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In the final scene of The Dark Knight, we see Batman go on a final confrontation with the corrupted Dent.

Dent, hell bent on making Batman and Gordon pay for Rachel's death, flips his trademark coin to decide the fate of the 3, Gordon being replaced with his son.

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Batman's fate turns out poor, while Dent escapes, however, Gordon's fate seemingly is decided as poor and Dent prepares to shoot the boy. In a quick act, Batman lunges at Dent and both of them fall a few stories down the blown up building.

The Joker: Oh, you. You just couldn't let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible, aren't you? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won't kill you because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.

(emphasis mine)

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We have confirmation from Nolan that these events killed Harvey Dent and actually set into motion the events of The Dark Knight Rises.

Does this mean the Joker actually won, and caused Batman to break his one rule?

The Joker: You have these rules, and you think they'll save you.

Batman: I have one rule.

The Joker: Oh, then that's the rule you'll have to break to know the truth.

Anyone that knows Batman mythos knows that Batman's one rule is never kill.

A similar thing happens at the end of Batman Begins. While Batman and Ra's are duking it out on the train, it turns out to be just a distraction while Gordon derails it. Batman then claims to Ra's:

Ra's al Ghul: Have you finally learned to do what is necessary?

Bruce Wayne: I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you.

Allowing Ra's to die.

Do these two events actually count as Batman breaking his One Rule? Or are they actually excusable occurrences due to the nature of events.

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4 Answers 4

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Batman has more than one rule, but his one line that he refuses to cross his one thing that would turn him from a crusader into a villain is that he does not kill. Now only taking Christopher Nolan's Batman into consideration than yes he did break this rule by directly causing Harvey's fall that accidentally killed him.

Let's look at the scene: Batman is shot, Dent is safe and the boys fate is undecided. Batman can't let a coin determine his fate. He lunges at Dent and the boy and they all three go over the edge. Despite his armor he is injured and not at full strength. He is only able to save the boy before he himself falls after Dent. Crashing through more stuff than Dent ( he was pushed far enough out he was clear and may have survived normally if he wasn't in such a badly burned condition) getting more injured on the way down and falling near Dent.

Later on when talking to Gordon: "You either Die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I can do those things, because I'm not a hero, like Dent. I killed those people. That's what I can be." ----- "I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be."

It's a great and powerful scene but in it's essence is one man pushing another man off a building and killing him (while saving an innocent boy) and then taking on the blame for not only his death but the deaths caused by Dent as well. Batman is not just telling Gordon that he killed Dent he is saying that he killed those people. Batman feels directly responsible for their death and in Harvey's case is directly responsible. This is the true genius of Nolan's Batman, he not only made him real and plausible he makes him constantly trying to figure out what he's doing, why is he doing it and has he gone to far? He made Batman break his most important rule.

A lot of fans don't want to admit that Batman killed. An accidental killing doesn't count as breaking his rule they say, but to Batman it does count. It will haunt him. The deaths Two-Face caused will haunt him. HE takes the blame for everything that happened. He pushed Two-Face off of a building and he died. The line has been crossed. How will he deal with it? How will he deal with being a criminal? The next movie will definitely deal with this but it is a huge step for Batman.

Nolan has created a realistic Batman. In the first movie we get to see what makes a man become a Batman. What training, what psychological problems, what Gotham's corruption had to do with it. When fighting Ra's al Ghul we start to see a bending of his rule not to kill. Leaving Ra's al Ghul on the train is not killing in his mind because Ra's al Ghul has survived a seemingly unsurvivable situation before plus he's planned meticulously. If Batman can survive it he assumes Ra's al Ghul can as well. Now at the start of the second movie we start to encounter a basic problem with his rule, if Batman doesn't kill why do criminals need to fear him? By the end of the movie Batman has killed and he's taken the blame for more killings. This not only adds to the myth of the Batman but it directly affects the mental state of Batman. All of the second movie we see him wrestling with how far he should push himself, what is his limit, what keeps him from being the Joker? Then he breaks his most important rule and it seems to define him more. Did he plan to kill Two-Face no. Did he directly cause his death yes! He did it in the only allowable way to protect the innocent and by accident but he still killed and broke his rule.

Now we have a whole new Batman going into the third movie. One who has killed. One who has become a villain. Yet he is more sure of himself and what he stands for than ever before.

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+1 definitely a great answer. –  TylerShads Jun 12 '12 at 16:03
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I disagree with what you have said there because I don't think batman's rule is never to kill anyone directly or indirectly. I think his rule is never to execute someone or deliberately kill someone unless unavoidable. In the scene you are talking about with dent Batman is saving the boy's life not killing Dent. He had to knock dent of the biulding in order to do that and no longer had the strength to save Dent as he had been shot. If he was simply killing dent he would not have arrived and tried to talk to dent first, he would have just killed him straight away. –  hmmmm Aug 18 '12 at 21:11
    
When he is talking to Gordon and telling him that he killed those people and dent he is not telling Dent he feels responsible for it he is just telling Gordon that that has to be their story in order to save Gotham. I think the death that will haunt him (and you can see in the latest film has) is Rachel's death not Harvey's. I would also say that the third film kind of shows that your last line is not very true. –  hmmmm Aug 18 '12 at 21:15
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I would also add that in the films his rule comes about when eaz al ghul asks him to execute someone and bruce says that he cannot do that as then he would be too similar to the criminals however when he saved gordons son and killed harvey this was a very different case and one in which I'm sure most people would say was the right thing to do. This was not killing in the same sense as executing a prisoner. So in relation to the original post I would say that the circumstances of the kill definitely mean that it does not count as him breaking his rule. –  hmmmm Aug 18 '12 at 21:19
    
@hmmmm, Sounds like you have some awesome points to share. mind to present them as an answer? –  Mistu4u Jan 1 '13 at 12:47

I think the Joker's plan does turn out, but not in Batman killing Harvey; but Rachel. Joker says "killing is making a choice. Choosing one life over another." he tells Batman that his (Batman's) rules won't save him. The Joker says Batman's one rule will have to be broken; he'll have to play the Joker's "little game". The Joker tricked Batman into inadvertently killing Rachel by accidentally choosing Dent's life over Rachel's.

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If Joker tricked Batman into doing something (as we know he did), than Batman did not make the choice, hence. –  Vedran Šego May 29 at 11:44

I would like to say he didn't break his rule, but he actually did. He didn't save Ras, which is fair enough, he saved a young boy by killing Dent, unintentionally (though he may have died from infection eventually anyway), both are questionable. What most people are forgetting is that in the first movie, when Bruce claims to not be an executioner, lets one man live (a thief) by causing an explosion, killing most of Ras Al Gul's men, and also killing the guy pretending to be Ras. The building exploded because of Bruce, we saw people die, so he technically broke his rule before putting on the mask.

All that being said and done, if i was in his shoes, i wouldn't have changed anything he did, and deem them ok.

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Great point and answer, +1 to you –  TylerShads Nov 19 '12 at 3:08

Dent dies as the result of an accident, not because Batman killed him.
Batman's one is to never kill. But that does not mean that he goes out of his way to not let the bad guys be killed. If he has a choice, if it is necessary, the bad guys can be left to fend off on their own. Like in Batman Begins, when he leaves Ra's on the train while making his escape. In The Dark Knight, Dent as Two-Face is hell-bent on trying to seek his warped justice by deciding people's fate with chance. When Gordon's turn forces the gun on the boy, Batman tries his best to save the kid, jumping on Dent and plunging the both of them to the ground. Inspite of such a fall, Batman (injured) managed to make his escape. Dent dies as the result of an accident, not because Batman killed him.

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And this is why Batman interests me so much. If you've played the game Arkham City, after a certain villain is on his deathbed, Batman has the means to save him. The villain causes those means to be destroyed in an accident while trying to kill Batman. Watching his foe die, Batman says he still would have saved him regardless of what he has done. This is obviously a different Batman universe but the same curiosity applies. –  TylerShads Jun 12 '12 at 2:18
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Well in the fall he saved the kid, he really couldn't save both –  DForck42 Jun 12 '12 at 3:31
    
@TylerShads: Batman Arkham City adheres well to the comic Batman universe. <br>@DForck42: He was trying to save the kid, not save / kill Dent, though he really wanted to save 'Gothams White Knight' –  kicker86 Jun 12 '12 at 15:15

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