While The Dark Knight Rises may not be my favorite Batman film, it does feature my favorite Batman scene. When Batman meets Bane for the first time, I get chills. Even re-watching this scene for this post, the chills were still there. The fear was still there, the worry was still there. There’s no other way to put it, Batman gets his ass handed to him in every possible way. It’s not just his spirit that gets broken, but his back too. The Scarecrow tested his drive and motivations in Batman Begins while the Joker tested his morals and dedication in The Dark Knight. But in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane breaks him down mentally and physically in ways we’ve never seen nor imagined.
|StudioKxx via AMP
As soon as Catwoman lures Batman into a trap and the cage closes behind him, he’s already lost. The film’s score is gone, there is no ambient music. Instead, we’re frozen as Bane’s voice echoes throughout the chamber. Immediately, Batman’s identity is compromised. Then his suit and abilities are compromised with Bane taunting him that his suit has cost him strength, and that his victories have made him weak. As many hits as Batman can land, he just can’t stop Bane. Bane takes hit after hit but continues to bombard Batman with powerful blows. The Caped Crusader is no match for Bane. We can tell Batman is growing weak, crying out in anger; something he didn’t do before in his previous fights. Batman was in control, but now he has none. He’s signaling the end, he just doesn’t realize it yet.
But the end does come when Bane has beaten him down and broken down all of his tricks. No smoke bombs and fear of the dark can stop Bane. Can anything at this point stop Bane? Cold and calculated, Bane shows Batman why he’s there: to take away Batman’s toys. Batman watches, in pain through a broken cowl, as Bane’s henchmen plunder through his armory. Now usually at this point in a movie, the villain explains his dastardly plans but miraculously, the hero saves the day via Chekhov’s gun and/or great dramatic irony that ruins said dastardly plans. But that doesn’t happen here. Instead we get a defeated Batman get pushed even further into this well of pain by having his back broken. (As someone who read the Knightfall series, this is something I never thought I’d see in theatres on the big screen.) Batman’s back breaks, cue the score, cut to Bane carrying the broken mask of Batman tossing it away like a candy bar wrapper.
Our hero has suffered the greatest possible defeat and is left with nothing. It’s here that he must rebuild himself and take back his beloved city on his own. There is a moment where it feels like Batman is not coming back. Bane is our savior now, and nothing or no one can save us. We all know what happens from here, but upon first viewing, and sometimes subsequent viewings, there is a feeling of true loss. A feeling that the bad guy might actually win… again.
What's your favorite scene from The Dark Knight Rises?