‘Dark Knight Rises’ values throws L.A. Times critic for a loop

In perhaps the least self-aware review of the politics of “The Dark Knight Rises” yet, Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times is befuddled at the idea that left-wing thought could ever be portrayed negatively. …

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.

Zeitchik’s confusion is almost hysterical here. Occupy rhetoric … bad?!?! Populist unrest … negative?!?!  ….

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?

Bane and Batman fight over Gothem, New York City

My God, says Zeitchik – he’s rich and he’s not the villain? In point of fact, Wayne gets taken to task for having left the world and holed up in Wayne Manor – he’s supposed to give charity, invest diligently, create wonderful projects. That’s the point of the film, too – that running from the world isn’t a solution to the world’s ills. But again, Zeitchik can’t deal with the idea of the rich guy as the hero. …

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.

This is simply hilarious. Zeitchik doesn’t seem to understand that the Russian Revolution and French Revolution were bad things.


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