LOL: Legal Analysis of the Ending of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’
Almost a year has passed since Christopher Nolan released The Dark Knight Rises and, by this time, we’ve all come to peace with it. Since that time it has been dissected to the point where little remains of the film except our personal feelings. Love it or hate it, plot holes or no plot holes, the film is what it is.
And though you didn’t think it was possible to go even deeper, one of the biggest head scratching moments in the film – the fate of Bruce Wayne – has now been analyzed even further. This time with a hilariously over the top legal spin. Beware of massive spoilers below.
The following comes from Boing Boing.
At the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Batman saves the city by flying the bomb out into the ocean and is presumed dead. The city erects a statue in his honor and Bruce Wayne, also assumed dead, goes off to live an anonymous life in Europe. Well, according to New York law (editor’s note: yes, we know, the story takes place in Gotham City, but that fictional city was largely based on New York City), unless three years passed in that time, this was not legally correct:
By statute, New York has reduced the common law’s seven-year period of required continuous absence to three years. N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 2-1.7, available at http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/EPT/2/1/2-1.7. Alternatively, the statute establishes that exposure “to a specific peril of death” might suffice to establish death in absentia, even if the three-year statutory period has not yet run. Id. at § 2-1.7(b).
New York’s three-year timetable doesn’t help the Wayne estate much. So the question is whether Bruce has been “exposed to a specific peril of death” so as to meet the requirements of § 2-1.7(b).
Now, Batman clearly meets the requirements—a plane exploded with him apparently in it, so he could easily be declared dead without a body. This is the classic scenario for “specific peril”: missing planes, wreckage of boats found, houses burned to the ground, that sort of thing.
But this doesn’t help us much with Bruce Wayne, because the courts don’t know he was in the nuclear explosion that consumed the not-a-Batwing-Bat-plane. So what might count as “specific peril of death”?