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Ken Houghton

Iirc, Batman never deals with common people--not even the ones he rescues. This long predates Frank Miller, but was perpetuated by him. Even in The Dark Knight Falls, Batman deals only with those who Act Out Violently, or who seek profit from Looking the Other Way (the taxi driver whose fare from the pimp beating the prostitute (and only that) Batman tears to pieces).

There is one exception (again, iirc): the shopkeeper who gets robbed. And there (as in BB), Batman is in disguise at the beginning, and deals with the shopkeeper only to give a warning: that criminal lives to face trial or he'll be back.

(If you look at the Common People in TDKF, they are unanimously anonymous. Think the heads and shoulders in the Letterman audience or the carnival goers. The exceptions are those who are only introduced to be killed, such as the woman who bought art supplies ans is blown up on the subway, or to Make A Point about the riot or to be "meat on the street" interviews. "No, I would never live here" from the fat suburbanite in the two-piece suit and tie is the closest you come to people with whom Bruce Wayne fraternizes, and Batman's world expands only to deal with the criminal element and those who would be.

Batman protects the good people of Gotham, but he never interacts with them. Nolan has known this from the start, and remained faithful to it. Unlike DC's Boy Scout ("air travel is the safest form, Lois" etc.) or Marvel's working-class genius-who-attends-the-State-University, Bruce Wayne is and always has been a member of the elite. He has Peter Parker's skills--and honestly uses them better than Parker does--with George Romney's attitude: give them opportunity and they will improve their life.

DupinTM

Another review about Nolan's Toryhood so evident in the movie:

http://exiledonline.com/the-dark-knight-rises-vs-the-99/

I agree with you in that a lot of the plot really is just so we can get to the next huge set-piece. The Occupy similarities largely don't exist - at best it was some ad wizard's idea of being socially relevant, at worst it ties into the theme of the review, which is that Nolan comes squarely down on the 'masses = mobs waiting for Robespierre'. I'm avoiding spoilers, which that review DOES NOT, btw, so I'll just say that Catwoman's character development by the end is the giveaway of Nolan's (or his screenwriter Goyer, who apparently lets his cops-rule people-vermin attitude out in other works) own leanings. She is the working girl who broke into the big game, and what she does by the end is celebrated. I always loved Batman as the one born-to-wealth guy who does right by his privilege, and though that thread does seem to continue with all the various shenanigans the rich mob-bosses and Daggett (whomever he is) try to pull, the scenes after Bane sets up his Gotham are all shown to mainly display terrible, terrible property damage.

To move away from the Tale of Two Cities aping that gets pretty strange, I heard that the reason this movie is like this at all is b/c Nolan absolutely didn't want to do a 3rd movie after Heath Ledger died. Everything he actually wanted to do in the 3rd revolved around the Joker, and w/o his muse he wanted to give it up. Only after they gave him a giant stack of money and said, 'do anything ya like Chris!', which gave us Inception, and now he'll get an even larger stack to do WHATEVER he wants with after DKR makes a significant portion of our annual GDP (which I'm sure the taxes on which will go to the proper offshore accounts), did he decide to make this. That's why it's a solid movie, regardless of my prole-status, but isn't anything like the masterpiece Dark Knight is.

xaaronx

I largely agree with Ken above, but would tweak it just a bit. Batman is not distant from the people because of elitism, but because he crafts a persona for an effect. Peter Parker is "your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man", a role that is presented in that sense almost as if someone else could step in and fill it in a pinch just like the guy who used to deliver your newspaper.

Batman is a much different masked persona, and it is crafted for a specific purpose: to create fear and dread in the criminal population. You would NEVER, for instance, find Batman making small talk in an elevator; if somehow he found himself in an elevator with someone (he wouldn't), he would drop a smoke bomb and ninja himself out through the ceiling panels. If he is approachable, he loses some of his power.

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