5 Ways The Dark Knight Rises Really Pisses Off Comic Fans

Posted on: July 29th, 2012

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Comic fans are notoriously difficult to please when it comes to film adaptations. Deviate too much from the source material and directors are accused of spitting in the fans’ faces. Don’t add enough new material and directors are accused of playing it safe and lacking originality. With The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan trod the tightrope beautifully. But with The Dark Knight Rises, he wobbled for a bit then plummeted to the safety net in the final reel.


Fair warning – here, of course, are spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises. Big whopping ones.



Firstly, there’s a lot in TDKR to please fans. Anne Hathaway owns Selina Kyle, and Nolan nails her characterisation. She’s sexy without being objectified, tough without being hard, socially conscious without getting on a soap box. She needs a spin-off now. Batman’s new toy the Bat was pant-wettingly cool. And the ending, with Bruce faking his own death and handing the Bat mantle on to someone else, was drastically different from the comics, but in a way that thrilled and pleased fans. It was a nice ending for Nolan’s troubled billionaire. And, of course, Nolan recreated one of the most famous comic panels of all time: Bane breaking Batman’s back across his knee.

But why, as a massive Batman nerd (and I can’t overstate just how massive my love of Gotham is), did I leave the cinema disappointed, feeling like I’d just watched a film made by someone who didn’t have a hell of a lot of love for the Batman canon? I expected more from a film that was garnering five-star reviews. But here are the five things that’ll tick off comic fans the most:


5. Talia Al Ghul


In a move that surprised no-one, Marion Cotillard’s Miranda Tate turned out to be Talia Al Ghul. I was really excited to see Cotillard – who gives good sympathetic villain – get her teeth into Talia. But instead, she had two and a half hours of being an undercharacterised love interest, and 15 minutes of being Talia. From a film-making standpoint, an audience needs more than 15 minutes to relate to and enjoy a villain. Talia’s true identity should have been revealed with an hour of the film still to go. From a comic nerd standpoint, one of Batman’s most interesting villains/love interests was given annoyingly short shrift.


4. Tom Hardy As Bane


Tom Hardy is a great actor and, like Heath Ledger as the Joker, it was an interesting casting choice. He did a great job of bulking up for the part and Bane’s look was very effective – differing from the comics in order to make sense in Nolan’s more realistic Gotham. But what was that voice all about?! Unlike some people, I had no trouble understanding him, but the accent and tone was just bizarre. My friend spent the entire film convinced that he was being dubbed by Sean Connery. Bane had the right amount of intelligence and ruthlessness, but wasn’t fleshed out in the way Joker and Two-Face were, his origin story was handed to Talia, he was white-washed, and he ultimately turned out to just be a henchman. Which was a bit disappointing.

3. No Holly



In this film, Selina has a female friend played by Juno Temple. She’s never mentioned by name, but IMDB names her as Jen. Seriously, would it have been so hard for her to have been Holly Robinson? As a fan of Ed Brubaker’s Catwoman run, it just bugged me.

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I'm a script writer and film maker who also writes for @starburst_mag and @badhaven. Occassionally I sleep, too.

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  • cory place

    he is Batman beyond he is an former cop

  • http://www.facebook.com/rafael.bessa.777 Rafael Bessa

    i don’t think blake’s name should be graysson, especially because i think his sotry is much closer to the story of jason todd than of dick’s

  • Alexis

    Look, Alfred flat out left Batman in the Knightfall saga, which was one of the comics they were using as source material. So your “Alfred would never leave Batman” is a joke. Who are you trying to please with this article? Comic fans? Clearly not because you don’t know the source material from comics. Movie fans? Batman movie fans have gotten far worse than DKR and wouldn’t know half the nit-picky details in this. So you’re trying to please people who watched Adam West’s Batman? Seems farfetched.

  • dan

    But didn’t Alfred leave in Knightfall, which also introduced Bane?

  • Batman comic fan

    I agree with number 5, but the rest were fine and handled well.

  • onslaught94

    I liked the movie overall, but I agree with this entire article. Talia should have been revealed a hell of a lot sooner than she was; everything about Bane was wrong (the look, the fact that he was only a henchman instead of the mastermind of the whole plot to destroy Gotham, the lack of using Venom to become stronger, his ethnicity (the comic Bane was Latino, I think) and ESPECIALLY that HORRIBLE voice); in the comics (and even in the “Batman: Year One” DVD), Holly is a major part of Selina’s life but in the movie she was not named Holly and was only onscreen for all of maybe 5 seconds; Alfred would have died before he’d ever leave Bruce (as seen in the “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” storyline) but in the movie he leaves Bruce to his own devices, which is an un-Alfred-like thing to do; and anybody who knows who the original Robin is knew way before the ending that “John Blake” was an obvious nod to Dick Grayson, and should have actually BEEN Dick Grayson, and not some knock-off whose real name is “Robin.” Mind you, I am not a Batman enthusiast, as some people are, but this movie could have been way better if the aforementioned problems had not been there and the characters had been done more closely to their comic counterparts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shaun.vetting Shaun Vetting

    I agree with the Bane and John Blake points. It just seemed weird to me that a villain of South American heritage was given a Scottish accent. It just sounded like Sean Connery to me the entire movie.

    I also think that the only reason that they didn’t call Blake Dick Grayson at all is because Nolan had said that as long as he was directing Robin would not appear in the movies at all. To me this was his way of throwing Robin in (cause everyone knew that Blake was essentially Dick anyway) without seeming to go back on his word.

    Just my two cents.

  • Hugo Stranger

    One problem with the Alfred part: he did leave Batman’s side. In the Knightfall story, they both travel to England and Alfred stays behind because he doesn’t want to watch Bruce get killed me he goes back to Gotham.

  • Batmansuperfan

    Tom hardy actually said that he would back out of the movie of there was an actual Robin, so this is what they decided on. But if you think about it, the previous quadriadry, the downfall was with robin.

  • lolwat

    > Author talks about how Grayson should have been Blake’s real persona.
    > Has image of Tim Drake.
    >> Tim Drake

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Allan-Hall/617250855 Allan Hall

    Did you not remember Nolan and Bale saying Robin (aka Dick Grayson) WOULD NOT be in the trilogy, with Bale going as far as saying he would leave the franchise if Nolan casted Robin?

  • b wofle

    John Blake represents all incarnations of Robin. Hence the name Robin.
    he is a cop like dick grayson, an orphan like Jason Todd, and figures out batmans identity on his own like tim drake.
    how can u write this article have john blake as one and talk about comics and not notice this.

    failure of an article

    • http://www.facebook.com/rafael.bessa.777 Rafael Bessa

      let’s not forget, he found out that bruce was batman just like tim drake

    • Random Bystander

      Dick Grayson is also an orphan.

  • jasiri160

    I can’t believe that nolan didn’t learn from that other (horrible) batman film where bane was poison ivy’s henchman. yes, he was the main villain in THIS movie. and yes, it was awesome seeing talia in the movie, but still…

  • http://twitter.com/chargeman thetaskmaster

    You know…… technically these are right, but this movie PLEASED comic fans. This one is based more on Batman comics than any previous Batman movie, although Batman Begins was excellent too.

  • JacksonHart

    I think it’s important to remember that, yes, hardcore fans might be irked when things are changed up from the actual comics, but this is Christopher Nolan’s series. He didn’t just shell out a rehash of what has already been done. He wanted to make it his own, and he did so with great execution.

  • Gerardo

    I really enjoy the film and I haven’t gotten tired of watching yet. Out of the 5 reasons the article mentions, I can say I agree with only one: Talia Ghul.

    As for the rest, I can live with it because I view this Batman story as a graphic novel, and not one in a comic continuity, hence the deviation in certain aspects.

    The only thing I feel could’ve been better was Bruce and Selina’s relationship. I never saw chemistry between them and felt that their pairing at the end was forced.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rolf.hawkins Rolf Hawkins

    My only problem with TDKR was a visual one: NYC was used instead of the clearly “made up” Gotham from the previous two films. Before, Gotham was this enormousmess, and suddenly changed into Manhattan.

    • Hugo Stranger

      The only problem with your comment is that most of the film was shot in Pittsburgh and Chicago was very clearly used for the “made up” Gotham in Dark Knight.

  • comiccow

    What about this:

    Batman quits because he couldn’t save his friend, comes back for 45 minutes, and then quits again. Ugh.

  • Rafael

    I don’t even know how the internet brought me here, I don’t read comic books, and I’m not a batman fan, the only thing I’ve watched besides the movies were the 90′s cartoon. I have no idea who Dick Grayson is. I think that it was important to use the name “robin” to make clear the message that there is a successor, a new protector. I think it was important for the closure (for us “casuals”). But I understand you.

  • lil rudeman

    Kind of funny that the picture of Robin is Tim Drake and not Dick Grayson (the Arkham games, where this picture is taken of, have Drake play Robin while Grayson is Nightwing). Play the Arkham games if you want a comic feel to story telling. Both stories are amazing and the Arkham games do all of these complaints justice. Well there’s barely any Bane or Robin or Holly or really Alfred, so I guess it does Talia justice, but there would not be these complaints with the game

  • GLBoxingGlove

    Honestly, when I heard his name was Blake, I was hoping for Thomas Blake, a.k.a. Catman. Figured he was going to be disillusioned by how batman went about fixing things but still looked up to him and would take on the role of Catman as an ode but allow him to be more brutal. the Anti-villain he is in the comics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=746875316 Jon ‘Jonny’ Preece

    banes voice and alfred leaving did it for me. oh, and catwoman beating bane! wtf is that all about. lame lame lame

  • http://twitter.com/dermotcanniffe Dermot Canniffe

    Was he not Tim Blake?

  • JKSums

    To me, this sounds like the nit-picking of an obsessed batman “comic canon” fan. Movies have a limited amount of time to tell a story, whereas comics have a substantial advantage. I, myself, am a huge batman fan, regarding all interpretations. I find, that besides the incredible “arkham” series of recent video games, Chris Noland’s “real life” portrayal of the dark knight is easily the best interpretation. Realize this… Nothing will ever be the batman comics brought to life. Maybe then, you’ll actually enjoy what interpretations are, rather then nit-pick over what they’re not.

    • comiccow

      Try Batman: The Animated Series. Maybe Tim Burton’s Bat-films. Even Batman and Robin did justice to the old, campy comics.

    • JKSums

      All of which changed, reinterpreted, combined, and down right made up batman canon to serve its own purpose. Batman stories, be it comic, movie, or animated, change depending on who has the pen. Even frank miller’s storyline, though beloved, is a complete departure from batman canon and style of that time. The idea of any interpretation is to see things through someone else’s eyes, and ideas. Fanboys/girls are always burned because they expect to much. Suspend disbelief, its entertainment after all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Fix06 Mark McCann

      I personally find nit picking to be part of the enjoyment though. Looking for the cracks is all part of the fun, as long as they don’t detract so much from the movie experience as to render it unwatchable

    • JKSums

      I don’t deny that nit picking can be fun. But that’s still enjoyment. The title of this article says it “pisses” comic fans off. Noland creates the greatest series of comic book movies to date, and yet comic book fans still dismiss it because of little, reinterpreted details. It’s a great watch if your not a comic fan, and there are plenty of nods to the canon for the superfans. The dark knight rises had a lot to live up to, after heath ledger’s incredible performance, and even with a few gripes I have regarding the canon, such as bane’s non-use of venom or not being of Hispanic origin, I still feel, story wise, its the best of the trilogy, and possibly the best super hero movie to date. I know a lot won’t agree with me, but I also know a lot of people will.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AaronKelly81 Aaron Kelly

      If by “limited time” you mean 3 whole fucking hours of batman… then sure. lol But (Batman Begins) was not that long and was truly excellent, so i guess invalid discussion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-John-Stampe/1487311730 Daniel John Stampe

    I liked that Bane was revealed to be the protector of Talia. It really humanized him and showed you a different side of him. Plus, he’s a complete badass the entire movie with killing how many people? That revelation was at the very end right before he got shot by Catwoman so I had no issues with that.

    I do agree with you on Talia. Especially that last line she says… No bueno. I wish we saw more of her than we did. I agree with the Robin comment too. I like this film better than The Dark Knight, although I love TDK, too. I only like this better because it’s larger in scale and they made it more about Bruce Wayne this time. I felt like they focused too much on the Joker in the last one, but I still loved Ledger of course. Good article though.

  • ThatLad

    I had no problem with the bane origin, him being the protector of daughter of a super villain contrasts with Bane’s pre52 run on secret six with scandal savage as talia. Agree Talia should have been revealed earlier. I’m happy with the Alfred situation there had to be a logical way to write him out of the no mans land as he’d be a target. Don’t give a crap about the holly situation. There was something to the robin thing but it wasn’t the name, not sure but something wasn’t right. All in all though the fact this was such a good film considering the amount of actors in it and he expectation stands as testament enough

    • http://www.facebook.com/Fix06 Mark McCann

      I thought it was an okay film, though I feel it did a good job marrying Batman Begins with the Dark Knight, which was a radical departure stylistically from it’s predecessor. My personal pet peeve was the Robin thing, but overall it was a reasonable wrap to a decent trilogy. A lesser spotted things in the modern reboot strewn shite pot that is Hollywood