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In The Dark Knight Rises, Selina leads Batman to the sewer where Bane is waiting, already stretched and armed with some cool lines. Batman immediately begins to start punching Bane,

Why does he do that, instead of escape? If he was trying to "stop" Bane, this would be a pretty bad time -- he's in his enemy's living room, surrounded by an unknown number of armed mercenaries who will shoot him if anything happens to Bane. Bane, who by the way even without the mercenaries is a huge person to try to "arrest" and take out of the sewers even if Batman was able to knock him out.

Lastly, we know Batman doesn't kill, so the only reason I can think of (besides just having a cool fight scene to introduce Bane as his opponent) to have him fight Bane in this instance is because he doesn't yet know just how formidable Bane is, and attempts to prove some kind of "point" (since Bane is there to mess with Batman's city).

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    Seeing how a large part of why Alfred leaves is that Bruce is too stubborn and naive and just wants to run into this fight without thinking and underestimates Bane, your last paragraph sounds quite reasonable. – Napoleon Wilson Sep 12 '16 at 13:15
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    "Because he's BATMAN!" He just is, and does dangerous things. And because, plot! – NVZ Sep 12 '16 at 13:28
  • I think your missing a the goddamn in that quote @nvz – cde Sep 13 '16 at 2:21
  • @cde yeah, true. And you're missing an apostrophe. ;) – NVZ Sep 13 '16 at 2:39
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Seeing as how that was the moment when he knew the exact location of Bane, and there was no way for him to know if that would ever happen again, it would seem like the best time for him to try to apprehend the criminal.

"Okay, stay right here, I'll be back with more help, OK?" or "Can you let me know a time and location when you won't be warmed-up, and won't have as many henchmen around?"

Neither scenario seems plausible. He found out where the guy was, and tried to take him down, just as he has always done with every criminal he encountered, ever. Batman has faced numbers of ordinary henchmen with guns before, I doubt that would be a deterrent for him.

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...the only reason I can think of [...] to have him fight Bane in this instance is because he doesn't yet know just how formidable Bane is...

And that's exactly the point. A primary motif of the first half of the movie is that Bruce simply underestimates the threat that Bane actually poses (together with overestimating his own abilities that suffered tremendously from his age and the long break he took from "Batmaning"), both physically and metally. He thought he was nothing but a mercenary, a henchman to someone else higher up, that he could just interrogate to find out more. He underestimated both his strength and his dedication.

Alfred: You led a bloated police force on a chase with a load of fancy new toys from Fox. What about when you come up against him? What then?
Bruce: I'll fight harder. I always have.
Alfred: Look. His speed, his ferocity, his training. I see the power of belief. I see the League of Shadows resurgent.
Bruce: Bane is a mercenary. We need to find out what he's up to.

Bane: Peace has cost you your strength. Victory has defeated you.

Bane: Theatricality and deception, powerful agents to the uninitiated. But we are initiated, aren't we, Bruce?

Bane poses a physical threat to him that no criminal ever did before (as also reinforced by interviews from the film's Blu-ray) and which Bruce, against Alfred's warnings, just didn't expect, in the same way as Bane isn't susceptible to Batman's more psychological and tactical means of warfare. Neither did he expect Bane to actually have a personal vendetta against Bruce, he is "just a mercenary" afterall.

Christopher Nolan: In [...] trying to decide who the villain would be it was very important to me that it be a physical force. And a very directed militaristic force. And Bane seemed the ideal character to take on the physical threat to Batman.

Christian Bale: Obviously wanting to make sure that physically Bane is superior. And this is the first time that Batman has come across anybody who is superior.

So the answer to your question is that he simply didn't think it through enough. Yes, he was trapped with Bane in his own lair, but he was seeking him out anyway, so what did it matter? Seeking him out silently would have been better and the fact that Bane actually awaited him already should have put him off and reconsider the situation, but Bruce was blind to that. He still thought that Bane was trapped with him and not the other way around. He was both underestimating Bane and overestimating himself and was running into the fight blindly without knowing all the details or the level of Bane's dedication to his endeavour.

  • Which is also a motif directly taken from Book Two of The Dark Knight Returns. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 13 '16 at 21:37

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