Friday, August 17, 2012

Comic Book references in movies Part VII: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Every writer of the Batman movies had either an extensive prior knowledge of the Batman comic books or did an extensive research before writing the script. Each and every one of the theatrical Batman movies has numerous subtle and not so subtle nods and references to the comic books and reveals an impressive knowledge of the comic book back catalog.
One of the last posts focused on differences and deviations from the comic books from each movie, listing the number of things which were changed to fit the story more and serve it better (http://gothamalleys.blogspot.com/2011/03/list-of-changes-in-movies.html). This time we'll focus on all the references and similarities to showcase the writers' knowledge of the Batman stories and to point out what was taken from the comics

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

'The Dark Knight Rises' draws heavily and primarily from vengeance of Bane, Knightfall and Legacy saga. Naturally, it also reflects and borrows from various issues of the Modern Age era

1. John Blake, while being an amalgam of the Robin character, is actually a minor character in early Batman comic books. Panel below from Batman #13


2. Gordon's capture is very reminiscent of what happened with robin during the Knightfall saga. Robin, like Gordon, have been captured and brought to the sewers, facing Bane. He also escaped the same way by falling into the stream. Panels from Detective Comics #660


3. Batman took a decade long hiatus in The Dark Knight Returns. While in the movie its 8 years, its still close to a decade


4. In The Dark Knight Returns, he also had to use enhancements for his limbs


5. In the movie, Bruce is not in the top form when he faces Bane for the first time. He is older, has been out of shape and action for 8 years, and has problems with his knee. In the comics, when Batman first fought Bane, he was also very out of shape, having been completely exhausted and under influence of a sickness called Epstein-Barr Syndrome. 


6. The fight itself is quite reminiscent of the first fight they had in the comics, where Batman cant really hurt Bane and Bane seems unaffected by all the hits he gives him, despite Batman giving everything he can at the time. Bane however, completely thrashes Batman. And as in the comics Bane doesn't just want to kill Batman, he wants to break him physically and psychologically, and make him watch how he takes over Gotham


7. The fight ends with a recreation of the famous panels where Bane breaks the caped crusader


8. The way Bane talks is very much in vein with his tone and style in the comics.


9. While for different reasons, Gordon was out of the action and in hospital for quite some time, starting with Detective Comics #626

10. Selina Kyle used to have a blonde companion (Arizona/Jen) that she sort of took under her wings. Or claws if you will. Panel from Batman #460


 11. Gordon's marriage problems and eventual separation is also a subplot originating from comic books. Panel below from Batman: Year One


12. As in the comics, Bane joined Ra's Al Ghul and then was casted out, and also had a love affair with Talia


13. Bane was responsible for jailbreak during Knightfall Saga. In the comic books, it was Arkham, in the movie it was Blackgate


14. In 'No Man's Land', Gotham City gets cut from the world, with its bridges blown up, devastated by earthquake and sanctioned by the military.


15. As in 'Vengeance of Bane', Bane was most likely born in prison, as he admits to being born in the darkness


16. As in the comics, Batman damages Bane's mask which aids in his defeat


17. When in disguise, Catwoman likes the old fashion look with a big hat


18. The newspaper titles are nods to the earliest Batman comics that featured Catwoman



19. Bane and Catwoman worked briefly together in the Knightfall saga


20. Bane's objective of completing Ra's al Ghul's campaign against Gotham is similar to the plot of Batman: Bane (May 1997), a one shot that rounded off the Legacy story arc.
In this story Bane plans to destroy Gotham by overloading the reactor core of a nuclear power plant. Much like the movie, the nuclear core was meant to be an energy source, but Bane repurposes it into a bomb. Credit for find goes to Batman-Online.com



21. The Pit is Nolan's version of the Lazarus Pit. Bruce went into the pit with a broken back, a bad knee, and he was very weak. He was also mentally crushed, and probably depressed. He came out of the pit with a healed back, virtually no knee problem, as strong as he was in the two previous films, and he was mentally stronger too. While it's not the classic supernatural healing pit, it's still the real life version of it


22. In Detective Comics #489, a leader of League of Assasins uses a phrase that Bane, co-leader of the League of Shadows uses as well


23. Bruce and Selina got married in Superman Family #211. Credit to Batman-Online.com for the find


24. With long gloves and thigh high boots, Catwoman's outfit is pretty much Jim Balent's Catwoman suit, just in black


25. A veteran cop, recognizing Batman, grins to his rookie colleague that they're in for a show; that sequence comes from The Dark Knight Returns





47 comments:

  1. The ending. "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb"

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  2. Lol thats what I thought too

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  3. - Alfred leaving Bruce after his initial comeback as Batman in the film calls back to the Knightfall saga when he's in the wheelchair and is similarly left on his own path after Alfred's disgust at his desire to return.

    - More of a BTAS connection but John Daggett is a clear nod to Roland Daggett.

    Great list and always a good read to see what I missed.

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  4. Thanks. Ive done that in a hurry to finally get it out, so sorry for typos or grammar

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  5. Idea of a protector in the prison comes from Vengeance of Bane. In the comic Bane and his mother had a protector.

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  6. Yeah, well its a tricky thing. The villain's origins are pretty faithfull to Bane's from the comics, however theyre given to Talia as oppose to Bane. Bane pretty much took the role of Trogg

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    1. "Bane pretty much took the role of Trogg"

      That was something I didn't care for in the film as much as I loved the film granted it's not as bad as Batman and Robin it still reduces Bane as the secondary front man for the true mastermind(though one could argue Bane was working with Talia rather for) and he gets killed off so anti-climatically at the end by Catwoman accompanied by a one liner. He should have had an epic last moments which gave him proper symbolic last words. Seeing as Talia gets the last words in that badly done death scene I have to say I'm slightly disappointing with the film in that regard.

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    2. They seemed more like partners to me. Bane looked far too Charismatic and intelligent to be simply a tool. He handled all the dirty work and orchestrated the takeover by the criminal underworld elements while Talia took the reigns of the public facade and being a spy.

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  7. Wow! I was expecting this in December when the Blu ray release of the film happens. Not so son after the film has been released for a month.

    Also Keep in mind Gotham Streets Batman: The cult also serves as an influence on the film.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman:_The_Cult

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  8. I still can't figure out if Batman died or not, even though he was clearly at the very end with Selina (it could've been in Alfred's head though).

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  9. The clue was that the autopilot was fixed

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  10. There's no indication that Bruce and Selina are married by the end of the film, they are most likely dating.

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  11. Yes, and I never said they did. But the idea that they stayed together romantically involved very much equals getting married, just not on paper

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  12. Catwoman's costume was more in line with Julie Newmar's from the 1960s TV Series right down to the mask and ears which makes sense since Nolan grew up on the series.

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  13. Well the idea of a skintight one piece suit originates from the series, but Hathways suit is a recreation of Balent's catwoman suit. The mask itself is indeed a nod to the TV show

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  14. Gotham Streets when will the changes to the movies be updated? Also when will you update the Bane and Christian Bale Batman articles?

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  15. Yeah, theres a lot to do now, but all of those will take a long time to do, especially Bane article since I have to do a massive research through all the interviews Hardy, Nolan and co ever did on Bane

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  16. Gothamstreets what do you think of Hardy's Bane Is he more interesting to you than the comics version?(like I think).
    What change do you not like to him?

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  17. You forgot the red hood reference of banes motorcycle helmet. Also the mask he wears is a nod to the toothed style of the mutant leader

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  18. Even the warning alfred givez him when they look at footage of bane is a reference to Millers dark knight where alfred warns batman that the mutant leader is too powerful to fight

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  19. Love it, GothamAlleys. This panel from Year One is similar to TDK Rises when Batman takes out the goons out one by one:

    http://www.batmanytb.com/bios/gadgets/blowgun.jpg

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  20. Batman: The Cult, has to be a major influence? It features an army of homeless living in the sewers, people being hung in the streets as warnings, Batman visiting Gordon in hospital, Batman being broken mentally and hanging in an underground prison and leaving Gotham for an extened period, only to announce that "The Dark Knight will RISE again" and finally returning in a new vechile to wage war and take gotham back!

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  21. Thanks everyone for new suggestions, will ad them soon

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  22. I suggest an addition to the article which I think it's important, since I have heard many fans complain that Bruce Wayne quitting his Batman career at the end is against the comics character.
    In "Knightfall", after Bruce recovers from his broken back, he does not want to be Batman again. He thinks Jean Paul is a good Batman. Of course, eventually he realizes J-P is a psycho and the old Batman returns, but the desire to have a normal life is there (and in other comic book stories I suppose).

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    1. It's not really against the the comics mythology of Batman that he desires a normal life and desires to quit, and succeeds in doing so. Hell in Batman Beyond, he even quits do to old age and resorting to using a gun to defend himself against a criminal.

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  23. Great article, I enjoyed it very much, but there is a little mistake: in number 22, you forgot to write the phrase Bane says. I suppose you refer to "you have my permission to die", which is said by the Sensei (leader of the League of Assassins who rebels against R'as Al Ghul)in the comics. It would be great if you could show the panel, too.

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  24. Another suggestion: In the "new 52" Catwoman series (number #6), we learn that Selina's criminal records and fingerprints have been deleted from every data base in the world by Batman. It resembles exactly the "clean slate" plot from TDKR, but I don't know if it is a reference, since this issue came out while the movie was already filming (maybe the Nolans have talks with comic book writers when making the script?).

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  25. Ever thought of Arkham City?

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  26. About John Blake....

    Somehow i don't buy it, i mean Nolan's Dark Knight Rises had elements of Dan Water's Robin from Batman Returns where John Blake's first name is revealed to be Robin and not as the alias. It has to be a HUGE coincidence if Nolan didn't get it directly from Batman Returns.

    The reason for this is because somebody was pushing Nolan to put Robin in his last flick when Nolan clearly stated that Robin wouldn't fit into the story he was trying to tell and I believe Dan Water's Robin concept came into play.

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  27. when are doing one on Gotham city itself ?

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  28. There is a long tradition of stories in which Robin, almost always Dick Grayson, being Bruce's successor as Batman. Also of Alfred hoping settles down in the future. I believe the ending is real. But early on Alfred did hope Bruce had moved on. In the 50s Alfred wrote imaginary stores about Batman's future, Bruce being married, Robin becoming Batman.

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  29. Great Job , I like this blog so much , Thanks for this wonder collection and for hard work

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  30. Seems no one has read the CULT.

    That book has almost all the elements of TDKR.

    For example: The city is under siege and cut off from the rest of Gotham (bridges are blown)

    The charismatic leader (Deacon Blackfire) sets up his cult in the sewers and stages an uprising by attracting the homeless and the downtrodden.

    Gordon is shot and spends time on hospital.

    Batman is broken and flees the city, only for Robin to convince him to return and retake it using war-like tactics (replace the Bat with a Bat-tank and there you have it).

    There are several other aspects of the CULT in TDKR. More so in my opinion than Knightfall and No Mans Land.

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  31. Someone suggested Cult to me a while back, but admittedly I havent read it therefore didnt want to blindly cite is as an influence, but it seems like its surely worth a read

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  32. I've noticed the whole Talia Al Ghul working with Bane to set off a bomb story line is very similar to Batman: Legacy, or was it Contagion??? I forget lol. Also I thought John Blake becoming a masked crime-fighter (Possibly Batman) is similar to Batman R.I.P. with Dick Grayson becoming Batman after Batman's apparent death by Darkseid (Sorry for saying "Batman" so many times lol)

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    1. you can never say 'batman' too many times. it is impossible.

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  33. Two things:(1)Talia Al Ghul= Worst death ever (2) Who do you think will play Batman next?

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  34. When Bruce Wayne is pointing a bow and arrow at Selina Kyle shortly after she notices the target board with the arrows, Bruce's appearance, the mustache and beard, the bow and arrow, Green Arrow reference me thinks... :)

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  35. Gothamalleys, you GOTTA show BATMAN AND ROBIN (COMIC BOOK).

    Show Dick taking over as Batman.

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  36. Movie Bane's line about "you fight like a younger man, with nothing held back" echoes the narration in Dark Knight Returns, when he fights the Mutant Leader a second time. I don't have it handy, but it's something like “My mistake was trying to match his savagery. To fight like a younger man."

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  37. The Dark Knight Rises is the most comic influenced movie ever... The opening aerial sequence, The League of shadows parachuting out of a White jumbo in black assault gear, guns blazing (Bane of the Demon)... We then get Bruce retired and returning, chasing down robbery suspects in a street chase and first be seen by an old cop and young cop after 8/10 years. The police begin to pursue Batman (The Dark Knight Returns), Gordon hospitalised and Military attacked in sewers, Batman visiting Gordon in hospital (The Cult)...Selina Kyle being interupted opening a safe, being shot at by henchmen and saved by Batman, then agreeing to help Batman on a rooftop (The Long Halloween), Selina living in 'Old Town' with a young blonde girl and resorting to stealing and hinting of prostitution to survive (Year One)... Bane freeing inmates from prison and breaking Batman (Knightfall part one: Broken Bat) and revealing he is in Gotham to finish Ra's Al Ghul's mission of destroying the city with a nuclear device and gives his demands on a speaker system microphone (Batman: Bane)... Bane cuts off the city, by blowing the bridges and it becomes lawless and deadly on the streets, especially for the wealthier people, he hangs important figures in public as warning to not try and stop him (The Cult, No Man's Land)... The backstory of Bane/ Talia's prison past (Vengeance of Bane)... Batman with a new assault vechile and the remaining police of Gotham waging a war on the streets to take back the city (The Cult, No Man's Land) and finally fake death of Bruce/ Batman (The Dark Knight Returns)... Awesome!

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  38. Is this blog ever going to be updated?

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  39. Hi there!

    Great post, I never knew half of these subtle references in the film. It's brilliant to see a visual comparison of the scenes and the comic panels!
    I was wondering if you'd be interested in sharing your blog on Glipho? We're a new social blogging site dedicated to building our writer's audiences. Your blog would be perfect there! If you are interested, take a look over at http://glipho.com and see if you like the look of it!

    Thanks for your time, and continue the great blog.

    All the best,

    Teo

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  40. I would like to add on to number 6 that the first fight against Bane was more of a mixture of The Dark Knight Returns and Knightfall, first with an Old aged Batman just going for Bane (The Mutant Leader) with almost no tactics, Bane's mercenaries just watching doing nothing similar to the Mutant gang watching the Mutant Leader fight, the Knightfall references are Batman's attacks having little to no effect on Bane and the obvious back break scene.

    I would also like to point out Bane's mask is also a reference to the Mutant Leader's teeth.

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