One of the biggest criticisms of Chris Nolan’s “Dark Knight Trilogy” is that Bruce Wayne was only Batman for about a year. Before I continue, let’s be clear who is doing most of the complaining: A small segment of Batman fans. Why? Because Bruce Wayne chose NOT to be, well, "Batman Forever." And for some reason, this insults their personal Batman sensibilities.
1) Get over it.
2) So what?
Apparently, these folks didn’t pay attention to the films of the “Trilogy.” In Nolan’s cinematic adaptation of Batman, Bruce NEVER intended for Batman to be infinite.
In BATMAN BEGINS, Alfred asks Bruce how long he plans to stay in Gotham…
“As long as it takes.
I want to show the people…their city doesn't
belong to the criminals and the corrupt.”
In THE DARK KNIGHT, Bruce thought he had found Gotham’s “Hero without a mask” in the form of District Attorney Harvey Dent. As a result, he was ready to put The Batman to rest and get on with his life. Of course, The Joker prevented that from happening.
In THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, we found out that it had been eight years since “the last known sighting of The Batman.” Why did Bruce put the cape and cowl in the mothballs eight years prior despite the fact that Gotham’s White Knight, Harvey Dent, had died? As he tells a wounded Jim Gordon in the hospital…
“We won. The Batman was no longer needed.”
Despite fanboy claims that “Batman would never quit DAMMIT,” this version of Bruce Wayne didn’t plan to be Batman forever from the get-go. He didn’t declare a lifelong war on Gotham’s criminals, nor did he swear on the grave of his parents to make sure what happened to him wouldn't happen to anyone else. The Batman, in this adapted incarnation of Bruce Wayne, was to be a finite endeavor. The Dark Knight would cease to exist once Gotham no longer belonged to the criminals and the corrupt.
(And no, Bruce DID NOT quit over a woman...A WOMAN! That's another BS claim made by fanboys that's totally wrong. I won't go into why here, but I will direct you to a great article by Sean Gerber in which he explains why this claim is nothing but hogwash. >>> CLICK HERE TO READ AND LEARN!)
So, how long was the Bruce Wayne of “The Dark Knight Trilogy” Batman? Let’s take a look at the chronology of Mr. Nolan’s three Batman films to find out. While he might not have been “in the suit” for as long as many would like, Bruce Wayne was indeed “Batman” longer than critics realize.
Via THE DARK KNIGHT we can date “The Dark Knight Trilogy.” In that film, a bank security camera took a picture of The Joker during one of his heists on July 18, 2008 (which was the film’s release date, FYI). Therefore, we can conclude that the events of TDK took place during the Summer of 2008, about five months after the ending of BATMAN BEGINS.
When it comes to BATMAN BEGINS, the timespan of that film isn’t as short as its 2008 sequel due to the fact that it’s Batman’s origin film. Thus, a lot of Bruce’s BB (“Before Batman”) life is covered. Using the July 2008 info from TDK, we can determine that the Wayne’s were murdered c. 1986, Bruce ran away from Gotham in c. 2000, and spent seven years abroad “studying the criminal mind.” He also spent time in prison and learned to be the most badass ninja on the planet.
Bruce returns to Gotham in late 2007. Once he actually dons the cape and cowl, the “Batman events” of BEGINS take place during the latter part of 2007 ‘til early 2008.
The winter of 2007-2008 in Gotham must have been really mild. No snow! Anyway, as we already know when the events of TDK took place, let’s now address THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.
RISES begins in the Summer of 2016 on the eighth anniversary of the “murder” of the late Harvey Dent – AKA “Harvey Dent Day.” A few months later – early 2017 – a 39 year old Batman kicks Bane’s ass and saves Gotham City from nuclear annihilation at the hands of Talia Al Ghul and the League of Shadows.
Of course, there’s THIS…
I’d say all of that takes place through the remainder of 2017 on into early 2018. When Alfred sees a happy Bruce with Selina in Italy, Bruce is now 40 years old and, finally, happy.
So, exactly how long was Bruce Wayne Batman? If you simply count the time he spent in the suit, I’d say a year and a half. However, if one takes into account that from the moment his parents were murdered to the day he faked his death (while saving Gotham, FYI), he was in “Batman Mode” for 31 years. 31 years!
I couldn’t care less that “The Dark Knight Trilogy” didn’t go for the “never-ending battle against crime” like we see in the comics. For one thing, comics and films are two totally different mediums. If the comic book Batman actually had a story arc, there wouldn’t be any more Batman comics!
The "Trilogy" was never meant to go on and on and on until it was inevitably run into the ground. No, this was one story told in three parts. It had a beginning (BATMAN BEGINS), and middle (THE DARK KNIGHT), and an end (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES). Frankly, Nolan could’ve made Batman films for Warner Bros. ‘til the cows came home. But he chose not to do that – and that took some balls in my opinion. He had a story to tell, told it, and walked away from arguably the greatest comic book movie franchise in the history of cinema.
What some people don’t get, or won't accept, is the fact that Chris’ Batman films weren’t really about Batman. No, they were about Bruce Wayne.
We got to see the young Bruce learn to channel his rage and anger into the form of a “monster” in order to help and inspire the people of the city he loved.
We witnessed Bruce being teased into thinking a normal life was at hand, only to be snatched away from him by someone who simply wanted to watch the world burn.
"If you make yourself more than just a man.
If you devote yourself to an ideal.
You'll become something else entirely."
Finally, we got to cheer when we saw this man – Bruce Wayne – overcome all and go on to have a happy life. And while Bruce Wayne left his beloved Gotham City to have, well, A LIFE, he made sure that an everlasting, incorruptible symbol of inspiration and hope for the fine folks of Gotham City - The Batman - remained behind. - Bill "Jett" Ramey
A life-long Batman fan, "Jett" is the founder of BATMAN-ON-FILM.COM. He resides in the great state of Texas with his wife, three kids, and two Boston Terriers.