Friday, 3 August 2012

Batman: Right-Wing Ideologue?

I wrote a piece for the Lancaster To Euston blog on the political message (if we agree that there is one) of The Dark Knight Rises. Full article accessible by following the link above. Representative quote:
That said, I still find there to be a conservative message throughout Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but I find it more pragmatist than Burkean or whatever the adjective for Hannityism is. Nolan’s trilogy is more a treatise on absolutism and moral ambiguity than a belief in totalising philosophies. Individuals are portrayed as being as capable of corruption as they are of altruism – as morally praiseworthy as they are blameworthy. The Joker tried to prove the fundamental immorality of crowds and failed, Harvey Dent and Bane were ultimately corrupted by self-interest and narcissism (in Bane’s case, it’s more of an original sin). There’s not one point in the entire trilogy where a character making a grand, unifying moral message is given the dignity of being right – Batman is the hero Gotham deserves but doesn’t need; his utility is malleable to the situation. The message of Nolan’s Batman is therefore more biblically bipartisan: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

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