Then there’s the other illogical annoyance of how Batman has intimidatingly large blades on both of his forearms. Batman’s fighting style means that he does a lot of blocking of Bane’s blows with his armoured forearms; any block with his raised forearms or near-miss punches to Bane’s face brings with it some razor-sharp consequences. I get that there’s a certain requirement for an audience to suspend disbelief for the sake of theatricality, but I personally believe it would have been cooler to see these juggernauts use tactical fighting that took into account the various no-blow zones of each combatant.
The biggest problem, though, for the first encounter is how poorly Batman fights. Okay, so he’s outmatched. Cool. Sure, he’s been out of the game for eight years. Fine. But does that mean he would have lost all of his fighting edge and skills? I doubt it. The way he approaches the Bane fight is like a petulant child having a hissy fit. If anything, Batman should be slower after years of inactivity, but he attacks Bane with all of the speed and ferocity of a man who believes he’s about to die, with none of the skill of The Dark Knight. I love that they made Bane break Batman, but I hated that Batman was bested because he was shit more so than because Bane was better. This should have been a fight between two lethal fighters, but it never felt like Batman had any right to be involved in that brawl.
Dragging tactical fighting back into the mix, did you notice how easily Batman incapacitated Bane in the final showdown? When Bane won round one, it took several brutal punches to Batman’s downed head for the graphite mask to break, but all it seemingly took for Batman to send Bane reeling was a single well-placed punch to his respirator; Bane was left gasping, and Batman could toy with him and offer the worst instance of the Bat-voice of all three films. Why was Batman wasting so much effort on body blows in the first round when all it took was a tap to the mask to have Bane out for the count? That’s not exactly the Batman we’ve been shown from the first two films.
Then again, the Batman of The Dark Knight Rises is a different kettle of fish entirely.
You’re gonna break your one rule
Batman doesn’t kill. It’s not as obvious in Batman Begins that this is part of his code—he’s certainly against guns and playing executioner—but it’s a core plot point of The Dark Knight that The Joker happily uses against him. This idealised stance continues in Rises, and Batman even chastises Catwoman for using guns in a fight. Good to see he’s still sticking to his guns on the topic of guns, right?
Alas, no. By the time the epic showdown rolls around, Batman seems all too happy to use the rockets and machineguns of his new toy, “the Bat”, to stop the mobile nuclear threat from destroying Gotham. Time is of the essence and the stakes are high, sure, but he is directly responsible for the death of the driver of the mobile nuclear threat and, in turn, Talia al Ghul (in one of the worst death sequences ever filmed). Apparently, he was also okay with risking the life of Commissioner Gordon, too, who was safely able to roll out of the back of the truck without a scratch.
And it’s at about this time that the film starts to wallow in its ashes. Batman is still rushing to save Gotham because the apparently accurate timer on a nuclear threat that Bane mentioned he ‘hoped’ had at least five months on the clock is about to expire. What’s the most logical thing to do at this point, Batman? Why, stop and have a make-out session with Catwoman and some cheesy words with Gordon. The clock is ticking and Batman is running down the timer with awkward moments of sentimentality. For the record, draping a coat over a kid’s shoulders doesn’t make you a hero; particularly not in this universe, Batman.