same time, Commissioner Gordon was in the process of locating the truck holding the nuclear device, and Blake was instructing orphanage kids to alert Gotham's citizens to evacuate by the cleared South Street tunnel or by the bridge. Batman's punches damaged Bane's mask, enabling him to question the subdued and pained villain: "Where's the trigger?" Bane admitted that he had never escaped the Pit as the child of Ra's Al Ghul, as Wayne had assumed. Hostage Miranda came up behind Batman and stabbed him in the back, as a major reveal was divulged by her:
She identified herself as Talia, the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul who had climbed out of the pit. She was named by her mother before she was killed. Fellow prisoner Bane was her "protector" who saved her from also being killed, and freed her to escape. Miranda fixed Bane's broken mask as she continued her story. Her father returned to exact vengeance, rescued Bane from the Pit, and took him into the League of Shadows to be trained. But Ra's Al Ghul could not accept Bane: "He saw only a monster," and Bane was excommunicated. She admitted her love for Bane: "His only crime was that he loved me. I could not forgive my father until you murdered him...I honor my father by finishing his work." She had planned the Gotham operation with Bane, in honor of her father, to seek vengeance against Batman who had killed her father. Bane strapped a restraint around Batman's neck.
Gordon located the truck holding the device, and jammed the trigger signal just as Talia, the "anonymous Gothamite," pressed the trigger on the detonator. She realized that Gordon had blocked her signal. She claimed Gotham still had only 11 minutes left. Miranda ordered a convoy to protect and secure the truck holding the ticking time bomb, so that it could count down to detonation. She bid Bane goodbye as he guarded Batman, while she took a Tumbler vehicle to the truck holding the bomb. During the escort, Foley was gunned down. Catwoman arrived on the Batpod and killed Bane with cannon fire just as Batman was about to be executed. The two then chased after Miranda, with Batman taking to the air in his Bat, to try to guide the bomb truck to the entrance to the reactor room where Lucius Fox was waiting to reconnect the core. Batman fired upon the truck, now with Miranda in the driver's compartment - and she was fatally wounded when it crashed.
As Miranda died, she told Catwoman, Batman, and Gordon, who had emerged from the back of the bomb truck, that Lucius Fox had showed her how to override the reactor, including the emergency flood. Her remote activation of the emergency flood mechanism, submerging the corridor with the controls, would make it difficult to stabilize the bomb core in the reactor. The bunker area rapidly filled with water, as Fox narrowly escaped drowning. Her final words hinted that she thought her plan would succeed: "There's no way this bomb will be stopped....Prepare yourselves. My father's work is done."
Batman hooked a cable from his Bat to the nuclear bomb, and flew it out over Gotham Bay, where it exploded safely and harmlessly away from the city, and saved Gotham and its citizens. As Batman prepared to leave, Gordon asked: "Shouldn't the people know the hero who saved them?" Batman replied: "A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy's shoulders to let him know the world hadn't ended." Suddenly, Gordon recalled that he had been Bruce Wayne's hero from many years earlier, when he put a comforting brown coat on his shoulders. It appeared that Batman had sacrificed himself in the explosion.
Batman's heroic death was mourned and commemorated at a short private ceremony at Bruce Wayne's gravesite near the Manor, led by Commissioner Gordon, calling him the true hero of Gotham. The reading was taken from A Tale of Two Cities:
The entire film wrapped up with a series of short vignettes:
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
Director Christopher Nolan brought his 'Batman trilogy' to a close with this highly-anticipated Batman film in the series: The Dark Knight Rises (2012), following after his own Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008). It opened on July 20, 2012 at the height of the summer big-budget blockbuster season. Its debut was at $160.9 million, ahead of its predecessor The Dark Knight (2008) at $158.4 million. To date, it had the longest run time of the Batman films, at 2 hours 45 minutes.
The PG-13 rated screenplay was written by Nolan with his brother Jonathan from a story conceived by the director and David S. Goyer. Themes and characters were interwoven into the narrative from both previous Batman films.
As a result of the movie theatre shooting massacre in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight screening of the film, Hollywood movie studios decided that they would not report the film's weekend ticket sales out of respect for the victims - it was a modern-day first for the film industry.
Some considered the Christopher Nolan superhero trilogy tragically cursed, after actor Heath Ledger (portraying the Joker in the second film The Dark Knight (2008)) died of an accidental drug overdose just before the film premiered.
The film had many ties to Dickens and specifically to his A Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist novels -- references to the French Revolution (and the mob pillaging homes of the rich), pickpocket opportunist Selina Kyle similar to the cunning Artful Dodger, a portrait of Napoleon in Catwoman's house, the character named Stryver, Gordon's eulogy reading from the leather-bound Tale of Two Cities book at Bruce Wayne's burial, and the existence of orphans (Wayne, Blake).
With a production budget of $250 million (estimated) - the most expensive of the Batman films (to date). Its revenue totaled $448.1 million (domestic) and $1,081 million (worldwide).
With no Academy Award (Oscar) nominations.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) became the second highest-grossing (domestic) Batman movie ever, the third highest-grossing (domestic) superhero film of all time, and the highest-grossing (worldwide) Batman film - it was one of only a small group of films to reach $1 billion worldwide. However, its box-office results were below expectations due to the mass shooting at the Colorado screening of the Batman film that left 12 dead and 58 wounded.
Set-pieces: the opener: a spectacular mid-air skyjacking by commandos (rappelling on cables from a C-130 Hercules transport onto a CIA plane below), the assault on Gotham Stock Exchange and the subsequent pursuit, the explosions that trapped police officers underground and destroyed a football stadium, the mob's rampaging destruction of Gotham City, the all-out war between the police and Bane's thugs in the streets, and the chase after the bomb truck by the Batpod and the Bat culminating in the bomb's explosion over the Bay.
Commissioner Jim Gordon
(Robin) John Blake
Talia Al Ghul
Series-Introduction - Index to All Films | Series-Box Office