‘The Dark Knight Rises’ was a special movie for many reasons. Not only did it wrap up Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman’ trilogy, but it also brought something we thought we would never experience – Bruce Wayne left the Batman costume behind and decided to continue living a peaceful life. This wouldn’t be as strange if Batman hadn’t found himself in a situation before where everyone thought he was dead and had died as a hero. However, that wasn’t the case, Batman didn’t die at the end of ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ and in this article, we’ll explain how he escaped.
Batman carried a nuclear bomb with his aircraft, the Bat. When the bomb exploded, everyone thought that Batman died in the explosion, but he survived because he ejected himself from the Bat just before the explosion occurred. No one thought that was possible because the aircraft’s autopilot did not work. Still, Lucius Fox later discovered that Bruce had repaired it, so he could make the Bat fly the bomb away without actually needing to be in the aircraft.
Bruce was willing to sacrifice himself to save the people of Gotham City, and even though it was not the first time he did that, when he carried the nuclear bomb away from the city, everyone thought that Batman was flying to his certain death. And that’s why that moment had a profound emotional impact. It was later revealed that Batman outsmarted death once again, and we’ll talk more about that in the next few paragraphs.
Years of peace weakened Batman, and his own victory defeated him
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ occurs eight years after Commissioner James Gordon and Bruce covered Harvey Dent’s crimes, and Batman took the fall for Dent’s murder. No one has seen Bruce for years; he was just a shell of the man he once was. Everyone close to Bruce wanted him back in society, living and enjoying life.
But he retired as Batman and left that life behind. When Bruce visited Lucius Fox, he was shown the Bat for the old times’ sake, and Lucius mentioned that the aircraft worked perfectly fine, except for the autopilot, which needed to be fixed.
Then Bane appeared and became one of the greatest threats Gotham ever faced, and Bruce had no choice but to emerge as Batman again. Alfred cares for Bruce and is concerned that Bruce is in no condition to go against Bane as Batman. He urged Bruce to help Gotham with his knowledge and resources, not the cape and a mask, as that would only lead to Bruce’s demise.
Alfred had a fantasy that one day, he would go to a café in France, sit at his table, and when he looked around, there would be Bruce, sitting at the other table with his wife and, hopefully, kids. They would not say a word to each other, but they’d both know that Bruce was doing fine.
But, the reality was different. When he realized that Bruce wouldn’t take his advice seriously, Alfred quit his job and left Wayne Manor to make Bruce listen. The noble butler refused to bury another member of the Wayne family and thought this was the only way he was potentially saving his protege’s life.
Alfred was right about one thing; Batman was not evenly matched in combat against Bane, who was significantly superior. Not only that, but Bane’s fighting style relied on brute strength and ruthlessness, which led to him breaking Bruce’s spine and subsequently throwing him into the Pit Prison, the same pit from which Bane and Ra’s Al Ghul’s daughter once emerged.
To save Gotham, Batman needed to fly the nuclear bomb far from the city
With Batman out of the way, Bane could carry on with his undisturbed plans. With the help of a scientist, he turned what was supposed to be a sustainable energy machine into a four-megaton nuclear bomb. Talia Al Ghul and Bane carried on Ra’s Al Ghul’s vision of Gotham being destroyed as it was beyond saving. After Bruce discovered their plans, he had no choice but to heal in prison and manage to climb out of the pit. Gotham needed him now more than ever.
The Dark Knight returned and led the final operation against Bane. The plan was to confront Bane, stabilize the bomb, and evacuate the people of Gotham to safety in case the plan failed. Bruce and Selina Kyle were on the same side of this battle, but Selina’s aspirations were more selfish, even though Bruce believed there was more in her than just saving herself.
With only minutes until the nuclear bomb goes off, the only way to save the people of Gotham is to carry the bomb far away. Without much thought, Batman attached a bomb to the Bat and flew it over Gotham’s bay, where it exploded without harming anyone. Batman saved the city but sacrificed his life, or so everyone believed.
Bruce had a private funeral because only a few knew his true identity. Alfred wept and blamed himself for not being able to keep his promise to Thomas and Martha to protect their son. On the other hand, Lucius ordered technicians to dig through the remains of the Bat to learn how to repair the autopilot and possibly prevent Batman’s death. However, Bruce Wayne had already fixed the autopilot months earlier.
This meant that Bruce most likely survived but chose to leave behind the identities of Bruce Wayne and Batman. He wanted to experience a life that Alfred had always talked about. And that’s exactly what happened, fulfilling Alfred’s fantasy. In a café far away from Gotham, Alfred saw Bruce and Selina at another table. He smiled and nodded in delight, and so did Bruce.
What did you think of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ ending and Bruce’s retirement plan? Share your thoughts in the comments.