Fans of Batman are always digging though the Dark Knight’s comic book archives when trying to predict where Christopher and Jonathan Nolan are going to take their hero next. But as The Dark Knight Rises comes more into focus following the release of a third TV spot, it’s becoming clear they might be taking their cues from an entirely different source: the Rocky franchise.
I’m kidding, of course, but there are a few odd parallels between what’s been teased in the trio of recent clips and Rocky III and Rocky IV – at least if you really want there to be. Most obviously, Bane is an amalgam of Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago, a brutally violent drug-enhanced freak. Like Rocky Balboa, Batman and Bruce Wayne are now enjoying the fruits of their labors and perhaps they’ve grown a little soft. Then, suddenly, Bane strikes, putting Commissioner Gordon in the hospital – read: Mickey’s death – and shaking Batman’s confidence. He’s got to get his mojo back to defend his honor and Gotham, but can he be that hero again? “You’re not Batman anymore,” whines Alfred, in the most recent TV spot. Ouch. That’s almost as harsh as Adrian shouting at Rocky from the top of the stairs in Rocky IV, “You can’t win!” Watch for more clues below.
Wait, there’s more. In a previous TV spot, we saw Bruce pleading with Lucius Fox to “get me back in the game.” And we saw an imprisoned Bruce getting back in shape with some push-ups. Cue up “Eye of the Tiger”! The only thing missing is him sparring with some sides of beef!
Like Rocky III, I am expecting two confrontations between our hero and his nemesis. The Dark Knight Rises trailers hint at one on the steps of the financial district and another in the dark, sweating belly of Gotham (perhaps Arkham?) Clubber destroyed Rocky in their first fight, practically breaking him completely. But he responded – reluctantly at first – by getting leaner and meaner for the rematch. In Rocky IV, he prepared himself for battle against a seemingly invincible foe by training in the solitude of a Russian cabin, which was practically a prison. This all plays out perfectly for Nolan’s Batman, and I’m really, really looking forward to the synthesizer-backed training montage that culminates with Bruce and Lucius man-hugging in the ocean surf.
Oh, and yes, Catwoman is clearly Hulk Hogan, a.k.a. Thunderlips.