(This post began its life as a comment on another blog.)
|You better answer your DKR smartphone: it's Christopher Nolan on |
the line and he needs to tell you some deep shit about late capitalism.
I've agreed with some part of most every review I've read of the film, except when the reviewer turns to the question of the film's politics. Roger Ebert, who generally liked it, calls the setting a "
See, the thing is, there is very little in the way of coherent political argument in the movie, and it is misguided to expect one from Nolan in the first place, or to try to piece one together from the movie's passing invocations of politics. Of course, I don't put much stake in Nolan's blatantly ironic response either: "we put a lot of interesting questions in the air, but that's simply a backdrop for the story. What we're really trying to do is show the cracks of society, show the conflicts that somebody would try to wedge open. We're going to get wildly different interpretations of what the film is supporting and not supporting, but it's not doing any of those things. It's just telling a story." (Again, the movie has made more than
I ultimately think The Dark Knight Rises is a very political movie. But in order to understand how the movie functions politically, we shouldn't be glossing its admittedly pretentious themes. Instead, we need to look at its entire narrative structure, which will reveal how the audience expectations encoded in a summer blockbuster comic book romance of this kind (even an 'edgy' one like DKR) result from socioeconomic, ideological, and cultural forces.
Sure there are vaguely subversive scenes of a cop tossing his badge over a bridge, of hanged millionaires, of a masked criminal storming the Stock Exchange, but despite these gestures, the film, like Batman himself, ultimately winds up defending the status quo. The pleasure of a Nolan-style romance is to watch all of the symbols and archetypes get jumbled about for two hours before being placed neatly back where they belong. It’s carnivalesque, you know where a goat gets made king for a day, but the king is still pretty much the king. In Nolan’s Batman movies, justice and chaos, good and evil, powerful and powerless all trade places for a little while, giving the plot that extra helping of tension which makes the pay-off all the more exciting. If you ask me, it’s pretty innovative as far as romance goes, where yeah, duh, the good guy is going to win.
|No scathing cinematic criticism|
of corporate America is complete
without a cute toy tie-in.
At least real cops shoot at children with parents, and not poor helpless
orphans. Remember, things could be worse. You could live in Gotham.
|Wait, there was no strife during the 1960s. What did these guys do all day?|