Unless you are just now joining civilization, you may have heard of a little film called “Batman: The Dark Knight.” It is not the first Batman film, of course; the popular character from the comic books has been in several before now.
What we are asked to believe, however, about director Christopher Nolan’s new Bat-films – this one and “Batman Begins” – is that they have a special quality of serious crime films containing Political and Philosophical Themes (while the 60s film is knockabout farce, the 80s film an extended Depeche Mode video, and the 90s films simply too 90s to be tolerated).
Mountains of cultural studies essays have been written about this topic already, so I won’t bore you with too much that you can read elsewhere. You probably know the basic argument as to what makes the film ‘right-wing’: the focus is entirely on getting revenge on the criminals of the community, rather than on looking at the community and asking why it produces criminals (an obvious truism – but why obvious?).
What I find interesting – quite apart from the exciting and noisy car-chases, beatings and gun-fights, which always seem such fun when they happen on film – is the extent to which this film has been complacently allowed into the wrong genre and the claims of its advertisers believed. Continue reading