Thursday, August 9, 2012

Plains Pops: Dark Knight Rises Edition

First, many have opined that the film is a commentary on Occupy Wall Street. Given that the film was on location in Pittsburgh on July 30, 2011 and the first Occupy demonstration occurred on September 17, 2011, that connection seems tenuous at best. I suppose it's possible that Christopher Nolan, the film's director has prophetic powers, but it seems more likely that those who find a critique of the Occupy movement are doing a bit of projecting.

It seems more likely that Nolan is asserting that Thomas Hobbes was right:
Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man. . . .
In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
Second, the film can succinctly described as the French Revolution meets Star Wars meets Eisenhower's warning about the military industrial complex.

Third, the film misses no opportunity to demonstrate the "appearances deceive" motif. Harvey Dent/Two-Face's Ghost hangs over Gotham. The most interesting example is the film's ironic twist of the "faith of the child" allusion. Bruce Wayne must become childlike to escape the prison, but Miranda Tate, the child who originally made the climb, literally stabs him in the back. She's also the daughter of Ra's al Ghul, one of Batman's most dangerous foes.

Finally, I have a nagging suspicion that this Batman trilogy owes much of its worldview to Norse mythology.

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