By no means did any of these subplots really detract from the film overall, it’s just that if they had been missing, I can’t say I would have noticed, and it would have definitely freed up some screen time to dedicate to other aspects I would have liked to see more of.
While I kept my review spoiler free, the very nature of this article delves into various plot points of the film. So if you haven’t seen the movie, it might not be a bad idea to wait and read this after….I’ll wait. Done? Great, let’s move on.
Foley (Matthew Modine) Getting his Balls Back
This is one aspect (and character) in the film that I felt really didn’t serve much of an overall purpose, outside of fleshing out the cast. Foley’s not a bad character, but I never felt his story added much to the plot of the film. To be honest, outside of being another cop to talk with Blake and Gordon, I couldn’t figure out why he was even around.
At the beginning of the film he didn’t add much to the plot. In fact, he kept fucking up and Jim Gordon had to rein him in a bit. Then once Gotham is taken over Foley goes into hiding with his family, and is reluctant help fight back. In essence, he’s turned tail and is afraid. He gets a good dressing down from Gordon and by the final confrontation he finds his balls and joins the battle.
This is all well and good for a personal journey, and ties into the theme of the people fighting back for their town, and standing up to injustice…but as far as the overall story goes, he was wasting a lot of screen time. If Foley had not been a character in the film, I can’t say that I would have missed anything. Instead it seemed like he took screentime that could have been better used on other police officers like Gordon or Blake, since they were integral to the story. While I liked the character and the small plot-line in general, when compared to the rest of the film, it felt like ‘fat’ that could have been trimmed.
Miranda Tate/Bruce Wayne Relationship
Miranda Tate was an…interesting character. Outside of the one major plot revelation near the end of the film I can’t say that she was all that interesting of a character. She was integral to getting Bruce Wayne out of his self-imposed exile and ‘recovered’ from the loss of his previous love. Yet their entire relationship and dynamic was one of the few things that felt unnatural in the film.
It didn’t feel forced or anything, but it felt more convenient. There wasn’t a lot of lead-up to it or explanation for why it happened in the first place. To tell the truth, when Bruce and Miranda kissed I couldn’t figure out exactly why. It just didn’t seem like a logical progression for their characters.
Especially considering that by the end of the film Bruce ends up with Selina anyway, this whole relationship just felt superfluous. I would have much rather used up this screen time to focus more on the Bruce and Selina relationship, to make their bond stronger, and the ending of the film that much more impactful.
Bruce Wayne Needing a Cane
When the first few trailers started coming out for Dark Knight Rises, it was pretty evident that Bruce Wayne was using a cane to hobble around. This led to speculation that he’d been injured by the film’s villain and would have to overcome this malady in order to save the day…Well that’s not exactly what happened.
Bruce has his cane at the very start of the film, and despite a rather humorous trip to the doctor in the film, it’s not fully explained why he needs it. It’s assumed that through his time as Batman, the punishment he put his body through finally caught up with him. This makes a certain amount of sense, but it didn’t really factor into the plot in a significant way.
By the very nature of it, you expect them to spend some time showing him having to overcome his injuries, yet all he does is slap on some sort of knee brace that allows him to walk around and fight like normal. I can’t imagine Bane letting him keep this knee brace when he banished Bruce to the prison, yet his knee problems don’t come up again. For all intents and purposes, the injury just disappears and it’s not ever brought up again.
Because the problem with his knees is no longer acknowledged and plays no part in the finale, I wondered why it was even in the film to begin with. In all of the stuff they had to establish in the first 45 minutes of the film, I think leaving out the cane would have been a lot easier and allowed them to expand on some other plot lines.
Like I said, none of these things really ruin the film. Taken as they are, one can just see these subplots as a way to expand the overall ‘Dark Knight‘ universe. For me, however, I would have just liked to see the screen time used on these ultimately insignificant plots, for the more interesting aspects of the film. I still enjoyed the movie and plan on seeing it a few more times (and hope you will as well).