‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Offers A Gripping Story, Gutsy Action, and Rich Social Commentary

Before I begin, I would like to send my thoughts and prayers to victims of the tragic movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

This is by no means a movie blog, and thus this post is far from a movie review–not to say this blog is foreign to a good movie review or two. However, as The Dark Knight Rises has grown beyond the confines of another summer blockbuster, I couldn’t help but write something about my new all-time favorite movie (I’ll warn you before any spoilers) .

I watched The Dark Knight Rises on opening night, and after becoming so engrossed that I subconsciously starting clapping after the National Anthem concluded during the scene in Heinz Field, I left the movie utterly blown away. It had it all: great action, a gripping story, a fantastic musical score, and rich social commentary. The social commentary was unexpected, but I found that I enjoyed a great deal.

Walking out of the movie with an ol’ pal, it was brought to my attention that Rush Limbaugh had earlier implied that Hollywood liberals named the villain of the movie “Bane,” as a  jab at the venture capital firm, Bain Capital, that was led by Mitt Romney in the 90s. In reality, “Bane”–the villain–was first created in 1993, rendering Rush laughably incorrect. I typically cringe when Rush is unfairly bashed, but he deserves whatever he gets for this gaffe. What makes it even more misinformed is that he should be applauding the movie for its subtle, but real poke at the Occupy Wall Street/hate the wealthy/class-warfare theme that has become pervasive in politics today.

After (here comes a minor spoiler) Bane takes over Gotham, he “turns it over to the people.” The lower socio-economic classes, including freed criminals, take violent control and put the extremely wealthy on sham trials for their “crimes.” Leaders of major companies are sent to freeze to death in the frozen city. As Catwoman makes another’s house/apartment her own, she remarks to her friend that this is in fact somebody’s home, to which her friend responds by saying “it’s everyone’s home.” This theme remains on display from the “bad guys” (and Catwoman who is both good and bad) throughout the movie (spoilers over). One bitter, liberal movie goer bashed the film, saying:

“In a barely-veiled attack on Occupy Wall Street, Bane attempts to win over Gotham’s populace by demonizing Wall Street and the superrich and promising to return power to the people.”

(The liberal blogger continued with his long list of complaints by deriding the fact that the police were framed in a positive light and by exclaiming how wrong it was that the terrorists–hailing from Uzbekistan–were most definitely Muslim. It’s a unintentionally funny read if you care to indulge yourself.)

So while the names may be similar, the sentiments between “Bane” and “Bain” philosophically oppose one another.

To connect the dots I reference what President Obama said in a recent speech, that business owners didn’t “build that,” referring to their own businesses. To avoid taking the President out of context, here’s a whole big segment of his speech from which some feel President Obama displayed his lack of respect for business owners and the private sector:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

So, while the villain, Bane, may share the name of Bain Capital, his political ideology couldn’t be more contrasted from that Bain Capital, Mitt Romney, and the American Right. Bane, his cronies, and Catwoman oppose the wealthy (spoiler coming). Bane and his army attack the stock market, kill business leaders, and plunder Wayne Enterprises, while Cat Woman overtly steals from the wealthy and details her frustrations with their fake concern at charity galas (spoiler over). The “bad guys” and Catwoman are the ones opposing the wealthy, while the billionaire is the hero and protagonist of the entire trilogy.

Who in the 2012 election opposes the wealthy and seeks to harm stock investors with higher capital gains rates? Conversely, who is the multimillionaire philanthropist who owned an empire that they didn’t manage for a few years (like Mitt Romney leaving management duties at Bain in ’99, Bruce Wayne maintained ownership, but didn’t manage Wayne Enterprises for the time span between the second and third movies)? Finally, whose ideology does this movie portray in a darker light? Now shouldn’t Rush be praising the movie, rather than calling it “The Dark Knight Lights Up” and attacking it for a coincidental name similarity?

I welcome you to share your thoughts on the social commentary from this phenomenal movie as well as President Obama quote with which I included in this blog post.

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One thought on “‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Offers A Gripping Story, Gutsy Action, and Rich Social Commentary

  1. Interesting analysis. There are certainly a lot of parallels to be drawn. However — and he could just be playing things close to the vest — Christopher Nolan denies trying to be overtly political in any way:


    Rush Limbaugh, meanwhile, once again proves how much of an idiot he is. He describes people involved/interested in pop-culture and entertainment as “brain dead.” All in the midst of making one of the stupidest, most uninformed comments I’ve seen in quite some time.

    Anyway, nice write-up. Whether intentional or not on the part of the film-makers, these are interesting in points.

    And no offense, but I would hardly classify your review of Black Swan as “good.” 😉

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