Did Superman Save Batman in The Dark Knight Rises?… Spoilers!

I just got in from seeing The Dark Knight Rises for the fourth time and for the first time in IMAX. Having now seen the movie enough times to really absorb the fim’s plot and character motivations I feel pretty satisfied with the trilogy as a whole. I initially was at odds with the film and generally unsatisfied, but the perplexing circumstances of the films plot holes has got me thinking about the future.

I’m not sure how I arrived at what I’m about to tell you, but I can’t express the wave of sheer glee that washed over me the second I thought of it and began to put it all together.

Seeing as how the movie suffers from two major plot holes – both of which occur towards the end – I’ve only been able to figure out one possible scenario to explain Christopher Nolan’s need to exempt them from the movie.

You see Nolan loves to surprise the audience. He knows how to create excietment by building hype and anticipation near to the point of bursting, and I’m starting to think the real ‘kicker’ to The Dark Knight Rises has yet to be revealed. And no I’m not talking about something that we’ll discover in the DVD/Blu-Ray extras either.

Let’s begin by examining what we know about the two plot holes of the film that have people talking about the most.

The first, and by far the least explained, is how Bruce Wayne came to arrive back in Gotham after escaping Bane’s “pit prison”. We aren’t told so much as where the pit is, save to say Alfred’s description of a “more ancient part of the world.” Given the accents of Wayne’s fellow prisoners and the rugged desert terrain, we are left to assume it’s somewhere in Africa, or East Asia, but it’s hard to really tell for sure. The plot loses a lot of it’s pacing at this point and the audience is kind of left in the dark about how much time it takes for Wayne to get back to the city. He’s obviously a seasoned traveler – something pointed out in the first film Batman Begins – so using what we already know we can deduce that Mr. Wayne knows enough about the geography of the surrounding landscape that he can navigate his way back home. However the events leading up to his return to Gotham are shrouded in mystery. Where did he go? How did get anywhere without money? Is the world really too small for Bruce Wayne to hide? More importantly I’m starting to wonder: who did he meet along the way?

Additionally, Nolan pulls a similar vanishing act with the film’s finale in that Bruce is clearly shown aboard The Bat with seconds left on the bomb’s timer and is faced with a fate he can’t possibly escape given the speed of the vehicle. A lot of fans are arguing that the scene in which we see Batman close up is actually a clever lie that makes us think he is aboard his ship, while in reality he had ejected minutes before. Given that we aren’t told this for sure we can naturally assume that Batman escaped his fate another way. Perhaps with the help of a stranger he met in his travels back to Gotham? Perhaps the very same person who helped him return to his city to save it from certain destruction? Someone with whom speed is not an issue? Someone who also shares an alter ego?

I’m talking of course about Superman.

The more I think about it the more it’s making sense to me. Christopher Nolan, his brother Jonathan, and writer David Goyer could possibly have been thinking farther ahead than this trilogy suggests and are in fact planning to surprise us all with scenes in Man Of Steel that explain these two great mysteries to us and inevitably tie the two films together – perhaps even lay the groundwork for a future Justice League movie.

I’m aware of how far-fetched this sounds and how this doesn’t really tie in with Nolan’s “real vision” for the Batman franchise, but consider the following:

Christopher Nolan was brought in on Man of Steel early on to assist Zack Snyder achieve a similar “realism” to the film that his movies have. After a short working period with Snyder he left production to begin working on The Dark Knight Rises. What did they talk about when they were together I wonder? Were they figuring out their plan on how to tie the two films together in a way that didn’t distract from the legend of Batman? Given Nolan’s patient and ambitious nature, plus his ability to keep everyone involved on his films quiet, I wouldn’t put something as epic as a Superman tie in past him.

Obviously the production companies and DC Comics want the films to feel similar given the popularity and success of Batman Begins, but at the core level both Batman and Superman exist in the same universe, so grounding this new take on Superman in Nolan’s existing world makes more sense than you may initially want to believe. What if the Nolan brothers, Goyer, and Snyder are planning something bigger than we could ever expect for 2013? What if Joseph Gordon-Levitt is poised to take up the mantle of Batman and carry one of DC’s flagship characters into an eventual Justice League movie?

If you take at look at the Man of Steel teaser trailer you’ll notice that Clark Kent is on his own journey across the world to “discover himself.” Maybe in his travels he comes across a man searching for a way back to Gotham? Maybe Clark Kent is too young and uninterested in saving the world that he doesn’t help Wayne save the city, but likes Wayne enough that he saves him from the bomb at the end. Maybe Batman inspires Clark in some way. Maybe.

I know there are a lot of “maybes” strewn about here, but it’s fun to speculate. The more I think about this the more it makes incredible sense to me.

Until next time,