Special Edition Podcast

Special Edition – The Dark Knight Rises

Show Notes

Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy comes to an end with The Dark Knight Rises! Conor Kilpatrick, Ron Richards, and Josh Flanagan gather to discuss the ending to the most acclaimed superhero trilogy of all time. Did Nolan stick the landing or go flying off the rails? And unfortunately it’s not all fun and games as the tragic events of Aurora, CO cast a shadow over everything.

Running Time: oo:44:54

Check out the full discussion on The Dark Knight Rises as well as Paul Montgomery’s review of the movie.

Hans Zimmer


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  1. Much respect for you guys. Showing love for the people Aurora, CO and this was a great review. Felt the same way about the movie. It was good. Just not great.

    • hijacking top comment to say if your in a good mood and you just got back from the cinema,
      don’t listen to this it will depress you.

  2. @Mono0521 I agree with you.

  3. Movie was the best of the trilogy in my opinion. I also like that Joseph Gordon wasn’t named Grayson or Drake. By calling him Robin at the end, Nolan was alluding to the fact that he’s not going to become Robin but that he had been Robin the whole time by helping Bruce and Batman out throughout the whole movie, then at the end he rises to become Gotham’s new Batman.

  4. My response to the “death” scene was just “some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”

  5. I loved this film and it was definitely the strongest of the three for me. I think it’s going to be a grower for most people, give it a few years maybe.

    I loved the open ending about whether Bruce survived it or not. Personally think that he’s dead. 5/5.

    • The ending wasnt left open…he fixed the auto pilot on the Bat and lives. The legend of Batman lives on through Joseph Gordon and Bruce is able to retire.

    • Did you not think it looked a bit out of reality? That maybe it was in Alfred’s head?

      Also how on earth can Bruce Wayne fake his death but walk around Florence unnoticed? He’d get noticed.

    • I’m not saying it wasn’t real, I’m saying what you put into the ending is what you get out of it.

    • Its the finale of the trilogy…I dont think Nolan would leave an open ending to his Batman story. Even though its a bit of coincidence that Bruce and Alfred would meet at the same place at the same time, it wasnt about that, it was about the emotion of the scene and the dream of Alfreds coming true.

    • @Heysideburns: It wasn’t a coincidence. Bruce knew Alfred would go there so he made sure he was there when Alfred was so Alfred would know that he was okay and was happy.

    • Well then we agree to disagree. It’s a shame you couldn’t be more open minded about it. A lot of people have had the same thought. It’s laced throughout the film about Bruce’s willingness to die.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I think it’s an Occam’s razor situation. I think the easiest solution is that he’s alive. Between the way it was shot and the autopilot. You can interpret it the other way, but I think it’s more of a stretch and not as easily supported by the film.

    • Even though Bruce knew Alfred would eventually go to that cafe, I meant it might of been interpreted as coincidental by some because Bruce picked the exact day and time as Alfred and got the seat exactly across from where Alfred would be seated….but he is Batman and can make that type of stuff workout . But to my original point….it’s a definitive ending.

    • If they hadn’t had the line about the patch fixing the autopilot I would agree with the Inception-esque ending. But then who tells Blake about the Batcave and who fixes the Bat-signal?

  6. PROS:

    -The cast really did an excellent job with this movie. For once I didn’t cringe at Christian Bale doing the Bat voice and he did a nice job convincing he had severe injuries from being Batman. Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman all did their part very well and you could pretty much say what was good about them in the last two movies as you can here. Although I am surprise Oldman had a bit of a lesser role as in the other movies. (Although like in Batman Begins, he plays a crucial role to stop an Al Ghul plan…) The new comers with Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, and Joseph Gordon Levitt were also great in their own way. Which leads me too:

    -Bane was great, I thought anyways. It did take a while to get used to his voice but it didn’t bother me once the prologue was over. He was just a menacing figure and, thanks to the writing, he wasn’t a typical strong man. Levitt as Blake was also pretty good as Blake and (I’ll talk about the ending later) he served a nice purpose for the ending. I did laugh though at how many times people would just tell him to back off. I was waiting for him to say something but he never did. Finally….Boy Anne Hathaway was fantastic in this wasn’t she? She didn’t playing Catwoman too sexy or over the top. There was a nice balance of being smart and sexy and I really think this is the best portrayal of the character outside of comics. I would love to see a Catwoman movie with her in the role.

    -Great music as always by Hans Zimmer. Even before the movie came out the chanting was stuck in my head and this won’t be any different.

    -Also, great special effects both practically and with CGI. Nolan doesn’t normally do CGI in his movies but when he absolutely had too (the ending with ‘The Bat’ it) it looked seamless.


    -Biggest problem I had with the movie? The editing! Oh boy there were some bad cuts and transitions in this movie. Maybe they were following the script to the ‘T’ but some of it looked really clunky. Mainly in the beginning when they were introducing people did I notice it.

    -The reveal of Talia? Not so much a ‘con’ in that I saw it coming. You wouldn’t put a close up of her back, showing the League of Shadows scar, without it being important. Even if it took me a while to figure out that’s what the scar was it doesn’t take a genius to know that cut is important. Probably implies more to the editing then anything else.

    -Is ‘Batman dying in a nuclear blast’ going to replace ‘Indy in a Fridge’ as a new meme?


    There is no way in a million years that this movie would top ‘The Dark Knight’. None. But taking that away I found this to be a nice capper to the Nolan trilogy. If you watch it on its own though you will get a bit lost so I don’t recommend seeing this without seeing the first two. Everyone did a great job as you would expect from a Nolan production. The direction, the acting, the music, and the sound effects were on top form. Especially in the acting department as both new comers and the standards did a great job making this a serious movie and not at all campy. The only thing that bogs it down for me is the editing which can be rough in a few places. But it’s not enough for me to drop it any less then a:


    (Now I must always be in pain that we’ll never see Joseph Gordon Levitt as Batman….or Robin…or the continuing adventures of Batman and Catwoman)

    • I agree with most of your points (the editing I thought was not clunky more like side swiping a bit as I saw that it moved more fluidly than The Dark Knight or even Batman Begins. While The Dark Knight is a classic, what makes The Dark Knight Rises the best IMO is that this truly felt like a “Batman film. It was literally the best of TDK & Begins mixed together into one bombastic & cataclysmic (reference intended) finale of the trilogy. The decimation that Bane carried out throughout the city was the most chaos & destruction that I have seen in a film post-9/11. I think that what this podcast reminded me of & other people’s disliking of the film is that the film hits a bit too close to home with the explosions of the bridges & the stadium. Yet I’m not saying that this is a sign that we are moving on, b/c we can never forget such a thing, what I do think is that this was Nolan’s intention to parallel 9/11 with the apocalypse that was inflicted upon Gotham in order to make the eventual resolution of Batman defeating Bane & later revealed Talia Al Ghul’s plan. I think that Nolan recognizes these parallels & wants to try to remedy our generation by building up such chaos in this film in order to end it with such an overly optimistic ending, to insight us with hope once again. People can easily refer the League of Shadows as the Al Qaeda of the Batman Universe. Even have Bane as a sort of Bin Laden archetype. That type of villainy makes the movie relevant & of course all the more terrifying b/c of how closely it reflects reality. So I believe that TDK was much more of a Joker film & also a bending of one’s morale in order to justify the balancing of people’s faiths. Whereas DKR channels that type of questioning & reverses it in a way in order to wake people up from the “lies” that they are surrounding themselves with & start to remind themselves that as hard as it might be, the truth is what balances us into equality. Idk if this film will be topped anytime soon, but I am sure that the one that will beat it will have similar parallels to have a warped mirror image of reality be translated into celluloid revelation.

  7. spoiler spoiler bleeh blah blah i’m batman.

    With regards to the bridge bombing, was that more affecting/offensive/abrasive because it was in IMAX? Or because the tone of the film? Pretty terrible things happen to New York in Avengers, and to my memory no one made a peep.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I think it’s the tone. The level of realism. Avengers is heightened with a lot of levity. The destruction is theatrical. In DKR, it’s stark and presented so frankly that it’s disarming.

    • Yeh it’s totally the tone and the realism in Bane’s character and motifs for most of the film. It really wouldn’t take a lot to have the kind of economical terrorism take hold of a city. Just look at the London riots last year.

    • Should that concern us, that levity makes Manhattan’s wanton destruction palatable? Is is bad or better that way? Perhaps it’s just the way a thing is without being good or bad.

  8. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Agreed with Conor that when Alfred looked toward Bruce and Selina at the end there, I was sure that they wouldn’t do the reverse angle. I would’ve loved it if he just nodded, got up and left.

    • Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

      I didn’t think to look before the shot cut away, but did anyone see if Selina was wearing Martha Wayne’s pearls? They set it up so that Bruce gave them to her after she returned them (the executor of the will said that they were missing), but I didn’t see the actual visual confirmation.

    • I’m just wondering if Alfred knew that he faked his death or not. Cause it is a VERY dickish move to kill yourself and not tell, arguably, the one who loved you the most.

      I know there’s the scene with the gravestone but I’m just thinking if it was an all an act….Damn you Nolan!

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Jeff, I’m gonna be looking for that detail next time I watch the movie. I hadn’t thought of that. That’d be cool.

    • @Jeff: Selina was wearing the pearls at the end. It was a nice touch.

    • Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

      Cool. It certainly felt like she should have been wearing them. Glad to hear that she was. I’ll look for that next time I watch the film.

    • I though she was wearing them. I like that.

    • I think you NEED to have the reverse angle to tell the ending that Nolan wanted to tell. He’s not just wrapping up Bruce and Alfred’s story, but also Selina’s. One of the major plot points of her character arc is that she wants to become a better person. Which is why she needs the “clean slate” and you get her “sorry I keep disappointing you” line to Bruce. Without that final shot how are we to know that she eventually ends up with Bruce and trying to become a better person. For this reason the reverse angle is a necessity for the ending Nolan wanted the three characters (Bruce, Selina, and Alfred) to have.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      That’s a very good point.

    • @WilliamTrinity

      That is an excellent point, and has actually turned me around on the ‘reverse angle’ thing (which I thought was unnecessary until now!)

  9. Conor, I was right there with you and thought it would end with Alfred nodding to the camera and then cutting to the credits without actually showing Bruce was still alive. That would have been an Inception type ending.

    I think the movie was fantastic and was a great ending to the trilogy. I think the entire trilogy stands up there with the best trilogies of all time. It goes the Original Star Wars trilogy, then Dark Knight, then Lord of the Rings. The Godfather movies don’t make it b/c #3 was so bad. I also don’t count the Indiana Jones movies b/c those were clearly 3 separate movies and not a continuing story. Overall, I think TDKR was the best movie I have seen this year.

  10. kinda shocked not more people are making the return of the jedi comparison

  11. I’m suprised that Ron and Josh don’t like Christian Bale as Batman. I think he’s terrific. But to each his own I guess. I personally loved the film.

  12. Only a couple seconds in, but damn, Connor sounds tired.

  13. I seem to side with Josh on the film. I thought it was the weakest of the three by far. I was totally unemotionally attached to this film. I was only interested when Anne Hathaway and Juno Temple were on the screen, Catwoman seemed to be the only solid part of this film. Christian Bale was all over the place in this film and I couldn’t follow him. Obviously Pregnant marion cotillard was only in the film to be a last minute plot twist which undercut the entire momentum that Bane had. And poor Bane is killed like the swordsman from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’m glad other people found alot to enjoy but I feel this will go down like Raimi’s Spider Man and not hold up over time.

  14. Thanks for making the effort guys – it couldn’t have been easy. As far as the film goes, I think it definitely needs more than one viewing – a common thread I’ve noticed (& something I share, even though I loved it) is a feeling of ambivalence. On balance, at this moment, I’d still say TDK is the apex of the trilogy, but I really want to see DKR again before I commit. And I’m totally with Ron in that I didn’t see some revelations coming that I probably should have.

  15. Personally thought it was great (although I still place TDK above it simply because of Ledger) and I can’t see most of the minor gripes that the guys had.

    Saw it in IMAX and I had no problem with Bane’s voice, it sounded like he was where he was supposed to be and everything he said was clear (in fact I think the voice inflection choice really made Bane stand out and more chilling), Bale’s Bruce Wayne and Batman were both excellent (I would have liked a little bit more Batman but that’s about it) and the New York thing I didn’t notice.

    I thought the difference in tone was a good choice from Nolan and co, it gives it it’s own identity whilst stilling providing the perfect closing to the trilogy that they setup. It was an escalation as Dark Knight was over Batman Begins and literally the only disappointing thing is that Nolan’s Batman is now done.

  16. I just had a thought. TDK has been regarded as The Godfather of our generation & like The Godfather, its success was largely due to one fantastic performance of one of the supporting actors (GF = Brando, TDK = Ledger). Now it is IMO that DKR is superior to TDK in that it takes all of the action, villainy & Batman mythos up a notch. If I may be so inclined as to say that The Dark Knight Rises could very much go down in history as The Godfather Part 2 of our generation. It is better than its predecessor in practically every way, yet people will mostly refer to the predecessor film (The Godfather or in this case The Dark Knight) due to its initial impact & its memorable, Oscar winning performance. Time will only tell, yet I do think that this may prove to come to fruition when more & more people watch & re-watch the brilliant masterpiece that is The Dark Knight Rises IMO.

  17. No Ron. Superman saving the day would’ve been terrible. World ending terrible.

  18. Not to get off topic, but Ron used to go to hardcore shows, so do you love Unbroken? Or did you prefer youth crew? (serious inquiry).

  19. One of the most intelligent and intense movies I’ve ever seen — of any kind, not just comic book/superhero. I’ve never seen anything that depicted something as grand-scale as the takeover of a 21st century American city with such grounded realism. And that’s what Nolan’s Bat-movies do that no other superhero movie has done so far: Give us a great story regardless of the main character.

    Not that it didn’t feel like a Batman film. This was an epic finale to this 7-year character arc. And I thought it was Bale’s finest performance yet.

    Hardy’s Bane was also great. Intimidating and intellectual as he should be. The voice didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would; in fact in made him more unique. When people, inevitably, start mimicking him, you’ll know exactly who they’re impersonating.

    Everyone else was superb too. There was just so much packed in here that I don’t think I can cover all of it. But it never felt “clunky” or off to me.

  20. im with josh i enjoyed Spiderman alot more. you can hear it in connors voice he didn’t enjoy like he thought he would and he is having a hard time with it. it wasn’t that good. my summer comic film raiting is amazing Spiderman avengers then dark knight rises

  21. The epilogue also alludes to the “wipe-the-slate-clean” MacGuffin that Selina was chasing the whole movie, trying to leave, disappear, and start over. The fact that the reverse shot includes her ties up that story-line very well. Albeit a high-profile billionaire would still be very recognizable.

    If there was a sequel to Nolan’s trilogy, Scott Snyder’s Black Mirror story would be an excellent candidate, with Robin acting as Batman and plot points from of Jim Gordon’s background. This would be an excellent candidate. The next movie could advance the timeline to a point where Robin-Batman gets overwhelmed (maybe he morphs into a Red Hood-type) and Batman has to come out of retirement. That dovetails nicely into Dark Knight Returns, but there are some many of the dystopian/apocolyptic elements that Nolan used here that would need to be reworked to maintain originality.

    I think there is a good setting that Nolan has established that you can continue it. I still want to see Bruce Willis as Batman in a Dark Knight Returns.

  22. I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced COKE-ette.

    Great show, gentlemen. Thanks for taking the time to do these special editions. I really look forward to them after each new comics-based/close-enough movie. Ever since I listened to the X-MEN: FIRST CLASS one on the drive home from seeing it. I’ve even gone back and caught up on a bunch of older ones.

  23. Nolan is a magnificent bastard.

    I think you guys should have waited a week or two before reviewing this film, it deserves much better. I saw the movie with non-superhero fan folk and we were all blown away. This was hands down one of the best movies of the millennium. Yes it was dark, but it was real. A movie that can provide action, entertainment and makes you question society and the world is the mark of greatness.

  24. Would anyone agree that The Dark Knight was the better film, but that this one was the better Batman film? Or is that nonsensical?

  25. I thought the movie was great. Probably Christian Bale’s best Batman/Bruce was in this movie. There were a lot of nice touches but I will say in regard to Bane’s voice that I think it always sounded the same was an artistic choice and not a techincal flub.

    As much New York was in this movie there was an equal if not more Pittsburgh. I can see what you guys are saying as I am not hugely familiar with Chicago so its just Gotham plus so much of DKR takes place in the daytime. Streets in the Strip District, the Bat flies through a lot of Pittsburgh (and over Steel Tower), but that last chase scene in particular took place on the streets by my wife’s old office…I think I actually got a kick out of it though.

  26. I disagree with Ron about the Imax platform, It enhanced the sense of scale for the sky shots, compared to a normal screening.

  27. Yeah, I’m not sure what to make of this movie. After only seeing it once I would say it was the worst of the trilogy. Like they said Batman wasn’t even in it that much. The first 2 hours were just depressing to me. And maybe it’s too soon after the shooting to form a good opinion. But there was so much gun violence in this one. I didn’t like the fact that Alfred left Bruce, I didn’t like the fact they made Blake Robin. I did like the last 40 minutes though. The ending was good. Just would have been better if Blake’s real name was Grayson. I will probably like it better when I see it again.

  28. I know i am late, just saw the film and i loved it. I am so glad he went somewhere totally different with it. The cast were all fantastic. I like the fact he didn’t show how Bruce got back to Gotham from the prison, we all know if he did he would have made it work so why slow it down and show it. I was worried about Catwoman but think she was great. Didn’t think about the lack of cat antics, paw licking and purring until Paul pointed it out. So glad they didn’t. Did they ever refer to her as Catwoman? Would love to know if Conor et al has seen it again and what he thought with a little time and distance from the bad feeling created by the awful events of opening night.

    I hope one day we can all distance the film from that night and not let this massive moment in all our comic book lives be sullied by that sad sad day. I was pleased to hear Batman’s anti gun and killing message in the film, it meant a lot especially seeing the film a week or so after.

    Nolan truly can do no wrong. They need to re-boot and not try and match these films, they can’t better them.

  29. Oh yeah, did anyone else think that Bruce’s look at the beginning, pointy beard etc and use of the bow and arrow as a nod to green arrow or just a coincidence?
    and how cool would a Nolan GA film be.

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