‘Dark Knight Rises’: How Much Will ‘Knightfall’ Factor In?

The Weekly Rising takes a closer look at the comic inspiration for Christopher Nolan's final Batman film.
By Kevin P. Sullivan

<i>Batman</i> #497: The breaking of the Bat
Photo: DC Comics

Throughout his tenure as the commander of the big-screen Batman, Christopher Nolan, along with writing partners Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer, have pulled selectively from the vast library of books for inspiration in the films. "Batman Begins" borrowed a handful of elements from Frank Miller's "Batman: Year One," while "The Dark Knight" took some character notes from "The Long Halloween."

When it was announced that Bane would make his triumphant return as a respectable villain in the finale, "The Dark Knight Rises," comic books fans were just as quick to shout "Knightfall," in reference to the trilogy of stories that played out during 1993 and 1994. It appeared Nolan and company had found their inspiration, but what exactly would they use from those books?

The masked villain was the clear giveaway to "Knightfall" 's presence as an influence, and it's clear why. Bane only showed up on the DC Comics scene four months before the beginning of the "Knightfall" story line, and once the show got on the road, he made his introduction count. As he appears to be in "The Dark Knight Rises," the Bane of the comics was a hyper-intelligent behemoth of a man, capable of besting Bruce Wayne.

Prison Break
Part of Bane's plan in gaining the upper hand over Batman involved releasing all of Arkham Asylum's worst inmates on the city. Batman wears himself down, rounding up the likes of the Joker, the Scarecrow and Poison Ivy, and this series of bouts leaves him severely weakened when he finally has to face off against Bane in the Batcave, leading to the most significant scene from "Knightfall."

The Break
If Bane is remembered for anything, it is the central moment of "Knightfall" when he takes a physically and mentally exhausted Bruce Wayne and breaks his back with a knee to the spine. It was a critical blow in more than one sense of the word and significantly changed the shape of the Batman titles for years to come. The scant footage we have actually seen from "The Dark Knight Rises" hints that Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne does suffer some similar injury during the course of the film. He appears to be walking with a cane, and while we can't conclusively blame Bane, the timing sure is something!

Selina Kyle's appearance in both "Knightfall" and "The Dark Knight Rises" most likely is a coincidence, since her role in the former is not terribly significant. It does matter, however, that she attempts to help Bruce Wayne with his paralysis, demonstrating that there are many facets to her allegiances.

The New Batman
While Bruce Wayne was on the mend thanks to Bane's handiwork, a new Batman, Jean-Paul Valley, took up the cowl in his absence. Since the tag line of "The Dark Knight Rises" leaves little doubt that the "legend ends" with this final movie, fans have been pondering whether the new film will mean the death of Bruce Wayne. If that's the case, the symbol would have to live on. A new Dark Knight would have to rise.

Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."

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