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In 2005, eight years after Batman and Robin put the Batman film franchise on deep freeze, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer rebooted the franchise with the first entry of a trilogy fans refer to as The Dark Knight Saga. All three films star Christian Bale as The Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.

Batman Begins (2005)

A vigilante is just a man lost in the scramble for his own gratification; he can be destroyed or locked up. But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, you become something else entirely...a legend, Mr. Wayne.

The film opens In Medias Res with Bruce Wayne incarcerated in a prison in Bhutan, where a man named Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) arranges for Wayne's release and offers him a place in Ra's al Ghul's League of Shadows. Ducard trains Bruce in the way of the Ninja — and in overcoming his fear — while Bruce explains his Backstory. Upon discovering that Ra's intends to destroy Gotham City, Bruce fights his way out and blows up the dojo. Bruce returns to Gotham and vows to take back the city from the criminals; to this end, he combines his League of Shadows training, obscene wealth, old fear of bats, and access to his company's R&D projects to turn himself into a vigilante crimefighter. The Batman makes his grand entrance by bringing mafioso Carmine Falcone to justice, but in doing so, he discovers that Dr. Jonathan Crane has disturbing plans for Gotham City involving large quantities of a fear toxin — and that Crane works on orders from someone else...

The Dark Knight (2008)

Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men...just want to watch the world burn.
Alfred Pennyworth

A year after the events of Begins, Batman and his allies — Police Lieutenant James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) — achieve real success in taking down Gotham's organized crime when they start hitting them where it hurts: their money. The various mob leaders become so afraid of Batman that when a scarred psychopath in clown makeup (Heath Ledger) shows up and offers to make their problems go away by killing Batman, they hire him...but once backed by the mob, he decides that rubbing out Batman isn't good enough. The Joker aims to destroy Gotham City from the inside out, and part of his "plan" involves attempts to corrupt the city's heroes — Batman and Harvey Dent — by making their lives hell until they snap...

The Dark Knight received a overwhelmingly positive critical reception as a serious drama (unique for a comic book movie), thanks in large part to the tour de force performances of the cast (including the late Heath Ledger's well-regarded performance as The Joker).

The title of this film — The Dark Knight — marks the first time a Batman film has not featured the character's name in the title.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

You think this can last? There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you're all going to wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.
Selina Kyle

The final film in Nolan's trilogy, set for release on July 20th 2012. Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Cillian Murphy will return in their specific roles (Batman/Bruce Wayne, Alfred, James Gordon, Lucius Fox, and Dr. Crane/Scarecrow), and new cast members include Anne Hathaway (Catwoman/Selina Kyle), Tom Hardy (Bane), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (GCPD officer John Blake), Marion Cotillard (Wayne Enterprises board member Miranda Tate), Josh Pence (a young Ra's al Ghul, in a flashback sequence), and Juno Temple (a "streetwise Gotham girl", presumably Holly Robinson). Liam Neeson will also reportedly reprise his role as Ra's al Ghul in flashback form.

Eight years after the end of The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne is "not in a great state" (according to Nolan). Further plot details are scarce at this point, but it's apparent that the story, along with Bane, will be the most physically and mentally challenging yet for Batman — and for Bruce Wayne. Quoting Christian Bale's take on the film: "How long will you let the pain and loss define your life? Walking around chasing bad guys is very heroic and attracts attention, but at the end it all accounts for is a means to deal with the pain of a huge loss. It's time for Bruce Wayne to face the pain that has always stirred his life."

You can watch the most recent theatrical trailer for the film on YouTube.

A direct-to-DVD Animesque anthology, Batman: Gotham Knight, helped to bridge the gap between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight; Christopher Nolan was not involved in its production.

While the films feature original storylines, they borrow many scenes and themes from the comic book miniseries Batman: Year One and The Long Halloween; Alan Moore's The Killing Joke also influenced the plot of The Dark Knight, and the films also borrow heavily from Batman: The Animated Series in terms of styling and character. The trilogy also takes liberties with certain superficial aspects of the entire Batman mythos, but in spite of — or because of — these changes, Batman fans widely consider the films to be some of the best Batman adaptations ever.

Viewers outside the comicbook fandom have agreed, which have helped turn the films into critical and commercial successes. The Dark Knight holds the record for the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time in the United States (behind The Avengers, Titanic, and Avatar) and the twelfth-highest worldwide; it also has the distinct honor of being the first comic book film to win an acting Academy Award, as the late Heath Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance as The Joker.

The Dark Knight Saga contains examples of the following tropes:

The whole series

  • Action Prologue: Both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises start with establishing the villains' ability.
  • All-Star Cast: All three feature Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. The first also features Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, and Rutger Hauer; the second also features Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Eric Roberts; the third also features Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotillard. Enough said.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Bruce Wayne has bad luck when it comes to his homes. The League of Shadows burn Wayne Manor to the ground in the first film, the Joker and his henchmen invade his penthouse in the second, and Bane and his men ransack the new Wayne Manor in the third.
  • Animated Adaptation: Batman: Gotham Knight, a direct-to-DVD Animesque anthology that bridges the gap between the first two films.
  • Appropriated Title: Batman Begins has two sequels, both under the Dark Knight name, in what has become known as The Dark Knight Saga.
  • Artistic License Physics: Microwaves do not work that way! And neither do cell phones! Or police procedures! And neither for that matter does sonar! But, no one really cares.
  • Art Shift: As each sequence in Gotham Knight is animated by a different studio, they each have a notably different art style.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: Batman's technology. Instead of inventing all of it himself as per his comic origin, Bruce reappropriates his R&D department to provide him with prototypes that never made it into production. The result is that his gadgets come across as way more believable, since they are all based on current technology or at least technology that is theoretically feasible within a few years.
    • This has actually been the comic approach for a couple of decades now, although the Batmobile being, essentially, a re-purposed tank rather than a custom-built sportscar was a new element.
      • Though even it harkens to the comics as the Batmobile from The Dark Knight Returns was an explicit inspiration for the Tumbler.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: In Begins, Ducard kicks ass in a suit and tie the first and last time he fights Bruce Wayne. For that matter, Bruce at his fundraiser for Dent in The Dark Knight does it, too.
  • Badass Beard: Bruce in both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, and Ducard in Begins.
  • Badass Cape: Not only is it stylish, it's made of shape-memory fibers that allow it to turn into a hang glider when an electric current is run through it.
  • Badass Longcoat: Bruce a few different times in Begins, The Joker, Jim Gordon and Bane (along with a High Collar of Doom).
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Commissioner Loeb (see Composite Character below)
  • Bishonen: The third segment of the anime anthology Batman Gotham Knight really takes the Bruce Wayne pretty boy concept to the max by introducing an all bishounen version of Bruce Wayne. In fairness it may have also been an attempt to give him a Christian Bale look.
  • Big Bad: Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins, The Joker in The Dark Knight, and (if the trailers and promotional materials are to be trusted) Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Batman Begins. Also, The Dark Knight.
  • Blood on These Hands
  • Body Motifs: There is much emphasis on faces and masks in both films.
  • Broad Strokes: The Gotham Knights shorts, due to being made by different people, have varying amounts of consistency with themselves or the films, such as the guy with the jetpack, or Batman being downright Bishounen in some of the shorts and lantern-jawed in others.
    • Some of the wilder interpretations are due to one of the shorts consisting of kids giving their urban legend-style perceptions rather than actually being Batman. While the artwork varies widely, the characters themselves stay pretty consistent, including Batman himself.
    • The Batman costume tends to vary wildly, even in the non-kids shorts.
  • Canon Foreigner: A lot. Rachel Dawes for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Ramirez, Mendez, Lau, & all of the mobsters from The Dark Knight, except for Sal Maroni, and a few others are planned for The Dark Knight Rises, including some random cop named John Blake, and a Wayne Enterprises executive named Miranda Tate.
  • Cape Wings: Batman. Handwaved with some Techno Babble about "memory cloth" and electric currents.
    • Specifically, the 'Memory Cloth' is a special type of fabric with certain bundled sections designed to take a specific shape when an electrical charge is applied. In the movie, it was originally meant to make quick-setting tents for soldiers, but Batman repurposes it and modifies said bundles so it turns into a pair of bat-like wings to use as a glider when he leaps from rooftops. Frankly, it's both realistic, fascinating, and likely insanely expensive.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Too many to list.
    • Chekhov's Gag: Bruce gives his coat to a bum after a confrontation with Falcone gone wrong. Later, as Batman, he happens to pass the bum again and compliments his coat.
  • Close on Title: Neither Batman Begins nor The Dark Knight show their titles until the end.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Nobody is an upstanding duelist in these movies, but the Joker is by far the least reserved fighter. Trying to kick Batman in the groin with a knife strapped to his shoe takes the cake(and this is after he shoves one of his mooks into the fight as a distraction)...until he tops that by setting three mad dogs on Batman then beating him with a crowbar in the climax.
    • The Scarecrow in the first film is no slouch either. Upon meeting Batman for the first time, he promptly hits him with a dose of fear gas, splashes him with kerosene, and lights him on fire!

 The Scarecrow: You look like a man who takes himself too seriously. Do you want my opinion? You need to lighten up.

    • Batman's style for the movies, the Keysi Fighting Method, is set entirely around this concept.
  • Composite Character: The movies' versions of Loeb, Flass, and Ducard. The movies' Flass resembled the dark-haired, unshaven, overweight Harvey Bullock more than the comics version of Flass, who was blonde, clean-shaven, and muscular, though movie Flass did retain his comic counterpart's corruption. Likewise, the movies' Loeb only shares the name of the comics' character, resembling Michael Akins in both looks and personality (African-American, young, and honest) more than the comics' Loeb (Caucasian, old, and extremely corrupt). Then there's Henri Ducard , which is only an alias for Ra's al Ghul in this continuity.
  • Continuity Nod: Scarecrow's appearance in the first act of The Dark Knight.
    • Loeb, Jim Gordon's immediate superior, first appears in the flashback to the Waynes' murder in Batman Begins, and eventually meets his end in The Dark Knight.
    • A more subtle one in the first movie is Zsasz the mob hitman who gets shipped off to Arkham on an insanity plea. During the mass-breakout at the end of the movie, you get to see him with his shirt off, displaying the same habit as the comics version of marking each kill by adding an extra scar to his body.
    • There is also a Continuity Nod between one scene early in Begins and another late in Dark Knight, Alfred Pennyworth brings Bruce Wayne a meal, Bruce at first doesn't say anything but says "Alfred?" just as Alfred is about to walk away, and then Bruce begins to blame himself for acts of violence committed by others, while Alfred tries to reassure Bruce that they aren't his fault.
    • There is also an Ironic Echo in The Dark Knight that serves as a nod to Ducard's crime-fighting tutelage in Begins. During the training sequence in Begins, Ducard tells Wayne that, although Wayne has been spending his time trying to understand criminals, "the criminal is not complicated." In The Dark Knight, Wayne is shown to have apparently internalized this lesson, repeating it to Alfred. "Criminals aren't complicated, Alfred. Just have to figure out what he's after."
    • The teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises repeats Ducard's "legend" line from Begins.
    • The music and cinematography for the scenes with Gordon and his son in The Dark Knight mirror the flashbacks of Bruce and his father in Batman Begins.
  • Corrupt Politician: The trilogy isn't as bad as the comics. In addition to Gordon and Dent, there's an honest judge and an honest mayor, and the Commissioner before Gordon was honest as well.
  • Crapsack World: Gotham is about crapsack as it can get while still having (just barely) some hope.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Batman, anyone?
  • Darker and Edgier: The films in The Dark Knight Saga are arguably the darkest adaptations of Batman to date.
  • Deconstruction: Especially in The Dark Knight. Batman is operating in the real world, where superhero armor has trade-offs between protection and flexibility. Gotham is as real a city as Hong Kong and doesn't have overly intimidating architecture. Ultimately the film can be seen as asking whether heroes (and human beings themselves) are motivated by abstract principles (Batman) or have no principles at all (The Joker). This is basically the same question that Watchmen asked ("What would motivate a real life Superhero?"), albeit The Dark Knight gives the opposite answer.
    • Arguably, the armor and architecture examples are more a Reconstruction than a Deconstruction.
    • The criminals apparently simply compared notes, have figured out Batman doesn't kill, and have gotten sneakier. By that point he's not an evil presence lurking in the night to them, just a really formidable opponent.
    • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys? Well, he sneaks them through his multi-billion dollar corporation's R&D budget, that's how...oh, but wait, someone who isn't in on it has got to run the numbers and wouldn't you know? He figured out what was going on!
    • Batman does not kill, and goes to great lengths to do so. Bruce Wayne, however, is clearly shown fighting and killing several members of the League of Shadows in self-defense. Along with their several shackled prisoners. In fact, there's no real indication he was hesitant to kill before he became Batman, just to kill innocents.
  • Demoted to Extra: The decline in Crane's role between films is an example of this, from key ensemble component to One-Scene Wonder.
  • Doing in the Wizard: The movies discard many supernatural and/or unrealistic elements of the comic, offering plausible pseudo-scientific explanations instead. For example, most of the technology employed by Batman could become accessible in a decade or so.
    • Ra's al Ghul's immortality is a simple succession trick. Whenever the apparent Ra's dies, another similar-looking man takes his place and claims to be the original Ra's. This is made easier by the fact that the apparent Ra's is actually just a stand-in for the real leader (e.g. Henri Ducard) who pretends to be a subordinate. All of this is a big change from the comics, where Ra's achieved immortality by supernatural means.
    • According to Word of God, Bane's mask supplies him with anesthetic to help him cope with an injury, likely meaning that is strength comes from natural sources, as opposed to Venom.
      • Or it could very well be Blatant Lies on his part. There's nothing discounting the possibility that Ra's is indeed using the Lazarus Pits aside from the general toning down of any supernatural elements in the saga.
  • The Don: Carmine Falcone and his successor Salvatore Maroni are old-school Italian mafiosi who are slowly put out of business both by The Caped Crusader and his psychotic enemies.
  • The Dreaded: Each of the major villains to some degree, but taken to a new level with The Joker and Bane.
    • Carmine Falcone is frightened by Ra's al Ghul, but (mistakenly) believes that he is safe in his own town.
    • The Joker is feared by EVERYONE: mob bosses, civilians, cops, and for very good reasons.
      • Even when Maroni thought The Joker was still technically working for him and the mob, he was still too scared of the Joker to give up any information about him to Batman.
    • Catwoman expresses fear of Bane in the trailer, his apparent actions make it well founded.
  • Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Well, they sure as heck couldn't have called the second film Batman Begins 2, could they?
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Batcave in the first movie. In the second, the Batcave is basically a big white room underneath some Wayne company property with some equipment, a computer, and an incinerator. Everything else pops out of the walls.
    • It's mentioned in the film that reconstruction of Wayne Manor was still taking place, so the "Whitecave" was a temporary solution.
    • Bruce operating out of a penthouse (complete with secret passage hiding a spare costume) was something of a Shout-Out to the Neil Adams-era comics, which also moved Bruce into a penthouse in Gotham.
    • Going by recent television spots, in The Dark Knight Rises the Batcave has been expanded into an even more elaborate underground base.
  • Equal Opportunity Evil: The League of Shadows is multiracial, and Sal Maroni employs gangsters of pretty much any nationality.
    • Truth in Television for Maroni. It's possible for anyone to work for the "mafia" (they don't actually call themselves that) and even become quite influential. The limitation is that only Italians (or half Italians) can become Made Men.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Played straight with Joker in The Dark Knight. Interestingly, Liam Neeson is remarkably non-hammy as the main villain in Batman Begins, and Cillian Murphy starts chewing scenery only when his character becomes criminally insane after having been poisoned by his own fear toxin.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Alfred seems to have led several very diverse lives.
  • The Faceless: In The Dark Knight, Gordon's daughter Barbara (who becomes Batgirl in the comics) appears, but her face is never seen (she was on-screen briefly in Begins, as well, but doesn't even get credited as her real name).
  • Five-Bad Band: The loose collaboration between the League of Shadows and the Gotham Mob in Batman Begins.
  • Five-Man Band: It's a bit vague, but one could think this as so:
  • Foil: Most of the villains are foils for Batman.
    • Batman (hero) vs. Ducard (Well-Intentioned Extremist, at least arguably)
    • Batman (Dark but good) vs. The Joker (Light — clowns are supposed to be happy! — but evil)
    • Batman (Hero) vs. Two-Face (Fallen Hero)
    • Batman (uses symbols to inspire fear in criminals) vs Crane (uses fear to accomplish crimes)
  • Hannibal Lecture: Do not talk to the Joker. Talking to the Joker can lead to listening to the Joker, and that will be very bad for your mind. You'd be better off snorting lines with Crane.
    • At the start of the third act of Batman Begins, Ra's al Ghul delivers a harangue that firmly establishes his status as a genocidal Knight Templar.
  • Hello, Attorney!: Both Rachel Dawes and Harvey Dent. Maggie Gyllenhall's portrayal of Rachel is usually seen more like this than Katie Holmes', though.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Wow, Shinzon really packed on some muscle!
  • Honor Before Reason: To the absolute extreme.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Deadshot in Gotham Knight. When we meet him, he headshots a guy from what looks like a mile away. Through a window, into a crowded party, through a sky filled with fireworks, and from a moving Ferris wheel. He also times it so it snaps a cocktail glass in half, while it's being carried.
    • The distance wasn't implausible, as a sniper in Afghanistan recently (2010) was reported to have hit a target at 2.7km. The glass thing... was just Deadshot being Deadshot. His employer even complains about how flashy it was.
  • Ironic Echo: Aside from the ironic echoes WITHIN Begins and Dark Knight, (see their respective trope lists for those) there's arguably some between the two movies. We hear the following conversation between Batman and Gordon towards the end of Begins:

 Gordon: I never did say thank you.

Batman: ... and you'll never have to.

    • And then there is this, towards the end of Dark Knight:

 Gordon: Thank you.

Batman: You don't have to thank me.

Gordon: ... yes, I do.

    • There's also this quote Ducard says in Begins to his then-student Wayne:

 Ducard: You've traveled the world to understand the criminal mind and conquer your fears. But the criminal is not complicated.

    • Wayne, having apparently internalized this lesson, paraphrases this in The Dark Knight:

 Wayne: Criminals aren't complicated, Alfred. Just have to figure out what he's after.

  • Jerkass Facade: Bruce Wayne combines this with Obfuscating Stupidity to protect his Batman identity.
  • Kill It with Fire: Attempted by Crane, on Batman, and done successfully by Joker, on mob accountant Lau. It's horrifying both times.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Jim Gordon, especially in the first movie.
  • Messianic Archetype:
    • The unselfish Bruce Wayne of this universe. Somehow, this doesn't stop him from maintaining the Jerkass Facade of being a Rich Idiot With No Day Job at the same time. Probably he acts like he wants to when he's Bruce, and as he feels he should when he's Batman.
    • Flip that: he acts like he wants to when he's Batman, and as he feels he should when he's Bruce. Remember, he'd do nothing but cave in bad guy heads all day long if he could.
    • Obviously, someone's taking the 'Jesus clearing out the temple' approach to Messianic Archetype.
    • Harvey Dent at first seems to be this. Everyone in Gotham seems to view him as a living saint. Have you ever seen a politician so universally loved? Probably everyone of voting age in Gotham voted for him other than criminals, (though in Gotham, even this would not fully explain his victory. By the end of the film, however...let's just say the polish is off the halo.
  • Mythology Gag: Several.
    • Most prominent are nods to the comics themselves, which in addition to the overarching plot, also provided the inspiration for specific events and gadgets in the films:
    • In Batman Begins Batman escapes pursuit by the Gotham City police department by using a sonic device to summon a swarm of bats. This is taken directly from Batman: Year One.
      • Another subtle one is after Lucius gives Bruce the material to make his cape. We are treated to a scene of him using some of that material to make controllable claws, something another Batman uses as his primary weapon.
    • In The Dark Knight, Bruce asks Mr. Fox if his new suit can stand a dog attack. Fox says that it would certainly be able to stand up to a cat...
    • The Joker's constantly changing backstory (see: Freudian Excuse) is reminiscent of a quote in The Killing Joke, in which we are presented with a possible origin, but later the Joker claims he does not remember what made him the way he is clearly or consistently:

 Joker: If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!

    • Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth was another reported inspiration. It contains a scene in which the Joker, on the phone with Batman, tricks him into thinking he's stabbed a nurse in the eye with a sharpened pencil (It is actually an April Fool's Day prank, to help hasten Batman's arrival at the asylum).
    • Joker's story about his abusive, alcoholic father seems to recall the story he told his then-therapist Dr Harleen Quinzel in the story Mad Love from The Batman Adventures, that was later adapted into an episode of the animated series.
    • Joker's line 'Let's Put A Smile on That Face of Yours' is incidentally said, more or less verbatim, by a member of the Jokerz gang from Batman Beyond.
    • Many scenes in The Dark Knight are adapted from The Long Halloween (though their context or outcome is often very different): The mob's savings going up in flames, the ploy of transporting a target in police custody to draw out a would-be killer, Harvey Dent getting attacked in court by his own witness, the slogan "I Believe in Harvey Dent".
    • Batman's eyes when using the sonar become hidden behind a white glare. In most depictions in the comics, the character's eyes are never seen when he's in costume, replaced by white slits.
    • When Bruce is describing his problems with the old suit, Fox sums up his complaints with "You'd like to be able to turn your head." None of the previous modern Batsuits, starting with the 1989 film, allowed the actor wearing them to do this.
    • During the press interview where Harvey Dent claims he is Batman, the most prominent of the news microphones says "News 26". Wasn't that the news channel in Batman: The Animated Series?
    • And of course, lest we forget: "What the hell are you?" "I'M BATMAN!"
    • "You complete me..." could possibly be a reference to The Batman vs. Dracula.
    • Gordon's Major Crimes Unit is cribbed directly from Gotham Central, a series which focused on the Gotham Police force. Unlike that series, however, the unit is still filled to the brim with corrupt cops. Gordon regrets this, but points out that if he refused to work with cops like that, he'd be working alone.
    • Two scenes in The Dark Knight seem to directly reference Burton's first Batman movie: When Batman plays chicken with Joker on the Bat-Pod and when Batman throws Joker off the building. The first scene mirrors the scene where Batman flies at Joker in the Batwing, the second mirrors Joker's death. Both scenes, however, show the important difference between the two movies: Batman in Nolan's movies doesn't kill.
    • Judging by his Curb Stomp Battle in the jail in Begins, it would seem that, even before he became Batman, Bruce was skilled at fighting in the mud.
      • And speaking of, the Tumbler was inspired by the hulked-out tank of a Batmobile featured in The Dark Knight Returns.
    • When Joker is having his Money to Burn moment, he says, "Everything burns," a line which parallels Mr. Freeze's line in Batman and Robin: "Everything freezes."
    • The people who are strung out out Crane's fear gas beating on Batman is very similar to a scene in the third episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
      • So is the scene where Crane gets shot with his own fear poison and sees Batman as an inhuman monster.
    • The interrogation scene with Batman and the Joker from The Dark Knight seems to be inspired by an interrogation scene from an episode of the 60s TV series called The Penguin Goes Straight, oddly enough. Of course, the 60s version is a hell of a lot campier, but in both cases the police turn the lights off in the interrogation room and Batman (along with Robin in the TV episode) appears in the dark to intimidate the crook. The (double) episode even has Batman hunted by the law, which also happens in The Dark Knight and will carry over into The Dark Knight Rises.
    • Batman will have a conversation with Gordon, then disappear in the middle of it, followed by a snarky comment from Gordon when he realizes Batman's gone (subverted the first time when Gordon almost catches him). This happens in other Batman works, especially the animated series.
    • There is a scene with Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle dancing at a masquerade in The Dark Knight Rises where her dialogue cryptically hints at her nature and intentions. Tim Burton's Batman Returns also had a scene with both at a masquerade, dancing, in which they reveal their secret identities to each other.
    • Selina Kyle's Catwoman outfit in The Dark Knight Rises is very similar to those of the Catwomen from Batman '66, only it doesn't have golden necklaces or belts and the cat-ears are actually hi-tech goggles.
  • No Snap in Hell's Kitchen: Completely absent from CW's Crisis on Infinite Earths event.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Just like in the comics, Bruce Wayne downplays his intellect and behaves like a stereotypical eccentric billionaire so that no one would suspect he is really Batman.
    • After Bruce puts his lamborghini in between the big truck and the police SUV, he acts like this to Gordon.

 Bruce Wayne: You think I should go to the hospital?

Jim Gordon: You don't watch a whole lot of news, do you, Mr. Wayne?

  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Lucius Fox appears to be an expert in toxicology, ballistics, computer technology, sonar, radio communications and personal protective equipment, to name a few.
    • Justified in that he used to be the head of a highly prolific R&D department, which, as shown, produced a lot of things. A working knowledge of the science behind most of those things would probably be a necessary part of the job - if not necessary, from what we know of Fox, he'd pride himself on knowing about it anyway.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Played exactly backwards between the two films. To the League of Shadows, Batman represents chaos because he lets thieves and murderers live. The Joker represents chaos no matter what, and anybody who tries to stop him stands for order by default.
  • Playing Against Type: Gary Oldman is known for his great acting range, but is often typecast as a villain. In these movies, he plays a heroic Jim Gordon, and avoids going overboard with his acting.
  • Police Are Useless: Pretty much, though they Take a Level In Badass in the second movie, particularly when Jim Gordon takes command. The police in Hong Kong are quick on the scene, but they pretty much watch in stunned helplessness as Lau is taken away by Batman in awesome fashion.
  • Porn Stache: Sported by Jim Gordon.
  • Race Lift: Commisioner Loeb (Caucasian in the comics, African-American in the films) and Bane (Hispanic in the comics, Caucasian in the films).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The villains deliver some of the best ones ever. Of special note is the one that Carmine Falcone gives to Bruce at the beginning of Batman Begins. Bruce realizes that Falcone is 100% right about him, and his efforts to remedy that eventually enable him to become Batman.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sergeant Lieutenant Commissioner Gordon in both films. Also Commissioner Loeb, Mayor Garcia, and Harvey Dent earlier in The Dark Knight. Later subverted with ol' Harvey Two-Face, though.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: The most widely known example.
  • Rule of Cool: A whole lot of stuff.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The logo for Batman Begins is raw and unfinished metal. The logo for The Dark Knight obscures the light. The teaser poster for Rises has the logo as a hole, representing the void left behind by Batman's "retirement".
    • Additionally, the logo in The Dark Knight is fire, representing the destruction the Joker brings; and the logo for The Dark Knight Rises is atop buildings, with the camera looking up, to symbolize that Batman will rise (from the ashes).
  • Save the Day Turn Away:
    • Inverted in the first film. It's as if Ms. Dawes is saying Bruce's lines.
    • The second film ends with a classic example of the second type of Turn Away.
  • Save the Villain: Played straight with Ducard, then later subverted. Played straight with The Joker. Played straight and subverted with Two-Face
  • Science Hero: Nolan's vision of Batman perfectly fits the trope, as Bruce Wayne relies on his company's cutting-edge technology to create his superhero persona and provide himself with useful gadgets. Also, Lucius Fox, an Omnidisciplinary Scientist responsible for creating Batman's gizmos.
  • Self-Proclaimed Knight: Batman in general, but especially how Commissioner Gordon tells it at the end of The Dark Knight. “He's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector, a dark knight.”
  • Sequel Hook: Joker's calling card in the final scene of Batman Begins, and the fact Batman's a wanted criminal at the end of The Dark Knight.
    • The Dark Knight offers a surprising subversion. When Two-Face makes his big appearance near the climax, most viewers naturally assumed that he was being set up as the villain of the third movie. Nope. He dies less than an hour after he's introduced.
  • Shoot the Bullet: Batman pulls one of these off in Gotham Knight, except since he doesn't use guns, he simply punches the bullet out of the air with the armored part of his gauntlet (because, you know, a batarang wouldn't be half as badass). This is a bullet fired from a high powered sniper rifle, from a train moving at full speed, towards a moving target.
  • Shown Their Work: When Bruce Wayne dumps his wine over the balcony. (To clarify: in the comics Batman doesn't drink alcohol ever, and when it looks like he is then it's actually apple juice. This is perhaps the least known thing about Batman.)
  • Songs in the Key of Lock
  • So Last Season: The batsuit from Batman Begins proving inadequate to the task in The Dark Knight. At least now he can move his neck for the first time in twenty years.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Crane, one of the main villains from Batman Begins, was reassigned in the sequel to the head Mook of the Batman Cold Open. On the other hand, The Joker ends up being worse than the entire mob put together!
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
    • In Batman Begins, Ra's Al Ghul, AKA Henri Ducard, invades Wayne Manor and burns it to the ground, leaving Bruce to set up his Batman persona and gadgets in a penthouse during The Dark Knight. Arkham Asylum and The Narrows, a massive slum in Gotham, is driven insane by Scarecrow's fear toxin; putting Arkham Asylum out of the plot in The Dark Knight as well. Also, after Batman and Gordon blow up the monorail track to save the rest of Gotham from Ra's, Batman glides to safety...while Ra's Al Ghul is left to be killed in a crash and explosion.
    • In The Dark Knight, Batman's primary love interest is Killed Off for Real midway through the film. Two-Face follows her after one dramatic confrontation at the end of the same movie--meaning he doesn't live to become one of Batman's Rogues Gallery. By contrast, the Joker survives the second film, but Word of God indicates that he won't appear at all in the third movie--meaning he doesn't become Batman's Arch Enemy. Perhaps most shockingly, the second film ends with Batman charged for murder and on the run from the law, apparently planning to put his superhero escapades on hold.
  • Stealth Expert: Do we even have to say it?
  • Stealth Hi Bye: Used multiple times in both movies, and lampshaded in The Dark Knight by Gordon. "He does that."
  • Take My Hand
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Don't ya notice everytime Batman is about to do something utterly awesome in Batman Begins Like taking out the Swat Team, the highway chase in Begins... Molossus plays?
    • Also subverted: whenever the Joker is about to do music plays. Joker's theme is an outstandingly creepy rising whine. Even when you know it's happening it's still marvellously disturbing.
    • Listen to the music as the man on the civilian ferry is about to blow up the convict ferry - Joker theme in full-force. Then as the man hesitates and puts down the remote, the Batman theme overtakes the Joker theme, which fades and disappears.
  • To Create a Playground For Evil: The Joker's apparent goal.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Batman takes one throughout Begins, and then between Begins and The Dark Knight. In Batman Begins, Bruce can take on four ninja or Ducard in a straight fight, and relies slightly more on darkness and fear to manage larger groups of enemies. In The Dark Knight, Batman takes on multiple SWAT teams and Joker thugs while they nominally have the jump on him.
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: Aside from the Joker, it helps to remember that Batman almost always jumps enemies by surprise, and Crane uses chemical warfare in fist fights. And then there was that trick with the rappelling cable on the SWAT team in The Dark Knight'...
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Rachel Dawes.
    • And then Bruce Wayne himself in the second film.
  • Vice City: Gotham, especially in Begins. As Gordon puts it to Flass, "In a town this bent, who is there to rat to?"
  • The Villain Makes the Plot
  • Warrior Poet: Alfred, though his warrior days are (almost) past.
  • Weaponized Car: The Batmobile and the Batpod.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Warriors of The League Of Shadows, who genuinely want to make the world a better place... by burning it to the ground and building a new one over the ashes of corruption.
    • Harvey Dent is worried about this, with Gotham city very supportive of him challenging the mobs despite the backlash it might bring.

 "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

  • Western Terrorists: Ra's Al Ghul is...Liam Neeson. (Oddly, the name is Arabic for "The Demon's Head", and the organization is multiethnic and headquartered somewhere in or near the Himalayas.) And Joker is referred to as a terrorist multiple times, though terrorists usually have some sort of motivation beyond terrorism.
  • What You Are in the Dark: More or less the point of the series. Everyone stares into the abyss, Drama Ensues, and the abyss stares back.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Bruce appropriates most of his equipment from Wayne R&D.
    • Deconstructed in the second movie, when an accountant realizes millions of dollars of equipment have disappeared, including an experimental car that looks exactly like the Batmobile. He tries Blackmail... which, well, see Blackmail, above, for how it's reconstructed.
  • The Windy City: The second film is very obviously set in Chicago, to the point where many Chicago-based viewers spend half the film trying to place where everything was shot. Based on the very obvious use of Chicago architecture, iconography, and Bruce Wayne's Illinois license plates license plates that say "Gotham" where it normally says "Illinois," one could assume that there is no Chicago in this branch of the DC Movieverse, but only Gotham City, Illinois State of Gotham.
    • The first film involved a lot more soundstage work and CGI. In Real Life, New York City is occasionally referred to as "Gotham," and Detroit is the seat of Wayne County, Mich., so Gotham City is often assumed to be a sort of hybrid of those two places.
    • In The Dark Knight, less CGI was used:
      • The car chase with the Joker clearly takes place on Lower Whacker Drive.
      • Maroni's car wrecks in the Amtrak yards at 18th Street
      • Gotham General is actually a Brach's candy factory that was converted
      • As the blaze at the hospital is being extinguished, a CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) bus can be seen, turned into GTA (Gotham Transit Authority, not that GTA) buses through use of cunningly-placed decals. Of course, there's the small matter of the production designers opting for the "Old Look" CTA logo and not the "New Look" CTA Logo...
      • 'L' trains frequently appear in the background of scenes in the movie.
      • Part of the Batpod scene shows Batman piloting it through the Millennium Station, which is obvious because of the floor pattern and the fact that Metra and South Shore signs are clearly noticeable. There's even a POV shot where signs for the Pedway and Randolph Street are visible.
  • Would Not Shoot a Good Guy: Happens whenever Batman encounters the police. In the first movie, he manages to avoid any direct struggle by summoning a flock of bats. In The Dark Knight, he has to be very careful not to kill any members of the SWAT team even as he's trying to stop them from making a grave mistake. Granted, he never shoots anybody anyway, but he's far more careful fighting cops than criminals.
    • Dubiously though, and lampshaded by Alfred in Batman Begins after the Batmobile's first proper outing: sure Batman doesn't shoot any cops, but expecting us to accept that no-one died in a chase where several cars were competely totalled at high speed (from, eg, a head-on collision with a goddamn central reservation) is pushing the suspension of disbelief just a wee bit.

Batman Begins

  • Affably Evil: Jonathan Crane usually speaks in a calm and gentle tone of voice, except towards the end when under the influence of his own drug, and is easily more likeable than the condescending Carmine Falcone or the insanely self-righteous Henri Ducard.
  • All There in the Manual: Ra's Al Ghul is mentioned to have a daughter, Talia, in the novelization. Comic fans know Talia Al Ghul is the "Daughter of the Demon" in the comics.
  • Anachronic Order: Most of Bruce's backstory up until his final exam with The League of Shadows is told non-linearly through a series of flashbacks.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The League of Shadows
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Rachel delivers two of these to Bruce after he shows her the gun with which he planned on murdering Joe Chill before an assassin hired by Falcone beat him to it.
  • Ax Crazy: Mr. Zsasz. Though he's pretty quiet during his small amount of screen time, the tie-in video game displays him as very much so.
  • Bad Cop, Incompetent Cop: Supposedly most of Gotham's police are portrayed as corrupt. Gordon and Loeb are the only apparent exceptions to this (though you might assume Loeb is fairly incompetent).

 Batman: You're a good cop. One of the few.

Gordon: What do you want?

Batman: Falcone brings in shipments of drugs every week. Nobody takes him down. Why?

Gordon: He's paid up with the right people.

  • Badass Boast: "You're not the devil. You're practice"
    • The comment that inspires this reply on the part of Bruce Wayne also qualifies; one of the prisoners on the serving line remarks, "You're in Hell, and I'm the devil."
  • Batman Gambit: The League of Shadows pulls off a major one towards the end of the movie; they release several rapists and serial killers from Crane's asylum, so as to have a lot of police sent to the island it's on, and said island isolated from the rest of the city by having the bridges connected to it raised. Once the police are in, and the island is isolated, they disperse the fear toxin to incapacitate the police and drive them and everyone else into mass panic. Of course, said League didn't anticipate that there were people on the island that had antidote to the fear toxin, and sure enough, Gordon uses the antidote and manages to remain rational, until Batman shows up and gets Gordon to have a bridge lowered and drive off the island to get to the point where the train carrying the microwave emitted would be destroyed. Still though, it was a considerably clever use of the gambit, since you can't really blame the police for failing to guess that the releasing of a bunch of rapists and serial killers from an asylum would actually only be the MILD part of the problem.
  • Beard of Evil: Ducard sports the Fu Manchu of villainy, as does fake! Ra's al Ghul.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Gordon calls for reinforcements in the fear gassed Narrows, Commissioner Loeb replies there is no else to help. At that exact moment, the Batmobile roars into the scene to the rescue.
  • Blackmail: Apparently one of Falcone's favourite tactics, second only to murder and bribery if even them. He even tries to blackmail Jonathan Crane but ends up getting a dose of fear toxin for it.
  • Blood From the Mouth: This was apparently the clue from which the audience was supposed to assume that the old man referred to as Ra's al Ghul earlier in the movie was supposed to have been killed in the fire in the dojo. When someone at a party said they wanted to introduce Bruce Wayne to Ra's al Ghul, you might have thought he really did survive, after all, until you realize that the person referred to as Ra's al Ghul did not look like him at all.
  • Body Double: Ra's al Ghul.
  • Break the Haughty: Clearly happens to Carmine Falcone in prison, who goes from smugly untouchable crime lord to lunatic restrained in an insane asylum mumbling "Scarecrow... scarecrow...".

 Falcone: I want to know how you're gonna convince me to keep my mouth shut.

Crane: About what? You don't know anything.

Falcone: I know you wouldn't want the police to take a closer look at those drugs they found. And I know about your experiments with the inmates of your nuthouse. See, I don't go into business with a guy without finding out his dirty secrets. And those goons you used – I own the muscle in this town. Now, I've been bringing your stuff in for months, so whatever he's planning, it's big, and I want in.

Crane: Well, I already know what he'll say: that we should kill you.

Falcone: Even he can't get me in here. Not in my town.

Crane: ... would you like to see my mask? I use it in my experiments. Probably not very frightening to a guy like you, but these crazies, they can't stand it.

Falcone: So when did the nut take over the nuthouse?

Cue Crane spraying the fear toxin in Falcone's face, making Falcone scream in terror.

Crane: They scream and they cry. Much as you're doing now.

  • Brick Joke: "Nice coat."
    • Also, Gordon comments on wanting to get himself one of Batman's tumblers when he first sees it. Batman later has him using the Tumbler to collapse the support struts of the train tracks to prevent Ra's al Ghul from using it.
    • "Didn't you get the memo?"
  • But He Sounds Handsome: Inverted - Bruce makes fun of his alter-ego while establishing his rich idiot persona. "The guy dresses up like a bat...clearly has issues."
  • Calling Card: The Joker uses a joker playing card as this whenever he commits a crime, whether it be a bank robbery or a hit.
  • The Cameo Tim Booth of the band known as James has a small non speaking role as lesser known Batman villain, Victor Zsasz. SO this is sort of a double cameo.
  • The Cast Showoff: Notice how Ducard tends to go into boxing stances when fighting bare handed? Most probably influenced from Liam Neeson's boxing training during his teens. It also works with Ducard's general philosophy of being a Combat Pragmatist. He even chastized Bruce for having a more stylised fighting technique.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Currently the last Batman movie to receive one. It's okay if you haven't heard of it; it didn't come out with much fanfare, and was more of an original story packaged with reprints of classic Batman stories
  • Conservation of Ninjitsu: Batman (one inexperienced ninja) versus the League of Shadows (many experienced ninja). Guess who's going to win. Of course, he does this by avoiding the fight altogether. After initially holding off a few, he burns the Evil Lair down to the ground, which provides a distraction that allows him to escape.
    • More or less averted when he finally does face four ninja. He has to tackle one of them over a ledge so he doesn't take all of them on all at once. When they catch up to him, they gang up and give him a good fight (until he tackles one of them over a ledge again).
  • Create Your Own Villain: At the end Gordan is discussing with Batman how the police and the mob escalate the war against each other, before shifting to how Batman may have drawn out someone else who likes to dress in a costume. When Batman wonders what Gordan is getting at he is told of a unusual bank robbery that had occurred, by someone with a flair for the theatrical just like him, and leaves a calling card.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Various characters show signs of this, though Lucius Fox is the most apparent, like during his conversation with Bruce Wayne about a full body armor suit.

 Bruce Wayne: Why didn't they put it into production?

Lucius Fox: Bean counters didn't think a soldier's life was worth 300 grand. So what's your interest in it, Mr. Wayne?

Bruce Wayne: I want to borrow it. For, uh, spelunking. You know, cave diving.

Lucius Fox: ... you expecting to run into much gunfire in these caves?

    • Alfred Pennyworth might qualify too, though not to the same extent as in the sequel. "What's the point of all those pushups if you can't even lift a bloody log?"
    • Jonathan Crane as well.

 Dawes: Do you really believe that a man who butchers people for the mob doesn't belong in prison?

Crane: Well, I would hardly have testified to that otherwise.


  Alfred: "What you have created is akin to architecture. [The Batman] has a practical aspect, but also an aesthetic one."

  • Don't Think, Feel: Inverted. Bruce Wayne starts out driven by rage and guilt. The League of Shadows teaches him to use his head.
  • Due to the Dead/Antagonist in Mourning: At the end of the novelization, Bruce buries Ducard, or what was left of him after the monorail crashed, next to Thomas Wayne.
  • Dull Surprise: The Wayne employee overseeing the water is remarkably blase about the idea of the entire city's water supply exploding.
  • Entitled Bastard: Inverted with Ra's.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jonathan Crane might show signs of this in comparison to the other main villains of the movie, depending on how you interpret some of the dialogue. Examples include:
    • When Ducard explains his plan for poisoning Gotham, he adds that Crane helped under the impression that the plan was to hold the city to ransom. Does this imply that Ducard expected Crane to object to mass murder, or that Ducard wanted to make sure Crane thought there was something in it for himself?
    • Also, Crane's conversation with Falcone about Rachel Dawes earlier in the movie leaves unclear whether his remark at the end was indignation, or just not wanting the details in case questioned on it later on:

 Falcone: I'll buy her off.

Crane: Not this one.

Falcone: Idealist, huh? Well, there's an answer to that too.

Crane: ...I don't want to know.

(Falcone smiles)

Falcone: Yeah you do.

  • Evil Is Stylish: Both Henri Ducard and Jonathan Crane wear sharp suits. And then there is the ninja attire of the League of Shadows.
  • Evil Mentor: Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul.
  • Evil Versus Evil: This movie's various villains would probably be even more threatening if not for their rivalries among each other. Perhaps the clearest instance of Evil Versus Evil is when Falcone tries to Blackmail Crane, saying things like "I never go into business with a guy without finding out his dirty secrets" etc... and Crane gasses him with fear toxin then and there.
  • Expospeak Gag: After Lucius Fox finishes explaining exactly how he derived the antidote for Crane's fear toxin:

 Bruce: Am I supposed to understand any of that?

Fox: No. I just wanted you to know how hard it was.

  • Face Death with Dignity: Ducard took his death rather well. Then again, he is Ra's Al Ghul, who may or may not be immortal.
  • Face Your Fears: A major theme. Ducard tells Bruce to breathe in his fears, to become fear so as to conquer it, makes him open a case of bats during training, etc... but after Bruce leaves the League of Shadows he decides to walk into a cave where he surrounds himself with bats, and he learns to not let fear get in his way... hence his later courage in confronting crime.
  • Finish Him!: Ducard's final test in Begins. Bruce, of course, refuses, and then defeats a whole ninja school by himself in order to get away.
  • Flower From the Mountaintop: The blue flower at the base of the mountain range, which Bruce must carry to the top (making it an inversion). More plot significant than most, as its powerful hallucinogenc effects become the source of Scarecrow's fear gas.
  • Fly At the Camera Ending: Batman gliding off a rooftop and into the camera.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Dr. Jonathan Crane.
  • Freudian Excuse: Henri Ducard expresses a potential candidate for this while still a mentor to Bruce Wayne, though whether it is true or not is left unclear...

 I wasn't always here in the mountains. Once I had a wife... my great love... she was taken from me. Like you, I was forced to learn there are those without decency, who must be fought without hesitation, without pity.

  • Funny Background Event: When Loeb is talking to Gordon during the climax, it's on a cop's chest-mounted radio and the guy's being dragged along behind him as he paces around.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The music on the soundtrack is named after species of bat, containing six listed in order as;

  Barbastella, Artibeus, Tadirida, Macrotus, Antrozous, Nycteris.

  • Genre Savvy: When told that Batman had infiltrated Arkham, Jonathan Crane told his men to do "what anyone does when a prowler's around. Call the police." His plan was to lure Batman outside, where the cops would take care of him, reasoning that his own operation had gotten far enough that there was no way it could be stopped. It didn't work, but it was a much more intelligent decision than most villains tend to make.
  • Graceful Loser: Henri Ducard. When he is beaten, he just closes his eyes and accepts his demise after the battle in the monorail.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Joe Chill learned more about Falcone than the latter would have liked.
    • Falcone himself got a Karmic Permanent Madness when he revealed how much he knew about Crane and his operation, and tried to blackmail him.
  • Hellish Horse/Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Dr. Jonathan Crane Scarecrow rides a horse he stole from mounted police when his fear toxin is released upon Gotham City. To the little boy with Rachel Dawes, who is affected by the drug, the horse appears to have red eyes and breathe fire from its nostrils, and Scarecrow looks like a veritable Horseman of the Apocalypse. Or, you know, the headless horseman from the Ichabod Crane story.
  • The Hero's Journey: After being told of a chance to join the League of Shadows, Bruce climbs the mountains and manages to fight off Ra's Al Ghul. After defeating the League to return to Gotham, he gains weaponry, becomes Batman, enlists the help of Lucius Fox and saves Gotham from the League, freeing the people from chaos.
  • High Altitude Interrogation: Batman performs this on Det. Flass, repeatedly dropping him and lifting him back up from mere inches away from the ground with his batclaw.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ducard is apparently killed when the train, which he was trying to use to destroy Gotham City, explodes. And Jonathan Crane is poisoned with his own fear toxin.
    • The first doesn't really apply, as the only reason he died is because Gordon blew up the tracks, causing the train to do a nosedive into the ground.
  • If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him:
    • Subverted when Batman decides not to kill Ducard but instead leaves him to die in a train crash.
    • Played straight earlier in the movie though, when Bruce Wayne was ordered to kill a murderer.

 Bruce: I'm no executioner.

Ducard: Your compassion is a weakness your enemies will not share.

Bruce: That's why it's important. It separates us from them.

  • In Medias Res: The opening. Bruce Wayne is being held in a Chinese prison, and we don't find out the circumstances leading up to it until later.
  • I Own This Town: Carmine Falcone.
  • Ironic Echo: Several of them.
    • "It's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you." Said earlier by Rachel Dawes to Bruce Wayne when Bruce was trying to explain that his Rich Idiot With No Day Job persona was all an act. Bruce later repeats it to Rachel, as Batman, when she asks who he is.
    • "You never learned to mind your surroundings." Said earlier by Henri Ducard to Bruce Wayne, while Ducard is burning down Wayne Manor. Batman later repeats it to Ducard, when the train they're in has its rails out ahead of them and Ducard fails to notice this until it's pointed out.
    • "It's a bit technical, but the key thing is, the company's future is secure." Said earlier by Earle to Bruce when they were discussing the purchases of stock in their company. Bruce later repeats it to Earle when trying to explain why he's taking a more active role in the company.
    • "Didn't you get the memo?" Said earlier by Earle to Lucius when firing Lucius. After Bruce Wayne gives Earle's job to Lucius, Bruce Wayne explains why he has the authority to do so, (providing the above Ironic Echo) and once Bruce is finished talking, Lucius says "right you are, Mr. Wayne" and then looks at Earle and says "didn't you get the memo?" Basically, this provides two ironic echoes in a row.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: The League of Shadow's rationale for destroying Gotham City.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Given that Bruce Wayne is literally the richest man on the planet, it's no surprise that he attended Princeton, which he enjoyed, but noted that "they don't feel the same way."
  • Kick the Dog: A member of the league of shadows, disguised as a SWAT team member, pushing away a frightened child.
  • Knight Templar: The League Of Shadows as a whole, really. Beyond well-intentioned extremism, their attitude leads them to dismiss all of Gotham as beyond saving, and to use this to justify using Crane's fear-toxin to drive them to kill each other. Ducard claims they exploited Gotham's corruption in order to pull this off in the first place; at no point does it seem to occur to them that it probably would be a better idea to focus their efforts on simply confronting Gotham's criminal elements instead.
  • Madness Mantra: Scarecrow... scarecrow...
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Jonathan Crane shares several traits of the trope.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Listen to Rachel Dawes. She'll talk about how she admired Bruce when he was young and then rebuke him, or give Bruce a gift of a childhood memory and then rebuke him, or kiss him and then rebuke him... It's like she loves some idealized form of Bruce Wayne before his Batman years, and can't get over how he's not exactly like what she remembers. Though Bruce is not that bad at sending mixed messages himself.
    • Its heavily implied that Rachel's feelings for Bruce Wayne stem from their growing up together and a mutual childhood crush. Rachel is likely in love with the fantasy of a life with Bruce Wayne that clearly could have been, but one which came crashing down the day his parents were murdered. Despite her claiming Bruce changed after he disappeared for several years and was thought dead, numerous scenes before this show his relationship with Rachel strained as he simply was never the same after his parents death.
  • McNinjas: Batman himself. Plus the League of Shadows in Begins are quite a diverse group.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Rachel asks who Batman is, he replies with the same words she previously had berated him with while he was acting like a vapid playboy, saying that despite his assertions he's not that person underneath, his actions are what should define him.

 Batman: It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.

Rachel: Bruce?!

  • Millionaire Playboy: Invoked; it goes hand in hand with Rich Idiot With No Day Job.
  • Mind Rape: Jonathan Crane routinely does this to his patients.
    • Mind Rape also happens to Carmine Falcone at the hands of Jonathan Crane; and ironically Batman gases Jonathan Crane with his own toxin; removing any sanity that Crane had and leaving only the fear-obsessed Scarecrow.
  • Mr. Exposition: A bit part exists to quickly recap the train situation as it's happening. After it blows up spectacularly, he cheers, so anyone who hasn't been paying attention knows that it's a good thing.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Ra's Al Ghul translates in Arabic to "Head of the Demon". Ra's is obviously not one of the heroes with that name.
  • Near Villain Victory: If Bruce hadn't been saved by Alfred from his mansion and Gordon hadn't been able to blow up the monorail tracks; Gotham's citizens would have all been driven insane or killed each other due to Scarecrow's fear toxin and Ra's Al Ghul's plan.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: Ducard's training, where he hides amongst his followers.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A lot of promotional material made Scarecrow look like he was the Big Bad.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Carmine Falcone's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Bruce Wayne gives him the idea of becoming Batman.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Thomas Wayne, Bruce's father, who still works as a doctor at the hospital despite being worth billions. Bruce also qualifies, when he's not engaging in frivolous pursuits in order to maintain his image as a Rich Idiot With No Day Job.
  • Oh Crap: Averted by Ra's when Batman swoops down to confront him. In contrast with the terrified reactions of Batman's previous opponents, Ra's nonchalantly remarks:

  Ra's: Well, well. You took my advice about theatricality a bit... literally.

    • Played straight when he realises Batman intends to crash the train, as well as leave him there.

  Batman: I won't kill you. But I don't have to save you.


 Wayne: I came here to show you that not everyone in Gotham's afraid of you.

Falcone: Only those who know me, kid. Look around you: you'll see two councilmen, a union official, a couple off-duty cops, and a judge. Now, wouldn't have a second's hesitation of blowing your head off right here and right now in front of 'em. Now, that's power you can't buy! That's the power of fear.

Wanye: I'm not afraid of you...

Falcone: ... because you think you got nothing to lose. But you haven't thought it through. You haven't thought about your lady-friend down at the D.A.'s office. You haven't thought about your old butler. Bang! People from your world have so much to lose. Now, you think because your mommy and your daddy got shot, you know about the ugly side of life, but you don't. You've never tasted desperate. You're Bruce Wayne, the Prince of Gotham - you'd have to go a thousand miles to meet someone who didn't know your name. So don't come down here with your anger trying to prove something to yourself. This is a world you'll never understand, and you always fear what you don't understand.

  • Rule of Symbolism: Bats at multiple points in the film. Batman goes from just being afraid of them, to surrounding himself with them in the batcave, to later summoning them against the SWAT officers when they surround the building he's in. How's THAT for an extended metaphor?

 Thomas Wayne: Do you want to know why they attacked you? It's because they were afraid of you. All creatures feel fear.

Bruce Wayne: Even the scary ones?

Thomas Wayne: ESPECIALLY the scary ones.

  • Rule of Three: Instead of having one main Big Bad, Batman Begins has 3; there's the arrogant crime boss Carmine Falcone, there's the self-righteous ancient vigilante group leader Ra's al Ghul, (who would probably hate the kind of lawlessness men like Falcone stand for) and then there's some corrupt psychiatrist called Jonathan Crane who stated that he works for the latter but is implied to also work for the former. That can't end well.
  • Saved for the Sequel: At the end of the movie, the plot is resolved, but there's unresolved romance between Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes to provide fodder for the next movie.
  • Save the Villain: Bruce saves Henri Ducard when his lair explodes. Later, Henri Ducard returns as Ra's Al Ghul to destroy Gotham and tells Bruce that he warned him about compassion. After Ra's Al Ghul and Batman's last battle, Batman leaves Ra's Al Ghul to die as the monorail crashes.
  • Say Your Prayers: One could see R'as/Ducard's Obi-Wan Moment as this as well.
  • Scary Scarecrows:

  Crane: Would you like to see my mask?

  • Secret Keeper: Bruce ends up with three of them by film's end.
  • Self-Deprecation: Bruce Wayne mentioned that Batman "clearly has psychological issues". Justified since he kinda has to do that in order to maintain his secret identity as Batman.
  • Sequel Hook: The film ends with Gordon summoning Batman to inform him of a particularly violent and unusual bank robbery committed by a man who left an unusual calling card... a Joker.
    • Contains a great Freeze-Frame Bonus - if you look at who recovered the Joker card, the name says "J. Kerr"
  • Shamgri La: The headquarters of the League of Shadows.
  • The Shrink: Dr. Jonathan Crane is a villainous example of the trope.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: During the climax when the Narrows is gassed over, the immune Rachel shepards a little boy terrified out of his mind due to the fear gas. Scarecrow charges in and gives his villainous diatribe and freaks out the kid even more (see Hellish Horse above)... until Rachel shuts him up with her taser and sends him away screaming like a ninny.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids: Henri Ducard thinks Bruce Wayne's belief in Thou Shalt Not Kill is pointless and that criminals should be executed. Later, Henri Ducard as Ra's Al Ghul, tells Bruce that Gotham is too corrupt to save and believes that Gotham should be destroyed; rather than Bruce's belief that there are good people in Gotham who can fix it.
  • Smug Snake: Carmine Falcone is easily the most arrogant and contemptuous villain in the movie. At least Crane is fairly polite, and at least Ducard acts somewhat respectful to Bruce Wayne, saying Bruce was his best student, albeit while having said student's house burned to the ground. Falcone, on the other hand, just acts so smug that he ends up being arguably more hateable than Crane and Ducard despite doing much less damage.
    • During the "secrets of scary people" scene, Flass warns Falcone that there's something going on and they should bail. Falcone just sits there in his car for a little while, then decides to get up to see for himself what's going on... namely, that Batman's beating up several of Falcone's goons at the same time. Apparently even with this going on right in front of him it takes him a little while to figure out that Batman's someone to be feared. So, he decides to get back to his car to get a gun. Too late.
  • Soiled City on a Hill: Gotham City is this from the point of view of Henri Ducard and the League of Shadows.
  • Star-Making Role: Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman. While American Psycho was a cult hit, Batman Begins is the film that made him a bona-fide star.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: During the Batmobile chase with the increasingly frantic cops.

  Cop: It's a black...tank!


  Crane: Doctor Crane is not here right now. But if you'd like to make an appointment...

  • Training Montage: "The Will To Act" is downright epic. It helps that Ducard is played by the same actor who played Qui-Gon Jinn.
  • Trainstopping: Subverted. When the monorail carrying the vaporizing device to the center of the network of water mains has to be stopped, Batman has the track destroyed instead of trying to stop the train.
  • Two Roads Before You: One to bats, one to just groups of people.
  • Vigilante Execution: Done to Joe Chill. Subverted: the "vigilante" (really a hitwoman paid by Falcone) was stopping him from testifying against a mob boss, and the real enraged victim, Bruce Wayne, never got a chance to kill him.
  • The Voiceless: Zsasz, though he doesn't have much time on-screen...
  • Water Source Tampering: A variant: Scarecrow laced Gotham's water supply with his fear toxin for months, without anyone realizing it. The toxin had no effect in this form. It needed to be absorbed through the lungs to have an effect—the bad guys' ultimate plan was to use a microwave emitter to vaporize Gotham's entire water supply, thereby exposing the whole city.
  • Wham! Episode: After Ra's Al Ghul visits Bruce, Wayne Manor is burnt down; Thomas Wayne's monorail prominent throughout the movie is used to spread Scarecrow's fear gas throughout the city; there are mass prison breakouts including Arkham Asylum and Bruce is left for dead as Wayne Manor crumbles. Fortunately, Alfred pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment; enabling Bruce to escape the manor...which leads to Batman saving most of the city (the Narrows, full of the poor and criminals, have all been driven insane by Scarecrow's fear toxin; emphasized by everyone there viewing Batman as a literal monster and trying to kill him) and leaving his mentor; Ra's Al Ghul (a prominent and major villain in the comics), to die in an explosion caused by destroying both the monorail tracks and the monorail itself.
  • Xanatos Gambit: When Batman encounters Ra's al Ghul in the train, Batman starts jabbing at the train's controls with a knife, to at least make it look like he's trying to stop the train (he actually ends up locking the controls). However, he already sent Gordon to make a gap in the train's elevated tracks, such that the train would be destroyed if it wasn't stopped.

 Ra's al Ghul: You're just an ordinary man in a cape. That's why you couldn't fight injustice, and that's why you can't stop this train.

Batman: Who said anything about stopping it?


 Flass: The bears, they go straight to the dealers.

Falcone: And the rabbits go to the man in the narrows.

Flass:: What's the difference?

Falcone: Ignorance is bliss, my friend. Don't burden yourself with the secrets of scary people.


The Dark Knight

  • The Ace: Harvey Dent. At first. Rifftrax said it best after he punches a witness who pulls a gun on him, unloads the gun, states the model and manufacturer before placing the weapon in front of the man who wanted him dead, essentially tells him to try harder next time, and then says he's not finished with the witness:

 "All right, five-minute 'Tell Dent how awesome he is' recess."

  • Adopt the Dog: And train them to behave in ways that'll likely eventually force them to be put down.
  • All There in the Manual: The novel clears up a few details about Dark Knight, such as Dent's Knight Templar tendencies. Bruce doesn't believe Dent could have a skeleton-free closet, and investigates. Turns out his dad was a cop who abused his mother, and whenever the police were called, they'd look the other way. Eventually, Dad killed Mom while Harvey was away at school. This gave Harvey an understandable dislike of dirty cops. Bruce eventually realizes he's been digging so hard because he's jealous. Etc.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: You'd be forgiven for assuming that the Skyhook device Batman uses in Hong Kong a) was never made and b) wouldn't work if it was. In fact, it was and it did.
    • Additionally, Two-Face not having any problems with his now-lidless eye. But then take a look at Chase No-Face, a cat who lost his nose and eyelids in a car accident, and lives a normal life still while needing only a dash of eyedrops twice a day and a dark room to sleep in.
  • Always Save the Girl: Inverted hard. The Joker gave Batman a Sadistic Choice where he only had time to save Rachel or Harvey. Batman thought he was saving the girl. The Joker switched the addresses.
    • Played straight when Batman dove out a window of a fifty story building to save Rachel once.
  • American Accents: The Joker has a Chicago accent, as do several of the GCPD, especially Wuertz. The pub scenes practically oozes Chicago, as opposed to the New York feel that one got in Begins.
  • Analogy Backfire: When talking about Batman's necessity:

 Harvey: When the Republic was threatened, the Romans appointed one man to protect them until the danger had passed. It wasn't considered an honor, it was considered a public service.

Rachel: Harvey, the last man they did that with was called Caesar, and he never gave up his power.

  • Angry Guard Dog: Given Batman is attacked by an angry pack twice, and both times he has some difficulty fending them off, it might be his weakness.
  • Anti-Villain: Two-Face is a Type III.
  • Anyone Can Die: The Dark Knight plays this for all it's worth with the death of Rachel.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Two-Face.
  • Arc Words: A lot of people think that Harvey Dent's "The dawn is coming" bit is going to this for The Dark Knight Rises."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A very brief, wordless example. When Gordon observes of the Joker that there was "nothing in his pockets but knives and lint", we see someone laying out an improbable number of knives on a table. The last is a potato peeler, which the handler briefly double-takes at.
  • Artistic License History: When Harvey comments about how the ancient Romans would appoint a dictator in times of crisis, Rachel claims that Caesar never gave up the title. This is not accurate, as Julius Caesar was given the title of "Dictator for Life" by the Senate after he had more or less conquered Rome in a civil war. Despite his assassination, Julius never had to "give up" his position. Also, depending on who you ask, Rome's transformation into an Empire may have been the best thing for it at the time.
  • Art Shift: Of a sort. Christopher Nolan stated in an interview that as opposed to the gritty grimy look of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight would be slightly... cleaner, so to speak.
    • The Dark Knight was largely missing Batman Begins' classic Gotham deco-influenced skyscrapers. It's also a lot less crowded and a bit brighter in The Dark Knight. Nolan also got rid of the Batcave, presumably for the same reasons.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: All of the Asian characters in Hong Kong speak flawless Chinese... in the wrong dialect. The standard dialect used in Hong Kong is Cantonese, whereas the characters all speak Mandarin. However, it's possible that they were simply from Mainland China, wherein the dominant language is Mandarin.
  • Ax Crazy: The Joker is the living embodiment of this trope.
  • Badass: Aside from the obvious, special mention goes to Harvey Dent, pre-Two Face. A witness pulls a gun on him from the witness stand, and without missing a beat, Dent disarms him, decks him and recommends he buy his weapons American next time he wants to assassinate the DA.
  • Bad Cop, Incompetent Cop: Discussed. Even with Jim Gordon in charge, the Major Crimes Unit (in a nice Shout-Out to Gotham Central) is still made up of mostly corrupt cops. But when Harvey Dent calls the lieutenant on this, Gordon points out that if he refused to work with such cops, he'd be working alone. This eventually comes back to haunt both of them, as Wuertz and Ramirez turn out to both be on Maroni's payroll and eventually kidnap Harvey and Rachel.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: One of Gotham's major gangsters is seen playing pool before Joker comes in and murders him.
  • Badass Bystander: The Bank manager in the opening gives us the page image. Despite being a Mob banker there are many people who enjoy his reactions far too much.
  • Bad Boss: C'mon, now. It's the Joker.
  • Bald of Awesome: Ginty, the Good Prisoner in the ferry boat scene.
  • Ballroom Blitz: The Joker breaks into Bruce's cocktail party.
  • Bank Robbery: Opens with one.
  • Batman Gambit: Pulled off more frequently and effectively by The Joker than Batman himself.
    • Harvey Dent as well.
  • Beauty to Beast: Harvey Dent.
  • Berserk Button: Joker always gets a lot more serious when someone calls him a "freak" or "crazy." This is somewhat ironic given the character's usual sentiment in other media.

 Joker: Tell your men they work for me now.

Chechen: Dey won't work for a fuh-reak.

Joker: "Fuh-reek?" Why don't we cut you up into little pieces and feed you to your pooches? And then we'll see how loyal a hungry dog really is.

    • A less trivial example is that of mentioning Batman's relationship with Rachel. Joker saying "does Harvey know about you and his little bunny?" happens to be the straw that broke the camel's back and is immediately followed by Batman smacking Joker's head against a glass window, then repeatedly punching Joker and yelling "WHERE ARE THEY?"
  • Bilingual Bonus: Bruce Wayne drives a Lamborghini Murcielago... Murcielago being spanish for "Bat".

  Alfred: Much more subtle.

  • Blackmail: Subverted when an accountant stumbles onto Bruce's secret:

 Reese: I want... ten million dollars a year, for the rest of my life.

Lucius Fox: Let me get this straight. You think that your client - one of the wealthiest, most influential men in the world - is secretly a vigilante, who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands... and your plan is to blackmail this person? [smiles] Good luck.

Reese: [clears throat] ... keep that....

  • Blatant Lies: Joker is fond of these, from lying about the locations of his victims, to fake origin stories, his Weapon of Choice... Fridge Logic dictates that even his spiel about not making plans can't be true.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Subverted with Harvey Dent. Then double subverted.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the brutality, there is very little blood. This may have been one of the factors that led to such a dark movie being rated PG-13.
  • Blunt Yes: When The Joker is confronted by mobsters on his past theft from them.

 Gambol: You think you can steal from us and just walk away?

Joker: Yeah.

  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Well, Rocket Propelled Grenades, actually.
  • Broken Pedestal: When Harvey Dent imprisons 549 criminals at once in a RICO case, the mayor warns him that he has to be very careful not to slip up, or everything will be undone. The Joker spends the rest of the movie trying to bring this about, while Batman tries to stop it. Eventually the pedestal is broken when Harvey loses Rachel, half his face, and eventually his mind. He goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in which he kills five people, two of them cops. At the end, Batman decides to take the blame for Harvey's crimes, so that his prosecution can be upheld. We have to wait for the next film to see if this works.
  • Bus Full of Innocents
  • The Cameo: US Senator Patrick Leahy shows up (the avowed lifelong fan's third such appearance to date) and says to the Joker "we're not intimidated by thugs." Now that is a campaign platform.
  • Canon Immigrant: The Batbunker. Introduced here as the replacement for the Batcave, it's a big white military-style installation built under a Wayne skyscraper. It eventually made its way to the comics when Bruce Wayne was temporarily killed off and replaced by Dick Grayson: Dick decided he wanted his HQ to be in the heart of the city instead of a mansion on a hill, so he moves into a bunker inspired by the film. He keeps using this base even after Bruce returns.
    • This is especially appropriate since the original Batcave is also a canon immigrant. It was introduced in the black and white Batman serials of the 1930's (mostly as a way to save money by re-using an already available cave set the studio had sitting around.)
  • Car Fu: Joker instigates this by having one of his men walk right into the path of a getaway school bus plowing through the wall.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Played with. Although The Joker never call himself "evil" or "a villain," he styles himself an "agent of chaos", describes his past and future heinous acts with a grin & smile, and intentionally positions himself as the Foil to the heroic Batman and Dent. Also, he carries joker cards and uses them as his "signature!" And unlike most examples of the trope, it is dead serious.
  • Cassandra Truth: Early in the movie, Jim Gordon's assessment of how much of a threat the Joker is seems better than that of almost any other character. When the Joker makes a threat against Commissioner Loeb's life, Gordon seals off city hall, orders a search of the building, and informs Loeb of this. Loeb does not take this threat very seriously, saying "the police commissioner hears a lot of threats" before sitting back and having a drink. The drink was laced with acid. Even the protagonist underestimates the Joker's threat early on in comparison to Gordon.

 Gordon: What about this Joker guy?

Batman: One man or the entire mob? He can wait.


 Gordon: Clothing is custom, no labels....


 Joker: Oh, and by the way, the suit, it wasn't cheap. You oughta know, you bought it.

    • Played straight with the amateur Batmen at the start of the film.

 Copycat: What gives you the right? What's the difference between you and me?

Batman: I'm not wearing hockey pads.

  • Chekhov's Gun: The spikes fitted on his gauntlets.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Wuertz and Ramirez.
  • Chewing the Scenery: The Chechen. MY DOGS! ARE! HONG-RAY!
  • Choke Holds: Bruce Wayne does this to Harvey Dent.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: When Lau, the accountant who tried to hide millions of dollars in mob money, was captured by the police, he gave them the names of all his mob clients as a means of softening his own punishment. Later in the movie, Lau was freed from his jail cell by the Joker... only to probably wish he hadn't been.
    • It bears mention that Lau is extremely clear that he'll give up the criminals. Not the location of all that money he's safeguarding for them. His plan is clearly to run home with the combined wealth of SEVERAL mob bosses.
    • There's also how quickly and shamelessly Joker murders his own henchmen, but he's probably not as likely to suffer consequences for doing so. It also should be noted that the Bank manager, who himself is implied to be a member of the mafia, disapproved of and lamented the course its taken.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: The Joker loves to inflict pain and suffering, but also seems to like being at the receiving end, particularly in the scene where he is beaten up by Batman and in the (in)famous "come on, hit me" episode.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Averted, but then again, Brian Azzarello's graphic novel Joker does look a little like Heath Ledger...
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: The name "Two-Face" is only uttered once, when Harvey remembers that cops used to call him "Harvey Two-Face" when he worked for internal affairs.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Done intentionally by Lucius Fox
  • Cool Bike: The Batpod. Apparently the center part where the rider sits is gyro-stabilized, as it's always upright. Batman catches up with the Joker by taking some major shortcuts in the chase sequence, and re-emerges into Joker's view by tumbling out of an alley... while still staying upright. Batman can even drive it up a wall, flip over backwards, and it'll spin around and keep Bats' ears pointing upward.
  • The Corrupter: The Joker, of course. He drives Harvey Dent insane just by giving him an obviously false monologue about how he's an "Agent of Chaos" with no plans whatsoever.
    • Among other things.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Bet you never thought cell phones could be used to pull off such awesomeness, did you? Granted, they can't with current technology, but the movie implies that Bruce has been distributing modified cell phones or at the very least forcing firmware upgrades so that he can use them as mini-sonars.
  • Crazy Prepared: The Joker actually gives Batman a run for his money. Certainly in the "crazy" part. All while solemnly stating that he "doesn't have a plan" and makes it up as he goes along.
  • Damsel in Distress: Rachel.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Joker. He suspected that Batman would try to rescue Dent and Rachel at the same time by using his alliance with Gordon, so he switched the addresses. Batman ends up saving Dent instead. A simpler explanation is that it was his crazy way of taking the Sadistic Choice up another order of magnitude - no matter Batman's decision, failure was the only option.
    • Joker knew that he'd go to save Rachel, and that's why he switched the addresses. It's obvious, really; he's already jumped out a window to save her once. Joker's also counting on Batman being the only one fast enough to save either of them.
  • Dead Line News: Mike Engel and his crew tempt fate by going to Gotham General Hospital to cover the evacuations. They wind up hostages of the Joker. They all get rescued unharmed at the end but they still become the story they were reporting on.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alfred Pennyworth dials up the snarkiness in comparison to the first film ("you've gone from not-sleeping in a mansion to not-sleeping in a penthouse!") but Lucius Fox is still the most obvious example.

 Lucius: I must say, compared to your usual requests, jumping out of an airplane is pretty straightforward.

Bruce: What about getting back in the plane?

Lucius: ... I'd recommend a good travel agent.

Bruce: Without it landing.

Lucius: ... now that's more like it, Mr. Wayne!

    • Also, Joker kind of fills in for Crane in the role of villainous snarker.

 Joker: (After Batman has slammed his head into a table) Never start with the head, the victim gets all fuzzy. He can't feel the next blow if... (Batman smashes his hand. Joker gives no reaction, showing that he couldn't feel the pain.) See?

    • Bruce Wayne himself.

 Alfred: I suppose they'll haul me away too, as your accomplice.

Bruce: Accomplice? I'm going to tell them the whole thing was your idea.

    • Even though he's only in the film for a few minutes, Crane gets in a few good ones too:

  Scarecrow: I said my compound would take you places. I never said they'd be places you wanted to go.

  • Deal with the Devil: Harvey Dent accuses Gordon of this for not getting rid of all the possibly corrupt officers in the Gotham Police Department.
  • Delayed Explosion: When The Joker attempts to demolish Gotham General Hospital.
    • The rumor is that Ledger didn't know that there would be a delay in the explosions. So, never breaking character, he pulls a Crowning Moment of Funny by smacking the remote and flicking the detonator about half a dozen times. And rushes away when the explosions resume.
  • Diabolus Ex Nihilo: The Joker comes out of nowhere; he tells stories about his past, but they're unreliable.
  • Disguised Hostage Gambit: The Joker pulls this near the end with the people he kidnapped from the hospital, dressing them up as his henchmen while the real henchmen disguise themselves as doctors. This forces Batman to stop the SWAT team from making a fatal mistake.
  • Disney Villain Death: The Joker almost suffers this, but is saved by Batman. Bonus points for adding maniacal laughter to the fall. Done a few minutes later to Harvey Dent, but there are some who believe he survived the fall. Despite Word of God saying he's dead.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Batman, of course. Also, while the Joker certainly isn't averse to using guns, he prefers knives because he thinks guns are too quick, and he would much prefer to savour all the little emotions.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: The Joker offers to work as The Dragon for the mob to take out Batman, but he really wants to use their money to bring chaos to the streets and become Batman's archenemy. He doesn't think highly of the mob and believes the city deserves a better class of criminal... so he takes over. In a decidedly hostile way.
  • Dramatic Irony: Dent believes that the police and Batman decided to save him instead of Rachel, when in reality, the Joker set it up such that they'd be saving the person they hadn't intended to save. Also counts because you already know what's bound to happen to Harvey: When Bruce talks about him at the fundraiser, he says, "Look at that face. That's the face of Gotham's future."
  • Drinking on Duty: This is how Commissioner Loeb dies, via his alcohol being spiked with poison.
  • Empty Promise: Harvey Dent makes one to Rachel.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Or grandmamas, in Gambol's case.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Maroni tells Gordon where to find the Joker because he feels killing Rachel was "too much".
    • A careful look at Maroni's behavior suggests he never really approved of the Joker or his methods. He seems surprised and slightly alarmed to hear his associates hired the clown because "we haff to fix reel problem- Bat-muhn". Maroni wants to turn things back to the way they were before, the mob had all the power and authority. He has no interest in the Joker's blatant anarchy, which explains why he turns on the Joker as soon as they retrieve the money (ironically, Maroni does exactly what The Joker predicts will happen to Batman: "They need you right now... but when they don't? They'll cast you out. Like a leper.")
    • When the Joker and his mooks rob a bank, the banker (who has been watching the gang of robbers shooting each other so they'd keep more of the money for themselves) points out the apparent decline in the standards local evil holds itself to.

 Banker: Criminals in this town used to believe in things; honour, respect. Look at you, what do you believe in?

    • The Joker mockingly uses this on Batman, about how he let him kill people. "Even for a guy like me, that's cold."
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dent threatens to kill Maroni's wife as revenge.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: The Joker takes this quite literally, as he tells multiple differing accounts about how he got his.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: And that is why the Joker's "social experiment" fails.
    • Evil cannot even understand lesser evil, apparently.
  • Eviler Than Thou: The Joker constantly berates small-time crooks and mobsters for being petty and shallow enough to care only about profit while ignoring loftier ideals of Evil:

 You and your kind, all you care about is money. This city deserves a better class of criminal. And I'm gonna give it to them!

  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The mob was content with using the Joker to advance their own interest. That is until he decides he doesn't want to work with them anymore and starts doing worse to them than Batman ever did.
  • Evil Is Stylish: The Joker loves elaborate sadistic choices, playing cards (both as his business card and signature at some of his killings), and dropping clues about his next targets. After he fails to kill Harvey Dent, he puts nametags on two men he killed reading "Harvey" and "Dent" the next night to taunt him. He's also immediately impressed by Harvey's very villainous Heads-or-Tails gimmick.
  • Evil Laugh: The Joker both plays this straight and deliberately mocks it. Which is why he's the Joker. He even gets someone to read one off cue cards in the Dead Line News scene.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: "He missed!" No. No he did not.
  • Exact Words: A peril both of working with and of confronting the Joker.
    • And a real world example with Christopher Nolan's statement that Harvey didn't survive the fall. Many fans take this as an implication that the good man Harvey Dent died, leaving only the evil Two Face.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through: People run to get out of Batman's way when he drives the Batcycle through a mall.
  • Expy: Detective Wuertz was originally going to be Detective Harvey Bullock, a long-time member of the Batman supporting cast from the comics, and Detective Ramirez was going to be Detective Renee Montoya, who was created for Batman: The Animated Series and was then introduced into the comics. The producers decided to recreate them as original characters because of what happens in the third act, which did not match the character of the characters as previously established. This is clearest in Batman: Gotham Knight, an animated anthology film that bridged Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, which introduced Ramirez and featured her partnered with Montoya's comic-book partner Crispus Allen.
  • Eye Scream: "How about a magic trick? I'm going to make this pencil disappear."
  • Face Heel Turn: Harvey Dent --> Two-Face.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Joker has long thrived on being this, but the fact that he is still funny despite the sheer number of vile acts he commits here may set a new standard for the trope.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • Gordon's apparent demise.
    • Then at the end, Batman pulls this when Dent shoots him. He waits until Gordon's son is about to get shot, and then tackles him.
  • Fallen Hero: Harvey Dent.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Specifically, the brutal subversion of the Final Speech. The Dark Knight is rated PG-13, probably because Nolan puts the killing blows off-screen. There's also surprisingly little blood in the film. Nevertheless, the amount of sheer menace the movie manages to wring out of its rating makes it arguably more terrifying than many R-rated Gorn-fests.
  • False Reassurance: Two-Face confronts someone who wronged him looking for information. When asked whether providing that information will save him, Two-Face says it couldn't hurt his chances. This suggests a more merciful outcome, until it turns out his survival is based on a coin toss. Combined with Exact Words, Two-Face says it couldn't hurt HIS chances, not the driver's.
  • False Roulette: Harvey Dent interrogates one of the Joker's henchmen this way. The revolver is fully loaded, but he's using a two-headed coin, so there's no risk. Not that the henchman or Batman know this. When Batman arrives on the scene, he's quick to call What the Hell, Hero?

 Batman: You'd leave a man's life to chance?

Harvey: Not exactly.

  • Fast Roping: The Gotham SWAT team employs this trope to raid the Joker's HQ. Batman comes by later and when he realizes that the hostages and captors have switched clothes, he uses the same rappel lines they used to to tie them up and knock them out.
  • Fiction 500: Bruce Wayne (or his father) would definitely be somewhere near the top.
  • Final Speech: Brutally subverted with Rachel, who is Killed Mid-Sentence.
  • Fingerprinting Air: Batman pulls a fingerprint from a computer reconstruction of a bullet that had been shot into a wall. Also an example of Artistic License Physics, as there's no way a fingerprint could have gotten where it was on the bullet in the first place, and even if there was, it would have been destroyed from the heat of the explosion from being fired and the rifling inside the barrel, but even if it wasn't, it would have been scratched off after entering the wall, but even if it wasn't, the bullet wouldn't have fragmented in to a dozen pieces, it would have warped and pancaked, distorting the print beyond usability.
    • And it could have been a lot easier to pick up spent bullet cases.
  • Foil: In this version, Two-Face is envisioned as one for Batman. Since he's killed off before he can become a fixture in Batman's Rogues Gallery, his main role is that of an embittered man who abandons a position of wealth and power to become a vigilante after he's traumatized by the murder of a loved one. But unlike Batman, he has no qualms about killing, he openly believes in vengeance, and he has none of Batman's self-discipline or sense of responsibility (which is why he uses a coin toss to avoid having to make hard decisions).
  • Foreshadowing: Detective Ramirez admits early in the film that her mother is checking into the hospital.
    • Harvey mentions early in the movie that "Either you die as a hero or live to see yourself become a villain. He becomes a villain because he survived the bomb, and Batman literally sees himself become a villain because he needed to save Harvey's reputation.
  • For the Evulz: The Joker's motive. A rare straight example that works.
    • Possibly the Scarecrow, who deals intentionally-poisoned drugs.
  • Freudian Excuse: Mocked by the Joker, who gives differing accounts of how he got his scars depending on who he's talking to. In the end, the Joker has no reason for what he does, he simply is.
    • Ramirez was apparently forced to kidnap Rachel Dawes due to her needing funding for her mother's hospital bills.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Joker. See Not So Harmless below.
  • Gatling Good: Bruce Wayne conducts a ballistics test using Gatling guns. Since they only fire a single round at a time there is absolutely no reason to have them other than Rule of Cool and Screw the Rules, I Have Money — which entirely fit his persona.
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang: Besides The Mafia, Gotham has a black mafia (led by Gambol) and a Chechen mafiya (led by, well, The Chechen). They seem to have reconciled their differences in order to stop Batman from ruining their business.
    • At the very least, Maroni and the Chechen seem to be friends regardless of the situation. They shake hands at the gang meeting, and later they're shown having lunch together.
  • Genre Savvy: Detective Stephens, the cop in charge of watching the Joker. He refuses to play along with the Joker's Hannibal Lecture, telling him: "I know the difference between punks who need to be taught a little lesson in manners, and the freaks like you who would just enjoy it." When he ends up falling for it anyway (because the Joker's just that good) and is held hostage at knifepoint, he says to the other officers: "It's my own damn fault, just shoot!" For the Joker himself, see Dangerously Genre Savvy.
  • Genre Shift: The Dark Knight has much more in common with crime dramas and thrillers than with straight-up superhero films, and it abandons the elements of adventure and mysticism that Batman Begins used heavily.
  • Get Into Jail Free: The Joker does this in order to kidnap Lau to make him reveal where the mobsters' money is.
  • Glasgow Grin: The Joker.
  • Godzilla Threshold: this is essentially what The Joker is for this version of Gotham's criminal underworld, unfortunately for everyone involved, no one was quite prepared it. Alfred summarily lampshades;

 Bruce: I knew the mob wouldn't go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed the line.

Alfred: You crossed the line first, sir. You squeezed them, you hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation they turned to a man they didn't fully understand.

  • Good Cop, Bad Cop: The Joker accurately predicts that Gordon intends to use a form of this interrogation technique. However, he's caught off guard by discovering that the bad cop is Batman ...even though he still doesn't talk until he wants to.
  • Good Is Boring: Subverted, in that the one who thinks so and stands up for the opposite is the Joker.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Batman is portrayed as such; most of the plot revolves around the Joker trying to get Batman to break his moral code and prove that, deep down, everybody is just like him and that Batman's idealism is misplaced.
  • Goomba Stomp: In this case, Batman does it to a van.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • A tweaked example: "Wanna see a magic trick? I'm gonna make this pencil disappear!" We see how it's done, but to keep the PG-13 rating, the horrible turnout is done without the horrific bloodsplatter such a "trick" would warrant in actuality.
    • A more traditional example occurs when the Joker kills Gambol. From a shot of the the Joker holding a knife in Gambol's cheek, we get a split-second cut to a henchman's horrified expression, then a shot from the other side of the room as the Joker drops Gambol.
      • Arguably the discretions are worse than being outright shown, allowing the audience to fill in the blanks themselves.
  • Groin Attack: How Rachel avoids having a smile put on her face by the Joker. Disturbingly, the Joker smiles in response. He's pretty obviously a major masochist. His response to pain is nothing like normal.
  • Guile Hero: Harvey Dent because of his political status and indirect, mostly non-violent means which, before his transformation into Harvey Two-Face, made him more effective than even Batman in his role to clean up Gotham City from the mob.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Between the Joker and Batman throughout the entire movie. The Joker even lampshades this in the final scene between the two of them:

 Joker: This is what happens when an unstoppable force... meets an immovable object. (sighs) You... truly are... incorruptible, aren't you?

  • Happy Flashback
  • Heartbroken Badass: Bruce Wayne after Rachel's death.
  • Hellish Copter: A police chopper participating in an Escort Mission Gets clotheslined by the Joker's Mooks using harpoon launchers and highrises.
  • Hero Insurance: Batman doesn't have it, but Gordon does: The chase sequence results in a very high bodycount among the police escorts (see Hellish Copter for instance), but they do arrest the Joker at the end of it, so Gordon gets promoted to commisioner. And he isn't even demoted back once it turns out the Joker planned to get arrested and breaks out.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Batman himself at the end of the movie.
  • Heroic Wannabe: A gang of doughy vigilantes with bat-costumes and guns. One ends up being a victim of The Joker.
  • "Hey You!" Haymaker

 Joker: (after Rachel kicks him) A little fight in you. I like that.

Batman: (just off-screen) Then you're gonna love me. *PUNCH*

  • High Altitude Interrogation: Subverted and Lampshaded in The Dark Knight. Batman wasn't threatening to kill Maroni to get his information but looking to use the situation in a novel way that would actually make this Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Joker feeds the Chechen gangster to his own dogs. Fortunately, this happens offscreen.
  • Hollywood Law: Local district attorneys cannot charge RICO offenses. Not even the local US Attorneys can, it has to come directly from the Department of Justice. Dent's mass-trial would also count, but the movie points out that he doesn't expect it to succeed and it's only proceeding because of his local stature.
  • Hope Spot: An In-Universe one for Harvey; he's lying in a hospital bed recovering from a bomb blast, convinced that Rachel is dead. Then he finds the lucky coin he gave her the last time he saw her alive, left by the side of his bed. He turns it over... the other side's been charred by an explosion.
  • Hot Chick in a Badass Suit: Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal) while interrogating a guy. Looks like she should be carrying a rapier.
  • The Hyena: The Joker, of course
  • I Am Spartacus: When the Joker threatens to keep killing people until Batman unmasks and turns himself in, Harvey Dent makes a public confession that he is Batman and surrenders to the police.
  • I'm Not A Hero. I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be.
  • Indy Ploy: The Joker claims to be doing this, but it's really, really unlikely most of the time, considering the fact that he knew exactly how everyone in the city would react right up until the grand finale, with Batman himself being the only wild card, and a minor one at that. Considering how well everything worked out, it's more likely he's falling back on the character's long standing similarity to Batman, doing what he can to plan ahead and making up what he can't.

 Joker: Do I really look like a guy with a plan?

      • YES.
  • Ironic Echo: Not as frequent as it was in Batman Begins, but there are some considerably impactful ones here.
    • "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
    • "I am sure a businessman of your stature would understand." Repeated within the same scene.
    • "I make my own luck" is echoed with "you make your own luck."
    • Harvey's fundraiser is absolutely loaded with them, subtle though they may seem. Both Bruce and the Joker enter the party announcing that they're only just in time; both immediately ask "Where is Harvey Dent?" upon arriving; both spill champagne out of a glass, and so on and so forth.
  • Irony: Commissioner Loeb telling Lieutenant Gordon "You're unlikely to discover this for yourself" about what being a police commissioner is like. Even people who didn't know Gordon would be Commissioner after Loeb's death were reasonably assured he would eventually follow a similar career path to the comics.
  • It Got Worse: It starts with the DA and his assistant/fiancee kidnapped and strapped to time bombs and just goes downhill from there.
  • I Will Show You X: During an argument between a witness on the stand and Harvey Dent:

 Dent: I have a sworn statement from you that [points to Maroni] this man is the head of the Falcone crime family.

Witness: Maroni? He's a fall guy. I'm the brains of the organization!

Dent (to judge): Your honour, permission to treat the witness as hostile?

Judge: Permission granted.

Witness: Hostile? I'll show you hostile!

Witness pulls out a gun and tries to fire it. The gun jams.

  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Used three times. Interestingly, it's never really effective.
    • When Batman beats up the Joker. Even discussed, as the Joker criticizes Batman's technique while Batman is beating him. This case comes with a surprise. The Joker had always been planning to give up accurate locations...he just lied about who was where to screw with Batman's head. Of course, considering how he took a long time to divulge the locations, it probably wouldn't have mattered if he did tell the truth about who was where.
    • Batman also throws a man off a roof, breaking both his legs, in order to get information (although it doesn't work because the man in question pointed out that the fall wouldn't kill him, which Batman implies is exactly the reason why he chose that height). It still doesn't work, as the man doesn't really know anything about The Joker anyway; and even if he did he is far more scared of The Joker than Batman.

 Batman: He must have friends!

Salvatore Maroni: [incredulous] Friends? Have you *met* this guy? ... No one's gonna tell you nothin'. They're wise to your act. You got rules. The Joker, he's got no rules. No one's gonna cross him to you.

    • Dent ain't so bad at this himself. He uses his flip-a-coin Russian roulette technique several times to get some answers. Although, because he uses a 2 sided coin, he doesn't exactly leave a man's life to chance. Not for the first half of the film, anyway.
  • Joker Immunity: Played straight here, despite being Darker and Edgier than the previous film series, which killed him off.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Or perhaps we should say Gotham City Shuffle? When The Joker threatened to kill the mayor, both Batman and the police assumed that the Joker or whoever he hired would be shooting from a window; the police set up a few officers to watch the windows, while Batman had a brick with a hole in it from a previous Joker murder analyzed to determine the "fingerprints" of the culprit, then went to the home address of said culprit when the mayor and parade were near it. It turned out that the Joker was disguised as a police officer, and while the police were watching the windows and Batman was in the apartment of the "culprit," Joker took his gun and fired at the mayor. Somewhat subverted in that Gordon took a bullet for the mayor. Somewhat double-subverted in that Joker was quite content to kill Gordon instead.
    • It wasn't just the Joker. If you watch closely, it's the ENTIRE honor guard. Doing the three-volley salute.
  • Kick the Dog: Joker gets Dent's face burned and his girlfriend killed. He then shows up to Dent's hospital bed to basically says, "Hey, it's your own damn fault for having plans in the first place." He's LITERALLY adding insult to injury.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Rachel Dawes.
    • "Harvey. Harvey, listen to me. It's going to be okay. Listen. Some -" BOOM
    • Bus driver?! What bus dri SMASH
  • Knife Nut: Joker. He even explains why. Though he isn't entirely averse to using guns.
  • Large Ham: Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne had to be a ham, but he does it as Batman as well. That voice must require some pastilles) and Heath Ledger's Joker.
  • Laughably Evil: Again, the Joker.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: Bruce Wayne is trying to figure out The Joker's motivations. Alfred tells him this:

 Alfred: A long time ago, I was in Burma, my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never found anyone who traded with him. One day I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.

Bruce: Then why steal them?

Alfred: Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.


 "Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can't savor all the little... emotions."

  • Madden Into Misanthropy: The Joker pulls an extreme version of this on Harvey Dent.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Salvatore Maroni, a.k.a. the only person to profit from The Joker's presence...until he forgets to put on his seatbelt. The Joker too, especially in the way he manipulates Harvey Dent.
  • Mind Rape: Of all the Joker's acts of callous villainy and casual disregard for human dignity, none is worse than his turning of Harvey Dent into a vengeful monster by warping his mind during his vulnerable time of grief over Rachel's death.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Rather than going after the Joker who actually orchestrated his tragedy, Two-Face goes after everyone who was involved in the events, no matter how weakly or by how many degrees of separation, even to the point of threatening Gordon's son.
    • But he did, he gave the Joker a coin toss just like everyone else.
  • Money to Burn: "I'm a man of simple tastes... dynamite... gunpowder... and gasoline. Do you know what all of these things have in common? They're cheap!" And what does he do with said items? (among other things) Why, what the trope says, of course...literally.
  • Monster Clown: Joker, obviously.
  • Morally-Bankrupt Banker: The mob banker in the second film.
  • Multiple Choice Past: In a nod to the comics (especially The Killing Joke), the Joker gives several tragic backstories about himself. "Wanna know how I got these scars?"
  • Mythology Gag: Joker's method of driving Two-Face to madness was very similar to a storyarc in Gotham Knights where Two-Face was getting close to being rehabilitated, but then Joker drives him insane again by implying that Bruce Wayne and Grace Lamont were having an affair.
    • Batman facing the Joker at the very top of a high building has a noticable similarlity to the final showdown in the 1989 Tim Burton movie. Joker actually falling to his Disney Villain Death probably would have sealed the deal.
    • In the first courtroom scene, one of Maroni's goons pulls a gun on Harvey while he's on the stand, but Harvey nonchalantly punches the goon out before he can pull the trigger. This is a nod to Two-Face's origin in the comics, where his facial scars were the result of a mob flunky trying to kill him in the middle of a trial.
    • In one scene, a teenage criminal laughs at his friend for being too afraid of Batman to go out at night, skeptically asking "What are you, superstitious?" This is, a nod to Batman's famous declaration that "Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot..."
  • My Card: The Joker. (It's... a joker card.)
  • Near Villain Victory: The only thing that kept The Joker from winning is that Batman makes the decision to take the heat for the murders Harvey committed thus preserving his image (and Gotham's stability.)
  • Never Be a Hero: Subverted. The "Batman dopplegangers" were fighting with the intent to kill, so Batman had every reason to be upset. Also, they lacked the training and equipment that Batman had, meaning it was only a matter of time before they got killed. Which one of them did.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer and pre-release material present the Bat-Pod as if it's just Batman's new toy. The truth is, however, more sobering. It's the Batmobile's ejection system, and the only reason Batman is using it is because the Batmobile was destroyed.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Two-Face, with his talk of Chance being the only moral law in the world. The Joker would be a Nietzsche Wannabe, except that wouldn't nearly begin to encompass his craziness. At the beginning of the film, he paraphrases a quote from Nietzsche: "I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you... stranger."
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The last fight between Joker and Batman is a borderline example of this. Sure, Batman puts up a BIT of a fight, but that doesn't stop Joker from sending attack dogs after him, beating him with a crowbar while the dogs are on him, knocking him into a net after he escapes the dogs, repeatedly kicking him while he's caught in the net, and knocking him throw a window when he's escaped from said net. Not that the Joker should've been expected to show any restraint in the first place...
    • This is because, of course, the Joker's combat flailing would be no match for a trained fighter whose outfit is made of super-advanced body armor. Among all of this, though, is that the sonar headset Batman is wearing happens to be malfunctioning in part from the blow to the head Joker opens with. Toe to toe, in a fair fight, the Joker is OBVIOUSLY outclassed. That's why he never fights fair.

 Joker: "You didn't think I'd risk losing the battle for Gotham's a fistfight with you?"

      • This is almost highlighted given its comparison to the showdown in the 1989 Batman movie, where, atop an equally high building, Batman gives the less well armed Joker a damn sound beating, before the latter almost throws him to his death. Adding to that Batman turning down the same opportunity used to finish him off in the original film, the whole final showdown almost seems like a Mythology Gag.
  • Noodle Incident: A minor one at the state funeral for the commisioner.

 Mayor: "When I first took this job, I asked him if he wanted to stay on as commissioner. He said..."

Cuts to Bruce for a few minutes.

Mayor: "Clearly, he was not a man who minced words. Nor should he have been. A number of policies that he enacted as commissioner were unpopular."

(Probably foreshadowing, given how rapidly Batman's popularity declines after the funeral...)

    • If you watch the movie with the subtitles on, you can see that he said, "as long as you keep your politics out of my office".
  • Not So Harmless: The Joker. Though aware of his crimes, at first Batman and the authorities just see him as "one man," and focus on bringing down the mobsters. The mobsters, for their part, regard him as a "nobody" as well...
  • N-Word Privileges: The Joker can call himself and Batman "freaks," but if anybody else tries it...
  • Ominous Walk: Subverted: The Joker starts one of these after Batman loses at chicken, then starts to jauntily skip after a few seconds.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Joker
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Scary Black Man (Tommy Lister) on the convicts' barge, who "does what the guards shoulda done ten minutes ago:" He throws the detonator out the window.
    • Jonathan Crane early in the film too, though he was a much more significant character in Begins.
    • The Bank Manager (William Fichtner) who very calmly reacts to robbers in his bank... by whipping out a shotgun.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Joker, if "nickname" is a good word for it.
  • Orbital Shot: The Joker and Rachel. "Is it the scars? Want to know how I got them?"
  • The Other Darrin: Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight, replacing Katie Holmes from Begins.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: In The Dark Knight, The Joker overshadows Batman. In the first movie Batman was given central focus, and the villains did not eclipse him. The sequel is more of a "Joker movie" than a "Batman movie", with Heath Ledger getting all the best lines and outperforming Bale in every scene. Overall the movie suceeds, since The Villain Makes the Plot.
  • Palantir Ploy: The Bat-Cell-Phone-Sonar machine.
  • The Paragon: Harvey Dent. This makes him the target of just about everybody.
  • The Pen Is Mightier: "How about a magic trick?"
  • Pet the Dog: Chechen LITERALLY pets his dogs, early in the movie, while calling them his "little princes." This makes it all the more disturbing when, later in the movie, Joker threatens to cut Chechen up, and feed him to those dogs, for calling him a freak.
  • Phony Newscast: There are newscasts during the film reporting on the Joker and the Batman; in the DVD extras you're treated to 4 fake in-depth newscasts about Gotham.
  • Pineapple Surprise: What The Joker threatens to do to escape a room full of mobsters.
  • Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: The Joker subverts this since his different stories about how he got his physical "scars" (which are apparently supposed to be a metaphor for his mental scars) contradict each other, implying in turn that he's probably not being truthful about his mental scars either. Harvey Dent, however, plays it straight because his face was burned in the same incident that killed his girlfriend, Rachel Dawes.
  • Playing Against Type: The casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker raised quite a few eyebrows as he had never played a major villainous role like this before, let alone a psychotic murderer. He defied all expectations giving the most powerful and remembered performance in the film.
  • Plot Immunity: Jim Gordon and his fake death scheme.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Harvey Dent's fall from grace.
  • Poser Hating: Batman does not find imitation flattering. Especially if his imitators are dressing like him but ready to use lethal force.
  • The Power of Legacy: At the end of the film, after Harvey Dent's death, Batman tells Gordon to tell the police force that it was Batman, not Harvey, who was responsible for Harvey's murders, so that Harvey does not lose his white knight reputation. The Joker must not win.
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: During the fundraising party for Harvey Dent:
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • In the opening, if you listen carefully, you can hear Grumpy say "what the fuck?" after he is shot in the shoulder.
    • It's not a terribly obvious one, but after Batman fails to hit him with the Batpod, the Joker mouths the f-word. Blink and you'll miss it.
    • Later in the same scene, Gordon says "we got you, you son of a bitch" when he (temporarily) captures the Joker.
  • Preemptive Declaration:

 Joker: No no no, I kill the bus driver.



 Joker: You know how I got these scars?

Batman: No, but I know how you got these! (launches his spring loaded scallops at Joker's face)

  • Product Placement: A lot. One notable case is Bruce Wayne's driving a Lamborghini Murcielago. Also a Bilingual Bonus Stealth Pun: murciélago is Spanish for bat.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Joker, with the emphasis on "psycho," since he doesn't really stay in the employ of the mob for long. He's definitely in it for the psycho part, though.

  Joker: If you're good at something, never do it for free.

  • Psychopathic Manchild: Just as an accountant was about to give in to one of Joker's earlier threats (reveal the identity of Batman or people die) he goes on TV to announce that he changed his mind, that he decides that a world without Batman would be too boring, and that if said accountant was not killed in less than an hour, that he would blow up a hospital.
  • Psycho Strings: On the soundtrack the Joker's one-note theme is made mostly of these. (One note? You have to listen to it to understand.)
    • The theme's feel could be compared to a swarm of wasps from hell trapped inside your brain and buzzing around for an exit. Or the screeching drone of an oncoming train. It still wouldn't do it justice.
    • Hint: Listen to it with headphones or surround-sound.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Why. so. serious?"
    • From the same speech: "Not. One. Bit."
    • "LOOK! AT! ME!"
  • Put the Laughter In Slaughter: Trope Namer
  • Rank Up: Jim Gordon is promoted to Commissioner in the movie.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: It is possible that the ending of TDK was setting up Joker to return in the Rises (he doesn't die, he says they'll be doing this forever, etc)... but then Heath Ledger died. It's since been confirmed Joker won't be in Rises, and a lot of people suspect the lack of Joker in Rises was not part of the original plan.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: The Joker ignores all gun-handling rules, but being the Joker, he probably doesn't care at all if he accidentally shoots someone. Or himself, for that matter. Hell, he'd probably think it was hilarious. In fact, there is a scene where he stumbles and accidentally sprays a burst of S&W M76 fire in a random direction.
    • Harvey Dent is flipping a two-headed coin so he won't purposely shoot someone he was interrogating, but he was still pressing a loaded gun to that man's head. But, again, this is Harvey Two-Face we're talking about.
  • Recursive Adaptation: Elements of Ledger's Joker were incorporated into the comics, most notably the scars. There may have been an abortive attempt to make him closer still, with someone drawing a line at killing Harley.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Even Maroni has had enough of all this and gives the cops the Joker's location. Two-Face finds him soon afterwards.
  • Retired Badass: Alfred apparently did some military spec-ops work some time before being Bruce's butler, providing him with anecdotal experience concerning the Joker's MO.
    • The story also goes to hint at a rather dark side to the generally pleasant and amiable sophisticate:

 Bruce: Alfred, the bandit, did you ever catch him?

Alfred: Oh, yes.

Bruce: How?

Alfred: We burned the forest down.

  • Right Behind Me: "Don't tell me it's Wayne. The guy's a complete f--"
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: The Chechen owns a pack of them. After The Joker apparently feeds The Chechen to his own dogs, he adopts the pooches and uses them against Batman in the final showdown.
  • Rousseau Was Right: See The movie's a little too complicated to be summed as "People are really nice," but generally speaking, yep, you heard me right. Not all people are bastards. In a Darker and Edgier Batman movie.
  • Rule of Three: The Joker's third "scar story" is subverted by Batman.
    • Subverted... by Batman. Played straight... by the movie itself. And double subverted... due to both. We never hear Joker's third story but Batman giving him scars makes the movie itself a third story. As a result somehow manages to fit all three.

 Joker: You know how I got these scars?

Batman: No, but I know how you got these.

(Batman launches his gauntlet spikes point-blank into Joker's face)

  • The Sadistic Choice: Joker has several in The Dark Knight. So much so that Roger Ebert interprets this concept as one of Joker's main themes.

 Ebert: The Joker is more than a villain. He’s a Mephistopheles whose actions are fiendishly designed to pose moral dilemmas for his enemies.

    • It seems notable that the messenger of chaos is the one with the most elaborate 'plans'.
  • Scare Chord: The Joker's leitmotif.
  • Scary Black Man: Gambol.
    • Even scarier is the prisoner on the ferry, who offers to blow up the other boat, only to throw the detonator out the window.
      • Helps that the actor has basically made a career of playing the scary black man. Or, at the very least, the scary black comic relief.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: Variant when The Joker is captured by the police. Using only his words, he manipulates a police officer into attacking him, then takes the officer hostage.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Salvatore Maroni as he's dropped from the second floor by Batman.
  • Should Have Thought of That Before X:

 Maroni: This madness... it's just too much.

Gordon: You should have thought of that before you let that clown out of the box.


 Batman: What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone's as ugly as you? You're alone!

  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Harvey to Rachael, after his press conference.
  • Smash the Symbol This moment is after Batman said he would take the blame for Harvey Dent's murders; it's implied that people are smashing the bat-signal to symbolize their increasing disapproval of Batman. This is a somewhat unconventional approach to this trope, seeing as how rather than portraying it as destroying the symbol of a villain, it is instead destroying the symbol of a hero who is (willingly) being mistaken for a villain.
  • Smug Snake: Maroni. Just look at that smile.
  • Spanner in the Works: The Joker is a self-proclaimed " Agent of Chaos" - he really doesn't plan, he just sizes up his enemies' plans and attacks the weak point that causes the most chaos.

 The Joker: I just did what I do best — I took your little plan, and I turned it on itself.

  • The Spook: Both Batman and The Joker.
  • Stealth Pun: The Joker blocks a stretch of road with a vehicle on fire. It's a fire truck. Just another way the Joker Crosses the Line Twice.
    • By the end of the second act, the Batmobile had lost a wheel (the Batpod), and the Joker got away.
    • During the trip to China:

 Lucius Fox: It emits a high-frequency pulse for mapping an environment and records a response time.

Bruce Wayne: Sonar. Just like a...

Lucius Fox: Like a submarine, Mr. Wayne. Like a submarine.

    • The final dilemma Joker presents is similar to the Prisoner's Dilemma. One of the parties in the dilemma is a ferry full of convicts.
    • Bruce Wayne drives a Lamborghini Murcielago... Murcielago is Spanish for "Bat".
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: A major theme of the Joker's actions in this movie.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: One of the main criticisms of the film, besides Batman's voice, is Rachel's unceremonious death at the end of the second act.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Rachel, though not in the first few minutes.
  • Take a Third Option: Sadistically subverted with Rachel and Harvey. Played straight during the Prisoner's Dilemma in the film's climax.
  • Taking the Bullet: Jim Gordon does this for the mayor. Later it's combined with Car Fu when the Batmobile takes a rocket propelled grenade for Harvey Dent's paddy wagon.
    • And when Bruce Wayne uses the Lamborghini to block a pickup truck from smashing the police SUV.
  • Technical Pacifist: Batman won't outright kill anyone, but he has no qualms dropping a man from a fire escape because he probably won't die from the fall.
  • Tempting Fate: "He's going to need something a lot bigger than that to get through this truck!" Cue the freaking rocket launcher.

  Policeman: "Wha...! Is that a bazooka??"


 Gordon: Thank you.

Batman: You don't have to thank me.

Gordon: Yes, I do.

  • Throat Light
  • Throw It In: Joker's clapping after Jim Gordon is promoted to Comissioner. As well as the Joker having trouble with the explosives at the hospital not going off. According to Christopher Nolan, Ledger knew something had gone wrong, but he didn't want to ruin the take by going out of character unless Nolan called "cut," so he improvised the repeated button-presses until the effects guys got the charges to fire.
    • The rumor is that he didn't know the main explosions was going to be delayed so that he'd have a chance to get away on the bus before they started.
    • A lot of the Joker's mannerisms were developed when Heath Ledger was getting his makeup done, and would scrunch up his face to create different textures for the makeup. The creepy way in which the Joker sucks on his cheeks was one of these.
  • Title Drop: The final words spoken are the movie's title, at the end of Commissioner Gordon's monologue.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: The Joker. Detective Stephens, who's in charge of watching him, even lampshades it:

 Stephens: I'm a twenty year man. And I know the difference between punks who need to be taught a little lesson in manners, and the freaks like you who would just enjoy it.

  • Torture Always Works: Subverted hard by the Joker during Batman's interrogation: "You have nothing! Nothing to threaten me with! Nothing to do with all your strength!"
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Many people knew Gordon wasn't Killed Off for Real because of the Joker's trailer line of "Good eeeevening, Commissioner." Gordon hadn't yet been made commissioner at the time of his supposed 'death'.
    • To be fair you never see him actually saying it to Gordon but still.
      • You do. Right when Gordon enters the interrogation room after the Joker's been captured.
    • Also, we see Gordon smash the Bat-Signal in the final trailer, something that hadn't happened at that time in the film.
    • Although it wasn't exactly guaranteed, it was pretty doubtful that Gordon was going to die before he became Commisioner.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Harvey Dent loses the love of his life and half of his face in one day. It doesn't take much for The Joker to push him over the edge after that.
  • Troll: What The Joker will resort to when his target has no other obvious flaw he can utilize to get inside their heads.
  • Two-Headed Coin: Played straight by Harvey; brutally Subverted when he becomes Two-Face and the coin gets marked on one side.
  • Under the Truck: Not a chase scene, since the Joker is coming at Batman head on in a truck, while Batman races towards him on the Batpod. However Batman fires two tow cables that hit the truck and then proceeds to weave in and out between the wheels of the trailer to tie it up. Because the Batpod is built low to the ground and the truck is quite high off the ground, he doesn't need to slide, just drive normally.
  • The Unfettered: The Joker.
  • Unflinching Walk: Lucius Fox.
    • Played for laughs with the Joker when he blows up the Gotham General Hospital. He starts walking away without looking back, only to notice the explosions have stopped. Joker turns around and starts fiddling with the detanator, but nothing happens. He fiddles with the detonator some more, until he's startled by a huge explosion. Joker then resumes walking away without looking back...only now he's walking much faster than before.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: The Joker does this to Rachel when Batman tells him to let her go. She happens to be hanging halfway out a window.

 Joker: Very poor choice of words!

  • Unreliable Narrator: The Joker, naturally.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Harvey. "NO! NOT ME! WHY ARE YOU COMING FOR ME?!" Doubly so, as Batman also wanted to save Rachel over Harvey. The Joker's just a bitch like that..
  • Viewers are Morons/Viewers Are Goldfish: One would assume that a room full of cops and lawyers knows what RICO is.
    • When two corpses are discovered whose last names are Harvey and Dent, respectively, Ramirez has to remind us that one characters' name is Harvey Dent and that the dead guys' names are supposed to allude to him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Joker has an understated version of this at the end of The Dark Knight, in contrast to his usual over-the-top theatrics: when the people of Gotham refuse to play his game and reveal themselves to have a core of decency, and it looks like his ultra-nihilistic view of the world might be wrong after all, he goes very, very still...
    • When a guy named The Joker suddenly becomes very sullen and grumpy...
  • Villain Team-Up: Joker and Two-Face... ssssssssorta. Harvey hates Joker with a passion, but Joker is the one who pushes Two-Face into villainy, and Joker uses Two-Face to sow extra chaos and divert the Gotham PD's attention long enough to set up his next major "social experiment".
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Two-Face, and maybe even the Joker. Two-Face has simply given up on the law, while the Joker is trying to wake people up Tyler Durden style.
    • He's not trying to wake them up, he's trying to break them down so they'll be at his level. Tyler thought he was at the top; The Joker knows he's at the bottom, and loves it.
    • The Joker also loves chaos, is definitely Ax Crazy and enjoys ruining lives For the Evulz; he isn't that well intentioned...he seems to want To Create a Playground For Evil and wants to break Gotham's hope; as he says so to Batman at the Prewitt Building. It's why he drove Harvey Dent insane at the hospital. Judging by his speech that broke Harvey Dent; he probably wanted Harvey to believe he's well intentioned, so Two-Face would embrace both chaos and murder (effectively making Harvey a Fallen Hero which if found out]]; would ruin Gotham's hope).
  • Wham! Episode: The end of the second act, which starts with Harvey and Rachel getting kidnapped and ends with Rachel's death. None of the protagonists emerge unscathed.
  • What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: There seems to be a subtle theme about dogs in The Dark Knight. Seriously. Go back and watch it again, looking out for references to, and appearances by, dogs. The meaning behind them is debatable, but it can't be coincidence.
    • Dogs are a symbol for the Joker. He's the "dog chasing cars" and the ultimate cynic. At first, the Chechen mobster has dogs on a leash — to deal with Batman — but by the end the dogs are turned against their former master in the same way the Joker basically overthrew the mobsters' control. Also, there's probably some Cerberus thing you could take from the three dogs.
    • Look at The Joker leaning his head out of the police car's window after his escape.
    • The Joker is symbolic in another way: he's almost more an anarchic, chaotic force of destruction than a man, and exemplifies the theme of corruption. You see it throughout the movie, how he seeps like a poison into every corrupt and dark underside of Gotham, undermining order, twisting Harvey Dent's righteous anger into something evil, and even undermining Batman's confidence in what he's doing.
    • Go to the next step: The Joker's very identity is symbolic. In a game of cards, the Joker is often a wild card: it becomes precisely what you need it to be to further your agenda, but of itself, it has no face value or significance; it just upsets the other players' agendas by coming seemingly out of nowhere. Thus...the Joker's multiple-choice history and his lack of real identity.
    • "It'll stand up to a cat." If I have to explain this...
    • For a more straightforward example, when Rachel and Harvey are kidnapped the lights in the warehouse where Harvey is held are on, whereas Rachel's are switched off. Could also qualify as Foreshadowing, but only by a few seconds.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Pulled by the Joker, of all people.

 Joker: I wanted to see what you'd do, and you didn't disappoint. You let five people die. Then, you let Dent take your place. Even to a guy like me, that's cold.

    • Technically, Batman did not plan on the latter part, as Bruce Wayne did indeed intend to turn himself in, but Dent ended up taking his place. Wayne's reaction shows that this was definitely not something that he had anticipated. On that note, Rachel Dawes' reaction to this was also similar to The Joker's.
    • Pulled earlier by Batman when Harvey Dent attempts to interrogate one of the Joker's men using a revolver and his coin.

 Batman: You'd leave a man's life to chance?!

    • The 'hero' part might be debatable, but Harvey does this to Ramirez, when he confronts her for delivering Rachel to the Joker.

 Dent: (after cutting off Ramirez mid-excuse) You didn't know what they were going to do to me. You're the second cop to say that to me. What exactly did you think they were going to do?

    • When the Scary Black Man on the ferry is facing down the Warden, he tells him in blunt terms that "Give it to me, and I'll do what you should have done ten minutes ago." Then he takes the detonator and chucks it out the window, making this a retroactive version of this trope.
    • Gordon's wife's reaction to his faking his death. He offers up a small excuse about how it was for her protection, but she still smacks him.
    • Lucius makes it clear that he is not happy with Batman's plan to use sonarised mobile phones to eavesdrop on the entire city and track down the Joker.
  • What You Are in the Dark: The Joker tries to do this on Batman, Harvey Dent, and a lot of citizens/criminals of Gotham on the boats. Only Harvey falls, while both Batman and the citizens/criminals both decide not to blow each other up. Batman even Lampshades this trope by asking the Joker why he was doing this.
  • Where's the Kaboom?: Well, more "Where's the Rest of the Kaboom? ClickclickclickOh Crap"
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Joker orchestrates a prison break with a cell-phone bomb, which is sewn inside the body of one of his mooks.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Why doesn't the Joker just shoot Batman? Because he doesn't want to. Batman's just too much fun!
  • The Windy City: The film was shot on location in Chicago with many of the city's distinctive streets making an appearance.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Two-Face knocked Anna Ramirez into unconsciousness, after his coin spares her life.
  • Xanatos Roulette: The entirety of Joker's plan. He even lampshades this, saying that he has no plan and that he's just doing things to see what happens.

 "You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it!"

    • Might be a case of Obfuscating Stupidity.
      • He's CLEARLY aware of what individuals will do in his little Sadistic Choice scenarios, and cleverly makes this predictable response the WRONG answer. So he sets up a situation, predicts what will happen, and plans out a way to punish the test-taker.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Batman has to play an insane game in the film's final minutes. Disguised Hostage Gambit with multiple SWAT teams bursting in all over the place. Batman has to quickly incapacitate SWAT teams so they don't kill the Hostages-disguised-as-Joker-thugs, and take out the real Joker thugs at the same time. There are also police Snipers targetting the disguised hostages. He ends up having to use his grapple hook in creative ways to knock over hostages to get them out of line of site while at the same time getting to floors he needs to be on, blow the floor up beneath swat teams and thugs with his bomb launcher, and use the SWAT teams' own grapple ropes to tie them together and then suspend them over the side of the building. All this thought up and implemented on the fly within a time span of two minutes.
  • X Must Not Win: Where X in this case refers to The Joker. It's such a major driving force for the good guys, especially for Batman, that at the end of the movie, Batman takes the fall for Dent's murders partly out of refusal to give Joker the satisfaction of wrecking Gotham.
  • You Did the Right Thing: In the dilemma that two ferries leaving Gotham to avoid the Joker's supposed takeover, one filled with prisoners and the other with innocent civilians, have the detonator to blow up the opposite ferry under a time limit where the penalty of indecision would be them both blowing up; Ginty, the prisoner among many prisoners on the prisoner ferry, after demanding that the detonator to the civilian ferry be handed over to him, instead of detonating it primarily to save his own life, he instead throws it out an open window into the water at the expense that the prisoner ferry could not blow up the civilian ferry, and that it could be blown up instead. This shows that he probably believes the lives of the prisoners, including him, is not worth choosing over the lives of innocent civilians.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Pulled in the opening sequence of Knight, as the Joker manipulates his goons into killing each other one by one due to their greed. In the end, he walks away with the whole haul, without having to share the $68 million with his five henchmen... and only needing to kill one of the five himself.
  • You're Insane!: "No. No, I'm not."
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: This version of The Joker uses a LOT of these.

 Joker (to the organized crime community): Look, I know why you choose to have your little group therapy sessions in broad daylight...

Joker (to Batman): You just take off your little mask and show us all who you really are, hmm?

Joker (to Batman): Does Harvey know about you and his little bunny?

Joker (to Harvey Dent): They're schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. (Referring to the police and the organized crime community alike.)

Joker (to Harvey Dent): I just took your little plan and I turned it on itself.


The Dark Knight Rises


 Bane: I'm Gotham's reckoning.

  • Bald of Evil: Bane.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: A leaked photograph, regarding a mention of Harvey Dent, reveals that Bane ends up exposing Dent's crimes to the public after eight years of secrecy.
  • The Cameo / As Himself: Pittsburgh Steelers player Hines Ward cameos as himself, playing for the "Gotham Rogues". He outruns the imploding football field and drops the football in shock. McFarlane toys even made a special action figure of him in the Gotham Rogues uniform.
  • The Character Died with Him: It is unclear how his absence will be addressed (or if it will be addressed), but, on account of Heath Ledger's death, Word of God has confirmed that the Joker will not be returning.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Tom Hardy described Bane's fighting style as this, less about a fair fight and more about caving your ribs in and crushing your skull.
  • Combat Stilettos: Catwoman apparently wears them.
    • The trailer shows her fighting in regular boots, but that could just be movie magic editing, since staging actual fight scenes with high heels is kind of...impossible. They did the same thing with Silk Spectre in Watchmen.
    • And then this poster pops up.
  • Darker and Edgier: Bane is every bit as formidable a fighter as in the comics, but his ostentatious luchadore gimmicky mask has been completely discarded, in favour of a rather intimidating looking breathing apparatus.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bane, in another villainous example. Even in his first scene he's snarking about how the CIA's pretend Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique is obviously fake, as it would be both illogical and dangerous to bother shooting a prisoner before you throw them out of a plane.
  • Death Faked for You: Bane fakes the death of his associate Dr. Pavel by taking a blood transfusion and injecting it into a corpse that's about to be mangled beyond recognition in a plane crash. It's also strongly implied that he plans to do far worse to Pavel once he gets him out of there.
  • The Dreaded: The trailers seem to indicate Bane is this; as even Catwoman states her fear of Bane.
  • Drop What You Are Doing: At one point in the film, Bane collapses most of a football field in the middle of a game. A single player makes it to safety in the endzone, then looks back on the gaping hole in the ground, dropping the ball in shock.
  • Evil Brit: How Bane has been reimagined.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Bane.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Corrupt Corporate Executive he may be, as well as the type to ruin people to come out on top such as Bruce Wayne, but when John Daggett learns the true scope of Bane's plans just before having his neck snapped by Bane, he whispers the latter is evil in a genuinely horrified tone at the inherent implications of Bane's plans for Gotham.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Invoked.

 Batman: Why didn't you just...kill me?

Bane: Your punishment must be more severe.


 Catwoman: My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men.

Batman: This isn't a car.

  • Forced to Watch: Judging from Bane's dialogue in the trailers, it seems he wants Batman to see Gotham burn before he kills him.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Bane asserts, "Nobody cared who I was until I put on the mask."
  • Genius Bruiser: Bane, if the prologue and trailers are anything to go by. This is accurate to the comics, and a marked contrast to most adaptations which portray him as Dumb Muscle. See the relevant page for more.
  • Handicapped Badass: Bane has been re-imagined as one of these. After receiving a bad injury in his backstory, he gets through the pain by wearing a mask that constantly supplies him with anesthetic gas.
  • High Altitude Interrogation: To gain information on Bane, a CIA operative interrogates his mooks by threatening to throw them out the open door of a plane in mid-flight.
  • Just Between You and Me: He pretty much exposits his plan to his enemies while captured. Justified, as he knew they wouldn't be able to live to talk about it, anyways.
  • Leitmotif: Bane gets his within the first six minutes of the film.
  • Masquerade Ball: One's going on in the theatrical trailer, with Bruce Wayne, Miranda Tate, and Selina Kyle in attendance.
  • Meaningful Echo: A stock broker at one point asks Bane the same question Carmine Falcone asked Batman almost a decade earlier.

 Broker: What are you?

Bane: I'm Gotham's reckoning.

  • Mythology Gag: The "R" in the cheer sign (0:12 in the trailer) is the logo of Red Robin.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted. After the first Tumbler was destroyed in the previous film, a number of replacements have been built. Unfortunately, Bane has at least some of them.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "Deshi Basara", Bane's thematic chant (although it's not Latin, but Moroccan Arabic meaning "He Rises").
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Catwoman.

 Bruce: (during the ball) It's a brazen costume for a cat burglar.

Selina: Yeah? Who are *you* pretending to be?

  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: Seems we'll get a heroic example with Bruce Wayne doing push-ups to get back in Batman shape while imprisoned.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Thanks to an online competition run by Hans Zimmer and UJAM, thousands of lucky fans will be doing the Ominous Latin Chanting in the final cut of the film.
  • Race Lift: Bane was half-Hispanic, half-Anglo-Brit in the comics, being the son of the English B-list Robin villain King Snake and an unnamed woman he had a brief affair with. In the film, he is played by the full Anglo-Brit Tom Hardy, though his accent is harder to place.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Going by how Dr. Pavel reacted when Bane got him out of the plane, it's likely that he willingly defected to the Bane's enemies' side and did not want to return to him.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Even though writing and production took place well in advance of the headlines in question, a very common reaction to the release of the second trailer is that Bane and Catwoman sound like they're organising the Occupy Gotham movement. Nolan even thought about filming footage of the Occupy protests for Rises, but ending up not doing so.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Said by Selina Kyle/Catwoman to Bruce Wayne/Batman at the Masquerade Ball.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have a Nuke: Literally. At the film’s football scene, Bane proclaims that he has hidden a nuke in Gotham, and an unknown trigger man would blow up the city if anyone would try to escape, or if the outside world tried to do something, rendering him basically untouchable.
  • Tagline: The Fire Rises and The Legend Ends.
  • Tempting Fate: According to the trailer, Gotham's mayor plans to fire Gordon, simply because a decorated hero cop who made his name fighting crazed supervillains isn't necessary in the now-peaceful climate. Yeah, they're going to feel very stupid by movie's end.
  • Time Skip: Takes place eight years after the previous film, according to Word of God.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Apparently, Bane allowed himself to be captured so his soldiers could then take over the plane and cause it to crash as part of his plan to bust out Dr. Pavel.
  • Tuckerization: At the football game, the visiting team's quarterback bears the name Ravenstahl, after current Mayor of Pittsburgh Luke Ravenstahl. The majority of filming for Rises was done in Pittsburgh.
    • The surviving home player in the end zone is real life Steelers player Hines Ward who was one of many current and former Steelers players involved in the filming. Steelers coach, Bill Cowher, even makes an appearance as the Gotham Rogues' team coach.
  • Undying Loyalty: Bane's underlings appear fanatically loyal to him. For instance, when he tells one of his mooks to remain on a crashing plane in order to fool the authorities[1], the mook simply nods happily... and asks an ominous question.

 Mook: Have we started the fire?

Bane: The fire rises.


  1. who are expecting to also find the body of a prisoner in the wreckage