Set Harth wrote:
If only Nolan's villains believed in something, such as a world free of corruption, or, failing that, free of Gotham.
Here's the League's mission statement, if you will, from BB
Gotham's time has come. Like Constantinople or Rome before it the city has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die. This is the most important function of the League of Shadows. It is one we've performed for centuries. Gotham... must be destroyed.
... I guess this line either strikes one as totally moronic, a screenwriter's overt refusal to offer anything but the flimsiest and most inane pretext for one-dimensional evil, or it doesn't.
Myself, I find the notion of a fanatical, millenium-old apparently secular organization devoted to mass murder to be utterly at odds with virtually all of human history, and thus about as sophisticated as a Power Rangers big bad. I'm curious as to why the League considers Gotham to be more full of "suffering and injustice" than any other of a number of cities, from Mexico City or Pyonyang to Moscow or Mogadishu.
He compares Gotham to Rome and Constantinople. The issue is not just which city is the most corrupt. The role the city plays in the larger civilization is key. In the Batman universe, Gotham plays a central role in economics, culture, organized crime, etc.
And I really don't understand why the League didn't attack Gotham several decades ago, when crime rates across the US were significantly higher than they are today
Rome and Constantinople werenít necessarily destroyed at the height of their decadence either. There are probably a lot of considerations that influence the timing of the attack.
In both BB and TDKR, the LOSís agenda encompasses more than the destruction Gotham. Their purpose is to change civilization globally. In order to accomplish that, they plan to make the people of Gotham show the world why they deserve to be destroyed, and then destroy them. One possible reason for attacking now instead of several decades ago is that they believed the demonstration would be more effective in the internet age of 2005/2012 than in the less connected world of the 80ís.
Another possible reason is that they were waiting for circumstances to be right to advance their agenda. In 2005, they took advantage of the cutting-edge technology of the microwave emitter, and possibly the fear gas was a recent invention as well. In 2012, they took advantage of Wayne Enterpriseís nuclear reactor. Neither of these plans would have been available several decades ago.