Sunday, July 22, 2012

Batman vs Occupy in Dark Knight Rises

(7/19/2012 1:35PM) Tonight at midnight the final episode of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is released as Dark Knight Rises. Liberal film critics have been giving the movie bad reviews because the villain is an Occupy Wall Street type who attacks "The 1%." A cultural battle between the fans and left-wing movie critics culminated in the film review site Rotten Tomatoes suspending comments.

Everyone from Rush Limbaugh to G4 television has chimed into the battle. Rush was accused by G4 of calling the film a conspiracy against Mitt Romney because the villain, who was created in the early 1990's, is named Bane. During G4's Attack of the Show, a movie reviewer pointed out that the villain was an occupier.  The guest-geek host pushed the reviewer into mentioning the tea party as an evil force, ostensibly to "maintain impartiality."

Rush, as reported by the Washington Examiner, was referring to a story about Democrats using the movie's villain as a connection to Bain Capital which was founded by Mitt Romney:
"I never said that the villain was created by the comic book character creator to be part of the 2012 campaign. I never said that at all. Everybody’s out there running around saying I got this giant conspiracy theory that the Batman people, the creators, the comic book creators, created this thing to campaign against Romney. I never said that. I didn’t say there was a conspiracy."
The story originated this week with the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard, who reported that Democrats were planning to use the villain Bane, as a way to remind voters of Romney’s connection to his company, Bain Capital.

Bedard quoted a Democratic strategist who suggested that “the narratives are similar: a highly intelligent villain with offshore interests and a past both are seeking to cover up who had a powerful father and is set on pillaging society."
SFGate reviewer Mick LaSalle offered the following in his review 'The Dark Knight Rises' review: Mostly falls flat:
Bane's dastardly plot involves a massive transfer of wealth using the stock exchange. It consists further of inciting civil unrest and taking control of cutting-edge technologies that can be used for good or ill. Nolan's critique of Wall Street is implicit in the portrayal of the rapacious and arrogant Wall Street traders, but some uneasiness about the Occupy movement is evident, as well, in the film's depiction of people's tribunals. However, to say that the movie steers a middle course would be to impose coherence on what seems more like a scattered set of fears and impressions.
USA today chimes in:
While The Dark Knight Rises is currently experiencing a glowing 84% "fresh" rating on, the film has been deemed "rotten" by a few critics, including Marshall Fine of Hollywood & Fine, Christy Lemire of the Associated Press and Nick Pinkerton of the Village Voice. Fine lambasted Dark Knight Rises for being "nonsensical," and Lemire called it a "letdown."
"As a movie writer and critic, Christy gives her opinion and we expect people will agree with some of her reviews and disagree with others," said Lou Ferrara, the AP managing editor who oversees entertainment. "It's unfortunate when the conversation turns ugly."
My suggestion to tea party types, occupy types and superhero fans is to go buy tickets immediately.

Update 7/22 7:05 PM: Director Christopher Nolan retweeted a comment about his intention with the DKR script. It is assumed that direct comment on the overtone of the movie would be contractually forbidden.


SarahB said...

Reminds me of how much folks read into Star Wars during one of the Bush elections. Of course, unlike the new Lucas films, I expect the new Batman to rock!

Sayf said...

I think it's remarkable to see a major studio film that actually portrays a revolutionary scenario and class warfare, which are two things you almost never see in American pop culture (at least not since the crisis of the 1970s when there was more space for social critique in Hollywood cinema). The Dark Knight Rises seems to acknowledge systemic inequality and injustice, even if it portrays a demagogue hijacking legitimate grievances. That being said, the politics of the film are complex and can certainly be interpreted as conservative. Here's my take, FWIW:

GB Posters said...

This is often the case with films of such stature. They are assessed extensively and sometimes looked into too deeply. I do think there is an implied opinion on politics within the story, however, it should not be a reason to criticise or dislike the entire film as it is not its sole purpose.




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