Christian Bale stars as Bruce Wayne/Batman

In my review of The Dark Knight Rises last week, I referred to a certain character’s recovery from a certain debilitating injury as either “miraculous” or “absurd.” That was my polite way of saying Christopher Nolan had dragged Batman so deep into nutty fantasy land that no amount of mood lighting and pretentious talk of serious, topical issues could save it.

I was interested to see that a website has consulted a doctor about that incredible recovery. Keep in mind Nolan’s Batman movies have been praised for their “realism.” Her verdict: “That’s ridiculousness.”

Stop reading now if you want to avoid spoilers.

As fans of Batman comics know, Bane famously wipes the floor with Batman in the comic books, then he hoists our hero up and snaps him like a twig over his knee. He breaks Batman’s back.

The comics character eventually recovers, but far more realistically than he does in the movie. Bane wants Batman to suffer, so he takes a breather from destroying Gotham City to fly halfway around the world with the now uncowled Bruce Wayne, whom he deposits in an underground prison complete with a television hook up so he has to watch Gotham’s destruction.

Tom Hardy plays Bane in 'The Dark Knight Rises'It isn’t clear how long Wayne lies there before he decides he’s had enough. A fellow inmate creates a rope harness to suspend Wayne in the air until he’s able to walk. After hoisting him up, the inmate punches him in the back to snap his protruding vertabrae back into place.

Please keep in mind that Batman, unlike Superman or Thor, is a regular fella, like you or me, without super powers.

Nolan has gotten lots of kudos for the realism with which he has imbued his Batman trilogy but, in truth, the realism flew out the window after the first film, Batman Begins in 2005. In 2008′s The Dark Knight, Batman survives after plunging from the top floor of a skyscraper. Now, in the new film, he returns from a broken back as good as new, suffering no apparent nerve damage after having a protruding vertabrae punched back into place.

Dr. Suzanne McBride, a chiropractor consulted by The Vulture, said hanging from a rope could realign the spine if nothing were broken and the spine merely were misshapen.

“If his bones were intact and they just moved out of place, gravity could do the job,” she said. But if the spinal cord were torn, paralysis could occur.

Categories: Movie News, Superheroes

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    Eric Harrison reviewed movies and covered film for a decade for the Los Angeles Times and Houston Chronicle. His movie coverage continues here on You also can read Eric's movie coverage geared to Houston, the nation's fourth largest city, on Find out more at
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