Notes Of A Storyteller: How I Would Have Re-Told “The Dark Knight Rises” (Part 2)

For those of you who haven’t seen Part 1, I’m listing all of the things I would do differently if I had been given creative control over The Dark Knight Rises. This list is fairly long, so I only got halfway through. Here’s the second half of my suggestions, picking up at the midpoint of the film.

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!

“This is simply outrageous. Is he seriously going to continue this farce?”
“Yeah, I think he is, Alfred. Should we try to stop him?”
“No, Master Wayne. Let’s watch him dig himself into a hole.”

1. I would change Bane’s ultimate motivation. He doesn’t want to blow up the city; he truly wants to subvert the powerful and corrupt and replace them with the people. He joined the League of Shadows long ago, but was kicked out because he disagreed with their aim. Bane wants to rule, not to destroy.

2. I would scrap the whole business of one ordinary citizen having the detonator with the bomb. I never understood how that worked with the rest of the film.

3. I would have John Blake enthusiastic about the new regime. He is so disillusioned when he learns the truth about Harvey Dent that he becomes a servant of Bane. When Bane gives him the opportunity to walk into a prison and shoot the Joker (off-screen), Blake readily complies. That plotline of the Joker needed to be resolved. Blake’s father could have been a cop killed during the events of The Dark Knight. This makes Blake’s character more interesting.

4. I would spend more time with Bane’s regime. We saw a montage of mansions being despoiled, a scene with a fat cat getting judged, and Anne quietly murmuring, “This was someone’s home”, but it all happened too quickly. In order to show how dark the times are, we need a few more scenes with Selina and Blake witnessing injustice. Perhaps some former criminals hurt some good people who were rich, displaying how easily the new system is corrupted by the same old forces of evil. We need to see all parts of Gotham’s society breaking down. Riots. Debris in the street. Ransacked churches. Even Dr. Crane moonlighting as Scarecrow, taking advantage of his position of power to once again terrorize people- almost a perverse Batman.

5. I would have Fox and Gordon executed. I would have Fox give a speech denouncing Bane, calling him a fool for using violence. I want to hear him talk about good people like himself who were trying their best to change things, even if slowly and imperfectly. I want to see Fox convince Gordon, who is despairing, to hold his head high and die with pride. I want to see their deaths leave a mark on Blake and Selina, who both witness the execution.

6. If the execution is that “death by exile” thing on the ice, it needs to be booby-trapped. I think it is entirely possible that a frozen river can be traversed

7. When Bruce escapes the pit, he comes up with the idea to do it without ropes by himself; the old prisoners don’t tell him. When he gets to Gotham, he comes back as Batman. The war against Bane’s regime is slow, but steady. Batman chalk symbols start appearing everywhere. Selina reluctantly helps foment the rebellion, instead of getting out like she wanted.

8. Alfred sneaks into Gotham when Batman contacts him. Alfred used to be a mercenary himself (remember the Burma story from TDK?), so he puts his old skills to work helping the citizens/cops raid Bane’s mercenaries and slowly establish strongholds. Batman stays back in the shadows, partially because he is still sorely wounded from his last fight with Bane, and partially because he understands that the citizens must take their city back.

9. I would change the final battle scene; instead of that huge, unrealistic brawl, have the citizens and the cops fire and advance, just like a modern military platoon would do. Imagine the tension of the men advancing, block by block, silent in the shadows and the snow. Also, the final battle is occasioned by Blake finally joining Batman’s side and showing them a secret way into City Hall to take out Bane.

10. I would have Alfred take this secret way. He means to plead forgiveness from the villain. It turns out that in Alfred’s career as a mercenary, he was in the service of the warlord who ordered Ra’s al Ghul into the pit. When Ra’s lover replaced him, Alfred knew and he did nothing. Alfred devoted his life to serving the Wayne family out of remorse. He returned to protect Bruce and to convince Bane to step down; he didn’t realize immediately who Bane was, so his talk early in the film about rumors of where Bane comes from wouldn’t appear in my version. When Bane learns the truth, he breaks Alfred’s back, refusing his offer of peace and reconciliation. He announces that if Batman doesn’t come out and fight him, he’s going to kill Alfred… and then blow up the city.

11. I would have Batman come out and fight Bane, despite his wounds, and this time break Bane’s mask. I would have Selina save his life from Talia, who charges Batman while Bane convulses with pain. Selina tries offering her mercy, embracing Batman’s code, but Talia refuses, keeps fighting, and accidentally falls to her death. Selina finally admits that she loves Bruce/Batman.

12. In that moment, I would have everyone discover that Bane has pushed the trigger to the bomb. Batman takes the bomb to the sea, and then comes back and hands himself over to the power of the police. A proper court judges Bruce for his vigilantism. This is crucial, because it confirms that Bruce is handing over his power to the people, who he didn’t trust in Batman Begins (“People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy”) and who he deceived in The Dark Knight. He spends a few years in jail, and then marries Selina and runs an orphanage with her for the rest of his life.

13. I would have John Blake discover the Batcave, and find a letter from Bruce saying that if the time comes again, one can use the suit and technology therein to become the next Batman- but only if he/she understands the consequences.

“There! That wasn’t so bad, was it? Don’t be spiteful in the comments! If you do, I wonder what will break first- your spirit, or your body…”

I might change my mind in the next few days, but I will let this post stand, so you can ponder the points. If you had had creative control over The Dark Knight Rises, what would you have done with it?

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One response to “Notes Of A Storyteller: How I Would Have Re-Told “The Dark Knight Rises” (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: Notes Of A Storyteller: How I Would Have Re-Told “The Dark Knight Rises” (Part 1) | Sean McGuire

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