Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

Is Bush Batman?

Posted by Ryan on July 28, 2008

Apparently, a number of op-ed articles have hit the Internet regarding Christopher Nolan’s new film, the box-office shattering The Dark Knight, and how Batman allegorically plays the role of George W. Bush (some say Batman is Dick Cheney or a generic conservative hero)! 

A friend tipped me off to this concept last night and I looked around the Internet finding that this notion has been proliferating, even to the WSJ Online!  It makes a lot of sense to see The Dark Knight as an allegory of the War on Terror and about Batman as the man who few people like as the one who has to make the hard choice to blur the lines in order to achieve victory — aka GWB to some. 

Leftist blogs are wicked upset that a movie with such a black-and-white treatment of morality like this one can make $300 million in just ten days while their beloved anti-war flicks quickly sputter and die quick deaths!  In The Dark Knight, terrorists (The Joker’s crew) are the remorseless fiends who fight for no discernible reason beyond the joy of it, and the good people have very tough choice to make on how to defeat them.  It mirrors reality.

Given the box office success of this film, perhaps the American people still yearn for a no nonsense ass-kicker rather than an international ass-kisser in their leaders.  This bodes well for McCain down the stretch, with less than 100 left until my birthday, which happens to be Election Day this year.  But will people make this connection and understand its implications?  Will the baggage of the last eight years show up on Election Day and turn American into an Obama Nation?  Who knows?   If the allegory holds however, then it’s the Republicans and Bush who must take the hit for having made hard, sometimes unpopular, choices which have nonetheless made all of us safer.

Pic from Rick Rockwell.

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Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Election 2008, Politics, Pop Culture, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Movie Review: The Dark Knight

Posted by Ryan on July 20, 2008

WARNING: No true spoilers, just a lot of “insider baseball” in regards to the fantasy genre. 

Thus far, Christopher Nolan’s take on Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One series is leaps and bounds better than any of those goofy Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney movies, which all seemed too comic-like to be taken seriously.  I never liked any of them because (this may sound strange) they seemed too much like I was watching a comic book movie. 

But Batman Begins was entirely different from my point of view — it had heart, an interesting and deliberately developing storyline, characters you care about, and great action which didn’t strain the “plausible impossible” too too much, as some of the earlier versions of Batman could (think of Batman jumping out of a missile with Robin after ducking Mr. Freeze’s trap before reengaging the chase after dropping six miles on sky-surfing blades without a scratch in Batman and Robin:  a little ridiculous even for fantasy!).

Nolan continues the series about a year after Batman Begins. The Dark Knight lives up to and surpasses its predecessor in terms of action and an intricately weaved storyline that leaves you with a sense of real danger for our heroes.  I’m not ready to say that this movie was the best thing ever, as some have said, but it’s the best movie I’ve seen this year by far.  Heath Ledger’s Joker is worth the price of admission; he’s both more creepy and lucid than Jack Nicholson’s rendition back in 1989 — they aren’t even on the same planet.  Oscar-worthy?  They’d give one of those things to anybody these days, so the late Heath Ledger will probably get one just for having died (that’s not to say his performance wasn’t worth an award, he was great, but the Academy is mostly out of touch with their audience and the insiders will demand the award be given to him nonetheless… plus think of the viewership at next year’s Oscars).

Comic books are really just morality tales, including “graphic novels” (the 21st Century way of describing a “comic book”).  So, in Batman Begins we are treated to a tale about how to conquer our fears and using our strengths to do and be better than what we think we’re capable of.  My take is that The Dark Knight simply continues that theme with an extended lesson.  The enemies in Batman Begins were sinister but had rules: Ra’s Al Ghul and his minions had a shrewd but ancient warrior code, the Mobsters had one’s basic code about not messing with the Big-Guy, and the Scarecrow functioned in the real world as a psychiatrist and crony and let go of those rules only when with the psychotic inmates or his victims.  Ledger’s Joker has no rules.  Give such recklessness, the question is: how far will the good people go to defeat such evil?  The Dark Knight explores this concept from everyone’s point of view.  We’re beyond fear in this movie — it’s what to do now that good people are afraid: ally with the evil for a temporary benefit, bend the rules to slow the evil down, or become like the evil thing itself.  No one in Gotham City can come to grips with the Joker:  even the Mob looks weak and impotent next to the Joker’s recklessness.  Our heroes need to look inside to defeat this menace, and not everything there is peachy or easy.  That’s what makes this movie stay true to the magic of the original — it’s not about the car crash, it’s about handling the ride.

I also love sagas when they introduce the insidious third party.  Like The Matrix series had the Merovingian and his crew of tertiary programs floating between the world of men and the machines, The Dark Knight’s Joker is a tertiary interest between the Cops and the typical Bad Guys who, unlike the Merovingian, is not just floating — he’s destroying everything on both sides (like the viral Agent Smith in this The Matrix analogy)!  He’s destroying it for its own sake, not for any common reason like power or favor which normal people could understand.  Sometimes that’s the problem with evil — there isn’t any understanding it, no matter how hard we may try.

I give this movie a solid A+/A (like a 96%) for entertainment value, storyline, and morality.  You should see it, especially if you liked the first one or want to forget about those ridiculous ones from the 1980s and 1990s.

Pic from Movie Web.

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