Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Batman Full Circle

Four years ago I promised the world that I would give them my idea for a trilogy of movies to follow up Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins.  I gave synopses for the first two movies but never got around to writing the third one.  With The Dark Knight Rises opening soon, I figured that time was running out for me to finish this.  I have intentionally avoided all news and spoilers about The Dark Knight Rises as much as possible and these ideas are basically the same ones I intended to write but never did way back in the weeks before The Dark Knight came out.

Bruce has no friends.  All his time and energy is consumed with his life as Batman.  An atmosphere of fear covers Gotham.  And there is always more crime to fight.  Like a break-in at Arkham Asylum that releases several prisoners, including the Joker.  While investigating, Batman finds clues that the League of Shadows might have been involved.

Later, Bruce is introduced to a woman named Talia.  He takes a liking to her and they start a relationship.  But unbeknownst to Bruce, Talia has re-formed the League of Shadows and has taken up the title of Ra's al Ghul.  She is the daughter of Liam Neeson's character from Batman Begins, and her mission is to finish the task her father started: the destruction of Gotham.  While her father wanted to use Bruce as the main instrument in Gotham's destruction, Talia has chosen the Joker.  Unfortunately for her, the Joker quickly gets out from under her influence and starts doing his own thing once again.  He starts running amok, distributing his personal brand of mayhem: enough to keep Batman busy and frustrated, but not enough to bring Gotham to its knees.  Meanwhile, Talia's feelings for Bruce are growing.  They were initially feigned in order for her to spy on him and distract Batman, but she is now growing fond of Bruce and starting to question whether her father was really right about him.

Among the victims of the latest Joker attack are a family of acrobats.  Young Dick Grayson is the only member to survive.  He has no other family and is all alone.  Alfred learns of this and invites Grayson to stay at Wayne Manor for a time.  Alfred hopes that Bruce will be able to help Grayson get through the loss of his parents since Bruce also lost his parents.  Alfred also hopes that it will help nudge Bruce into an act of humanity.  But all Grayson cares about is exacting revenge on the Joker.  Bruce sees a lot of his old self in Gryason and realizes that Batman can't offer him any healing, only revenge.

Eventually, Grayson figures out that Bruce is Batman and demands that Bruce let him help take down the Joker.  Bruce relents, mostly because he really needs another person for his take-down plan, but not before exacting a promise from Grayson that they are doing it for justice, not revenge.  Working together they capture the Joker and send him off to Arkham once again.  During the take-down, Grayson gets the perfect chance to kill the Joker but doesn't because of his promise.

Talia realizes that there is enough goodness in Gotham to make it worth saving.  Her relationship with Bruce has blossomed into a full-blown romance.  (Are there wedding bells in their future?)  Bruce begrudgingly lets Grayson stay on as his partner.  Grayson takes the name of Robin.  Batman was supposed to be a symbol of hope to the downtrodden, but instead he became a symbol of fear to everyone.  But just as the first robin of the year is a sign that winter is over and spring has begun, Robin is a symbol of hope and new beginnings.

Batman Begins was in part the story of Bruce and his fathers.  Even though Thomas Wayne was his biological father, Alfred and Ra's al Ghul (and to a lesser extent Falcone and Fox) were all father figures for Bruce.  At the end of this movie, Bruce is now the father figure.  At the beginning of the movie Bruce has no family.  By the end he has a son and a potential wife.  And by the end Bruce has regained himself.  Batman is once again a part of Bruce instead of the other way around.

So there you go.  I hope it was worth the wait.


James said...

Hmm. I guess a lot will depend on whether Christopher Nolan is as much of an optimist as you are: does he think the nature of human life (or at least Batman's life) is essentially a comedy(in the Shakespearean sense) or a tragedy.

Herch said...

Oh I have no doubt that Christopher Nolan is not as optimistic as I am. While I love his films, they are all very grim and don't have very happy endings. But I do have some hope after looking at the main poster for The Dark Knight Rises. The Batman logo is created out of the negative space between skyscrapers. It is white, made out of the daytime sky. That gives it a less ominous feeling than the posters for the first two Nolan Batman movies and can be interpreted as being more hopeful.