Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Dark Knight Mumbles: What's Wrong with Christopher Nolan's Message
BoxOffice.Com ^ | JULY 28, 2012 | Ross A. Lincoln

Posted on 07/28/2012 12:23:37 PM PDT by aft_lizard

The Avengers represent a kind of FDR can-do ethos. They're cultivated by the government for the common good and don't exist as authority figures so much as the right tools for the right jobs. Most of them are even the product of government-run projects (The Hulk, Captain America) or government money (Tony Stark is a defense contractor, remember).

But The Dark Knight trilogy has always been ruled over by Ayn Rand. In it, true societal good is reached through the singular actions of a wealthy, powerful, selfish people. In The Dark Knight, Batman clamps down on the regular folk imitating his crime-stopper spree and indulges in kidnappings, violations of privacy, misappropriation of sensitive technology. Though he takes the fall for another man's crimes at the end, we're left with the sense that he's most interested in being a strongman, if that's what it takes to keep things stable.

I went into The Dark Knight Rises convinced that I was in store for a crudely authoritarian paen to the joys of a police state. But I was wrong. When the curtain finally fell on Nolan's Bat trilogy, it turned out he hadn't made a modern Triumph of the Will in tights. He'd turned out something far more sinister.

In the current political climate, the most insidious problem is the notion that when two opposing parties disagree, the solution is to split the difference. It's why discussions of raising taxes on wealthy people are paired with attempts to simultaneously gut social security benefits for the poor. It's why the Affordable Care Act is predicated on making sure everyone has access to a product they absolutely hate (private insurance), and certain religious groups are exempted from providing basic health care despite the fact that they enjoy the benefits of federal funding. It's even why televised discussions of civil rights tend to ostentatiously feature appearances by bigots who should be ignored, or even mocked.

And it's apparently the only thing that can save Gotham City from total destruction. Or so I gathered over the course of The Dark Knight Rises.

Much like the centrists making American political discourse so maddening, Christopher Nolan's final Batman film constantly engages in infuriating difference-splitting whenever it counts. Take Anne Hathaway's Catwoman, who is implied to come from a humble background, was compelled to be a criminal, and now wants to erase her criminal record and start over with a clean slate. She even says outright that some people are forced to do "whatever they have to," unlike the privileged few like Bruce Wayne. It's a nice touch, and a theme worth exploring. But it's strongly undermined by the film's other villain, Bane.

Bane is a cartoonish parody of left wing radicalism. He's basically a living version of that stupid Che shirt, only wearing a hideous mask instead of a dashing goatee. He calls out for the poor to take back their city (while, of course, plotting out their nuclear destruction) and by the end of the film, it almost feels like Nolan's become uncomfortable with his own creation: a villain who decries legitimate economic inequality. And so he scrambles to balance it out by proving that those Occupy kids are susceptible to manipulation by con artists, which, you know, is just what your angry Republican dad said last Thanksgiving.

The film becomes even more troublesome in its depiction of the average, non-super citizens of Gotham City—you know, the ones actually affected by all of this chaos. They play almost no part in the matter, other than to be killed or saved as the plot demands. And the majority of the police are cynically detached, cowardly, oblivious, and ineffective. (How did such a useless law enforcement apparatus bring peace to the city for eight years. The magical, never-explained "Dent Act," duh.) Bane instantly neutralizes them, where they stay until Batman arrives to save them. Yes, police officers fight alongside Batman in the thrilling climax, but their actions have no effect: they fight and die just to provide thrilling background chaos while the big boys hash things out. Even the U.S. Government—you know, the same one that recently managed to send a SEAL team into Pakistan to kill Osama Bin Laden?—merely surrenders and stands by on the sidelines.

The uncomfortable fact is that in the end, every single important decision in The Dark Knight Rises is made in the shadows by extremely powerful individuals, making Nolan's Batman universe ultimately about a fight between "good" rich people and "bad" rich people. The bad ones use populist, smash-the-system rhetoric to exploit the common people, and the good ones advocate for the continuity of the stratified system, but have a soft spot for the poor.

And in the end, Bruce Wayne skips the country to relax with his new girlfriend, whose thievery and murders are forgiven because Batman wants to bone her. After all, he's more powerful than the law. (This is, by the way, a crucial violation of Wayne's own values going back to the first film.) Compounding things, we never actually see what happened to Gotham City after the occupation, nor do we see what happened to a United States willing to let an entire city be claimed by a goon squad. Opinions don't matter, outcomes don't matter. All that really matters is that our societal better Bruce Wayne is happy.

Instead of a confused argument against democracy and pro-Rich People Powers, I'd have almost preferred that The Dark Knight Rises be expressly about making Bruce Wayne dictator for life. It's sad that a film capable of inspiring such powerful discussion, not to mention powerful tragedy, is so empty. Did Nolan set out to make the ultimate ode to ceding control to our betters so we don't worry our pretty little heads? Doubtful. But it's the unfortunate result of a film that refuses to take any position at all.


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Chit/Chat; Miscellaneous; Music/Entertainment; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: aynrand; batman; fdr; itsonlyamovie; occupy; rossalincoln; willezurmacht
I thought this was a great read. Brings up some great points.
1 posted on 07/28/2012 12:23:45 PM PDT by aft_lizard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard
Bane is a cartoonish parody of left wing radicalism.

When is the right ever NOT treated as a cartoonish parody>

2 posted on 07/28/2012 12:29:21 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the sociopath.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard

Needs a barf alert.


3 posted on 07/28/2012 12:30:49 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin

Maybe I am misreading something but why does it need a barf alert?


4 posted on 07/28/2012 12:37:46 PM PDT by aft_lizard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard
Because it reeks of government worshiping liberalism and was written by a puking leftist.

But that is, of course, only my opinion.

5 posted on 07/28/2012 12:41:26 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard

Because the author of the piece is playing the woe is me leftist that is POd that good triumphed over evil and that good in this case was a wealthy capitalist/evil was an OWS wannabee gone bad-worse. And that the individual with bucks, a plan and self governance triumphed over an impotent government that stood by and had to itself be saved by that wretched capitalist pig ;)


6 posted on 07/28/2012 12:41:35 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard

I agree. This is a screed.


7 posted on 07/28/2012 12:46:55 PM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard

I saw this one last night. Very good film, and quite solid.

As to Bane, he struck me not as an “Occupier”, but rather what his character is meant to be; a member of the League of Shadows, and his overriding objective is the destruction of Gotham City; he will do whatever he needs to, or say any nonsense he must in order to achieve this objective. There is a certain “revolutionary panache” to his character, however to me at least, it was obvious that he clearly has his own personal motives, and he cares not one whit about anyone else, except maybe Talia. His terrorism is not merely physical; it is intellectual as well.

Personally, I enjoy a cerebral villain; after all one of the reasons Hannibal Lecter is so memorable is his intelligence.


8 posted on 07/28/2012 12:47:17 PM PDT by AnAmericanAbroad (It's all bread and circuses for the future prey of the Morlocks.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard

What “great points?” That Nolan didn’t make the usual far-left Hollywood ‘social justice’ tripe the author expects and wants?


9 posted on 07/28/2012 12:53:55 PM PDT by TrueKnightGalahad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard

It’s a movie, geez. Liberals need to quit taking themselves so seriously.


10 posted on 07/28/2012 1:03:10 PM PDT by Fledermaus (Democrats are dangerous and evil. Republicans are useless and useful idiots.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TrueKnightGalahad

That the core of this movie is the occupy crowd ruled by people they claim to hate versus the rich who believe in charity. I think the author doesn’t like the way it ended. Leaving you up in arms about what happened to Gotham afterwards. If you believe he is trying to make a leftist point then he does a very poor job as he continues to sink his own argument.


11 posted on 07/28/2012 1:07:51 PM PDT by aft_lizard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Fledermaus
It’s a movie, geez. Liberals need to quit taking themselves so seriously.

It's because liberals make movies as social commentary and they get uptight when they suspect someone of making a conservative-commentary movie. "movin' in on their turf, so to speak.

12 posted on 07/28/2012 1:09:43 PM PDT by jeffc (Welcome to the United Socialist States of America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard
To leftists, the only real villains are wealthy capitalists and the only real heroes are those who take from 'the rich' and 'spread the wealth around'. The Bruce Wayne character is a rich guy and so, to the author of the review, cannot be a legitimate hero. Leftists countenance only their view of things and any deviation is verboten so, of course the Batman film doesn't meet the author's approval. Who cares, anyway? It's a popular movie and will make millions for everyone involved. I'm sure that Christopher Nolan doesn't know the review's author, Ross A. Lincoln, is alive and likely doesn't give a rat's pattot about his leftist opinion.
13 posted on 07/28/2012 1:20:48 PM PDT by Jim Scott (Obama must be defeated)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard
This writer is a huge ass-hat. While I haven't seen the movie, I will comment on HIS comments in this piece. His take on society, Obama-care, and "left-wing radicalism" are all hard left.

Obama-care? Not as he describes it. According to polls, MOST of the insured LIKE their medical insurance. Obama-care is nothing buy a temporary "fix" to put the private insurance carriers out of business, in order to bring about Obama's STATED goal of single payer (i.e. government provided) health care.

He claims the movie shows cartoonish left-wing radicalism. From what I've heard and read, the director got it right... You've got a totalitarian wanna-be who uses the useful idiots in the streets to take over. It's happened over and over again.

And it seems the guy really HATES Ayn Rand. And it seems that he's upset that a movie from Hollywood has the temerity to go against his world view.

Mark

14 posted on 07/28/2012 1:32:28 PM PDT by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin; aft_lizard
Needs a barf alert.

I was going to ask aft if it got forgotten.

15 posted on 07/28/2012 1:57:16 PM PDT by houeto (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard
Maybe I am misreading something but why does it need a barf alert?

Uh, this line alone earns it a BARF ALERT:

those Occupy kids are susceptible to manipulation by con artists, which, you know, is just what your angry Republican dad said last Thanksgiving.

Surely you can't really be this naive.

16 posted on 07/28/2012 2:13:02 PM PDT by montag813
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard
In the current political climate, the most insidious problem is the notion that when two opposing parties disagree, the solution is to split the difference. It's why discussions of raising taxes on wealthy people are paired with attempts to simultaneously gut social security benefits for the poor. It's why the Affordable Care Act is predicated on making sure everyone has access to a product they absolutely hate (private insurance), and certain religious groups are exempted from providing basic health care despite the fact that they enjoy the benefits of federal funding. It's even why televised discussions of civil rights tend to ostentatiously feature appearances by bigots who should be ignored, or even mocked.

I take it the author is Left of center.

17 posted on 07/28/2012 2:13:11 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Eric Holder's NAACP rally against the voter ID laws required the press to bring govt issue photo ID.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard
"But The Dark Knight trilogy has always been ruled over by Ayn Rand....I went into The Dark Knight Rises convinced that I was in store for a crudely authoritarian paen to the joys of a police state."

Anybody that could write both of these sentences completely misunderstands Ayn Rand.

18 posted on 07/28/2012 2:20:22 PM PDT by mlo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mlo

Here’s something to keep you awake tonight. When I worked in the media, I was surrounded by editors and reporters that would write that exact paragraph as if it were the most sensical thing ever put to paper. And then when corrected, would go through the journalistic version of the ‘Stages of guilt’ ending instead with “Righteous indignation”.

Today’s newsrooms and opinion desks are populated with products of 30- years of indoctrination in the ‘liberal arts’. They are physically incapable of forming a logical thought and carrying it to it’s rational conclusion.

As evidence I present the collected works of Slate, HuffPo, KOS, and the cable/networks. 24/7/365.

Huntley and Brinkley it ain’t. (and even THEY were libs)


19 posted on 07/28/2012 2:43:09 PM PDT by Norm Lenhart
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard
Except it's WRONG: yes, in the MOVIE the Avengers were put together by the government, but in the comics, they were complete free agents who joined together and barely got along. In fact, they were PERFECT illustrations of Americans who, despite extreme differences (a Norse god and an ant?) could fight together for the common good. The reviewer misses it.

In fact, the whole message of early Marvel was anything but government. The Fantastic Four were constantly at odds with the government which was trying to shut down Richards' research. It "permitted" them to try to go to the moon. Yes, Captain America was groomed during WW II to fight the Nazis, and yes, Stark did defense contracts. But Thor was hardly a government pawn, nor was Hawkeye, nor any of the second set of Avengers (Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch). The X-men were privately funded and educated by Xavier. Dr. Strange had nothing to do with government. On and on.

20 posted on 07/28/2012 2:46:40 PM PDT by LS ("Castles Made of Sand, Fall in the Sea . . . Eventually (Hendrix))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard
The uncomfortable fact is that in the end, every single important decision in The Dark Knight Rises is made in the shadows by extremely powerful individuals, making Nolan's Batman universe ultimately about a fight between "good" rich people and "bad" rich people. The bad ones use populist, smash-the-system rhetoric to exploit the common people, and the good ones advocate for the continuity of the stratified system, but have a soft spot for the poor.

Uncomfortable for Leftist hypocrisy, maybe, but this is dead-on balls-accurate, and you can't BE a successful Leftist unless you not only know it, but work it every single day in order to exploit the common people. Hell, that's a literal description of what Leftists DO for a living.

21 posted on 07/28/2012 3:47:01 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard

Saw the Dark Knight last weekend and was disappointed, but am glad to see it annoy liberals like the author.


22 posted on 07/28/2012 4:03:15 PM PDT by Yardstick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Talisker

Anytime they want to “smash the system”, ask them first what they want to replace it with and ask them why THEY should get to dictate to the masses?


23 posted on 07/28/2012 8:17:32 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Eric Holder's NAACP rally against the voter ID laws required the press to bring govt issue photo ID.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: a fool in paradise

Exactly. No matter the form of government, there are always those in charge. The left uses manipulation and HAND OUTS to get power and stay in power. Castro, Chavez, Obama.


24 posted on 07/30/2012 8:09:55 AM PDT by samsmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: aft_lizard
The uncomfortable fact is that in the end, every single important decision in The Dark Knight Rises is made in the shadows by extremely powerful individuals, making Nolan's Batman universe ultimately about a fight between "good" rich people and "bad" rich people. The bad ones use populist, smash-the-system rhetoric to exploit the common people, and the good ones advocate for the continuity of the stratified system, but have a soft spot for the poor.

So... just like real life, then?

25 posted on 07/30/2012 9:39:19 AM PDT by Bear_in_RoseBear (Gentlemen may cry, "Peace, peace," but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson