The Dark Knight is one of the best comic book films ever made, which is saying a lot, given that comic book adaptations make up approximately 115% of modern cinema. Director Christopher Nolan is a genius who, beyond the amazing Dark Knight trilogy, gave us Inception, The Prestige, Interstellar, and more. But that doesn’t mean his work is immune to criticism. In fact, given how brilliant most of his filmography is, Christopher Nolan plot holes are all the more head scratch inducing. Even allowing for the fact that comic book movies usually have a few inconsistencies, this movie transcends most comic book cinema. So, then, The Dark Knight plot holes are more glaring as well. Given his reputation as the world's greatest detective, there really shouldn't be any Batman plot holes.
To be fair, most of The Dark Knight's logical inconsistencies are just that - not exactly what would traditionally be thought of as plot holes. For instance, what were those murdery kids doing alone in a creepy parking garage pretending to blow up cars? Batman probably should have apprehended them, as they’re clearly future serial killers. Maybe not a plot hole, per se, but certainly confusing. So, let’s condemn these Nolan logic fails! After all, who doesn’t love to tear down those smarter and more successful than themselves in virtually every way?
Also, because this will be an in-depth analysis of plot elements from The Dark Knight, SPOILERS AHEAD.
In the bank robbery scene that opens the film, the Joker uses a school bus as a getaway vehicle/battering ram. The bus was driven through the bank’s front doors and parked in the lobby. The Joker leaves the same way he came in, driving out through the demolished wall of the bank and pulling right into the middle of a line of school buses.
Now, the driver of the bus behind the Joker’s should have reasonably been alarmed by this, and probably would have immediately contacted the police. But maybe school buses come crashing out of banks every day in Gotham. Just another day on the job, right Larry?
When the Joker threatened all of Gotham, people raced for the ferries. One was filled with prisoners and the other with civilians. Unfortunately for the passengers, the engine rooms of both boats had been filled with 100 barrels of gasoline rigged to explode.
First of all, it’s got to take a long time and a staggering amount of logistics to get 200 barrels of gasoline loaded on to two separate boats. To do so completely unnoticed is absurdly impressive. Secondly, it seems like someone might have checked the engine room before shoving off, or really any time at all after it had been filled with a bunch of explosives. 100 drums of gasoline would provide a non-negligible amount of added weight. So when the captain got on the boat and realized they were riding lower than a plumber’s Levis, there would likely be some sort of follow up.
When Batman and Gordon take off to rescue Rachel and Harvey respectively, Officer Stephens stays in the cell with the Joker. Why? Could he have not stayed outside the locked door of the cell? It worked out for Joker because he was able to overpower Stephens and perpetrate his escape. It also worked out for the movie because that drove the plot forward.
Still, in any reasonably realistic law enforcement scenario, that situation would have been childishly easy to avoid.
When the Joker crashes Bruce Wayne’s fundraiser for Harvey Dent (with the express intention of either killing or capturing Dent), Bruce knocks Harvey out and stuffs him in a closet, then bars the door. This would be a great plan if you’re going to expel all the criminals from the building. However, when Joker throws Rachel out the window, Bruce dives after her and they plummet from the penthouse, coming safely to rest on the roof of a car. End of scene.
Wait. Not only are all of the guests still up there as hostages, but Harvey is as well. Should we assume the Joker just... took his goons and left? Maybe he searched the place and couldn’t find Dent, decided to forego checking in the closet with a large pipe holding the doors closed, and then left with his sincerest apologies for disturbing the party. That definitely seems like his style.