Why do we fall? Once upon a time Thomas Wayne asked his son the same question.

It all began in gothic Gotham. Painted with a cyberpunk stroke, artist Christopher Nolan shed old light on new shadows. Ra’s Al Ghul was introduced as both Bruce Wayne’s sensei and adversary. Following his demise the stygian skies struck a smile, the Joker showed how serious the locals could be. So much so that he turned the heart of Harvey Dent, and the shade of the chivalrous hero.

Fallen: an eight year downward spiral ensued after Senator Dent and his bride-to-be bit the dust. Batman was no more and Bruce was broken. Self-loathing was his mistress until Catwoman came along. Played by the lovely Anne Hatheway, Ms. Kyle is reinterpreted for the third time in cinematic history. Her daring assault on Wayne Manor kick starts the conclusion. She swipes a set of memorable pearls, but Bruce believes she’s more than mischievous. He sees something he needed to, a reason to start over.

Batman was born as a symbol. Fear was what it meant, and fear is what he is forced to face at the hands of Bane. Sure he’d faced other iterations of the same, but none so pure, none so calm. Bane stands as a virtuous villain. Though his acts are grossly immoral his motivation is everything but. Herein lays the genius behind the Dark Knight Rises, and the entire trilogy to boot. Evil exists within everyone; the point is not to eradicate it from others, but to control it within one’s self.

The entire rogue’s gallery, from the first film to the last, has noble causes behind their crimes. Bruce Wayne is taxed because of this. It’s easy to fight evil; it’s harder to find it. By the time the caped crusader defeats the masked marauder he realizes that within his enemy is an equal. Bane, like himself, loves whole-heartedly and fights for said organs sake. It’s a sobering site to see; it’s a sacrifice not to go unnoticed. And so, Bruce Wayne disappears in order to observe it. Batman doesn’t. No, the cape and cowl are a symbol, and great ones never fade.

Nevertheless, they do fall. Without descending into the abyss how can one rise? And therein lays the answer to Thomas Wayne’s question. Why do we fall? So we can learn to get back up.

…May we remember that those before us struggled to succeed in hopes that one day we would learn to do the same.