As one who enjoys the new Batman trilogy starring Christian Bale, I am looking forward to seeing the latest installment, The Dark Knight Rises. With all of the news of late concerning the shooting that took place in Colorado, it doesn’t deter me from wanting to view the film. However, it is liberals who are the ones that amaze me in their reviews of the film, especially Steven Zeitchik of the L.A. Times. He seems to have such a twisted thinking of how the world should work and that comes through very clear in his review.
It seems that Zeitchik wants to take shots at the film because it doesn’t apparently agree with his worldview. He claims, “‘The Dark Knight Rises’ takes the opposite approach, spilling out political content wherever you look. But more politics doesn’t mean your movie’s message is more consistent or decipherable.”
I agree it doesn’t. There are a myriad of films where liberal politics abound and are completely inconsistent. In fact, liberal politics are inconsistent in life, so why should we expect otherwise in films?
Contradictions abound in “The Dark Knight Rises.” There is a man (Thomas Hardy’s Bane) who urges populist unrest against a monied elite and a woman (Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle) who speaks the language of social justice, stirringly asking a member of the 1% “how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” Yet both are, for at least chunks of the movie, villains — in Bane’s case, murderously and maliciously so. (emphasis mine)
It’s as though Zeitchik is fond of the politics of both of the villains by the use of the word “yet.” He seems to be advancing an Occupy crowd type of mentality against the rich, just because they are rich and seems sympathetic to taking what other people have acquired.
Meanwhile, the hero (Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne/Batman), the man we’re rooting for, the one who’s going to make it all OK, is … a billionaire who sits on his money? A man who for parts of the film is as addicted to the thrills and the spotlight as much as he believes in the value of altruism? A man so disaffected he even forgets to write a check to his own orphanage?
What this all adds up to makes the head spin a little. Are we supposed to root for complacency? Or reevaluate our notions of equality and justice because its champions practice wanton murder? Or perhaps we should just decry the whole lot of them.
Nope, we aren’t supposed to root for complacency. We root for the guy to get back on track and do what is right. Sadly, in our day and age too many want to play party politics and let their guy get away with things they would never let the other guy get away with and yes that includes the party I’m affiliated with too. Republicans can err and begin to distance themselves away from principles and what do those of us who care do? WE call them out and demand they do what is right and if they don’t we vote them out. Eventually though Bruce Wayne gets his act together and does the right thing.
In the film’s most blatantly political scene, Bane whips supporters into a populist frenzy as they literally rip wealthy people out of their penthouses to beat and rob them. It’s a jarring viewing experience. The language of revolt and justice would seem to call for sympathy with the rebels. But the violence of their attacks makes you side, discomfittingly and reflexively, with the pampered rich.
OK wait, what? You get a revolutionary that stirs the people up so much that they actually invade the homes of people doing them no harm at all, but simply on the basis they have more and Zeitchik actually has the audacity to say it makes you side “discomfittingly and reflexively” with the rich? What in the world is in this guy’s mind? It is awkward for you Mr. Zeitchik because you are witnessing what is morally wrong.
The writer of Proverbs wrote of such people as he instructed his son:
My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
This is the same mentality which apparently makes Mr. Zeitchik uncomfortable. People who think they deserve something that is someone else’s simply because they think life is unfair or whatever. It is nothing more than envy and jealousy and ultimately breeds thieves with murderous hearts.
The analysis of the film continued,
It’s no wonder that progressive Democrats and free-market Republicans alike have found something to dislike about the movie (or, if they’re trying to spin it in their favor, something to like about how the other side is portrayed).
Nolan fans will say the jumble is intentional; skeptics will say he’s thrown a lot at the wall and walked away. (Is it possible to believe a little bit of both?)
But there is a way to synthesize all of this, to argue that Nolan supports neither Bane-ish unbridled activism nor Wayne-like apathetic opportunism. It’s a combination of the two, a kind of cherry-picking from both sides, a kind of responsible capitalism.
Well seeing that the character Bane demonstrates nothing of responsibility and nothing of capitalism, it is hardly correct to claim that this is “a combination of the two, a kind of cherry-picking from both sides.” It is only one sided. After all, even the best of people can err and fail to live up to what they ought. But Bale’s character does come back and do what is right in the end.
Zeitchik concludes with:
By putting universal truths in the mouth of someone as malignant as Bane, Nolan isn’t necessarily disavowing the message. He’s just warning us that it can mutate quickly.
And Wayne, for all his selfishness, is of course jolted out of his apathy. In the film’s climactic moments, he not only risks his life to save others but then — in an epilogue — also opens up an orphanage. And it’s the latter Wayne that Nolan holds up as a hero.
Think about a revolution, Nolan seems to be saying, but conduct it mercifully. Practice free-markets, but do it with a soul.
Universal truths? Please. Whipping people up into a jealous rage at those who, by God’s grace have more, think they are entitled to a slice of the pie is hardly a universal truth. That is more like a universal lie! He is malignant because of his worldview and he is seen as a villain because that is what he is. It certainly can mutate quickly, just look at people’s mindset when Barack Obama got into office. They though they would have their mortgages paid for them, gas paid for them and be taken care of the rest of their lives and it wouldn’t cost them a thing. Foolish imbeciles they are who think such.
As to the comment about Wayne, does anyone know what makes a really good story great? It’s the story of redemption in it. Yes, the character of Bruce Wayne may have been complacent, but unlike the “99%” we see today, he didn’t stay complacent. He didn’t pitch a tent and use the public as his bathroom, shoot up drugs and basically alienate themselves from being productive in society. He changed. As Zeitchik points out, he was “jolted out of his apathy.” He risked his life to save others. Please show me a 99%er who was genuinely doing that!
Not only does he do it in the most crucial moment, but then he begins to let his life prove the change in him and opens an orphanage. That is not something that is short term, but long term. It is something that will live on long past his own lifetime.
Zeitchik points out that the latter Wayne is the hero director Nolan wants to hold up as a hero as though it were a bad thing. We all have things in our past that we have left behind and want to distance ourselves from. They are things, good or bad, that have made us who we are. We don’t try and focus on the bad, but look at where we have been brought to and who we are today. This is exactly how we should view people.
As for the claim of revolution being merciful, has Zeitchik ever read of the French Revolution? It was going on around the same time as our own revolution and what did it produce? It produced the guillotine and blood literally running in the streets. It was man at his worst, seeking to be autonomous apart from God. Even the laws instituted afterwards had many anti-biblical laws within them and the people suffered under that tyranny.
Take a look at our own revolution. It was a very similar thing in that it involved war, but there was a foundation on which the people had been taught and it did not lead them to do as France did, but rather fight to gain independence and establish a government based on individual liberties. While I could claim that the Founders purposefully left out the Creator in the U.S. Constitution and as such, has been in part to the detriment of our society centuries later, I will refrain from that in this article.
The things they did point to were individual liberties and a limited government that was mainly responsible for protecting those liberties. Sadly the government and its people have been wooed along to the music of both socialism and communism and thinking that they can steal from the rich via a taxation process to gain for themselves. Government is only to happy to oblige such people since they believe it will help them get re-elected and thus keep their power and support from the taxpayer.
In the end, the critique gives us a glimpse into the mind of a Hollywood leftist. It’s quite possible that what Nolan is presenting is the classic tale of how good triumphs over evil. It’s how what is right prevails over what is wrong. It’s about how even good men do bad things, but can rise above their failures to forge ahead in doing what is right.