July 18, 2012

WHICH MAY BE WHY FRANK MILLER DID SUCH GOOD WORK WITH HIM:

How the Dark Knight Rises reveals Batman's Conservative soul (Robert Colvile, 7/17/12, The Telegraph)

Imagine that you are a child billionaire, orphaned in a mugging that goes terribly wrong. You decide to devote yourself to making sure that no one else will suffer as you did. But how? Do you open a series of outreach centres, hire probation workers, sponsor rehabilitation schemes? Or do you put on a rubber suit and prowl the streets at night, clobbering members of the underclass until they promise to stop breaking the law?

The answer goes to the heart of Batman's most terrible secret - not his true identity as Bruce Wayne, playboy industrialist, but the fact that he's secretly, wonderfully Right-wing. And it's a secret that is now being exposed by one of the year's biggest movies. In The Dark Knight Rises, British director Christopher Nolan explicitly casts Batman as the plutocrats' champion, forced to defend his city against the impoverished victims of depression and globalisation. 
The ostensible villain may be Tom Hardy's hulking, monstrous Bane, but the uprising he inspires is essentially Occupy Gotham City, if the "99 Per Cent" used shotguns rather than megaphones.

For some, it may come as a surprise that the Caped Crusader turns out to be a Caped Conservative. But Nolan's played these tricks before. In his previous Batman film, The Dark Knight, he confronted the people of Gotham with a terrorist threat - Heath Ledger's Joker - that, like al-Qaeda, could not be predicted or reasoned with. In the process, Batman wrestled with the same quandaries as President Bush. Can it be right to torture a prisoner to obtain vital information? The film's answer, like the president's, was an unequivocal yes. Can total electronic surveillance be justified to catch one or two bad apples? In this case, Nolan's answer was more liberal: Batman hands control of his all-powerful spying device to that unwavering moral arbiter Morgan Freeman, the closest thing to St Augustine that our fallen age can muster.

You could say that Nolan is just reading things into the character. Yet it's not just that Batman is a standing reproof to the liberality of the justice system, forced to pick up the pieces when lily-livered judges and incompetent guards release the bad guys to kill again. From the moment of his creation, as the comic-book writer and superhero historian Grant Morrison argues, "Batman was the ultimate capitalist hero... a millionaire who vented his childlike fury on the criminal classes of the lower orders" in his "obsessive, impossible quest to punch crime into extinction, one b------ at a time".

Posted by at July 18, 2012 9:41 PM
  

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