While Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is still a beloved DC film, The CW’s Arrow show manages to dodge one of the stranger decisions made in its plot.
While The Dark Knight Rises has received a significantly higher amount of critical acclaim than Arrow, there is one flaw that the CW show skirts around. Nolan’s Batman films are often regarded as the benchmark for when superhero films started gaining serious traction – as individuals who would have been embarrassed to admit to watching the likes of Batman & Robin happily ascribed themselves as fans of The Dark Knight trilogy. While Arrow embraced some of the exaggerated aspects of DC comics more readily, the fact it was at its core a drama television show that happened to be about a masked vigilante meant it too was able to garner an audience who weren’t necessarily invested in the world of costumed superheroes beforehand.
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However, the different mediums and aims of the two franchises meant the majority of their pros and cons were different. The Dark Knight Rises is still deservedly regarded as a stellar film, but it’s also often considered the weakest of the trilogy, as a large number of villains and arcs to tie up muddy its waters due to the film having so much to sort through in under three hours. Arrow, meanwhile, has far more time to dedicate to its enormous cast, but often suffers from having to instigate continual plot twists and dramatic turns in attempts to keep viewers invested for the entire eight seasons of the show.
This said, Arrow‘s focus on giving the majority of its cast detailed arcs does allow it to dodge one questionable aspect of Nolan’s films – namely, the way in which the figure of Talia is used in the film series. Though the reveal that Miranda Tate was an alias for Ra’s Al Ghul’s villainous daughter was an interesting plot twist, it was largely wasted by the fact that she only appears as a villain in the final scenes of the film, and then feels like an unnecessary addition when she does so. It is understandable why this happened, as it appears the choice was either to not include Talia Al Ghul at all – leaving out a crucial member of the Al Ghul family – or to include her in a way that didn’t split the film’s time even further and take too much focus off of Bane. Arrow doesn’t make Talia the sacrificial lamb of airtime, and allows her to have both far more screentime, and an arc that doesn’t feel somewhat tacked on to spice up the overall end product.
Both versions of Talia hold true to the comics, which portray Ra’s Al Ghul’s progeny as willing to stop at nothing to achieve victory, and this ruthlessness is perhaps the most important part of the character. But by allowing Talia more screen time as a villain, Arrow makes her more intimidating and a far more interesting villain, instead of one whose motivations and entire personality have to be explained in the final stretch of the plot.
The Dark Knight Rises is still an enjoyable film in spite of this unusual handling of Talia – and similarly, Arrow is not a perfect show in spite of its somewhat better handling of the character. But with the world of superhero shows and films not being such an abundant land, this serves as a reminder that every film and show have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the fact two series can handle the same character in such different ways is a testament to the longevity the genre should prosper from.
Next: Dark Knight Rises: Ra’s al Ghul’s Cameo & “Immortality” Explained
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