Not a scene from Occupy Wall Street.
The politics in The Dark Knight Rises are like the physics and the medical science, there to give the audience something to hang their suspended disbelief on at moments when they’re tempted to say This is ridiculous and walk out.
You didn’t know there were politics in The Dark Knight Rises? That means you only saw the movie and haven’t spent as much time as I have in the political precincts of the Blog City and Twitterville. In those neighborhoods there’s been a lot of parsing of the movie as if it was a political allegory or even a straightforward manifesto.
Conservatives think it’s a conservative movie. But then conservatives think everything they enjoy must somehow flatter their politics. To them there’s such thing as a conservative milkshake. They also think they own all the virtues, so a movie that seems to champion law and order over criminality and chaos is conservative because, you know, liberals are all for society tearing itself to pieces, except when they’re all for totalitarianism and forced shopping for broccoli at Whole Foods.
Liberals are divided. Some think it’s a conservative movie because it seems to treat extreme violence as the solution to all problems. Some think it’s a liberal movie with conservative leanings. Some think it’s out and out fascist. I’m not sure why and I don’t care, but probably because it has a strong man hero who swoops in and saves the day while the mob cowers behind him, which isn’t exactly what happens. I think the “It’s fascist” crowd are reading too much into it, overly influenced by Frank Miller’s Dark Knight graphic novels.
I’m not going to bother with Rush Limbaugh’s ridiculous Bane=Bain Capital nitwittery.
All I’m saying is that if there is anything resembling a realistically applicable political idea in the movie, I missed it. Like I said, the politics is like the physics and the medical science. You might as well try to build a fusion reactor or fix a broken back based on how those things work in the movie.
I’m not a fond of any critical reaction to a work of art that leaves out discussing the art. Everything that gets called politics in The Dark Knight Rises looks to me like plotting. The “politics” is there to set up situations necessary to telling the story. The movie needs:
A Gotham City that Bruce Wayne can mistake for a place that no longer needs the Batman but which we know really does, now more than ever.
A way for the bad guys to take control of Wayne Enterprises and get their hands on a nuclear bomb.
A Gotham City in even more trouble than it was in the beginning.
If you want to argue the politics of the movie, you need to do it while arguing that those three plot points work because the politics work. Me, I think the politics “work” only as sleight of hand.
So, when you get down it, we’re arguing the politics of pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
Emergency Bat-update: At Lawyers, Guns & Money, SEK points out that in order to see The Dark Knight Rises as a conservative movie, you pretty much have to willfully not see what’s actually on the screen.