What didn't work for me.
A major problem with TDKR--perhaps the worst problem--was that too many characters and subplots were packed in for the film's own good. This juggernaut clocked in at 2:45, without having the proportion of Batman-in-action that I'd expected going in. Several elements detracted from Batman's own story.
Bane was cool--but improperly portrayed
. Tom Hardy turned in a great performance in the role of my favourite Bat-villain. And while I share Nolan's preference for faux-realism, even within that context there was no good reason to change the rationale for Bane's mask and drug-hookups. As many of you will know, in the comics Bane uses "Venom," a super-steroid. Surely Nolan could've come up with a plausible, science-based version of that. In effect what we got was a Bane who is intriguing because of his medical issues as well as his League of Shadows involvement--but who, as a fighter, is really just very good
, rather than a juiced
. Ah, but the reason for the above element was Talia al-Ghul, the daughter of Batman Begins
' Ra's al-Ghul, head of the League of Shadows. Nolan turned Bane into a medicine-dependent warrior who needed that medication because he'd become crippled by pain as a result of fending off fellow inmates in the process of helping Talia
--not Bane himself--escape from the underground prison. This also tosses out another major element of Bane's story in the comic-book world: part of his mystique is that he morphs himself into a powerful warrior who takes over
the prison culture, and then escapes the prison itself. But in TDKR Nolan had Bane help Talia escape, and then her father rescues Bane, now dependent on pain-alleviating drugs.
Bane's demise and Batman rescued by Catwoman
. The dramatic effect of Batman making his comeback and defeating Bane is lost, or at least weakened, by the reveal of Talia as Bane's partner in the League. She literally stabs Batman in the back, taking him by surprise--so much for Ra's's counsel in BB: "Always be mindful of your surroundings"!--rendering the defeat of Bane pointless, because now Batman's on the ground and Bane is returned to the controlling position. He's about to kill Batman with a shotgun--only to have Catwoman burst in on the Batpod and shoot Bane with the cycle's cannons. This is a lame way for Bane to exit, and it's just as lame that Batman needs Catwoman to save his butt.
Therefore Talia al-Ghul should never have been in this story.
. I actually liked this character and his plotline in and of itself--but it still undermined the overall structure and impact of the film. It crammed extra story-telling into the movie, taking away from Bruce Wayne/Batman. And it also asks us to believe that this guy, while a decent fighter and a sharp rookie detective, can somehow just take over as the new Batman despite lacking the intensive training Bruce underwent in BB. I didn't like movie-time being used up by this character, and didn't buy his taking on the mantle of the Bat at the end.
Bruce held in Bane's old prison
. This middle act of the film didn't work well for me, either. I understand and appreciate Nolan's attempt to challenge Bruce in this way, but it lacked a sense of realism. (a) There was no prison culture, such as Bruce experienced near the start ofBatman Begins
. If Nolan was going to go this route, he should've depicted a brutal, life-threatening prison culture in which Bruce was constantly in danger. (b) I can't buy that Bruce's back could've got fixed as easily as it was, and then he somehow was able to rebuild his body so as to climb out of that deep pit. Nobody down there would realistically have had much to eat; conditions would've been similar to those of a concentration camp.
Some ideas for a reedit.
I'm tentatively planning to have Knightrise
open with a montage of Bruce's training from BB, along with Batman's introduction to Gotham--spliced with whatever shots I can cannibalize from TDKR showing Bane's own rise to power in the criminal underworld. I'll jump back and forth between their respective paths, to show them as mirrors to each other.
I'm also hoping to reintroduce the comics' Venom as the drug that gives Bane super-strength. I believe this could be done by using fake newspaper headlines referring to steroid-use by athletes (e.g., a player for the Gotham Rogues gets booted for steroids), science journals or Youtube medical conference videos depicting research into adrenalin (e.g., ordinary people being able to lift cars when under extreme stress) and possible military applications of synthetic adrenalin. And possibly there could also be a news report of a scientist involved in such research being kidnapped, or disappearing--perhaps it's even known he's been taken by Bane. These elements would also dovetail with Bruce's training and Batman-intro montage.
Batman is still in action, though wanted for murder
. I didn't like the erratic structure of TDKR: Bruce is broken/retired, comes out of retirement, gets defeated by Bane, comes back from defeat, gets back-stabbed by Talia, rallies himself to finally save Gotham. Up-down-up-down-up-down. Knightrise
will have Batman still in action, without any mention that it's been "eight years" since TDK. And there won't be any Gotham "peacetime," as one character referred to it when he said the mayor was about to fire Gordon as police commissioner.
Bane comes to Gotham with a 2-stage plan: (a) ransack the wealthy residents of the city, primarily by hitting the stock exchange--because the League of Shadows needs funding! (b) Carry out what the League failed to do in Batman Begins
: the destruction of Gotham. Therefore this reedit will not
open with Bane's hijacking of the plane and abduction of the nuclear physicist; that will come later. Now here's where it gets tricky (if you didn't think I'd already made it tricky enough for myself): I can keep Bane's introduction to Gotham the same as it stands in TDKR, with Gordon chasing Bane's thugs into the sewer system, getting injured by Bane's men and ending up in the hospital. OR:
Contrive to get Batman underground to confront Bane without Gordon himself having yet seen Bane
It would be very simple if I weren't intent on retaining one very excellent scene from TDKR: the brief exchange between Bruce and Gordon in the hospital where the latter begs Batman to make a comeback to save Gotham. I want to save that for the middle frame of my reedit--but that requires either
having Gordon go into a year-long coma after earlier
encountering Bane in the sewers, or
somehow delaying Gordon going into the sewers until after
Bane's already defeated Batman—and it’s Gordon’s hospital-bed appeal that motivates Bruce to come back in the third act.
. Since I didn't like the prison element, I'm going to ditch it. At the beginning of Knightrise
you won't see a crippled, retired Bruce Wayne--that's going to be my broken-by-Bane version of Bruce Wayne. It's in the middle act of Knightrise
that we'll see the crippled Bruce: able to walk but hardly fully recuperated from the back injury given him by Bane, and certainly not in condition to function as Batman. There's a point in TDKR where Bruce says to Lucius Fox, "I need you to get me back in the game." It's after that dialogue that I'm going to insert the scene where Bruce gets a leg-brace from Lucius that enhances his leg strength--which fits nicely with the moment in the second Batman-Bane fight in which Batman kicks
Bane through the doors of City Hall. If I set things up this way, I won't be able to depict Bruce's back getting fixed, but I think that much can be assumed just from the fact that we're seeing him back on his feet, without undue damage to the flow of the narrative.
. . . will not exist in this reedit. Oh, Miranda Tate will be in there--but only to have it revealed that she's an infiltrator for the League of Shadows--no mention of her being Ra's al-Ghul's daughter. I will cut the Bane-Batman fight scene just before Miranda/Talia stabs Batman
. After the last time Batman demands to know where the nuke triggerman is, I'll cut to Miranda running out of the building, thus implying to the viewer: Ah-ha! she's
the triggerman! So that also means I won't be having Catwoman bursting in to save Batman's life--cuz the Bat doesn't need it! Bane lies in defeat, and the next cut of Batman we see is when he and Catwoman are going after Miranda (not Talia!) and the nuke.
. . . will be almost nonexistent in this reedit. I'll retain just enough of his scenes to help the narrative (e.g., when he's participating in the hunt for Bane, and when Batman pounces on the terrorists just before they're going to execute Blake). He doesn't figure out who Batman is, there's no orphanage, etc.--and he certainly doesn't become the new Batman. I suspect even his name won't be heard in Knightrise
Batman's faked death
. I found it rather disturbing, in terms of trying to view Bruce's character positively, that he would let his best friend and surrogate father Alfred believe he's actually dead, and go through the funeral and a period of mourning. Therefore I'll cut the brief part where Alfred breaks down at the gravesite; I want to find a clip of him outdoors but looking thoughful--so as to imply that either he knows Bruce isn't really dead, or he's at least skeptical, rather than in mourning.
. Since I've cut John Blake down to size, the closing scene can't be him in the Batcave! Instead, my final shot will be Alfred at the sidewalk café, looking up and becoming surprised when he sees . . . who??? Cut to end-credits