When Christopher Nolan took on the task of bringing Batman into the 21st century, fans eagerly anticipated his vision. Coming from the man who brought us the brilliant detective thriller, Memento, Batman was set for a big reimagining. What we got was a gritty and grounded version of the Dark Knight that shaped the superhero genre for years to come. Nolan’s take on Gotham and the Batman mythos saw Bruce Wayne exist in a semi-relatable world that audiences could connect with. And it worked a treat. With villains like The Joker and Bane giving character defining performances as well as bringing a whole new level of fame to the actors behind them.
The trilogy was hugely impressive in scale and what it set out to achieve. But it wasn’t all brilliance and Oscar-worthy praise. Sometimes, there are moments scattered across the series that stick out because of their blind eye to pieces of Batman mythology, the real world or just common sense. It’s surprising that a meticulous director like Christopher Nolan would make any huge mistakes, and whilst there aren’t many, there are a few. Here we pick apart Nolan’s Batman as we delve into the 15 most uncomfortable moments in The Dark Knight Trilogy.
15 CHRISTIAN BALE’S BATMAN VOICE
Don’t say you weren’t expecting this one. In previous versions of the Caped Crusader, actors have just given us a slightly lowered tone of voice. Or, they just spoke with their normal voice, relying on the costume itself to hide their identity. But then Christian Bale came along and decided to flick between a gruff voice and growling the entirety of his lines.
And although Batman is a brute force that channels his anger into beating up criminals -- it seemed like that was the only way that Bale could portray any kind of emotion when in costume. And then there’s the moment where Catwoman disappears, he’s stood by himself and mutters to himself with the same growl. There’s no one around Bruce, you can talk normally now.
Towards the finale of Batman Begins, he manages to get inside Arkham Asylum but also on the scene were GCPD and S.W.A.T. And since they’re on the hunt for the ‘Bat-Vigilante’, Bruce needed to get out of there pretty quickly. But his technique is pretty questionable. He takes a device out of his boot, presses it and a swarm of bats appear out of nowhere. Okay?
Even if there are plenty of bats living in the bustling city of Gotham, are there really that many within such a close range of Arkham? The device seemed to work pretty quickly, how did Batman know they would arrive in that perfect timing? Seems a little too coincidental to us. There’s no surprise that the device didn’t make it into the next two films.
13 JOHN BLAKE WORKS OUT BATMAN’S IDENTITY
Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes his debut in the final Nolan Batman film as Detective John Blake, an orphan who works with Commissioner Gordon and Bruce. We’re shown his supposed level of intelligence when he explains that he knows about Bruce’s alter-ego. We’re told that he knows his identity because he had a similar look on his face that Blake taught himself to use.
What? He knew who Batman was because of a facial expression? Since Batman wears a cowl that covers the majority of his face, how did he piece those two together? It just seems like a quick excuse to have the two share screen time. Sure, it develops their characters but it does them both an injustice by having the deduction be so quick.
12 BATMAN CAN’T ESCAPE THE GCPD
Yes, we know that Batman Begins takes cues from Year One as he starts his superhero career. Bruce wasn’t as skilled as a vigilante, but he already had his training from the League of Shadows and has the ninja knowledge when he returns to Gotham. So how come he can’t escape from the GCPD so quickly?
When he first dons his proto-Bat costume and infiltrates the GCPD to talk to Detective Gordon, he pulls his disappearing act. And at first, it works quite well. Until Gordon and the rest of the police go onto the roof and chase him. Sure, he manages to get away by hurling himself across an alleyway -- but only just. So even after being taught by a group of assassins and Ra’s Al Ghul himself, Batman isn’t quite up to scratch.
11 THE GCPD CAN’T TRACK THE TUMBLER
Since the Gotham City Police Department have to deal with organized crime and various criminals -- it’d be easy to assume that they’re pretty good at car chases as well as tracking people on the run. Well, that assumption would definitely be wrong. Because the GCPD can’t even track a giant tank.
When Bats is driving over rooftops and on the highway, he’s being chased by numerous police cars and even a helicopter. But apparently, if he turns off all his lights and slows down, they can’t see him, and then they all act as if he is literally invisible. Which of course, we know he isn’t. So that’s all it takes to evade the police department? No wonder there’s so many villains on the loose in Gotham.
10 THE MICROWAVE TRANSMITTER
Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman is universally praised and seen as one of the best adaptations of the Caped Crusader in years. But it’s not without problems. And although it was bold to bring Ra’s Al Ghul to the big screen, the villain’s plan just doesn’t hold up. Sure, they’re trying to bring Gotham to its knees by vaporizing the fear toxin they’ve dispersed in the water supply. That’s actually a good plan.
What isn’t a good plan is not taking the transmitter straight to Wayne Tower, where it’ll overload the entire system. Instead the villainous masterminds load the device onto a train and giving Batman the opportunity to put a stop to the entire scheme by pulling down the Monorail. You should’ve thought that one through Ra’s.
9 THE GCPD LET THE JOKER GET AWAY
The Joker’s plan during The Dark Knight is evil, dastardly and actually quite convoluted. Many different things have to happen so that he can get out. And some of those are just by chance. But when he manages to negotiate getting ‘his phone call’ and blowing up a portion of the GCPD, the police don’t actually make too much effort in getting him back.
Of course, the explosion would throw many people back and off their feet. But if The Joker could survive and remain conscious, surely some of the police could too? If they’d just shot The Joker when he had their colleague as a hostage, they might not have had their precinct blown to hell. It’s like the Gotham City Police Department just don’t try hard enough. Sorry Gordon.
8 S.W.A.T. ISN’T UP TO THE JOB
The main priority of S.W.A.T. is their specialist focus on weapons and tactics. And in a city with a heavy criminal element, it makes sense that S.W.A.T. would be some of the most hardened members of the police force around. They’ll be used to the worst situations and the gritty criminals in Gotham. Or are they?
When The Joker is assaulting the van transporting Harvey Dent, who falsely admitted to being the Batman, S.W.A.T. accompanied him. And when they’re getting shot at by The Joker and his goons, one team member shouts “I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS!”. Well, what did you sign up for then? Because we’re pretty sure that being shot at and dealing with criminals is all part of the job description.
7 THERE’S NO EVIDENCE HARVEY DENT IS BATMAN
During The Joker’s reign of terror in Gotham, he demands that Batman unmask himself otherwise he’ll keep killing civilians and police officers. Bruce comes to terms with handing himself over and is about to do it at a press conference when Harvey Dent steals his thunder and falsely admits to being the vigilante. Bold move.
But once Harvey is taken into custody, the police simply accept the fact that he’s the one causing their problems and ship him off to county prison. They don’t seem to bothered by the particular details of whether he’s actually the masked vigilante or not. Has Gotham Police procedure gone completely out of the window? After all, if Harvey was the Batman surely he would know specifics about various criminal operations and maybe point them in the direction of his base. Or not.
6 GRAVITY CAN’T KILL BATMAN
We all know that Batman isn’t a literal superhero. Sure, in the idea of the word, he’s a hero -- but he doesn’t have any actual superpowers. He’s a vigilante, who’s a normal man. That’s part of the appeal of Batman, and what makes him so popular. He can’t fly, he doesn’t have super strength but apparently he can withstand falls from sky scrapers.
When The Joker throws Rachel out of Wayne’s apartment, Batman hurls himself after her -- catching his life-long love and landing on top of a car with her. His cape doesn’t open out hugely nor does he have a parachute. So why don’t either of them have any injuries whatsoever after their leap? They don’t even seem to have a sprained ankle or a scratch. Wow.
5 THE FIERY BATMAN SYMBOL
So after Bruce manages to climb out of the prison Bane put him in, he makes his way back to Gotham to set the citizens free. He makes it his mission to get back in contact with his friends and allies and has a pretty inventive way of doing so. He lights a huge fiery Bat symbol on a bridge.
So Bruce climbed up to the top of a bridge undetected and lit the symbol without Bane or any of his army seeing him? Right. Surely his time would have been better spent actually making contact or gathering useful resources in his fight against Bane instead of lighting a giant symbol. Or he could have tried finding the location of that nuclear bomb that Bane holds over the city?
4 THE CIA DOESN’T CHECK IDENTITIES
There’s one man that is actually responsible for the situation that goes down in Gotham. And he appears right at the very start of the film. When the CIA take the nuclear scientist and ‘Bane’s henchmen’ into custody, the agent doesn’t check the identities of the men underneath the hoods.
If he had, he might’ve found that Bane was actually planning to get onboard the plane with the scientist as part of his plan. We’re not saying that this agent could have stopped Bane singlehandedly. But with a few heavily armed soldiers behind him they might have been able to either subdue him or even kill him. But the agent didn’t check, so Bane got on board. You know the rest. The CIA agent is played by Aidan Gillen from Game of Thrones, so you can blame Littlefinger if you want.
3 BATMAN’S EIGHT YEAR ABSENCE
When The Dark Knight finished, nobody expected Batman to put a stop to his superheroic career for eight years. In fact, the narration at the end of the film by Commissioner Gordon implies that he’ll endure even if times get tough for the hero. But the complete opposite happens and Bruce becomes a recluse.
Are we really expected to believe that Bruce puts a stop to saving Gotham and defeating criminals simply because Rachel and Harvey died? When Bruce’s parents were killed, he poured his anger into forging a vigilante career and defeating evil. It would make more sense for the deaths of those hero to push forward with his battle, not give up altogether. And don’t try play the injury card, he had that leg fixing brace to hand, Bruce could have put that on whenever he liked.
2 JOHN BLAKE IS ROBIN – BUT HE ISN’T
Look, we like Joseph Gordon-Levitt in The Dark Knight Rises, we do. But the treatment of his character isn’t the best at all. After Bruce ‘dies’ and leaves some of his possessions to Blake, he has to go collect them using his birth name. And the receptionist tells him that it’s a nice name “Robin”. WAIT WHAT?
It’s fine bringing Robin into the mythos of The Dark Knight, and actually John Blake would work fine as a sidekick/successor to Bruce. But, they could have at least given him his real name so that fans would really be rewarded. Whether that’s Dick, Tim, Jason or even Damian. But no, his real name is Robin. So he’s not technically the real version of the superhero sidekick. Sorry.
1 BATMAN SURVIVES A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION
We couldn’t leave this one alone. When Batman takes the nuclear bomb out of Gotham bay and over the ocean, it explodes. And millions of fans everywhere gasped as for a moment, it really looked like Christopher Nolan had killed Batman. He hadn’t said anything about diving out or an auto-pilot mode. It really looked like Batman had killed himself to save Gotham.
And actually, that would have been a better ending than what we got in the end. Instead, we’re left to believe that Batman jumped out of the ‘Bat’ into the water before the bomb exploded. No trace of radiation poisoning or anything. He seems pretty fine when Alfred sees him on holiday with Selina Kyle. Don’t tell us it was a dream sequence, it wouldn’t be fair to leave a trilogy like this in that way. We just think those films deserved a better ending.
Which of these moments was the most cringey to you? Let us know in the comments!