Dark Knight Rises and The Olympic Opening Ceremony

by John Holbo on July 28, 2012

Following up Henry’s post, my Dark Knight Rises take is this. The Nolan brothers are determined to make some kind of serious, dark, brooding, non-fascistic moral sense of Batman, and that’s just flat-out impossible. Can’t tell it that way without the basic story logic boxing you into a place you don’t want to be (as Henry says, there’s too much baked in the cake). If what the world needs is masked vigilantes behaving in this crazy way, then fascism needs a serious look-in as a political philosophy. But what we should really conclude is not that the moral sense of the film is fascist – or even aristocratic. Rather, we should conclude that the film makes no moral sense whatsoever. It conveys no moral message. It’s morally illegible. Lots of explosions and fighting. That’s it.

You just can’t call a film fascist – or even aristocratic – when the makers are at such evident pains not to have that be the moral of the story. A related point: lots of complaints about swipes at the Occupy folks. But surely the Nolans are trying to be evenhanded, to an almost pathetic degree: you could say that the film makes a point of showing that it’s evil 1%-ers – the finance guys trying to take over Wayne Enterprises – who let Bane get control of Gotham. They think they are using him, for their dishonest stock market rigging shenanigans, but he’s using them. Bane brings out the worst in the 1% and the 99%. Not that this makes it the case that the movie has anything minimally sensible to say about 1%/99% relations – we all need to unite against nihilism!

The whole thing makes no more moral sense than that 100-foot tall Voldemort I just saw fight with a bunch of Mary Poppinses. What did you think of that? I thought it was extremely bizarre and I didn’t like it. I enjoyed Dark Knight Rises a lot more. I enjoyed it a lot, actually. But it’s no Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series. Superhero stories should only ever be about the fact that superhero stories make no sense – if they have to be about something. The Avengers wasn’t really about anything, for example. That was an appropriate message for a film like that.

{ 88 comments }

1

Hidari 07.28.12 at 9:21 am

Could I just be the first to chip in and state that I thought that the Olympic opening ceremony was bloody awful? I mean….WTF? Voldemort? Bedknobs and Broomsticks? The NHS being attacked by Isambard Kingdom Brunel or whatever? Chariots of Fire? Honestly it was like a Chris Morris parody of what ‘hipsters’ would consider to be a good opener.

Given that it was being directed by Boyle, I thought it would have been much better if the entire show had consisted solely of flesh eating zombies cutting their arms off before diving into toilets, but this, apparently, is a minority opinion.

2

Chris Bertram 07.28.12 at 9:25 am

Oh I don’t know, it annoyed all the people it should have, and exposed one Tory MP as the nutty extremist he is. Personally, I can’t wait for the spittle-flecked comment that “broken Britain” obsessive faustusnotes is bound to post!

3

Hidari 07.28.12 at 9:43 am

True. But of course I am a pretentious elitist and snob and would have chosen Ken Loach to direct the ceremony, which would have consisted entirely of black and white shots of pensioners weeping over the privatisation of the NHS for four hours, intercut with statistics about the LIBOR scandal for light relief with choice arias from Moses und Aron as the background music, so I am perhaps not the best person to be making aesthetic judgments about populist spectacles.

4

P O'Neill 07.28.12 at 9:45 am

If there were ups and downs, I would put in the latter the carrying of the Olympic flag across the green mound by men in old style military uniforms, which had a world war I echo to it, and the flame ceremony itself, whose pagan roots were showing. Fine if it’s just fun with fire, but it brings up the dodgy cross fertilization of the Olympics with fascism.

5

Kieran 07.28.12 at 10:19 am

Given that all major international sporting federations from the IOC to the Formula 1 people to FIFA seem to be run by some combination of aristocrats, fascists, and aristocratic fascists, I kind of liked the NHS, the unions and the suffragettes.

6

SusanC 07.28.12 at 10:19 am

@4: Now that Albert Speer, he knew how to organize a good olympics….

@JohnH: I agree that there’s something dodgy about the whole superhero premise. You can be ironic about it (e.g. Watchmen, or Judge Dredd), but if a Batman film ends up looking a bit fascist, it’s more the fault of the source material than the director’s individual take on it.

I’ve just started wondering if Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver can be considered a superhero movie. (And like Batman, it inspired a real-life shooting).

7

Phersu 07.28.12 at 11:57 am

@6 : I’ve just started wondering if Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver can be considered a superhero movie.

Rorschach in Watchmen was directly inspired by Taxi Driver.

8

El Cid 07.28.12 at 1:18 pm

I’ve always thought fascism was most prominent in its dependence upon mass movements and ideologies. Whether or not Batman himself or as a more-or-less sanctioned actor was fascist is to me very different from a comparison with some sort of classical fascism, i.e., there are Bat-fans in Gotham, clearly, and there have been Bat-imitators, but Batman isn’t issuing statements urging Gothamites to turn out and beat down the unions which have made them weak, or questioning those who have weakened Gotham’s national and ethnic heritage, or urging that Gotham gird itself for battle with those surrounding cities who threaten it or dampen its regional ambitions.

9

tomslee 07.28.12 at 1:21 pm

Could I just be the first to chip in and state that I thought that the Olympic opening ceremony was pretty bloody good considering? Boyle stuck with his populist convictions all the way through to the lighting of the flame without it being the cheezy nightmare that anyone who saw the handover in Beijing must have expected. Any event of this breadth must be stupendously difficult to put together (take the Oscars of any year. Please.) and while parts of it were cringe-making there was always something else (or three things at once) coming along next. Plus, any global mainstream ceremony that incorporates the Sex Pistols and Frankie Says Relax t-shirts without getting all self-conscious about it is OK by me.

Big question: where were the Spice Girls? Did I miss that?

10

Neville Morley 07.28.12 at 1:47 pm

SusanC @6: “if a Batman film ends up looking a bit fascist, it’s more the fault of the source material than the director’s individual take on it.” Entirely true, I think, but you then have to question the director’s motives; either he genuinely thought he could turn this material to different ends, or he’s at least a little bit in love with the whole aristocratic vigilante ethos, perhaps not even consciously.

As for the opening ceremony. I think my reaction was shaped by all the nightmares I’d had previously about what ghastly jingoistic nonsense it could turn out to be (I was planning to avoid the whole thing for precisely this reason). Boyle attempted to establish a different set of icons and mythological archetypes for the Story of Britain: not an eternal green and pleasant land, in the classic conservative myth, but a country that was shaped by the Industrial Revolution (and personally I thought that section was as good a representation as I’ve ever seen of the opening sections of the Communist Manifesto, the simultaneously creative and destructive power of modernity), the ingenuity but also callousness of the entrepreneurs and scientists, the Jarrow Marchers and the NHS, Windrush rather than the Glorious Raj, children’s literature as an alternative canon, and (with the exception of the Eurythmics) an extremely well-chosen selection of music. And even when it got a bit too painfully right-on, you could just imagine how much it would be annoying various Tory MPs. Of course it wasn’t a coherent narrative; it’s about the power of myths and symbols.

11

Phil 07.28.12 at 1:51 pm

No sign of Take That either, with or without Robbie. The cultural clock seemed to stop just after punk and skip ahead to Dizzee, with a brief stop at Born Slippy.

As great a Briton as Isambard Kingdom Brunel indubitably was, I thought turning him into a Blakean visionary/messiah, who single-handedly transformed rural England into a soot-stained hell-hole through the medium of street dance, was a bit odd. On the other hand, if you’re going to boil the story of the industrial revolution down to its essentials it is going to look something like

1. A relatively underpopulated island with a fairly static population, mostly living in the country.
2. A few people invent things and push to get things done in new ways.
3. Dirt, destruction, misery, poverty, chaos.
4. A densely populated island with a rapidly growing population, mostly living in cities.

and all four of those were pretty plain.

As for the stars of the show, we now know that they asked Rowan Atkinson, Kenneth Branagh, Daniel Craig, Evelyn Glennie, Paul McCartney, Simon Rattle, J.K. Rowling, Underworld and HM the Q (!) and they all said Yes. (They also asked a few people I didn’t recognise, who presumably said Yes Please.) Did anyone say No?

I don’t know if viewers elsewhere were shown the whole of the ‘marchpast’ section of the ceremony. We watched the whole way through, mainly looking out for countries we hadn’t heard of. To my slight disappointment (tempered with smugness) I didn’t see any, although others in the room queried Djibouti and Guam. (“How’s that pronounced? Is it Guam as in spam, or Guahm as in… spahm?” – my son.)

12

NomadUK 07.28.12 at 1:58 pm

Everything Neville@9 said (though I do rather like the Eurythmics). I loved it.

And this:

Of course it wasn’t a coherent narrative; it’s about the power of myths and symbols.

Exactly. And it seems that, with humans, just about everything is.

13

Phil 07.28.12 at 2:02 pm

Oh, and Mike Oldfield. I liked the way they let him have a proper solo as well as the note-for-note one in In Dulci Jubilo – you could just picture him during the negotiations, saying “OK, and then I do my guitar solo?”. Did anyone see if the melody line on IDJ was being played on recorder, btw? I saw one guy with a wind instrument, but it looked more like a soprano sax.

As for tDKR, I liked it a lot. I did think the whole ‘revolution’ scenario, with Bane and Scarecrow as Carlylean nightmare images of Danton and St Just, was pretty bloody awful, but I’m not sure that kind of mass-hating Arnoldian Toryism is particularly right-wing by US standards these days, or by British standards for that matter. I don’t think the ‘fascist superhero’ thing is a particularly useful way into this film; I don’t think we’re necessarily identifying with Bruce Wayne or the Batman, or even investing in him except to the extent of thinking “isn’t this guy interestingly fucked-up, and wouldn’t it be awful to be him?”. Which I think is the kind of (rhetorical) question Nolan likes asking – although I have just seen Memento for the first time, which may be influencing me.

14

ajay 07.28.12 at 2:23 pm

P O’Neill: soldiers in British WW2 uniform are hardly fascist: the reverse, if anything. It’s not like they had Blueshirts out there.

15

bianca steele 07.28.12 at 2:24 pm

I saw bits and pieces, including the part with Simon Rattle and Rowan Atkinson. OK, but a little of that goes a long way. I flipped back and forth to the 1976 A Star Is Born, which I’d never seen, hoping to find a scene with singing in it. About 1-3/4 hours through I found out why there was so little of it. I don’t know what those guys were thinking when they made that movie.

16

Jonathan 07.28.12 at 3:20 pm

As far as the League goes, I liked it even though I’ve never actually read Harry Potter and wasn’t entirely sure what was going on with that part of it.

17

Jeremy Fox 07.28.12 at 4:03 pm

Ai Weiwei’s review in the Guardian: http://m.guardian.co.uk/ms/p/gnm/op/view.m?id=15&gid=/sport/2012/jul/28/olympic-opening-ceremony-ai-weiwei-review&cat=sport#.UBPlHFMu7mN.twitter

Very much in line with Neville @9. He also sees telling contrasts with Beijing four years ago.

18

harry b 07.28.12 at 4:12 pm

Well, I was forced to watch it, as I was the previous opening ceremony (for the second time in a row with my little sister-in-law). I hate that sort of thing. But it was a hoot! which is what it was supposed to be. It may have ended Aidan whatsisname’s career, as CB notes, which is a nice bonus — but he was right– the NHS tribute was clearly a poke in the eye for people like him (and all their friends here in the US). And then they filed the athletes through at record speed. Maybe because they wanted the US and UK athletes to get out of the way quickly, each team having chosen to dress as if they are members of different, but equally bizarre, cults?

Hidari — at least there was a scene from Kes during one of the film montages. No mention at all of Kenneth Williams though!

Did anyone last long enough to hear Paul McCartney? Oh dear!

Phil — there were two that I had never hear of, but I’ve forgotten them already.

19

trevelyan 07.28.12 at 4:20 pm

I’m at a disadvantage on the Batman front since the latest film won’t be released here for a month or so, but I’d be skeptical of arguments that anything Christopher Nolan does at this point is even unintentionally fascist.

He’s one of the most thoughtful filmmakers working in the industry and is — after all — the man who gave us Inception as Christian allegory and The Prestige as a critique of violent entertainment. Both films are dark in the sense they entertain us with much of the violence they implicitly criticize, but it seems hard to believe the same director would now make a film that is not only demonstrably violent, but morally ambivalent about it.

20

Hidari 07.28.12 at 4:38 pm

I hate to rain on anybody’s Olympic parade, incidentally, and aesthetics is subjective. But politically….some commentators here are acting as if Danny Boyle’s ‘spectacle’ was a Maoist attack on the running dogs of the Bourgeoisie.

Here’s BoJo: ‘”People say it was all leftie stuff. That is nonsense. I’m a Conservative and I had hot tears of patriotic pride from the beginning. I was blubbing like Andy Murray.

“I thought it was stupefying, one of the most amazing events I have ever seen.

“The big anxiety we had was, could we do something that would rival Beijing. I think we knocked the spots off it.”‘

David Cameron went out of his way to state that he did not agree with Burley.

And Rupert Murdoch stated it was ‘surprisingly great’. The hashtag ‘#nothingleftwingaboutit’ was started by Gavin Barwell. Boyle himself, of course, went out of his way to deny that the affair was ‘political’.

David Cameron, of course, has always gone out of his way to praise the NHS, even as he guts it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19029510

21

maus 07.28.12 at 4:44 pm

“Inception as Christian allegory and The Prestige as a critique of violent entertainment.”

Whaaaa, are you serious? Where are you getting either breakdown from, interviews?

22

John Holbo 07.28.12 at 4:50 pm

I very much doubt that Boyle intended to create left-wing propaganda (nor do I think he did so.) I made the comparison with Batman because it would, of course, be easy to have a monumental celebration of Britain and have it locked in by its source-material – British history! – in a way that would not have been, erm, appropriate: Rule, Britainia! Boyle is leaning backwards to avoid that, as anyone who approached the problem sanely would need to do. (Unlike the Nolans he managed to blast free of those troublesome aspects of the source material.) But the results were a hash. Then again, maybe I was just watching it on too small a screen, with too many annoying ads every 3 minutes.

23

TheSophist 07.28.12 at 5:15 pm

I’m an expat Brit (living in the SW US) and I thought it was marvelous. The “People’s History of the United Kingdom” theme was, although definitely somewhat confusing for many non-brits (the NBC folks tried gamely, but couldn’t quite keep up) really well done, as was the featuring of such as Tim Berners-Lee and JK Rowling( “She turned an entire generation of kids on to reading” observed Matt Lauer). The choice of the Kaos choir for the national anthem defused any fears that the ceremony would be overly jingoistic, and the Atkinson and James Bond moments were British humor at its best.

Some of the musical choices seemed a little strange (Mike Oldfield? Really?), but did anybody else notice the Pink Floyd that was the background to the climactic fireworks?

I’m not saying anything profound, am I – just “This was cool”, “this was very cool”, so I’ll be quiet now, just pausing to note that the whole thing was a giant “take that, ya wanker” to one Willard Romney.

Oh, and no hobbits? Alas.

24

bianca steele 07.28.12 at 5:16 pm

Not to speak ill of the recently dead (or the guy who wrote Cool Hand Luke and Dog Day Afternoon). I guess that’s why the movie was on in the first place.

And the other thing, it could have been funny, with Leonard Bernstein or maybe Keith Lockhart, and Elmo. But who is Britain’s funniest conductor? Is it really Rattle?

25

Nine 07.28.12 at 5:17 pm

Phil@9 “Did anyone say No?”

I believe Keith Moon did say no. If he had agreed then that would have been a coup for Hidari’s vision of Zombie’s and the like.

26

tomslee 07.28.12 at 5:28 pm

But who is Britain’s funniest conductor? Sue Perkins.

27

TheSophist 07.28.12 at 5:30 pm

…I always manage to forget something: When Boyle was asked what the highlight was for him, he responded that it was Sir Steve Redgrave carrying the torch into the stadium through the honour guard of the folks who had built the thing.

28

Jim Buck 07.28.12 at 5:36 pm

Did anyone last long enough to hear Paul McCartney? Oh dear!

Sir Paul was dreadfull! They should have gone for Ringo. He could have stepped out of a yellow submarine, to be knighted on the spot by a stony-faced HM Queen . Instead of Jude, they could have opened and closed the show with a Scot Engel interpretation of A Day in the Life.

29

Neville Morley 07.28.12 at 5:53 pm

@Hidari #20: even Cameron and Johnson aren’t stupid enough to undermine their own Olympics by stirring up a row, even if they sat through most of it with gritted teeth – by all accounts this is the sum total of their plan for kick-starting the UK economy.

Left-wing propaganda? Of course not: any aspiring national mythology has to attempt to transcend faction. But a popular and a people’s history, seeking to unite the British around an imagined past of individual brilliance and collective endeavour in concert; hence inevitably anti-aristocratic and also (in its poorly-concealed attempts at broadening the idea of who “we” are) explicitly multi-cultural, hence liable to be seen as left-wing by traditionalists and elitists.

30

x.trapnel 07.28.12 at 6:03 pm

I don’t know if viewers elsewhere were shown the whole of the ‘marchpast’ section of the ceremony.

I did, god help me. I thought the Independent Olympic Athletes stole the show. It wasn’t even close. And sweet jesus, the outfits Germany was wearing were terrible.

31

Ed 07.28.12 at 6:57 pm

Why aren’t there Independent Olympic Athletes in every Olympics? And why aren’t there more of them?

32

Hidari 07.28.12 at 7:33 pm

‘Sir Paul was dreadfull! They should have gone for Ringo.’

Or what about John? He cold have been raised from the dead by Voldemort, startling the sheep as he was pulled from the Earth with the Queen and James Bond both grabbing an arm, before leading the crowd in a rousing chorus of ‘Sunday Blood Sunday’.

And then cutting his arm off and diving into a toilet.

Why I was not asked to choreograph the Olympic Ceremony I will never know.

33

Jon H 07.28.12 at 8:21 pm

I give them credit for having Tim Berners-Lee sitting at an actual NeXT Cube, if not a functioning one. (The monitor was clearly modified to act as a lamp, illuminating him. A real monitor would have given off a dimmer bluish light, rather than the bright warm yellow/orange.)

It would have been *so* easy to trot him out with an iPad, especially since most viewers wouldn’t recognize the NeXT Cube anyway. Or they could have pushed the UK angle, and had him typing at an Acorn or BBC Micro or Sinclair ZX81.

34

Phil 07.28.12 at 8:23 pm

Jim – Scott would have said No; he loathes performing live.

did anybody else notice the Pink Floyd that was the background to the climactic fireworks

I filed it under “cynical appropriation of non-specific uplifting moment from popular culture”, alongside Heroes (which is quite specifically about people who aren’t special being ‘heroes just for one day’). But that didn’t stop me mouthing along to every word – I didn’t even know I knew it.

All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight…

35

Phil 07.28.12 at 8:24 pm

I give them credit for having Tim Berners-Lee sitting at an actual NeXT Cube

Impressive. But they lost points for me for using a faked-up

FRANKIE
SAY
RELAX

shirt, not the original – which of course said

FRANKIE SAY
RELAX
DON’T DO IT

36

nnyhav 07.28.12 at 8:51 pm

37

Anderson 07.28.12 at 9:20 pm

Calling Batman fascist has a real ring of Orwell’s complaint about the word.

He’s a vigilante. So the first movie gives him a city so corrupt, vigilantism seems reasonable. 2d and 3d give him super villains too badass for the authorities to handle. But the perennial theme is that Batman’s success should defeat the need for Batman to exist. Which is why, between 2 and 3, Wayne becomes a wreck — because Bruce Wayne doesn’t exist, except as cover for Batman. He’s not a fascist, he’s a pathological case of guilt.

38

John Holbo 07.28.12 at 10:15 pm

“He’s not a fascist, he’s a pathological case of guilt.”

This is how the Nolans are trying to square the circle. If you hired me to solve the problem, I don’t think I could do better. But it’s not really convincing. Here’s a passage from Gershon Legman (from 1948). Ostensibly it’s about Superman. But it applies even more clearly to Batman, and really just a generalization about the type:

“The truth is that the Superman formula is, in every particular, the exact opposite of what it pretends to be. Instead of teaching obedience to law, Superman glorifies the “right” of the individual to take the law into his own hands. Instead of preaching the 100 percent Americanism that he and his cruder imitators express in hangmen’s suits of red-white-and-blue, Superman … is really peddling a philosophy of “hooded justice” in no way distinguishable from that of Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan. Instead of being a gallant hangover from the feudal knighthood of combat seul—the sort of thing aviators like to play at—Superman is actually not above accompanying his endless rights to the jaw with snide wisecracks like “I do wish you fellows would listen to reason,” or “Ho-hum, here we go again.”

Most significant of all, instead of being brave and fearless, Superman lives really in continuous guilty terror, projecting outward in every direction his readers’ paranoid hostility. Every city in America is in the grip of fiends … And of course the army, the navy, the police and the FBI, and all the resources of civilization are powerless. Only the Nazi-Nietzschean Ubermensch, in his provincial apotheosis as Superman, can save us.”

Legman concludes:”comic-books have succeeded in giving every American child a complete course in paranoid megalomania such as no German child ever had, a total conviction of the morality of force such as no Nazi could even aspire to.”

I don’t buy that conclusion at all, for the reasons given in the post. Superman stands up for truth, justice and the American way. It says so right on the package. Ergo, he’s no fascist. I don’t think it’s right to say that Superman and Batman are fascists, but it is right to say that if you think through the story logic, clearly, that ought to be the conclusion. What I conclude is that morality itself works differently in the Superman/Batman world, for entertainment purposes. It’s a world in which you get to act like a fascist without being one. You get to imagine doing the wrong thing, and that it’s right. (Hey, it’s fun to imagine doing this stuff. It’s for kids.) What the Nolans do is, chiefly, play up the ‘continuous guilty terror’ element, to make Batman seem more human, more adult, more like an existentially authentic figure. It doesn’t ultimately work but it’s your best option, probably. It’s entertainment.

39

dave heasman 07.28.12 at 11:35 pm

“Did anyone say No?”

Branagh was deputising for Mark Rylance. So maybe.

40

dave heasman 07.28.12 at 11:40 pm

Oh, and watching the ceremony ad-free was very different. Boyle’s quite good at pacing.

41

Jon H 07.29.12 at 12:43 am

“Branagh was deputising for Mark Rylance. So maybe.”

Rylance pulled out due to a death in the family.

42

JP Stormcrow 07.29.12 at 3:35 am

alongside Heroes (which is quite specifically about people who aren’t special being ‘heroes just for one day’)

I wonder if “Working Class Hero” got any consideration when they were putting it together?

43

JPL 07.29.12 at 10:45 am

Jeremy Fox @17: Thanks for the link to the Ai Weiwei review. Loved it!
x.trapnel @30: (“… the whole of the marchpast section…”) I agree on both observations. I didn’t see the early teams, but can I give a first prize for the garb (I can’t say “uniforms” in this case) to the Mexican contingent?

44

etv13 07.29.12 at 11:11 am

I don’t generally watch these big spectacles because I find them stupefyingly tedious, but my daughter (being 14 she doesn’t know any better) roped my husband and me into watching this one, and we won’t be watching any more of them. Up through the Industrial Revolution and the Olympic rings shooting sparks it was pretty good, , the torch-lighting and fireworks towards the end were better, and of course you have to have the Parade of Nations at the Olympics (and it’s kind of nice the athletes aren’t actually marching in rows or anything, isn’t it?), but all that glowing-beds, Frankie and whoever say thanks to Tim while dancing badly and wearing stupid costumes, Mary-Poppins-slays-Voldemort stuff was just incoherent and awful, and the whole thing was about two hours too long. And I say this as someone who regularly watches the Rose Parade. Maybe if everything had been covered with flowers I’d have liked it better. But I doubt it.

45

bianca steele 07.29.12 at 2:19 pm

With due respect to Legman, who I’m sure is an excellent scholar, he seems to be having it both ways by contrasting “Hitler” and “the army, the navy, the police.” There’s something going unsaid in his argument, I think. (We don’t need Superman because if there was something really bad going on the Tsar would already know about it?)

But yeah, that’s what the Nolans are doing. Especially in Batman Begins (at least that’s the only one I’ve seen more than once and the only one I especially noticed dialogue in). Wayne talks and talks about how he can’t, possibly, do that. Then he goes out and does it. Then he broods, presumably because he still thinks he shouldn’t have.

46

tomslee 07.29.12 at 4:11 pm

My sister just pointed out to me that it was a distinctively northern English take on Britain — that someone from the home counties was unlikely to include steel and the Jarrow marches in the potted history — which may account for why I liked it so much.

47

John M. 07.29.12 at 4:26 pm

Watched the opening ceremony, fully expecting to switch it off after 10 mins or so. Then discovered that the BBC had a red button option to watch it without any commentary. This, combined with no ads and what I thought was a genuinely quirky show kept me largely engaged for the duration. Case in point: during Chariots of Fire did anyone reading this think to themselves “Oh yeah, they’ll cut to a bored Mr Bean playing that repetitive note?” A great gag and the confidence to do it is notable. Of course, I also very much like most of the music which helped, as did starting with rock bottom expectations. I shall now proceed to wind up my English friends and colleagues by saying just how English it all was.

48

bigcitylib 07.29.12 at 5:37 pm

I watched parts of the opening ceremonies in a sports bar with normal folk. Mr. Bean brought the house down. He should be made a mandatory part of any Olympic opening ceremonies until his retirement, and then Sasha Baron Cohen should step into replace him.

Also, the Queen is hot.

49

napablogger 07.29.12 at 5:42 pm

Try this one on Batman–it is a very moral story and it is very relevant to today. Its not about fascism at all. He is a hero who is beaten at every turn and never quits, except temporarily, goes through an inner change of heart, and returns. He is outside the system, because the system is so corrupt to be in it is to be corrupted by it.

In a world where supposedly good guys won, the evil has grown even more and the world is increasingly darkening. Sound familiar? This pulls him back in, where he is betrayed even by those who he thought he could trust, even by his butler who abandons him when he needs him most. His original teacher visits him transcendentally from death and tells him it is hopeless.

Yet he fights on and eventually overcomes all odds. He even decides to trust and ultimately reforms a criminal woman who was out to get him and turns her into a better person.

We live in a world that is increasingly dark where the real heros are those outside the system fighting to reform it. The moral message of Batman is never give up no matter how dark it seems, no matter how much betrayal you face, no matter what. And he triumphs.

There is a reason that this movie is so popular today. We live in an increasingly darkening world and it is scary. Change is ultimately going to come from outside the system, not from our politicians.

50

ajay 07.29.12 at 6:50 pm

Hidari: if you think liking ken loach makes you an elitist, you have a very odd definition of the word.

51

mojrim 07.29.12 at 11:15 pm

Funny, my takeaway from Dark Night Rises was exactly the opposite of fascism, or hero-saviorism for that matter. Originally I was disapointed by the exsanguinated nature of the action scenes, the impotence and lethargy of Batman, and the bizzare nihilism of the bad guys. Catwoman was far more dynamic, and the Hidden Villainness far more clever, than Batman as portrayed.

After a bit of contemplation it occured to me that those had all been deliberate features of story. Start by considering the previous movie, where the greatest act of heroism is carried out by a bunch of ordinary people trapped on a pair of ferries. The lies, incompetence, and lassitude of the city’s elites (the technologies hidden from the police, the micro reactor/McGuffin bomb, the truth about Harvey Dent) led them to this place, where a bunch of glue-sniffing crazies (who should have been easily dealt with) were able to take over the city. In the end it is the police (ordinary citizens) who take back the city, and Batman’s only role is to remove his own McGuffin so that it won’t destroy everything.

here is only so far one can go when dealing with a major property like Batman, but I maintain that the Nolans was deliberately subverting the superhero mythos.

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mojrim 07.29.12 at 11:18 pm

Can I edit that?

“There is only so far one can go when dealing with a major property like Batman, but I maintain that the Nolans were deliberately subverting the superhero mythos.”

53

Shatterface 07.30.12 at 12:49 am

“The truth is that the Superman formula is, in every particular, the exact opposite of what it pretends to be. Instead of teaching obedience to law, Superman glorifies the “right” of the individual to take the law into his own hands. Instead of preaching the 100 percent Americanism that he and his cruder imitators express in hangmen’s suits of red-white-and-blue, Superman … is really peddling a philosophy of “hooded justice” in no way distinguishable from that of Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan. Instead of being a gallant hangover from the feudal knighthood of combat seul—the sort of thing aviators like to play at—Superman is actually not above accompanying his endless rights to the jaw with snide wisecracks like “I do wish you fellows would listen to reason,” or “Ho-hum, here we go again.”

I might be missing something but fascism seams to me as a system in which all moral authority is invested in the State, not the individual. Fascists march in unison. They dress in uniform, not an individual costume. The extermination of Jews, Gypsies, Communists and the disabled was carried out by employees of the State, the invasions of Poland and the rest of mainland Europe were carried out by employees of the State, not outlaws in capes.

Fascism takes root where individual conscience is subordinated to that of the State: the fascist symbol is a bundle of sticks, not a single twig. The Milgram experiments and the Stanford Prison Experiments demonstrate that it is obedience to authority that leads to violence, and Legman’s uncritical celebration of the State’s oppressive mechanisms (the police, the army) and his not unrelated hostility to the Sixties counter-culture and the women’s movement make him a pretty poor ‘authority’ himself.

Its not an accident that Batman, at least, has attracted writers like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, both heavily influenced by anarchism and the counter-culture, and who therefore do not share Legman’s unquestioning belief that the State should hold a monopoly on violence.

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Shatterface 07.30.12 at 2:26 am

“There is only so far one can go when dealing with a major property like Batman, but I maintain that the Nolans were deliberately subverting the superhero mythos.”

They are exploring the ethics of using violence to fight violence.

Compare the film with the endless succession of cop shows in which representatives of the State employ lethal force against suspects, week after week, without psychological or professional consequences to themselves, and which naturalise the use of violence so long as it is officially sanctioned.

Batman shows violence as a compulsive act, equally dehumanising to to the hero, even where he employs non-lethan force. He’s an anti-hero, not a hero.

55

Anderson 07.30.12 at 3:27 am

Yeah, classifying force outside the rule of law as “fascism” debilitates the word.

Cue substantive vs procedural liberalism. Batman isn’t much on process … now where did I see that cartoon? Oh yeah.

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mojrim 07.30.12 at 3:39 am

shatterface@54

I have to reject that interpretation as it has been the established “truth” of Batman since the 80′s, when the Dirty Harry/Deathwish ideal of crime and punishment hit comic books. Violence in these films has far less psychological consequence than in the source material, where Batman is clearly presented as a paranoid borderline-psychotic. Nevertheless, the anti-hero always saves the city, and the people who cannot be roused to save themselves.

In the Nolans’ vision we get a Batman who is the problem, who’s paranoia and elitism generate the conditions for destroying the city. Recall that prior to Bane’s arrival, it had been ordinary police (using a new law named for a fallen hero) who had cleaned up the streets. Gotham City had actually been at peace before the elite bozos decided to fight over it like knights jousting for a lady’s favor. In the end the citizenry have cleaned up after them twice, and Batman gets a nice statue.

Perhaps the coda reads “The only good savior is a dead savior.”

57

etc. 07.30.12 at 3:44 am

“The only good savior…”
God killed Moses and the Italians killed Jesus.
What else is new?

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John Holbo 07.30.12 at 5:15 am

“Its not an accident that Batman, at least, has attracted writers like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, both heavily influenced by anarchism and the counter-culture, and who therefore do not share Legman’s unquestioning belief that the State should hold a monopoly on violence.”

It isn’t just Moore and Morrison who are attracted to the idea of non-state-sponsored violence such as Batman metes out. Millions of mostly young boys have felt the same way for decades. Batman is a very popular character – very important data point, that. And Batman didn’t turn all those mostly young boys into fascists. Because Batman isn’t a fascist. Nevertheless, if the world really worked the way Batman’s world does – i.e. only a Batman can save us from the enemies of civilization – then we really would stand in need of a Leader of rather a dark sort. And fascism would need a look- in as a possible political theory of all that. Having the message be ‘the only good savior is a dead savior’ is one way to paper over the thorny problem of implying that we need a dark savior of a certain sort. Get him outa there before the wrong sorts of implications of the story logic obtrude.

These stories intend and stipulate exactly the opposite than that Batman is a fascist. Legman is humorously wrong about much that he says, therefore. But he’s not wrong about what superhero stories are like, in a basic, narrative, broad-stroke terms.

Also, for the record I have no idea whether Legman held an unquestioning belief that the state should have a monopoly on violence. He was mostly a sexual radical – I guess I would compare him with Alan Moore, in that way, rather than contrasting them. Except that he was real grumpy about the 60′s when they rolled around. Read the Wikipedia page if you are curious.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gershon_Legman

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John Holbo 07.30.12 at 5:27 am

Also, it seems reasonable to read Alan Moore as saying, in at least one major work: think this through and you get Rorschach and Ozymandias as the possibilities. “Watchmen” is what you get when you don’t hustle your savior offstage fast enough. When you watch them too long. V. is sort of a different case, admittedly.

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John Holbo 07.30.12 at 5:35 am

Ok, triple post: fascism isn’t just force outside the law, yes. But I would turn that point around. The Batman isn’t only about force outside the law. He’s much more. His unique relationship to the city. The reason he seems like a fascist – which (see above!) he’s not – has to do not just with vigilantism but a much larger, political vision of Batman-in-Gotham. Gotham needs a Batman. Batman is at once Gotham’s ruler and it’s servant. It is ‘his’ city. Ultimately, the political order of Gotham recognizes that. Weird political situation.

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skippy 07.30.12 at 7:09 am

back to the opening ceremonies: when mccartney first came on he sang “the end” (“and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you take”). i was naturally expecting to hear him do the next (and last) song on the abby road album (after a 17 second delay), “her majesty.” i wish sir paul had had the guts to do it.

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Phil 07.30.12 at 10:26 am

skippy – maybe that’s how they got her to agree to that rather bad-taste skydiving gag (bad taste because the gag was that it couldn’t possibly really be her, and you don’t celebrate your monarch by drawing attention to her human limitations). And why she looked so fed up throughout.

All right, fine. Fine. If this is how it has to be, then the Palace will agree to everything on this tawdry little list, with the solitary exception of that ghastly song – thus far and no farther. And you needn’t expect HM to sit there grinning like an idiot all night, either.

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Shatterface 07.30.12 at 12:45 pm

I don’t think the word ‘fascism’ can be usefully extended over anything other than a political ideology based on state worship, conformity, racism, and oppression of unions, women and homosexuals: I wouldn’t even apply it to Stalinism, which has far more in common with fascism (state worship, conformity, oppression of unions, etc) than vigilantism.

Also, I think its wrong to assume audience responses to Batman can be described as ‘identification’: that’s a psychoanalytic term for which there is no valid scientific evidence. Cognitivist film theorists like David Bordwell and Noel Carroll are far more persuasive when they argue that audience allegience is constantly shifting.

I think there’s an interesting dynamic in the second film: Batman represtenting an excess of order, balanced with an excessive social conscience; and the Joker representing total freedom, but without a shred of social conscience.

I’ve always read Batman as essentially a debate between these forces. Both the Batman and the Joker are antiheroes to varying degrees, a mixture of good and bad, and its fascinating that Catwoman is more antihero than villain these days (a bit like Magneto). How the audience resolve this conflict is down to them- and Leadger’s Joker seems more popular than Bale’s Batman.

The reason I responded to Legland so harshly is that there is a strand of left-wing thought that forgets that a standing civilian police force is itself the result of a specialist division of labour associate with late capitalism, and the current, professional and bureaucratised for the police take in the UK grew our of the Thatcher decade.

The police have long been despised by the working classes as either corrupt (‘if you want to know the time ask a policeman’ because they had a reputation for lifting pocket watches from drunks) or incompetent bumblers (think Lestrade). George Orwell wrote appreciatively of syndicalist Catelonia, free of the worker’s ‘natural enemies’, the police.

I think there are many on the left who accept capitalism is unjust but their ‘revolution’ stops at a change in the ownership of the means of production, imagined as a degree of nationalisation (‘public ownership’ held in trust by the State) but leaving the social division of labour intact.

Orwell’s Spain, the proposed anarchist societies of Kropotkin or – in science fiction – Ursula K Le Guin – are without a standing policeforce. Through Legland’s blinkers Le Guin’s The Dispossessed – in which people police themselves – would be a fascist dystopia, not an ‘ambiguous Utopia’.

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Anderson 07.30.12 at 3:22 pm

Gotham City had actually been at peace before the elite bozos decided to fight over it like knights jousting for a lady’s favor.

I think this misses the point that the League of Shadows had decided to destroy Gotham even *before* Bruce Wayne showed up at their HQ.

But yes, as Alfred points out in the 2d movie, a super-hero invites a super-villain, and it’s probably not a net win for Gotham. Evidently, Batman had been busy between the first two films, and Gotham still sucked, due to the institutional failures that Harvey Dent was somehow going to miraculously cure with his chin or something.

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John Holbo 07.30.12 at 5:08 pm

“I don’t think the word ‘fascism’ can be usefully extended over anything other than a political ideology based on state worship.”

I certainly don’t want to get hung up on the word, but I think ‘fascism’ often is – and certainly can be – as much a matter of leader-worship as state-worship. Let me just quote Wikipedia, not necessariy as a brilliant source, but not-too-tendentious:

“The fascist party is a vanguard party designed to initiate a revolution from above and to organize the nation upon fascist principles. The fascist party and state is led by a supreme leader who exercises a dictatorship over the party, the government and other state institutions.[16] Fascism condemns liberal democracy for basing government legitimacy on quantity rather than quality, and for causing quarreling partisan politics”

Batman is a kind of supreme-leader-swooping-in-from-above, when the institutions of liberal democracy become totally incapacitated in the face of external threats. I reiterate my disbelief that Batman is a fascist. I merely point out that the story logic drives you to the conclusion that Gotham needs a certain sort of supreme leader, to help civilization when the institutions of liberal democracy inevitably crumble from external threats. Obviously Batman pulls back from dictatorship – breaking his cellphone monitoring tech in the second movie and all that – but, since Gotham still needs a Batman, it’s not clear that he is actually right to do that. By the logic of the story. Suppose your first goal is to save Gotham, what should you do (if you are Batman). Given how capable he is, and given the threat level, it’s not clear that making the city even more ‘his’ isn’t the logical course of action. But that’s politically distasteful, to say the least. So we draw back into existential torment.

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John Holbo 07.30.12 at 5:16 pm

“that Harvey Dent was somehow going to miraculously cure with his chin or something”

A facist dictatorship. Alas, that it should have turned out so two-faced.

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Latro 07.30.12 at 5:19 pm

Batman has clear elements of the fascist mode of “hero”. The system has failed and only direct, violent action will save us now. The hero is above and beyond mere conveniences as laws or institutions which are, by themselves, corrupt. The hero is justice incarnate so everything he does is justice – even if the system doesnt realize it. And of course the hero has to have a fuckton of money.

The elements are there – guess what, they are in our whole societies. They doesnt make Batman and his stories about fascism or a portrayal of it, but it is… disturbing the amount of enjoyment and popularity such concepts enjoy. Really, sometimes they are too much of a guilty pleasure, and there is nothing as terrifying as finding one of those people that believe that superhero comic book concepts are THE source of morality and the “mythology of the age” – as that, without any critical view.

Hell, just watch Frank Miller degeneration and check how that plays out.

68

Latro 07.30.12 at 5:22 pm

On the movie, the worst part is that it really feels forced – like they HAD to include some reference to current news, current situation, current debates, but then, scared about the real implications of that, settled for an incoherent, messy, unexplained, just “there” series of checklist, a series of “calls out” to the whole Occupy/1%/etc thing without substance, rhyme, sense or weight. Just there, like part of the attrezzo, you need a backdrop well there you have it but dont look at it too much, is just a painted curtain…

69

Doug K 07.30.12 at 5:23 pm

TheSophist @23, “no hobbits ? Alas.”

to me the Glastonbury Tor looked like a hobbit hill, the Industrial Revolution looked like the movie version of the Scouring of the Shire, the forging of the Olympic ring looked like the forging of One Ring.. seems the hobbits are implied ;-)
I liked the sheep, too,
http://www.itv.com/news/london/update/2012-07-27/sheep-arrive-at-olympic-stadium/

I wanted to be one of the guys down there banging on a bucket, what fun. In general a glorious mess I thought – the romance/music video medley at the end didn’t do anything for me but it was good to see Sir Tim out on stage.

70

Anderson 07.30.12 at 5:33 pm

Well, John’s posts are at least helping me understand why this “fascist” talk about Batman seems so out of place.

Batman is not a “leader” in any discernible sense of the word. Whom does he lead? There are those copycats at the beginning of TDK, but he expressly tells them to quit it.

If there were guys in gray uniforms and cute little bat-helmets marching through Gotham and demanding that Batman be made police commissioner, or else, then we could talk about Batman as “leader.” But it just isn’t there in the movies. Lots of other problems; not fascism.

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John Holbo 07.30.12 at 5:49 pm

“Also, I think its wrong to assume audience responses to Batman can be described as ‘identification’: that’s a psychoanalytic term for which there is no valid scientific evidence. Cognitivist film theorists like David Bordwell and Noel Carroll are far more persuasive when they argue that audience allegience is constantly shifting.”

There are a lot of interesting issues here. I don’t think it’s necessary to go full psychoanalytic to see audience responses as ‘identification’. It’s fun to imagine being THAT cool. That tough, that awesomely righteous. That’s not the whole reception story, but it’s a part. I would say: people like to fantasize about power – kids, in particular, like to fantasize about being strong. And they also like to fantasize that morality itself could be ‘better’. Less grey-on-grey. The most cinematically thrilling thing is conveniently, the right thing to do. This makes no sense. Morality itself has been altered for entertainment purposes. Which is precisely why Batman isn’t a fascist. In our world, acting that way would make you one. But in his world, no.

“Batman represtenting an excess of order, balanced with an excessive social conscience; and the Joker representing total freedom, but without a shred of social conscience.”

Batman is a very orderly guy, very systematic. But also very outside-the-system. I’m not sure that there has ever been any really coherent in-story address to that: why not just take over the system, if you are the perfect systems guy? I’m also not sure that Batman really does have an ‘excessive social conscience’. Or maybe only in a narrow sense: he wants retribution and punishment of crime. He’s a Fury, only half-civilized. Superman is the guy who has an overgrown social conscience in the sense that he really has a freakishly wide circle of concern for human welfare. He has superhearing and supersight and could just do good deeds from morning to night, at superspeed. If there were no villains, Superman would still be busy all day stopping trains from running off broken tracks. If there were no villains, Batman, on the other hand, would have nothing to do with his hands. Batman is conscious of people who lack a social conscience. That’s not necessarily quite the same as having a hypertrophic social conscience. I dunno.

72

Latro 07.30.12 at 5:50 pm

Yet a great deal of the movie (and the comic books) circle around how Gotham needs Batman. What the city needs is a vigilante outside the bonds of process, institutions, etc.

Batman is not a fascist leader – it is the wet dream of every fascist supported and leader, though. It is the validation of their view of the world – hey, the world NEEDS me go to, bypass all restrictions, institutions or laws, and do what is necessary.

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mojrim 07.30.12 at 6:49 pm

Anderson@64: That statement was in reference to the time between the 2nd and 3rd movies when, in the aftermath of the Joker and the two-ferry incident, the city’s civic institutions began to function again. What I find interesting is that this all happens once the heros are dead (and the Wayne Foundation goes broke), and the citizens are brought to the realization that they alone are responsible for their community.

Latro@72: That’s very close to what I was thinking. The superhero mythos is that of a Man on a Horse saving the hoi polloi from threats Too Big For Them, which civic order cannot adequately address. This is where the fascist impulse begins. I am always struck by the likeness of superhero imagery to Lanziger’s painting of Hitler as a knight.

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-Lanzinger-Hitler_the_standard_bearer.jpg

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Anderson 07.30.12 at 7:03 pm

There are a lot of interesting issues here. I don’t think it’s necessary to go full psychoanalytic to see audience responses as ‘identification’.

Agreed. My experience of teaching freshman comp and trying to teach how to write about short stories, etc., would have convinced me of the power of identification, all by itself. I felt like I needed a trained counselor to help me grade the essays.

75

NickT 07.30.12 at 7:14 pm

Part of the problem with the whole Batman is a fascist, is not, is too discussion seems to be that Gotham simply isn’t a functioning city in any meaningful sense. It has a police force, of sorts, it vaguely looks like an American city, but there’s no real sense in which Gotham is a living, economic, social city in a human world of similar cities, trade patterns, foreign policies etc etc. It’s a fairly crude, strangely isolated fantasy city back-drop with fantasy politics and sociology as a result. Trying to analyze Batman and Gotham in terms of human history is a pretty pointless endeavor for me – because both of them pretty clearly stand outside the human/earthly/historical order. In many ways, the discussion is starting to sound like one of those round-table seminars on whether King Arthur was some sort of Late Roman strongman or a mythological figure dubiously historicized. Given that there’s no actual evidence beyond some pretty shaky literary texts, you can probably draw any conclusion you wish without any fear of being proven right.

76

bianca steele 07.30.12 at 7:17 pm

The most cinematically thrilling thing is conveniently, the right thing to do. This makes no sense.

Isn’t this Euthyphro in reverse? It isn’t impossible that cinema could remind viewers of true morality, even viscerally. It’s empirically false, though, because it turns out to be the case that the people we most associate with getting people to change their moral beliefs through visceral entertainments are fascists, and especially Nazis. But it isn’t logically impossible that a decent society, with decent artists, a decent culture, and decent audiences–where Morality itself has been altered for entertainment purposes wasn’t true–could be stirred up to do good by a movie. (Presumably it would have less of a Wagnerian feel to it. Maybe it would look more like An Officer and a Gentleman. And it isn’t totally clear to me how Batman is that movie in either world.)

77

Aaron Swartz 07.30.12 at 10:16 pm

But the Nolans do get themselves out of the box! The film literally ends with Batman apparently committing suicide. A masked vigilante is not necessary to save the people of Gotham, he just makes everything worse. Fascism, even when it works, is a solution that’s worse than the disease. That’s my reading, anyway.

78

The Tragically Flip 07.30.12 at 11:21 pm

No one has mentioned the pains nolan took to portray Batman as weak and mortal in his multiple accumulated injuries from all the fighting. Whatever Nolan was after, Nietzsche’s Superman it was not.

79

ajay 07.31.12 at 1:18 pm

78: good touch of realism, I thought. The closest thing to Batman in real life is probably a professional athlete – a decathlete or something – and their working lives are short, due to both injury and age.

80

Phil 07.31.12 at 1:43 pm

I wouldn’t call the “mending a broken back by DIY chiropractic with added strappado” sequence realism.

81

Agog 07.31.12 at 2:21 pm

Skippy,

He did that already, 10 years ago.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_at_the_Palace

82

Anderson 07.31.12 at 8:05 pm

80: yeah, that was the lamest failure to break someone’s back I’ve ever seen, certainly. If the superlative degree is even something I can use here.

83

soullite 08.01.12 at 2:08 pm

Napa: you’re absolutely right. Good luck convincing the folks here of that, though.

Batman’s ‘fascism’ is reflection of our current reality. Everything is broken. Nothing works. The police are all corrupt (particularly when you get to federal law enforcement, who let the rich and connected do whatever they want and then tank any prosecutions that result), and the powers that be are only concerned with putting a lid on legitimate outcry. American in 2012 is a lot more like Gotham city than most here (upper class, educated, often embedded deep in their elite bubbles) are willing to admit. They can’t really disagree, or they would have.

They know what the result of that is likely to be and they rightly fear it. But the irony of this is that their refusal to address these truths is more likely to bring about the fascism they fear than a movie ever could. These Batman movies are essentially about them – what they risk inviting – but they’re too busy posturing to care. They would rather denounce imaginary fascism that actually take up the work of preventing the real thing.

They are, in effect, trying to shoot the messenger.

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John Holbo 08.02.12 at 12:08 am

“Batman is not a “leader” in any discernible sense of the word. Whom does he lead? There are those copycats at the beginning of TDK, but he expressly tells them to quit it.”

It’s true that Batman tells the copybats – cats – to cut it out. But his stated reason is conspicuously weak: “I’m not wearing hockey pads” (if memory serves). More logical to say: if one bat is good, then 10 would be better. Nolan knows it would be fascist for Bats to lead a troop of Batshirts, so the story steers clear. But the story would be more logical, in a sense, if it were otherwise. Also, in effect Batman takes over the police in the new film. That courageous rush on City Hall, with Modine back in his dress blues, marching into a hail of Banegoon bullets, is at the operational command of Batman. So, in effect, the cops are now all vigilantes, cut off from civilian command and control.

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NickT 08.02.12 at 2:16 am

@soullite

“…most here (upper class, educated, often embedded deep in their elite bubbles)…”

What’s your beef with education, exactly? What right do you have to assume that anyone on here is “upper class”, let alone “embedded” in an “elite bubble”?

Also, just how many successful revolutions have you led?

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ajay 08.02.12 at 8:40 am

80: yeah, fair one.

Soullite: not everyone here is American, mate. Wind your neck in.

87

Atticus Dogsbody 08.02.12 at 10:38 pm

I thought it was extremely bizarre and I didn’t like it.

Aw, c’mon. At least it wasn’t Cromwell fighting a leprechaun.

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Kabuki 08.03.12 at 10:51 am

@ Trevelyan 19:

…and Inception as Christian allegory

Excuse me?

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