Christopher Nolan managed to bring a new look to the legend of Batman that many people responded to in a positive way, but there’s no doubt that The Dark Knight was one of the absolute best movies ever, thanks to the villain, and not so much the hero. Let’s be fair, Christian Bale’s version of Batman was well-liked and it became one of the better representations in the movies. But the level that Heath Ledger was operating managed to captivate people in an irreversible way, as moving forward, the comparisons to the character that he recreated have continued unabated. The saddening loss of Ledger as a person and as an actor was hard for many people to deal with since not only was he a great actor, he was the type of person that gave so much to his craft that people believed in his characters and couldn’t help but wonder what he was going to do next. That brings up the idea of what might have happened had he survived and been a part of The Dark Knight Rises.
Can anyone imagine that? Bringing the Joker into the mix that Bane created in the third movie, along with the presence of the Scarecrow, and perhaps even a revived Ra’s al Ghul, in the third movie. Then think about the fact that Catwoman took her sweet time in helping Batman do anything, and set him up for Bane at one point. Now imagine that Bane, the Joker, Scarecrow, and even Ra’s found a way to coexist and bring Gotham to heel. Would anyone survive? Would Batman have a chance when being pitted against a few of his most dangerous enemies? Some would likely say ‘of course he would’ since it’s Batman, he always has a plan, and he’s always ready for whatever is thrown at him.
People tend to assume that Batman can do anything because in the comics he’s taken on a mass number of thugs, gangsters, and other individuals over the years, all at once, and come out the other side still standing. But those were thugs who didn’t have the level of training that his villains did or the utter madness that someone like the Joker did. Plus, if Batman’s enemies, such as Ra’s al Ghul, know who he is behind the mask, there’s an even greater danger since they could strike at him in more than one way. This means that had the four villains mentioned been able to pull together and pool their resources it feels likely that they might be able to cover every front that Batman would be able to throw up, and it might be that he wouldn’t be able to come up with a contingency plan that would work in this instance. But this is Batman, right? He’s supposed to have a plan for everything, he’s supposed to be tough enough to overcome anything, and do whatever it takes to win the day, right? Every hero has their limits though, and Batman has taken his lumps quite often against one villain or another in the past. But against multiple villains, especially those who know his identity and what he’s capable of, it feels as though he might eventually break.
The Dark Knight Rises feels as though it would have been far more chaotic had the villains from the previous two movies been there and been able to band together. It also feels that there would have been too many fronts to fight on, even for Batman. But it does stand to reason that it would have taken too much for the villains to get along and work together, as their goals might have been too different to see them unite in a manner that would overcome Batman’s abilities. The Joker and Bane might have been able to work together since their ultimate goal revolved around destruction and anarchy, but they might have diverged at one point. Ra’s al Ghul obviously worked well enough with Scarecrow for a while, but the one thing that’s evident with villains is that one way or another, they’re bound to implode when it comes to working together. This is either a flaw in their character design, or something that would naturally happen, and it’s usually their downfall.
But despite this possibility, the third movie would have been far more chaotic had the villains been able to band together and take out their one shared objective: Batman. But again there would be a schism since one thing that needs to be remembered is that the Joker won’t kill Batman, while Bane might take things that far. Scarecrow doesn’t appear to have much skin in the game as far as that goes, and as far as Ra’s al Ghul goes, anything could happen. Had Heath Ledger been alive for the third movie, it does feel as though it would have been a great chance to pull out all the stops.
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