Superheroes can be meditative or even remorseful sometimes, but they don't get beat: not like Batman and his buddies do in The Dark Knight. Though they ultimately capture the Joker and keep Gotham safe, Mr. Smiley still turns Gotham in a stampeding mob, blows up numerous public officials (and at least one hospital), lights about a billion dollars on fire just for kicks, and oh yeah: drives Gotham's shining symbol of hope completely off the deep end. Even as the Joker's getting dragged off to Arkham, Batman and Commissioner Gordon have to bake up a phony story to keep the damage he's done from becoming permanent.
Questions About Defeat
In what ways does each individual character experience defeat in this story?
How, specifically, does Batman's reaction to defeat differ from Harvey Dent's? How does that explain what happens to each of them?
Does the ending constitute a defeat? Would you still say so if you didn't know what ultimately happened in The Dark Knight Rises?
What does defeat mean in this movie? Is it physical? Spiritual? Emotional? All three?
Chew on This
Defeat ultimately serves as a crucible to determine who can get up and keep fighting, and who ultimately succumbs.
Defeat isn't a crucible at all, but an apocalyptic event that has to be avoided at all costs.