The Dark Knight Rises – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Bruce Wayne lives the life of a hermit in his house. He’s no longer the Batman because as a result of the Harvey Dent act he’s not needed.

Call to Adventure

Bane commences his plan to purify the world by destroying Gotham. He is an opponent of unprecedented strength, which no ordinary human can beat.

Refusal of the call

“The Batman has to come back.”

“What if he doesn’t exist anymore”

Crossing the First Threshold

Bane and his men attack the stock exchange and the Batman returns. The police go after him instead of Bane’s men, wanting him to pay for the murder of Dent eight years ago.

Meeting with the Goddess                            

Blake is the Goddess. He goes to Bruce Wayne and tells him that Commisioner Gordon has been shot and that he needs a return of the Batman. At first Bruce is uninterested but then Blake tells him his story of how he shares the same pain as Bruce that he is an orphan from crime. Blake also tells him that his orphanage used to be funded by the Wayne Foundation and at the end of the film Bruce donates Wayne manor to the orphans of Gotham.

Woman as Temptress

Alfred is the Temptress. He is the one who tells Bruce to hang up the cowl and walk away.  He tells him his dream of seeing him in café in Florence with his wife and children, happy.

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Belly of the whale

Cat woman leads the Batman into a trap and he must fight Bane. The Batman is no match for Bane and has his back broken.

The Road of the trials

Imprisoned in a dungeon in India, Bruce first has his back fixed and then he trains his body

and his mind to escape

Supernatural Aid

His prison inmates who at first heal him and then teach him what he needs to learn to rise up out of the prison


Apotheosis can refer to a supernatural vision. Bruce sees a vision of a dead man, his former mentor Ra’s Al Ghul and learns from the vision that Bane is Ra’s heir, that he will continue the work of the league of shadows, that Gotham isn’t worth saving and must be allowed to die.

Atonement with the Father

He learns from the blind prisoner that he must regain his fear of death in order to be able to escape the prison, he must do the climb without the rope. Batman Begins was all about fear and the Batman put fear into the criminals of Gotham. Now, Bruce must reclaim his fear of death in order to live again.

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Ultimate Boon

The Batman has returned to Gotham. He has freed the police and is ready to face Bane.

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The Magic flight

It is two parts. The final fight of hand to hand combat VS Bane and then the chase through the city going after the Talia Al Ghul and the bomb.

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and here

Rescue from without

Bane is about to kill the Batman when Catwoman arrives on the Batpod and shoots Bane.

The crossing of the return Threshold

The final job of the hero is to save Gotham from being blown up. However, to do so means he must sacrifice himself. He flies the bomb out to sea where it explodes. This completes the job of Batman for the trilogy, he can now return to being Bruce Wayne.

Master of two worlds

Batman uses his resources to help the orphans of Gotham by donating his mansion to them. Batman has become immortalized in a statute as a symbol of justice and sacrifice. The people know who saved them – The Batman.

Freedom to live

Alfred sees Bruce and Selina at restaurant. They nod to each other but they don’t have to say anything to each other.  Bruce is free from the Batman, free to live.



2 Replies to “The Dark Knight Rises – The Hero’s journey breakdown”

    1. I’m not sure how you would get Atonement to fit with the courtroom scene. A better fit is him acknowledging and understanding he must reclaim his fear of death in order to climb out of the prison well otherwise, if he attempts the climb with his safety rope attached, he will always fail.

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