The Dark Knight: Retribution
(an “R-rated” Batman Begins fanedit, 4K, complete color regrade)
PM me for a link.
Update to Version 1.3 March 30, 2021, Fixed motion tracking VFX in 1 scene, tweaked Batman’s voice
Update to Version 1.2 February 27, 2021, 1 audio transition fix
Update to Version 1.1 February 27, 2021, minor audio, video glitch fixes, 1 short dialogue cut
Version 1.0 released on February 26, 2021.
2h 20m original length
Cut approximately 17 minutes
Added more than one minute of new footage
Edited length: 2h 04m
The major goals of this edit:
Fix the outdated color grading.
Improve Batman’s suit-- all black, just like the Tumbler.
Give the Tumbler some personality.
Make Batman stronger, more menacing and in shadows.
Improve the humor and remove egregious expository.
Improve the voices of Bruce, Rachael, and Batman.
Make the attack on Gotham have real consequences.
- UHD (4K) Quality 12.2GB 2160p HEVC 10 bit AAC-LC 5.1ch VBR (w/ quality better than Dolby Digital) encoded with Staxrip (full 10 bit pipeline) CRF 22, AQ mode 3, SAO disabled, Deblock -1,-1
- Standard Quality: 2.9GB 1080p HEVC 10 bit AAC-LC 5.1ch VBR (w/ quality better than Dolby Digital) encoded with Staxrip (full 10 bit pipeline) CRF 22, AQ mode 3, SAO disabled, Deblock -1,-1
- Tiny Encode: 1GB 720p HEVC 10 bit AAC-LC 2.0ch VBR encoded with Staxrip CRF 23, AQ mode 3, SAO disabled, Deblock -1,-1
This edit uses some major ideas from JMB’s fanedit, Batman Begins: The Dark Cut. Thanks go out to JMB for his innovative ideas. Unfortunately his release is only available in DVD (SD) quality.
If rated, this would now probably be rated R and contains:
Sexual Themes (no nudity)
- Batman Begins (2005)
- Zombie Apocalypse (2011)
- The Night Eats the World (2018)
- Bodyguard Season 1 (2018)
- BBC goes undercover inside America’s heroin epidemic (2014) by BBC News
- Time-lapse Sunrise in the city (2016) by xRKS1910x
- Homeless Encampments in the Tenderloin (2016) by Lee’s Channel
- Bucharest Nightlife (2018) by Hiker Soul
- Karachi Port - West Wharf (2019) by Karachi Street View
- Chicago by Night by 4K Aerial Shots (2020)
- Billionaire Luxury Lifestyle Video Series (2020) by Build Empire
- Surviving Prostitution by KCPQ (Q13 Fox Seattle)
Audio Only Sources:
- Prince 1999 (Remastered)
- Batman Begins: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
- Batman Begins Full Score
- 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman (2014) by Rob Bliss Creative
- Chicago West Side Danger Zone (2020) by CharlieBo313
- Harsh Times (2005)
*changes with an asterisk are concepts derived from JMB’s change list
- Complete color regrade to remove the “90’s courtroom drama” yellow tint and update the look into a more modern, gritty sci-fi movie.
- Changed title of movie to The Dark Knight: Retribution (appears at end credits).
- Altered Batman’s voice so it is pitched down and modulated, somewhat similar to what Batfleck did. In many shots made Batman appear more muscular (less skinny).
- Lowered adult Bruce Wayne’s voice to a slightly deeper tone so he sounds tougher.
- *Slightly lowered Rachael’s voice so she sounds like an adult. The change here is probably not as strong as JMB’s.
- Batman is more in shadows and doesn’t have conversations in the light.
- Batman’s utility belt is darkened rather than gold. He’s a ninja and acts like one.
- The Tumbler voice now demonstrates some AI capabilities. Created new dialogue for her in various scenes.
- Created a new introduction sequence narrated in voiceover by decoy Ra’s. It depicts the city of Gotham, its excesses and its inequities as he remarks that, like Rome, it needs to die. This is a more subtle way to inform the viewer, rather than Bruce, that Gotham is a target. Decoy Ra’s does not give this part of the monologue later to Bruce.
- Removed young Bruce and Rachael chasing each other and instead cut right to where young Bruce is already trapped in the cave.
- Tightened up the prison fight sequence. Now Bruce curses at his attacker instead of saying “you’re practice” because at this point in his life he had no brilliant master plan.
- Ra’s face is in shadows when he visits Bruce in prison.
- When Bruce catches his foot, replaced the shot of Ra’s dastardly posing.
- Cut the V.O. dialogue about calling an ambulance for young Bruce and setting his broken leg.
- Cut and trimmed some of the dialogue as they carry young Bruce inside the mansion.
- Young Bruce in bed doesn’t ask his father, “Afraid of me?” And he’s not tickled.
- Cut all the exposition by Bruce’s father (Thomas Wayne) on the train. Added appropriate subway SFX.
- At the opera, added SFX to heighten the tension and more strongly convey young Bruce’s sense of fear.
- Trimmed up the Wayne family exiting the opera and trimmed Thomas Wayne’s death. He is now silent.
- Gordon doesn’t repeatedly tell young Bruce “it’s ok” after his ordeal. He says it once.
- Cut Earle’s expository to young Bruce before the funeral about watching the Empire. He just walks by, ignoring him.
- *Young Bruce doesn’t wave back to Rachael.
- Cut away from Bruce’s pouty face when he tells Ra’s “you didn’t know my father.” Ra’s doesn’t ask Bruce why he couldn’t get revenge.
- Cut Bruce’s arrival at the mansion as a young adult and his conversation with Alfred. Now the scene begins where Bruce is looking at the photo and retrieving the gun.
- Establishing shot of Gotham (before the court hearing scene) is now gray and rainy instead of bright and uplifting. Remixed the V.O.
- Added heroin addicts when Rachael shows Bruce how bad Gotham has become.
- Cut Falcone saying bang, his stammering, reference to Alfred, telling Bruce you fear what you don’t understand, and repeating himself for effect. Now he’s more to the point and intimidating.
- Cut Falcone’s prolonged smirking before he taunts Bruce.
- After Falcone claims Thomas Wayne begged like a dog, cut the distant barking dog sound effect. Really?
- Falcone doesn’t look around the restaurant weirdly when he’s done talking.
- The bum doesn’t speak when Bruce is thrown out of the restaurant.
- Eliminated the expository banter between Bruce and the bum, and the cringy setup for him to appear later.
- Bruce doesn’t wipe his nose or bump his head into flying bats while training in Tibet. During his League of Shadows initiation after he refuses to execute the prisoner and says, “where would I be leading these men” decoy Ra’s does not answer “Gotham” and then rant about destroying it. Instead Bruce’s question is rhetorical, meaning that leading men to kill is wrong. Reconstructed the dialogue of the scene so no mention is made in this scene of the master plan to destroy Gotham.
- When Bruce tosses the burning embers in the temple with his sword, Ra’s does not ask “what are you doing” and Bruce does not respond.
- Trimmed Ra’s reaction to the initial, small temple explosion.
- Reduced decoy Ra’s comical facial expressions throughout his fight with Bruce.
- When Bruce takes the unconscious Ra’s to a healer, cut the healer’s line about making sure Ra’s knows that Bruce saved him.
- No chummy insta-reunion outside the jet between Alfred and Bruce with bad jokes. Saved the lightheartedness for the end of the scene inside the jet.
- When Dr. Crane says he doesn’t want to know about Rachael’s fate, Falcone doesn’t respond “yes you do.” Crane has the upper hand here.
- Cut the scene between Rachael and her boss talking about the return of Bruce Wayne.
- Lucius gives less backstory to Bruce during the tour of the prototype gadgets. Added some score from the film soundtrack here.
- Added an establishing shot of a prostitute walking before we see Gordon in the car waiting for his corrupt partner, Flass.
- Bruce electronically alters his voice when questioning Gordon.
- When Gordon asks masked Bruce, “you’re just one man?” now there is no response.
- Masked Bruce does not make a goofy pained face after jumping off the police rooftop.
- After Bruce hard brakes and skids the Tumbler, it advises him to drive safely.
- At the docks, added a scream when Batman grabs the first henchman.
- Sped up Batman descending onto the two henchmen.
- Cut portions of the skittish henchman so he’s not such a wimp and doesn’t ask “where are you?” Batman doesn’t whisper to him, and now the guy yells, “Fuuuck!”
- Falcone, alone in the car, doesn’t ask, “who are you?”
- Sped up Batman grabbing Falcone out of the car. Batman is now silent and menacing. His fists do the talking.
- Cut Falcone going unconscious, and now he screams as he gets a good, slightly extended beat down.
- Added aerial shot of leaving the dock area as Falcone screams. Dissolved this into Rachael’s subway train establishing shot.
- Removed the bum showing up again still wearing the coat.
- Getting hit by Rachael’s purse now makes a thunk.
- Added some subtle squishing sound and blood spurt when Batman beats down Rachael’s would-be attacker in the background.
- In the subway station talking to Rachael, Batman is in the shadows. Fixed his trouble saying the letter S properly.
- Falcone doesn’t move around while strapped to the spotlight to assure us he’s still alive. His face is now bloody.
- Cut the scene between Rachael and her boss about how they are gonna go after the bad guys.
- The corporate weenie narrating the story of the missing weapon is more to the point and less annoying.
- Added establishing shot of an upscale yet seedy gentlemen’s club before Bruce pulls up in the sports car. Even wealthy Gotham needs to be dirtier and gross.
- Cut Gordon’s baby. He’s too old for that.
- Replaced Flass’ girlish scream when he’s hoisted up by the bat cable.
- Batman doesn’t yo-yo Flass to scare him. Instead Batman is more intimidating. Also, a little less of Batman’s face while interrogating.
- Batman doesn’t ask Flass, “Do I look like a cop?”
- After Flass spills the beans, Batman doesn’t gently lower him to the ground. He dumps him hard.
- Added subtle blood spurt when Flass hits the pavement.
- Cut the annoying kid in the alleyway.
- Added blood/brain spray when the D.A. is shot in the head.
- Crane’s henchman unzips but is not already urinating when Batman knocks him out.
- A little less flailing and scared faces after Batman is sprayed with the toxin, and a little less Scarecrow talking.
- After Batman jumps out of the window on fire, he does not stumble as much. The fall is also a bit less drawn out.
- Slowed down some of the rooftop hallucination flashback with added VFX.
- Cut Alfred driving Batman, injured.
- When Bruce wakes up, cut a few of Alfred’s filler lines and announcing that it’s Bruce’s birthday.
- Bruce isn’t a confused idiot when Lucius talks about science. Lucius doesn’t make the joke about what he himself just said.
- Blued the sky for an establishing shot of Wayne Mansion so it’s not always the same overcast shot.
- When Rachael drops off the birthday present, cut the expository lines explaining it’s Bruce’s birthday.
- Cut Rachael telling Bruce, “Some of us have work to do.”
- Rachael does not linger longingly, staring at Bruce so that now Bruce does not smile back like Sling Blade. Moved her line “Happy Birthday” to when she’s already walking away.
- Cut and moved the scene where Bruce first gazes upon the batsuit ready to gear up. This no longer happens right after Rachael drops off the birthday present. Instead, after she leaves for the Narrows we just see Bruce descending the elevator into the Batcave.
- Lucius doesn’t get into too much expository detail with Earle about the use of the weapon. Now his line “isn’t that illegal” carries more weight and better suggests he did not work on the project.
- Cut Earle’s line in the lab, “didn’t you get the memo?”
- Made it later in the evening for the the city establishing shots before we see Falcone in the asylum.
- Scarecrow doesn’t explain to his henchmen why the police should be called.
- Cut Scarecrow’s henchmen talking about Batman flying and disappearing.
- Cut Batman throwing the bomb in the asylum and the two inmates’ goofy reaction. Replaced this with a city shot with many police sirens to increase the tension and show a little time passing before Batman meets Gordon outside.
- Batman doesn’t tell Gordon he brought his car. Rearranged the shots of this scene so it works better without the over-setup.
- Cut Gordon’s line when he sees the Tumbler, “I gotta get me one of those.”
- Batman does not immediately run over a police car for no reason (there was plenty of room to go around).
- Cut the officers in the wrecked police car comically identifying the Tumbler as a tank.
- When Batman is driving Rachael, less speaking from him and none from her.
- The Tumbler talks about Rachael’s medical condition which is part of its standard military AI, warning that she needs an immediate “medivac”. This military programming helps explain why the Tumbler is so aggresive later on.
- Batman doesn’t lay down to fire weapons or to drive the Tumbler.
- After Batman blows up the wall of the upper-level parking garage and starts driving, the Tumber helpfully advises, “Warning. This is not a valid roadway.”
- No rooftop driving.
- Slightly cut off the end of the cop on the radio with the joke asking what the vehicle looks like. Now he’s actually interrupted by the Tumbler roaring by, and doesn’t then say “nevermind.”
- Batman does not manually deploy the mines from the rear of the Tumbler. Instead, the Tumbler says, “Targets detected. Deploying countermeasures.”
- Rearranged the stealth mode sequence so it is more believable, and Batman does not magically evade police cars chasing right behind him (and a police helicoptor with it’s spotlight on him) simply by turning off his headlights. Also added a more distinct electric engine whirr sound during stealth mode.
- Rachael doesn’t dramatically pass out just so Batman can have an obnoxious conniption fit as they speed toward the Batcave entrance. Instead, the Tumbler warns, “Risk of passenger cardiac arrest”, which better increases the stakes.
- Trimmed up getting the antidote so Batman doesn’t fly around in the Batcave to save Rachael.
- Cut the guy’s line to Gordon about the chemical in the water supply having to be absorbed by the lungs.
- In the Batcave, Batman doesn’t advise Rachael that he doesn’t “have the luxury of friends” or that he’s about to give her a sedative. He doesn’t stare as long after he sedates her.
- Trimmed up Gordon’s interrogation of Crane and removed mention of the toxin being airborne.
- Drastically cut and restructured the scenes and dialogue between Ra’s and Bruce in the Wayne mansion so that it is no longer a giant dump of expository information detailing every part of the villian’s evil plan.
- *Cut the storyline about Ra’s previous economic attack on Gotham.
- Extended and used the picture of Bruce’s parents burning to transition into the fire spreading. Added fire SFX.
- In the mansion, cut the ninja in a tuxedo dropping down from the ceiling, and cut Bruce’s drunk monkey kung fu moves against Ra’s.
- Cut Alfred’s joke about the fire brigade and trimmed his rescue of Bruce.
- Bruce doesn’t pause as long before bench pressing the burning plank off his chest, and now it makes more of a thud like it had some weight to it.
- Bruce doesn’t cry like a little bitch after his mansion burns down. Hell no, he responds by immediately putting on the Batsuit. Moved the scene where he first gazes at the Batsuit to here and combined it with a few scenes of him putting on the gloves and other gear. Overall makes the sequence feel more epic.
- Cut Rachael telling the cop to let her pass.
- An unseen cop does not announce Rachael’s arrival to Gordon.
- Cut Gordon’s remark to Rachael when she gives him the antidote— about the toxin being airborne.
- Rachael does not randomly stumble across Ra’s as he starts up the weapon to evaporate the water. Slight restructuring so Rachael helps the little kid during the mayhem, just not right where Ra’s is conducting his operation.
- When Batman jumps the Tumbler into the Narrows he doesn’t then have an impromptu street briefing with Gordon to suddenly reveal every detail of Ra’s plan to gas Gotham using the subway. So now Gordon is no longer recruited to drive the Tumbler. His subsequent scenes involving the Tumbler are all cut.
- After Flass is gassed, he shoots the two kids at point blank range. Gordon does not intervene, and he’s digitally removed from the shot.
- Added more carnage to the toxin montage, including a man being bloodily attacked and poisoned crazies fighting to get to a woman hiding in a vehicle. Placed a little callback here to Tim Burton’s Batman film.
- Moved Batman getting out of the Tumbler to just before Rachael and the kid are confronted by the escaped prisoners.
- Used a key piece of Batman’s dialogue from the removed briefing with Gordon in the rooftop scene with Rachael so it remains apparent that not all of Gotham has been gassed yet.
- The kid doesn’t speak after being rescued.
- Cut away from the Batface when his lips pucker to tell Rachael, “It’s what I DOOOOO that defines me.” Also toned down the word DOOOOO and the long pause so it sounds pretty normal now.
- When Batman flies down to confront Ra’s gassing Gotham, Ra’s leaves the platform before Batman lands. All that conversation is cut including Ra’s saying he has a city to destroy and Batman’s comment about beating two of his pawns. Ra’s is not lifted up by a cable. So dorky! Now when Batman lands he get’s right into the fight with the League of Shadows.
- In the fight with the League of Shadows, trimmed the grapple gun flung out of Batman’s hand.
- Added a demonic scream when Batman’s face gets trippy as the crowd closes in.
- When Batman grapples the subway to get away from the poisoned mob, now one of the crazies is no longer flung up into the air with him. Digitally removed the person’s body from the air with Batman.
- *Gordon does not drive the Tumbler. Instead it goes into autopilot mode. No more hitting parked cars.
- As the Tumbler drives it says, “Autopilot engaged.” Later it says, “ETA 3 minutes.”
- Cut all instances of the water guy explaining the whole system is “gonna blow” and then being utterly relieved when it doesn’t.
- Batman does not answer Ra’s taunts on the subway, except by breaking his sword of course. Batman also doesn’t make the petty remark about Ra’s knowing his surroundings.
- When he sees the Tumbler, the dreadlock guy now says, “What the fuck?” The Tumbler responds after blowing stuff up, “Sir, please step away from the vehicle.” This scene is now continuous instead of broken up.
- Cut Batman telling Ra’s “But I don’t have to save you.”
- *Added Batman activating a handheld explosive before blowing out the back of the subway car. Awesome idea by JMB!
- *The Tumbler, not Gordon, targets the bridge. So the shooting of different parts of the bridge is now intentional to weaken it and eventually bring it down.
- After Ra’s is killed, the Tumbler apologizes to Batman for possible casualties; also added aftermath montage of Gotham on fire to replace Batman buzzing over Gordon.
- Rearranged the final few scenes to better transition from the mood of Gotham burning and also so the mood shifts more gradually.
- Restructured Bruce and Rachael’s final scene using different music. They don’t talk about the future, they don’t hold hands, and instead leave each other on a more somber note. They still kiss but the scene is no longer milked dry.
- Alfred now remarks about Bruce’s past instead of Rachael asking Bruce what he will do, to which Bruce responds rebuilding it brick by brick.
- Being driven by Alfred, Bruce doesn’t smile while being handed the newspaper.
- Bruce does not have another flashback while looking at the stethoscope.
- During the final rooftop meeting, cut Gordon lecturing Batman about escalation, his flippant comment about Batman being theatrical, saying “I never said thank you," and Batman’s response. Also, Batman nods a bit less. Drastically changed the lighting and cropping of this scene.
Screenshot comparisons (representative grading, not necessarily final grading):
Skinny Batman, gold belt, no regrade
Stronger Batman, matte belt, regraded