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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Rachel is one of the best examples.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Depending on how you interpret some of the Crane's dialogue, he could be either a Complete Monster or a strong case of Even Evil Has Standards. When Falcone says there's "an answer" to idealistic prosecutors, Crane says he doesn't want to know. Is it indignation, or just fear of the potential consequences of knowing that information? When Ducard says that Crane thought the league's plan was to hold Gotham to ransom, does this mean he wouldn't have supported genocide, or that he only got involved because he saw something in it for him?
    • The CEO who takes over Wayne Enterprises after Thomas & Martha's deaths can fall victim to this. Is he a Jerkass Regent for Life for refusing to hand the company over to Bruce; or is he justified in not handing the company over to Bruce, as young Master Wayne was pronounced dead several years ago and has no experience in the business world? Is he a Jerkass for firing Lucius Fox, or is he simply cutting costs by ditching a division that's losing them money?
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced: "Yeah that's a interesting line of thought Lieutenant Gordan is having with Batman...hmm okay there's been a robbery...oh, that's an interesting turn of events."
    • As the trope entry reminds us, a lot of people were leery about the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker until they saw clips of his performance.
    • Also, the idea of a Batman anime made some fans leery, until the name Kevin Conroy showed up.
    • The series essentially started with this. After the Joel Schumacher films, another Batman film (proper origin story or not) wasn't something anyone was getting terribly excited about. Until it was announced that it would be from the same director as Memento and starring Patrick Bateman that fans had any hope that it would be worth getting excited about.
    • For The Dark Knight Rises, Tom Hardy as Bane. Cranked Up to Eleven when the first photo came out.
    • For some, the fact that the film won't be in 3D.
    • The prologue. Even if we couldn't understand what Bane was saying, it was clear that Nolan was writing him as a Genius Bruiser, something that Bane has had trouble with for years now.
    • For anyone that didn't have the Alas, Poor Scrappy reaction, Rachel Dawes going explodey.
  • Award Snub: A superhero movie was always going to have difficulty cracking into the Oscars, but this was made worse by the fact that most of the nominated movies (including the eventual winner) didn't receive nearly the amount of critical or public acclaim as The Dark Knight did, and yet The Dark Knight wasn't even nominated. It's said that the resulting outcry is at least partly responsible for the Academy deciding to nominate ten movies for Best Picture in 2010 instead of the traditional five.
    • It's even more blatantly egregious than that: if you look at the WGA, DGA, Producer's Guild and other awards, the movies other than The Reader (a movie that tanked at the box office and received middling reviews... but with Oscar Bait content up the gazoo) are there along with The Dark Knight. Theories range from the Academy's elderly contingent weighing in to Academy higher-ups deliberately meddling to keep their artistic cache. Either way, it backfired.
    • Although this was at least partially averted with Heath Ledger's shoo-in win for Best Supporting Actor. He was the first actor ever to do so by starring in a superhero film.
    • It probably helped, though, that Joker has no superpowers to speak of...save perhaps for his unique psyche. Of course, Ledger's death didn't do his chances any harm.
  • Badass Decay: In the span of the first movie, Scarecrow goes from Big Bad, to getting taken down in a matter of seconds by Rachel Dawes. In the next movie, he is no longer working for the League of Shadows and turning mob bosses insane. Instead, he's just a glorified drug dealer who is fodder for a Batman Cold Open.
    • Fridge Brilliance: Crane never really comes into his own as a Big Bad. In fact, The Reveal in Batman Begins shows he was never the Big Bad at all. So why the drastic Badass Decay if he was never a badass at all? The decay happens because the viewers and Batman alike are no longer scared of him.
  • Complete Monster: Various versions of The Joker fall into this category, but the Heath Ledger version is widely regarded as one of THE darkest and cruelest version of him EVER.
  • Crazy Awesome: The Joker.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The Joker spends the whole movie dancing back and forth across this line while laughing maniacally, amused by the fact you think there's a line in the first place.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome:
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: When the citizens on the boats refuse to blow each other up. Cue almost-Villainous Breakdown for The Joker and Batman smugly telling him "What were you trying to prove? That deep down everyone's as ugly as you? No. You're alone." Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: When your films are scored by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, what else can you expect?
    • The Dark Knight Rises will be done without JNH's input due to scheduling conflicts. Only time will tell if the musical cart is upset because of this.
  • Downer Ending: The Dark Knight. It's got a Downer Beginning and a Downer Middle as well. There's sort of an uplifting three-quarter point, but that's after two Downer Hours.
  • Deconstruction Fic: Has several fics that deconstruct the Rape Is Love and OC/Joker Rape Fic genre.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Johnathan Crane, thanks to being played by the handsome Cillian Murphy.
    • The Joker. Yes, even with the scars.
    • Harvey Dent, believe it or not. Due partially to being so tragic and partially to being played by Aaron Eckhart.
    • Ra'as Al-Ghul Henri Ducard also gets this treatment due to many thinking that his stance on criminals and Gotham City's fate is correct.
  • Ear Worm: The first minute of Joker's theme song, "Why So Serious." Watching scenes using it could sometimes leave one so fixated on it that the sound of a lawnmower would remind them of it.
  • Ending Fatigue: At a little over two and a half hours, The Dark Knight wears some viewers out in the final third. This is partly due to the Harvey Dent/Two-Face subplot being wrapped up after the defeat of the Joker, the Big Bad, in a sequence that is dialogue-driven as opposed to the action in the Joker's.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The black guy on the ferry. He's an unnamed character that is on the screen for less than 1/20 of the movie, yet his scene is one of the most remembered ones.
    • It doesn't hurt that the character is played by Tommy Lister.
    • The bank manager at the beginning of the Dark Knight is also loved by many for being a total badass for blowing away most of the bank robbers with a shotgun before being taken down by the Joker.
    • Scarecrow, for being a Large Ham.
    • The CIA Man.
    • Catwoman, for capturing the spirit of the character.
  • Epileptic Trees: After the first movie came out, there was much debate on whether Ducard was Ra's Al Ghul all along or if he inherited the title from the character Ken Watanabe played after he was killed.
    • After all Ra's Al Ghul means "The Head of the Demon", so it could pretty much be a title held by the League's leader
    • Also whether Harvey Dent is dead. Word of God says he is, and it was also confirmed via an eulogy in the Dark Knight Rises. But for a time, not even the actor playing him knew.
  • Even Better Sequel: Batman Begins is widely seen as a great reboot to the Batman film franchise. But the quality of The Dark Knight, with its writing, and Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning performance as The Joker means The Dark Knight is widely seen as superior, and it also ended up being one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
  • Evil Is Cool: Let's face it: as much of an irredeemable monster as the Joker is, he's just too funny, awesome, and entertaining to be truly hateable.
    • Bane gets this as well for being a calculating evil genius that could put even the Joker to shame at moments. His voice certainly helps his popularity as well, given how it sounds like a cross between Sean Connery and Darth Vader.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow has tons of fangirls due to his effeminate good looks. It's worth noting that he was usually portrayed in the comics as a creepy, scrawny nerd instead of an attractive man like his actor Cillian Murphy.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The Dark Knight ends with Alfred, Bruce, and Gordon all concluding that sometimes a symbol matters more than the man behind the symbol, even if you have to take ethically troublesome steps to protect its power.
  • Fan Dumb/Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Fans of Heath Ledger's Joker can be a bit rabid at times. Woe to anyone who enjoys this movie and Ledger's performance but still prefers Jack Nicholson's Joker overall.
    • At times? Shoot, you can't watch a single Batman 89 or Returns clip on Youtube without one of them putting their two cents in (and 9 out of 10 times it's unprovoked). I suppose they haven't heard of a "different opinion".
    • Then there's the people who manipulated the IMDb to put the film helming the Top 250 (by giving 10 to The Dark Knight - mostly before release - and 1 to then-first The Godfather).
    • Fans have also been known to Troll movie sites, particularly IMDB, and insult people at random simply for enjoying non-Christopher Nolan Batman films. This is despite the fact that many people enjoy the Dark Knight Saga as well as other films.
  • Fountain of Memes: Most of the most memorable quotes from The Dark Knight came from the Joker.
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: Hong Kong actor Edison Chen, the man you can hear asking Lucius to hand over his mobile phone in the beginning of the Hong Kong scenes. Chen had just been involved in a Real Life scandal, where the people repairing his laptop went the extra mile to upload his Porn Stash to the internet - including nude photos of several of his Production Posse. Bear in mind that the ending of The Dark Knight involves a city-wide breach of privacy...
    • Also, Alfred's early throwaway line to Harvey Dent takes on a much different meaning after Rachel's death. "You've known her her whole life, haven't you?" "Not yet." Ouch.
    • The entire saga is filled with moments of this nature.
  • Genre Turning Point: Batman Begins popularized the concept of Continuity Reboot for superhero movies and grittier, more realistic superhero storylines in general. The Dark Knight is one of the very few comic book films to break free from the ghetto and be accepted as an example of fine cinema, highly raising the overall prestige of the genre.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Ducard's Freudian Excuse from Batman Begins, in light of what happened to the actor who played him.
    • Even worse in the third film, after you learn everything regarding his relationship with his wife.
    • In the same film, the scene where Wayne gets arrested near Wayne Enterprises property becomes this when reading this story.
    • The comparisons to the Great Depression, in light of the ongoing economic crisis.
    • Also, the sequel has Joker's "I think you and I are destined to do this forever" line.
    • The Dark Knight Rises involves various destructive riots in Gotham after an era of relative stability. Keep in mind that the script and production occured before the advent of the Occupy movement.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The Joker's leitmotif, an incredibly creepy rising whine of Psycho Strings.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Heath Ledger hitting on Jake Gyllenhall's sister.
  • Hollywood Homely: Played straight with Gary Oldman.
  • HSQ: Extremely high.
  • Iron Woobie: Bruce.
  • It Was His Sled: Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face. Seriously people, the character has existed since 1942. There's a statute of limitations on this sort of thing. Of course, there was the question of whether he'd do it in this film or it would be saved for a future installment.
    • For the third movie Bane breaking Batman's back. It's almost impossible to not know that these days due to that being Bane's claim to fame.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Jim Gordon's "death", especially considering we all know him as "Commissioner Gordon" and he hadn't actually become the commissioner yet.
    • And subverted, rather brutally, with Rachel's death.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The Joker is a rare agreed-upon example of a Magnificent Bastard. He's a mass-murdering Monster Clown. There should be nothing appealing about him at all, except that he's really funny.
    • Henry Ducard / Ra's al-Ghul.
    • Catwoman, Bane, and Talia al-Ghul all qualify in one way or another, but Bane certainly takes the cake.
    • Mr. Lau gets the Gotham mob to go along with a plan that involved taking all of their money at once before even asking them and moving it to a location he doesn't tell them, and he hints that he plans to personally make off with at least a substantial amount of it, even after the rest of the mob falls to Harvey Dent's plan.
  • Marty Stu: Subverted in the person of Harvey Dent, a handsome-as-hell, lantern-jawed, blue-eyed, blond-haired manly man's man who waltzes into the movie to steal both Bruce Wayne's girlfriend and Batman's crime-fighting thunder. He's quick-witted, fearless, and willing to continue examining a witness who's just tried to kill him in open court. The subversion kicks in (and hard) when Dent incurs a traumatic loss similar to the one that created Batman. Unlike Bruce, he doesn't react in the most constructive fashion, and loses his Marty Stu polish accordingly.
  • Memetic Badass: The Bank Manager, strangely enough. The CIA Man too.
  • Memetic Mutation: All together now -- "Why... so... serious?"
    • LET'S PUT A SMILE ON THAT FACE!
    • Raise your hand if you want to see a magic trick.
    • Hell, anything involving the Joker.
      • A common meme is to just superimpose Batman, the Joker, Dent, Gordon, and Crane's faces on just about any picture or gif with a group of people.
      • Responding to an unrelated query about how to do something or what to do with "It's simple. We kill the Batman."
    • "You have any idea who you're stealing from?! YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD!!!!"
    • Also a whole slew of comics like these, using the same template. Usually a shot at either Heath Ledger's death, or his role in Brokeback Mountain.
    • Alfred wants to tell you about that time with the tangerine...
    • AFLONG AFLONGKONG[1]
    • "I'm not wearing hockey pads!"
      • What's the difference between you and me? And then some people have made it so the Batman gives tons of reasons why they're different. "I don't eat cocoa puffs." for example.
    • "Not the X we deserve, but the X we need right now."
      • The slightly mutated "I am the hero that Gotham deserves."
    • "Some men just want to watch the world burn."
    • The Joker's entire speech about how he got his scars gets parodied a lot, with most words getting replaced like it was Mad Libs. Example: "Why So British?"
    • And of course: WHEREARETHEY?!?!?
    • The Dark Knight Rises hasn't even been released yet and it's already gotten a meme: Bane's Chant Makes Everything Epic. Because... it kinda does.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order. Base your decisions on the philosophy of an amoral lunatic. Granted, the Joker probably didn't change many minds when he identified himself as "an agent of chaos," but when he puts it so brilliantly...
    • There's also a similar Misaimed Fandom towards Ra's al Ghul. Consider, for example, this video, where some users in the comments section were saying they prefer Ra's al Ghul's philosophy to Batman's, even going so far as to say that Ra's al Ghul had the right idea whereas Batman was just foolishly defending a city with no hope. For what it's worth, there's a difference between agreeing with a Nietzsche Wannabe Complete Monster and agreeing with a Knight Templar Well-Intentioned Extremist, but the overall issue is pretty much the same; people agreeing with the villain a little more than the director probably intended.
    • And in The Dark Knight Rises, this kind of reaction happened towards Bane as well. Many people consider Bane to be a revolutionary hero for allowing people (Mostly dangerous criminals) to turn against Gotham's wealthy elite. While a lot of people understandably find it very cathartic to see corrupt people get what's coming to them, it still doesn't change the fact that Bane is turning Gotham City into an anarchic hellhole and truly doesn't care about freeing the "oppressed" either for that matter.
  • Misaimed Marketing: While not as bad as the Batman Returns fiasco, it's still jarring to see toys for kids being sold as tie-ins for The Dark Knight, a movie whose PG-13 rating is extremely lenient.
  • Mondegreen: From the second film: Lucius Fox's "Aflong aflongkong!" He's actually saying "What's wrong with a phone call?"
    • In the third film, Catwoman's "My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men" has been misheard by some as "Another war made by getting into cars with strange men."
  • Moral Event Horizon: In Batman Begins, the League Of Shadows crosses this upon actually dispersing Crane's fear toxin. Their claims earlier on that Gotham was beyond saving could have been interpreted as a Secret Test of Character, and even if not, there was nothing in the movie that could rule out them being convinced otherwise... and then when they explained their means of destroying it there was nothing to rule out that they could have been talked out of THAT. But once they actually went through with said means of destruction, they were definitely beyond redemption like they claimed Gotham to be.
    • As for The Dark Knight, good luck guessing which of The Joker's numerous evil deeds was his Moral Event Horizon, but the organized crime community as a whole arguably crossed this by hiring the Joker in the first place, as was implied by one of Bruce Wayne's lines following the deaths of Loeb and Surrillo, a line used in one of the earlier trailers...

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

    • Let's not forget Harvey Dent threatening to kill Gordon's family in front of him at the end of the film.
      • Actually, it's implied that he was only threatening to kill Gordon's son, and he was going to use a coin flip to decide whether or not to actually do it. Still pretty heinous though.
    • We've only seen trailers for The Dark Knight Rises, but we've already lost all sympathy for the Nolan version of Bane after that clip of Gordon in critical condition at the hospital (and it's implied that Bane was the one that put him there, since Catwoman wouldn't be so monstrous).
      • And now he's blown up a footbal field. During the game. Oh, and he breaks Batman's back too. And he's also rigged the entire city of Gotham to blow while he's allowing violent criminals to take over the city while the military can do nothing to stop him.
  • Older Than They Think: The Joker murdering someone with a writing utensil? Sounds awfully familiar...
  • Ruined FOREVER: The following items are unanimously agreed to have ruined the franchise by fans, long before anyone sees the final product in action:
    • The casting of Christian Bale had fans complaining that the first film was going to be "Psycho Batman". Apparently, actors can only play one type of character.
    • The first official production photo (of the Tumbler) from Begins. "Wait, the Batmobile is now a tank? WTF?!?"
    • The first photos of Christian Bale in the Begins suit, which prompted cries of "he looks emo" and "the suit is too puffy!" The reveal of the TDK suit was met with fan complaints that the suit wasn't badass enough, and that the cowl was too big for the rest of the suit.
    • Any of the villains announced in the sequels:
      • When Heath Ledger was announced as the Joker, some fans complained that he was just a "pretty boy" who didn't have the acting ability to pull off the role - or that he didn't look like the Joker at all, being too handsome for it and having a different facial shape than the long narrow face Joker is usually drawn with. The release of the first official still of the Joker (from a viral campaign) led to the "permawhite" controversy, where flame wars broke out over whether the character's skin should have stayed permanently dyed white as in the comics, instead of face-painted. This is lampshaded in the final film by having two of the clown robbers from the opening sequence debate whether the "rumors" about the Joker wearing war paint are true.
      • "Harvey Dent only becomes Two-Face near the end of the film? It sucks!"
      • Tom Hardy being cast as Bane was met with this, as some people believe that he's too short [2]. Also, he's apparently too "outlandish" and "cartoonish" for the Dark Knight universe.
      • Anne Hathaway as Catwoman (and the flame wars about her suit). Warner Bros. deliberately released the first official photo of her (sitting on the Batpod) in the middle of an August night (at 4 in the morning) to head off fan complaints (as well as complaints about her costume from footage shot by fans).
      • Bane's voice was met with a bit of mockery, though this voice was later remixed to make it sound more coherent.
      • In a specifically annoying case, some comic fans were up in arms that Anne Hathaway was not hot enough and did not possess the correct assets to play Catwoman. Her acting ability was not discussed].
  • The Scrappy: Rachel Dawes. The recasting arguably led to her being Rescued From the Scrappy Heap; unfortunately, it was just a prelude to being Stuffed Into the Fridge.
  • Straw Man Has a Point: At one point Lucius Fox bemoans that the government didn't consider a soldier's life worth $300,000 for a high-tech bodysuit. Actually the government would have to spend $437,058,600,000. That's just for the suits, and just one of each for each member of active duty military personnel, not counting replacements and spares (of the suits) and reservists (of the personnel). And that's for a suit that Bruce apparently couldn't turn his head very well in in its original iteration. Just to be clear, that's already approaching the budget for the entire US military. Add in the additional costs of suits for reservists and everyone having at least one spare in case theirs was destroyed in combat, and the suits would cost almost four times the entire military's budget, just for ground troop body armor.
  • True Art Is Angsty: The Dark Knight is easily the darkest film adaptation of Batman ever made. It's also the most critically-acclaimed. The Dark Knight Rises is about the same, maybe even moreso.
  • Villain Decay: Scarecrow. He starts off as the Big Bad of Batman Begins, or so we think. Ra's Al Ghul returns, revealing that Scarecrow is just The Dragon. It gets worse when he is taken down in the end by Rachel Dawes and a stun gun. He shows up at the beginning of the Dark Knight as a lowly drug dealer and is quickly apprehended by the end of the scene.
    • Intentional to show the effect Batman is having and to show that the days of the Mob are over and replaced by men like The Joker.
    • Although Scarecrow's challenge to Batman has always been a psychological one. Once Batman created an antidote to the toxin, Scarecrow is just a skinny guy in a burlap mask.
    • Thankfully, this has been rectified in the Dark Knight Rises. After Bane takes over Gotham City, he runs the new corrupt court used for sentencing all law officials to their deaths, and takes a lot of glee in doing so.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not for Kids?: The Dark Knight is rated PG-13, and many think the MPAA was too lenient with the rating. It is definitely not a children's movie.
    • Though, to be fair, Nolan went out of his way to avoid sex, visible blood, and swearing, the MPAA's only real standards for R ratings. Sort of a Genre Savvy for filmmaking on his part. If the MPAA was really about determining what children should see, their standards would be much different, and Dark Knight would not have been PG-13. For that reason, and that reason only, may it also fall under What Do You Mean It's for Kids?.
    • A good deal of younger demographic merchandise was also released including snack foods, LEGO sets, and children's books.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Political?: Word of God denies it, but there's too many allegories for aspects of the war on terror to simply overlook it. Go to the trope's page for a better explaination.
    • The disturbingly realistic style in which exploding buildings and subsequent wreckage were shot can't help but evoke 9/11 somewhat. There's a reason people referred to Joker as a terrorist in the film.
    • The use of unwitting Gotham residents' cell phones as a kind of sonar absolutely reeks of current political battles over the legality of wiretapping calls overseas. It seems to come out vaguely in favor of its use in extremely limited situations, but also recognizes that those uses must be accounted for as Lucius and Bruce destroy the surveillance device once the Joker is apprehended.
      • And it's worth pointing out that Lucius' own reaction to the revelation of the sonar-net is "What The Hell, Bruce"?
    • Selina Kyle/Catwoman's statement to Bruce at the costume party calls to mind a lot of the current rhetoric surrounding the Occupy Wall Street movement.
  • The Woobie: Poor Bruce Wayne, and poor Harvey Dent.
    • Also Rachel Dawes in the second movie. Of course, the actress is good at playing the woobie, so it probably isn't deliberate.
  • WTH? Casting Agency: Many were leery about casting Heath Ledger as The Joker. As everyone knows by now, he proved them all wrong.
    • And with Rises, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Tom Hardy as Bane.

Notes

  1. He's actually saying "What's wrong with a phone call?"
  2. Hardy is 5'10; comic Bane is 6'8; for comparison, Bale is 6'1, and so in the film Batman is the taller character.