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movies / July 22, 2012
By Eileen Jones


Dear Reader,

This whole review’s a spoiler, so if you’re not prepared to handle an all-spoiler review, take a hike. (You know the drill.)

Yours in despair,

Eileen J.

So get this. At the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Batman/Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is supposedly dead and gone, having sacrificed himself to save Gotham City without the public appreciating it—ungrateful bastards! Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) gives the eulogy at the sparsely attended funeral. In tribute to Batman’s heroism, Gordon reads Sydney Carton’s final lines from A Tale of Two Cities.

Yeah! He really does! The whole “It’s a far far better thing I do than I have ever done, it’s a far far better rest I go to than I have ever known” bit!

Now, this takes some nerve. Those are among the hammiest lines ever conceived by the human brain, and they take considerable justification to lead up to ‘em. Charles Dickens spent about 500 pages carefully building to the big lugubrious sockeroo. Sydney Carton’s noble death on the guillotine is an absolute triumph of careful handling by a master of lurid melodrama who was all for incremental social change but got very, very squeamish about revolution, no matter how necessary and justified…

Wait, hang on—why the hell is Batman being compared to Sydney Carton, the guy who saved an aristocrat by taking his place in the tumbril, sacrificing himself to a French peasant mob represented by Dickens as vile, bloodthirsty, and insane?

Well, it seems Christopher Nolan had hisself an idea, he and his writer-brother Jonathan, when writing this Batman-movie-to-end-all-Batman-movies. They thought they’d angle it so that the populace of Gotham City, finally rebelling against the vicious plutocrats in control and demanding a more just society, would turn instantly into a French Revolution-type mob and go all Robespierre on the rich and powerful.

First the Nolans pulled a lot of rhetoric straight from the Occupy movement and put it in the mouth of Bane (Tom Hardy), the masked, muscled-out gargoyle with the silly voice who’s the villain of the piece. Bane’s up on the steps of City Hall or wherever, exhorting the people to rise up and take back control of their city from the Wall Street thieves and billionaire bloodsuckers. But during this oration, Nolan never cuts to reaction shots of the crowd—he’s pulling the old camera trick of making us, the audience, the “mob.”

Take that, you 99%-ers, you mob-waiting-to-happen, you incipient villains!  Let this be a warning to you not to listen to any charismatic rhetoric about your rights as citizens!

Because sure enough, the dreadful working class hordes dressed in sinister motley casual-wear—hoodies and the sorta thing—are manipulated by Bane to take back their city. So the first thing they do is buckle down to releasing all the violent psychopathological criminals in the prison—that’s the first thing protesters always do, it’s Step One in the Social Justice Playbook. Then they go around looting violently and attacking women in fur coats.

Later on, the brainwashed mob follows Bane through the streets to a confrontation with the cops, where the Nolan boys continue to get all topical on our asses. The brave men in blue, the vulnerable uniformed “thin blue line” of police, armed only with pathetic small handguns against tanks and assault rifles, and badly outnumbered, march right into the terrifying mob of savage sans-culottes, I mean protesters, who mow them down.

Ripped from today’s headlines, see, only reversed: now it’s the police who get mauled and the protesters who do the mauling.

Soon it’s hand-to-hand combat, cops versus protesters, in some of the rock-bottom worst staged fight scenes I have ever, ever witnessed. Has Christopher Nolan never even watched any news footage of street fights or riots? They’re generally scary-looking because they’re so ragged and random and chaotic, with surges of crowd motion and sudden bursts of mayhem, arms flailing, legs kicking, people falling and getting stepped on and tripped over, violent pile-ups in one area while other areas open up as people scatter. Nolan’s fight is so badly choreographed, everyone’s fighting in pairs, trading phony-looking, equi-powerful punches like guys in old Westerns, and all the pairs seem to be maintaining an even distance from each other like it’s a barn dance.

Maybe Nolan figured we’d be paying too much attention to Bane fighting Batman in the foreground to notice the rest, but seriously, you can practically hear Nolan yelling though a bullhorn at the extras to do another take, and this time try to punch more like John Wayne.

Still later Bane and the protesters and all the other bad guys have lost. The protester-perps are all kneeling down with their hands clasped behind their heads, guarded by the standing cops, as the cops gaze out manfully at the horizon. Virtue triumphant!

I go into all this at such length because the critics and bloggers who’ve already mentioned these embarrassing facts about The Dark Knight Rises aren’t getting half-enough play. The wild charge by Rush Limbaugh that the film is actually a left-wing smear because the villain Bane is meant to refer to Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s corporation, is getting more traction than the film’s amazingly in-your-face pro-plutocrat, anti-protestor plot development.

Plus there’s so much other attendant madness swirling around the film, first the death-threats against critics who disparaged it, then the midnight-show mass murders in Aurora, Colorado, then the latest round of debates about violent media and its potential effects on violence-prone people—it’s hard not to feel addled by it all.

Critics who love and defend the film note the anti-99% rhetoric, but hurry to contextualize it as all part of Christopher Nolan’s dark vision, his wonderfully profound portrayal of a whole world gone mad, which is so great it justifies a certain “provocative” topicality. Here’s Andrew O’Hehir of Salon going absolutely bonkers over this film:

I would argue that Nolan is mostly being provocative with this tale of underclass resentment, of an uprising by the lower half of the 99 percent that is turned to evil purposes. If so, it works. In its tremendous, almost apocalyptic action sequences, “The Dark Knight Rises” suggests a reverse-engineered version of a Soviet-era revolutionary epic, in which the masses are the villains and their onetime overlords the heroes. Bane’s attack on a football stadium right after kickoff concludes a simultaneously brutal and elegant sequence, set against an angelic boy singing the national anthem, that’s worthy of Martin Scorsese at his best.

HAAAAAAA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAA!!! That idiotic football stadium scene, with its stupid cliché-kid singing a fey, tremolo “Star-Spangled Banner” as part of the buildup to bombing the place? I swear, I thought there might be some intentional black comedy going on there. But no—turned out to be UNintentional. Especially the finale with the football player running for a touchdown not realizing the field is exploding behind him, killing all the other players (is he a DEAF football player?), and turning around triumphantly in the end zone only to see a giant smoking crater. Far Side cartoons have been made out of images like that!

That’s “simultaneously brutal and elegant…worthy of Martin Scorsese at his best”?! Martin Scorsese!! Guy who did Raging Bull!! Scorsese oughta SUE Andrew Goddamn O’Hehir for defamation of character!!

Anyway, my point being…gotta calm down here…my point being, this movie isn’t just ideologically rotten to the core, it’s rotten in the regular way, too. Bad, stupid, lame, embarrassing, and seemingly interminable, full of main characters delivering long-winded speeches explaining their histories from childhood so we’ll be sure to understand their motivations, which are murky and trite in equal measure. Famous and excellent actors do their damnedest to put all this crap across. But don’t let all the cinematic embiggening fool you! Nolan lays on bogus profundity with a trowel!

See, you enamored critics and fans, you’re all giving Nolan way too much credit, you always have.  Just because Heath Ledger gave a terrific performance as the Joker before he went to the Great Oscar Party in the Sky—just because the production designs are large and well-lit, just because Nolan’s cinematographer Walter Pfister can shoot some good angles—you all give Nolan credit for being some kinda deep, edgy nihilist showing us the infinite corruptibility of humanity or something. But Nolan signals who the good guys and the bad guys are just as simplistically and strenuously as any old-time Hollywood hack who used to rely on white hats and black hats to keep things clear.

We all know who’s “good” in The Dark Knight Rises, no matter what their tiresome human frailties are. Batman/Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gordon, the “angry orphan” who sees himself in Batman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), John Blake aka soon-to-be-Robin, Batman’s faithful flunkies Alfred (Michael Caine) and Lucien (Morgan Freeman), and all the cops who fight on Batman’s side, upholding law ‘n’ order no matter what.

Selina Kyle/Catwoman is also unambiguously good in this Batman, because she’s played by Anne Hathaway with her giant doe eyes and schoolgirl pertness, and more importantly, because she renounces “class warfare” at the end. Sickening little scene when Catwoman, portrayed here as battling her way up out of poverty and exploitation, comes upon a looted apartment and shudders with horror at the property damage. A framed photo of a nuclear family has been smashed! It’s unbearable, in a city of poverty and suffering, that the glass in this framed photo of blonde people should get broken!

Then she changes sides and helps Batman save the aristocrats from the tumbrils.

And who’s bad? Lessee. Bane, of course, who comes from some literal hellhole in the Mideast seeking vague revenge on Gotham City, and of course, the 99% proles who are manipulated into following Bane. A few of the evil plutocrats are bad, until they’re attacked by the working class, then they’re seen as victims of badly dressed upstarts and become good again.

The ultimate villain, it turns out, is Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), an environmentalist who’s always talking about her dedication to the cause of sustainable energy. Ain’t it perfect? She spends most of the movie gassing on about the renewable energy sources and saving the planet, then out of nowhere she sticks a knife into Batman.

Fucking tree-huggers—shoulda known!

So how much of a Tory bastard is this Chris Nolan, exactly? His devoted followers might not care, but all of a sudden I do. Anyone out there got insider info? I’m thinking of knitting his name into a shawl I’m working on. (It’s a Tale of Two Cities reference. Look it up.)




Add your own

  • 1. Patriot  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Thank you. Pretty sick of the proto-fascist fanboys and their whining, and the reviewers who pander to them.

  • 2. allah  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    and i thought russian intilegentsia is the bottom of humanity, but then again western morons consider this is high art, sad state of affairs it is comrades, a trully sad state of affairs

  • 3. Anarchy Pony  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    This new crop of batcrap movies has always been overrated, but this pro-plutocrat garbage is just shameless and pathetic.

  • 4. jack  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    A lot of the fascism in this movie probably comes from David Goyer’s writing, the same slime pile who snuck all the authoritarian bullshit into the last Dark Knight movie. Nolan constantly sticking to him hints that he’s either a closet fascist himself or too dense to understand the kind of bullshit he’s legitimizing.

  • 5. Dimitri Ratz  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Haven’t seen this movie yet, going tomorrow. Great points in this review that societies with high levels of poverty are easier manipulated, and the breakdown of the existance of the middle class removes the invisible buffer against the seeding hate of failure. In the coming 6 years if Russian middle class does not expand from current 20% to something closer to 40% to 50% of the populace unfortunately this will be Russia’s fate, only without Batman.

  • 6. drunkenmonkey  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    This all shouldn’t come as a shock. The Dark Knight was essentially a 2.5-hour long apologia for Dubya-era policies and ended with Nolan’s version of “The Noble Lie” which betrayed Nolan’s contempt for “the people”.

    Batman Begins was mostly about how saintly Wayne’s parents were– just innocent little white billionaires who got shot by one of the unwashed masses for no good reason. I believe it’s even said at one point that Gotham doesn’t need Batman, it needs more people like Bruce Wayne’s dad. Also, the entire plotline revolved around the sanctity and sacredness of Western civilization and how it’s the only thing worth saving.

  • 7. I said it  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Chuck Dixon, the comic writer who created Bane, has been running around in the media asserting that he is a “lifelong conservative” and that he designed Bane as an “Occupy type.” Oh and also that “If there ever was a Bruce Wayne running for the White House it would have to be Romney.” Relevant to this review/article?

  • 8. Red Black  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I love you, Eileen Jones. Write more reviews, please –I am drowning in a whirlpool of shitty words.

  • 9. AP  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Not sure if I see the political angle here, to be honest.

    Bane’s crew was, judging by that melee scene at the end, about half the size of the 3000 head police force and armed with assault rifles. If a third of them were dressed in fatigues, that would give us 500 regulars plus the 1000 released convits. At no point did we see protesters of any sort. Bane would come out, hold a speech and then leave. No cheering or chanting. When the bomb was about to go off, the people ran for the exits, led by policemen instead of fighting them.

    Furthermore, I don’t remember Bane being portrayed negatively. He was loyal to his mentor, protected a child with his life, killed a bunch of robber barons and was smart and tough.

  • 10. J.Bradley  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Nah. You got it all wrong. You’re seeing it too much as part of the current political climate as the dittoheads. Bane’s just manipulating the city so he can destroy it. Thus completing the task Ra’s al Ghul failed at in the first movie. It’s no more than what a James Bond movie villain does it just has a topical feel to it. Or that’s what Warner Bros be paying me to say.

  • 11. helplesscase  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I’ve been rooting for the League of Shadows since the first movie. God it would have been great if Marion successfully nuked Gotham.

  • 12. gatorade  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    It’s pure neoliberal ideology. worse than the most reactionary hick’s wildest dreams. worse than anything

  • 13. Fissile  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Fascist propaganda to save America’s oligarchy? Is this the best Hollywood can manage? This is so amateurish, it would make Goebbels wince. This movie is proof of the desperation of America’s ruling class. The kind of adults who find shit like this appealing, you don’t want on your side. Propaganda of this type probably is effective on children, particularly teenage boys. I predict that a lot of those boys will end up in a poverty draft, if not outright conscripted. The good little Hitler Youth….er, I mean “defenders of freedom” who don’t get killed, will very quickly get cynical, to say the least. The American oligarchy isn’t ensuring its survival with “clever” works of propaganda like this, it’s sowing the seeds of its own destruction.

  • 14. Leon  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I’ve enjoyed all the recent Batman movies, including this one, but there’s no denying the reactionary themes that underpin them. Dark Knight Rises turns these themes up to 11, and the results are pretty appalling.

    The thing is, Bane could have easily been shown as the ultimate astro-turfer – a billionaire-backed populist who loves guns and uses the illusion of mass appeal (he releases prisoners to fill out his army, so they’re not all working class dupes) while really fulfilling an idealogically-driven slash-and-burn on our society like the Shock Doctrine. I would haved loved THAT type of depiction.

    But no, he’s definitely depicted as OWS, leading the proles into a “failed state” until the heroic cops kick his ass and retake the city. Retake for who? And the mansion-turned-into-orphanage thing seems to imply that the only way the proles can be saved is if the rich help them. Poor people are apparently just empty vessels, waiting to be filled by either good or evil and having no agency of their own.

  • 15. Flatulissimo  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    “A framed photo of a nuclear family has been smashed! It’s unbearable, in a city of poverty and suffering, that the glass in this framed photo of blonde people should get broken!”

    A well deserved Busey slow clap for Eileen Jones!

  • 16. John Drinkwater  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I thought The Dark Knight promoted the Joker’s ideology of nihilism and anarchism, but The Dark Knight Rises does seem to go in the other direction of lending credence to right-wing histories that suggest revolutions are staged events manipulated by certain people at the top. Which leads me back to the idea that Nolan doesn’t really have any opinions of his own: he’s just exploring the ideas that are out there, or exploiting them for his own purposes.

  • 17. drunkenmonkey  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    J. Bradley,

    You got it wrong. In the movie there are only a handful of people who know Bane’s true intentions. The rest believe he truly is some kind of class-warfare revolutionary. Therefore, the reaction of “the people” who really believe they are involved in a revolution, is still Nolan’s take on the differences in class. And, as Eileen pointed out, the fact that Bane is out purely for destruction only adds to the idea that the people should be skeptical of any leader who tells the “99-percent” to stand up for themselves.

  • 18. matt  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    These guys and Eileen both got it right. i still think Nolan is a great director, but he’s pretty much a closeted neo-fascist. What was good about this series was Heath Ledger, who’s awesome performance tricked people into believing that Nolan was a profound political thinker. With regards to that he couldn’t even effectively convey a political message competently.

    The League of Assassins is supposed to be a Neo-Malthusian entity. They believe that the population has to be dramatically reduced to preserve order, and that they must act outside the law to bring this about. He could have kept the basic plot and storyline and actually offered a much more profound message. That Batman should not exist. A billionaire vigilante who exists above the law, and who is vastly better equipped to deal with Gothams problems than the police? Who MUST act above the law to preserve justice?

    Neoconservative bullshit with a pinch of Ayn Rand for accent. Batman should not exist, far from being a hero, his entire existence is a glorified therapy program for an entitled asshole 1 percenter billionaire. His company grosses something like $98.5 billion If he was real and wanted to help make the world a better place, he could just be honest with the IRS about his profits, or give Ralph Nader a billion dollars, or give more money to the Wayne foundation.

    I think it was a good comic book movie that happened to get saddled with a shitty message/ideology.

  • 19. Tigerhan  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Excellent points on the anti 99, but what Goyer hints here via Nolan is the idea of a malevolent savior who has no problem hijacking a legitimate social protest. For those past the Sunday school level of comprehension, a trend which started 2000 years ago is the real deal here. There are numerous examples later on: Robespierre turning the French protest into a bloodshed, Napoleon turning the republic into an empire, Stalin turning the communist revolution into a gory gulag etc…what most people miss about these three Banes is that they took their cue from the same uber savior of nazarene origin…

  • 20. BigFan  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Man, I knew this exact review was coming since before the movie opened.

    BTW I haven’t read the review yet.

  • 21. radii  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    certain directors – Nolan, Cameron – should steer clear of politics in their film scripts … they don’t know what they’re talking about and are too dumbed-down to inject any kind of nuance into their good vs. evil set-ups … sounds like Nolan stepped in it royally here (unless he is, indeed, a fascist) … I think all the Batman films are pretty terrible – going back to the first on in 1966 (but at least that had camp) … Michael Keaton was so miscast and Christian Bale’s gruff mumblespeak is just ridiculous .. re-watch Darkman, it is what a superhero movie should be

  • 22. JosephW  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Yes, dear AEC I will show respect when I tread upon you hallowed comment section ground. Yes, my AEC, I will make a $50 donation to absolve myself of my sins. Amen.

    Ms Jones. Please return to the theater and REWATCH that eulogy. Gordon is NOT eulogizing Batman–he’s eulogizing BRUCE WAYNE, the man behind the Batman. There is absolutely NO public memorial for Batman–only the few who (presumably) KNEW the dual identity are in attendance.

    Had Gordon been eulogizing the Batman (who’d just saved the lives of some “12 million Gothamites”), it wouldn’t have been at the graveside of BRUCE WAYNE. Hell, even Alfred was under the belief that Wayne had died (otherwise his whole apology to the elder Waynes made no sense).

    Yes, dear AEC I will show respect when I tread upon you hallowed comment section ground. Yes, my AEC, I will make a $50 donation to absolve myself of my sins. I will now go and say 5,000 Hail Mary’s, and hope for intercession from the Holy Mother of AEC-sus.

  • 23. Bradford C.  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Here are quotes from actual fascists about The Dark Knight Rises:

    “It’s a theme ongoing from The Dark Knight, where Batman basically dispensed with constitutional protection in his pursuit of The Joker, using surveillance and extraordinary rendition, because they were necessary. While there was some ambivalence present about his hero status (part of what made it such a great film, in my opinion), the message there was clear: the end justifies the means, and that these techniques are okay in the pursuit of a greater evil. I note in partcular Harvey Dent’s quote: “When their enemies were at the gates, the Romans would suspend democracy and appoint one man to protect the city. It wasn’t considered an honor, it was considered a public service.”

    That’s basically what happens in Rises. Bane’s actions threaten not just small-scale chaos, as the Joker did in its predecessor, but the entire island of Manhattan, and “official” law is all but sidelined. Batman is the only hope, and must take charge without having received a single vote or possessing the slightest degree of official standing. He acts, at great personal risk, because it is his duty to do so, when he could easily adopt the Rorschach technique and Just Say No to Gotham.

    On the other hand, however, we should contrast Batman with his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, who seems the very model of the bleeding-heart liberal, lavishly donating from his personal wealth to charities for the vulnerable, and ceasing production on a fusion project because he’s concerned over the weaponization possibilities. That’s not very fascist, is it? So to be clear, The Dark Knight Rises falls a significant way short of being undiluted Fasciprop. But with a black-clad hero, devoted to keeping the citizenry safe by any means necessary, whether they want/deserve it or not, it certainly has more for fascists than The Avengers.”

    So not Fascist enough… but close.

  • 24. Graham Miles  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Batlas Shrugged.

  • 25. Flatulissimo  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Where is the AEC for #22? That comment could use some improvement.

  • 26. radii  |  July 22nd, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    very clever

  • 27. Cum  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 12:57 am

    The last one was definately pro fascism and when the director talked about this movie portraying the costs of revolution, it was clear where this movie was going.

  • 28. Punjabi From Karachi  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 3:20 am

    Madame Da Farge! Your cup of bile and spite doth runneth over.

  • 29. Punjabi From Karachi  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Matt, you like Cracked too?

  • 30. Why-te  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 5:04 am


    When did The Exiled commenters become part of the “I’m so contrarian I’m anti-99%’er” jerk off fest?

    Seriously, do I even read the shit that you write?

  • 31. Jay  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Matt@18: That’s the problem with making a Batman movie: you aren’t allowed to suggest that the billion-dollar franchise is based on a deeply stupid premise. It’s why Big Daddy in “Kick Ass” was the best screen Batman of all time; they had the freedom to show what was wrong with the idea.

    Eileen: It’s probably true that a revolution from below would only make things worse. My guess is that the fundies would be the last ones standing, and we’d have someone like Creflo Dollar as our new dicator. That doesn’t mean Nolan isn’t a dick, though.

  • 32. Ralph Chaplin  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I gave up after the first one. It was just overlong shite with an above average joker.

  • 33. Jack Valenti's diminutive penis  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Like I, Robot, a slightly shittier movie with hordes of robot noodges scolding America about the environment. Robots are probably a more effective way to dehumanize citizen activists and other their reasoned discourse. And since collective action must always be centrally directed in the little valet’s Hollywood propaganda world, the robots have an evil computer mastermind kind of like lawnmower man. Good enough for government work, good enough to evoke unreasoning animus to organized dissent in pseudo-stupid adolescents.

  • 34. zoid  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 8:08 am

    This comment is bad and I should feel bad

  • 35. Cloins  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Uhhh… I haven’t seen this one yet, but correct me if I’m wrong. Isn’t Bane supposed to be a latin american dude from some island prison? Is that not the case here? I grew up on the Animated Series (the good one) and they better not have messed this all up.

  • 36. mijj  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 9:12 am

    {/takes a hike}

  • 37. Emily Robbins  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Thank you for reminding me why you are so awesome. I may come over and hug you.

  • 38. Mr. Bad  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 11:26 am

    The plot is no coincidence, David S. Goyer (the writer credited with story credit on all three craptacular films, i.e. the guy who actually “wrote” the script)is now doing the script for BLACK OPS 2, which for those of you who don’t play vidya gamez is probably going to be the biggest FPS shooter (sales-wise) in years. Check out the plot to that Black Shirt training simulation – see anything interesting?

    Nolan is a hack, always has been and always will be but “The Prestige” is really good for some reason.

  • 39. radii  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 11:41 am

    @31 Jay, Kick-Ass was the best Batman movie just like GalaxyQuest is the best Star Trek movie … seems you have to step outside the source material to really get it right

  • 40. Mr. Luxurious  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 12:09 pm


    Nice piece. I was just telling someone I saw these same things in the new Batman movie too.

    Also worth noting:
    – when Bruce Wayne (the 1%) stops doing his thing (i.e. when the atlas shrugs), all of a sudden orphanages etc. start shutting down…the moral being that the 99% should leave the 1% alone lest all the good they do on our behalf gets disturbed

    – The movie suggests what a ‘good’ 99%er looks like – Alfred, the butler, and the only non-cop working class good guy in the movie. Alfred, though childless and unmarried, is noble enough to realise that his life is meaningless and only cares that Bruce Wayne finds a woman and lives happily ever after.

  • 41. Mr. Luxurious  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    It’s too bad too, cause if Nolan really wanted a ‘dark’ Batman movie he should have made Batman’s actions more morally ambiguous i.e. portray Batman as the upholder of a legal and economic order that is unjust. That would have been sweet.

    The movie is tripe.

    Bane is pretty cool though. Can’t take that away.

  • 42. Adam  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I fucking hate Nolan. Ever since he stopped being able to tell a story in 90 minutes, I watched every movie with the most terrified apprehension.

    But “hate” turns out to be completely unequipped to describe my feelings when Nolan said this:

    “It’s my attempt to get as close to making a Fritz Lang film as I could”

    Lang was a visionary who tried to wrestle with the complex problems of his time. Nolan is a cynical hollywood big shot.

  • 43. Z.  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks for this review. Nearly every “critical” review I’ve read glosses over how insanely reactionary the premise of the film is. Batman is probably never going to be a progressive character, but Batman comics like The Long Halloween are good because they focus on the batman-as-sleuth angle rather than the teenage Libertarian powertrip elements of the character that this trilogy celebrates. Eileen, you’re easily my favorite reviewer. Keep fightin the good fight.

  • 44. jyp  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Hmm. Some whores made yet another propaganda piece from a fucking comic book. I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

    Am I ever glad it’s you, not me, that has to go sit in the dark in a big room full of gibbering “morans” to watch this shit.

    America’s only contribution to world culture: the comic book.

  • 45. John Galt  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    The Dark Knight rises. With what? Viagra?


  • 46. tam  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Actually I wish you hadn’t mentioned your review had spoilers so I’d have read it beforehand and not wasted my money going to see this odious film.

    Nolan’s seriously comparing himself to Fritz Lang?!? It’s actually got far more in common with Leni Reifenstahl’s work, although to be fair, she probably would have choreographed those fight scenes a bit more competently.

    Very exciting plane hijack opening sequence to give credit where it’s due though (which is probably the second unit director)

  • 47. Matt  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    29# Yes

    22# Did YOU watch the ending “There is absolutely NO public memorial for Batman” He [Batman]got a statue dedicated to him

    38# Probably still gonna get the game. In the series defense though. The first two games made the enemies Ultranationalist/Fascists. In MW2 one of them was a US General, who conspired to cause the Reactionaries wet dream, a Red dawn type scenario. And the politicians were good guys. So it’s just this one that appears to be right wing.

  • 48. Heywood Jablowme  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    David Goyer ALSO wrote the script to Call of Duty 2 in which the bad guy is “the leader of the 99%”

  • 49. bobby h  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    To the people relating Bane to Occupy based off the Dixon quote, don’t forget that Chuck Dixon created that character 20 years ago.

    Most of the stories referenced to create the story of Dark Knight Rises are decades old.

  • 50. Faceh  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I can’t really take this seriously, if you honestly think Nolan’s intended message was as black and white as OWS=Bad/Facism=good.

    The ‘us vs. them’ mentality that you impose on this film is far more the result of your own worldview than that of the directors.

    Consider that there are villains on both sides of the ‘class war’ in Gotham (remember the start of the film? The rich businessman who hired mercenaries to enact a hostile takeover? Of course you don’t), and that even Bruce Wayne doesn’t escape unscathed. Consider that the poor Catwoman is able to operate on equal terms with the Billionaire. Consider that every character, regardless of their race, social status, wealth, or rhetoric, is judged by their actions.
    At the end of the day, that’s all we have. Poor or rich, white or black, its the choices and actions we take that decide our moral worth.
    The John Blake character pretty much belies your entire analysis.
    Your analysis is altogether too superficial. But if you feel better believing that Nolan made a film specifically designed to piss YOU off, go on ahead.

  • 51. Bradford C.  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Oh is everybody bringing up Call of Duty 2 now? I’ll just leave this here…

    Oh Ollie…

  • 52. ivan  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I disagree that middle class is a necessary condition to prevent society from rotting.

    Looking at the Soviet society or the American and European societies I would say that it’s precisely the middle class that takes for granted the benefits and freedoms hard earned by their working class grandparents, becomes full of itself, selfish, greedy, and, finally, easily manipulated into surrendering everything they had. Soviet middle class surrendered socialism, independence, their children’s future for gum, jeans, and sausage. American and European middle classes are surrendering their well-being right now for a bunch of crap they couldn’t afford.

  • 53. Michael  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    …so did we completely miss the fact here that the script for TDKR was finalised months prior to the Occupy Wall Street/99% movement, and it’s directly based off of the Batman ‘Knightfall’ and ‘No Man’s Land’ saga that were published over a decade and two decades prior?

    Or are we just twisting everything we can find now to suit your militant liberal needs LOL

    This was the fucking funniest review I’ve ever read lmfao, so ignorant…

  • 54. super390  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Oh, if only Nolan had done as I wished and adapted Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns”, which features:

    Super-wrinkly Reagan as president for life.
    Superman as American imperialist tool.
    America as sick at all levels, worthy of being destroyed.
    Batman fighting the government and Superman.

    But best of all, at the end when he fakes his death and goes underground, he takes over the very street gang that he beat the crap out of earlier. Why? Because Batman has given up on Western Civ and intends to lead us back to righteous barbarianism.

    Now we know Miller is a fascist, and War Nerd nailed “300”‘s neocon admirer V. D. Hanson but good for reasons that do redound unto Miller. But it’s the KIND of fascist that Miller is, versus oligarchy whore Hanson or corporate bitch Nolan, that makes the idea of neo-barbarians provocative. It’s like Ernst Rohm versus Hitler (Hanson) and Goering (Nolan). If Rohm had won out over Hitler, he would have reduced Germany to a medieval economy, and we’d have been spared WW2 and most of the Holocaust. Honest barbarians can’t begin to be as destructive as hypocrites like Hitler (or the neocons) who combine barbarian rationales with ultra-sophisticated propaganda and weaponry. They have to live with the consequences of their backwardness, and apparently Miller is fine with that.

    Discuss amongst yourselves while I sneak into the cloakroom for a smoke.

  • 55. Mr. Bad  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    @ 48. Heywood Jablowme

    Thanks jerk-off, said that 10 posts ago and actually used the correct name for the game, Call OF Duty Black Ops 2. Jerkoff. Are you akshully “CounterSpace” or related by cousin fuckingz? He’s a retard too.

  • 56. ariot  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    For about a split-second, the thought crossed my mind that somehow, we’d get a half-assed attempt at an ambiguous message that, even if ham-fisted, said something in this movie.

    Nope. How stupid of me.

    It pretty much told us to watch out for any type of collective action because it’s probably the plot of someone hell-bent on nuclear destruction or something. And, in case the last ounce of collective thought hasn’t been beaten out of you, only the individual lone hero can save you.

    So keep an eye on your neighbor. Don’t rock the boat. Save the market at all costs. Protect your money from those who have less. And don’t worry, the individual is greater than the collective. Always.

    Might as well have been BatRand Returns.

  • 57. Allen  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Ive been waiting for this review since seeing this film, Eileen, and I was not disappointed. You review was every bit what I expected.

    I will go out on a limb and say I liked the whole trilogy, but I didn’t have an illusions as to what’s going on. This last installment is a Tory play alright. Full of fretful Hobbesian flourishes, occasional Christian virtue, squeamish English polemic against revolution (especially French), fear of the riotous miss-rule of the mob … Good guys are the Enlightened Aristocracy and the heros of the “thin blue line” between society and anarchy.

    It almost just feels quaint and amusing in a comforting sort of way. Really this film has no ideological home, since the modern right is well past old-Toryism and well into either fascism or unapologetic plutocracy.

  • 58. Big Gay Baby  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I’ll go ahead and call it: this asshole Nolan is the most overrated film director of all time. These new Batman movies are shockingly bad. Thanks Eileen for calling him out on his utter inability to film action. The exterior establishing shot of the Chicago skyline in Dark Knight was good and every scene with Ledger was pure adrenaline, but otherwise it was…..boring, more than anything else. I don’t even think I can drag myself to the theater for this new one…which sucks, because I would totally be down for a good Batman flick, but the guy just doesn’t make compelling films. All the fanboys protestations to the contrary have an air of desperation about them, don’t they? Like they know it’s utter crap too, but it’s all they have to get excited about anymore. Sad times for the movies indeed.

  • 59. rick  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    “Dark Knight” seemed like Batman[neocons] vs. “The War Nerd”[‘s conception of warfare] to me, so explicitly it was like David Goyer or Nolan were literally obsessed with “The War Nerd”–I could be wrong (the political resonance was obviously Iraq and et cetera) I sent Brecher–who has disappeared like Batman–a fairly robust list of how actual plot points in “Dark Knight” line up with his essays. But it was also like “War Nerd”‘s POV was the most terrifying thing in the world to neocons, hence “The Joker.” The film was obviously so neocon it was off-the-charts, which absolutely fits with the overall arc of the new film–though I was more disappointed with how much it sucked than its politics. Joker’s insurgency logic is one of the most entertaining villain-philosophies in modern film. The people aren’t untalented, though they may be fascists (and the final scene is as terribly staged as Eileen says, this movie sucks in a lot of ways.)

  • 60. vortexgods  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Ra’s al Ghu ultimately is one of these villains who sort of resembles Prince Nuada from Hellboy II. I’m not really much of a comic book reader, but I did watch the Batman cartoon series. In it, Ra’s al Ghu had built a “Master of the World” type Jules Verne airship, and planned to use it to stop the United States’ Westward Expansion. In other words, he was an unambiguous good guy doing absolutely the right thing.

    The way the story undermined that was by having Ra’s son being a cruel psychopath, who the bounty hunter Jonah Hex was hunting. So, while you could possibly sympathize with Ra’s goals, his son versus Jonah Hex was evil versus good. Of course, in the process of taking the son down, Jonah Hex destroys the airship, and Manifest Destiny continues unabated.

    The reason I bring this up is because I’ve read that Ra’s organization, the League of Shadows, is behind Bane in this film. So, it would make sense, as they represent those villainous “well meaning environmentalists” who are working against the United States. Of course, it seems like they’ve swapped out “well meaning environmentalists” for “well meaning advocates for the working class.”

    Oh, and how funny is it that Boss Limbaugh takes the name of the villain to turn this into an attack on Romney and thus tells his audience of neofascist turds to skip the movie? Seriously, it probably won’t make a dent in the box office, but it’s funny that he deprived his followers of a chance to see a film that affirmed their biases.

  • 61. Jedi Mind Trick  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Guns, explosions, man in homoerotic black suit fisting people, Anne Hathaway.

    I think that covers it.

  • 62. Heywood Jablowme  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Mr. Bad:

    sorry I got the name of your board game wrong, buddy. Serious stuff, I know. I’ll try really hard next time.

  • 63. lowfr3q  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Amazing review, all of this had to be said.

  • 64. Allen  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Of course, the film did have its absurd moments. The football arena one is definitely a fair call out.

    Even though I knew they wouldn’t really kill Bale, the whole Batman nuclear martyrdom thing struck me as unintentionally over the top hilarious. Bathos off the meter.

    It was all I could do to not burst out in an uproarious laughing fit right there in the theater. The highlight reel of all the worst moments of my life was playing in my head just barely keeping the laughter at bay.

  • 65. 2012truth  |  July 23rd, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    All Batman films are comedy, but especially Nolan’s. His straight-facedness makes the little details, like Bale’s bat-voice or the pointy ears on the batsuit, that much funnier. Another review claims TDKR contains a homage to the Adam West “batman running around with a bomb trying to figure out where to toss it” scene. The cultural pedestal Nolan’s Batmans have been placed on is a total mystery to me.

  • 66. Dillon McKenna  |  July 24th, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I’ll preface this comment by saying I only read most of this article and a few of the comments… Are you people insane? Do you realize what you’re talking about? This is a movie, a work of fiction, it is a fantasy about a man with unlimited means and perfect morality. If you cannot suspend your disbelief for three hours or so, then you have no place reviewing such a work of art, because you are apparently too much of a pretentious asshole to realize that movies are made to make money, not to forward some psychotic social agenda. Having said that, this was one of the best movies I have ever seen, and if you criticize it for a perceived flaw in its political message, then you are an idiot! Truly, you are an idiot. I’m sure Eileen Jones is a wonderful person, but this article is an even bigger waste of time than this comment, yet these things must be said, lest pretentious assholes continue in their attempts to ruin everybody’s good time.

  • 67. Dillon McKenna  |  July 24th, 2012 at 12:26 am

    And after reading a bit more of the actual review and the comments, let me just add; HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAHAAAAAHAAAHAAAAHAAAA!!!! My mom’s laughing at me.
    Oh my god Im so fucking hilarious!!! The things I say are fuckin hilarious.
    And just to re-iterate, this is a movie I’m talking about! A fuckin movie!!!!!
    Sweet lord my shit is funny!

  • 68. blimeybruv  |  July 24th, 2012 at 3:56 am

    batman/bruce wayne?? pretty lame ‘they were the same guy all along’ twist, but hey, this is nolan we’re talking about.

    And Dill, while I would normally agree to treat a work as independent, it’s hard to disentangle the trend of plots where ‘usurper rides anger of mob to do Bad Things’ from the context of OWS and dissent in general. The fact that it was made to make cash money doesn’t mean anything, and the ‘perfect morality’ thing is very much your opinion.

  • 69. Nick  |  July 24th, 2012 at 4:01 am

    Yeah… this is a movie about a guy who dresses like a bat and fights crime. It is based of a comic book. You know those cheap things with pictures that middle school boys read? I am as easy to offend as Limbaugh and just as quick to point fingers.

  • 70. Michael  |  July 24th, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Should’ve known my comment would be improved, and for that I humbly thank Thee, O Almighty Exiled Censor.

    my fucking ignorance has me lmao…

  • 71. James Nowlan  |  July 24th, 2012 at 5:13 am

    I’d say it stopped being just a movie when someone walked into the theater with an AR15. But anyway if this guy was such a genius why didn’t he have a remote control car bomb with high exsplosives nails nuts and bolts for shrapnel and some WP incendiary to light up the show. It would have really been something. A variation on Harris’ strategy instead of starting with a bomb and finishing with gunfire do the opposite.

  • 72. Marvin  |  July 24th, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Left out the Mad Max similarity- and a further similarity to Demolition Man plot wise. No one disputes Demolition Man is crap, why do the Dark Knight flicks get such a free ride?

  • 73. Dimitri Ratz  |  July 24th, 2012 at 6:03 am

    #52 the middle class is not a grade curve in each class, it’s not something that can be changed for gum and jeans in it’s entirety by definition. To be middle class you have to have freaking more.

  • 74. Dimitri Ratz  |  July 24th, 2012 at 6:06 am

    This movie exemplifies exactly the situation in Syria, although not intentionally. Assad just needs to buy a batman suit.

  • 75. John Galt  |  July 24th, 2012 at 10:45 am

    What? No death threats by Batman fan boys toward the critic? SAVAGES!!! You altrusits are worse than ARAB SAVAGES!!!

  • 76. Disappointing  |  July 24th, 2012 at 11:44 am

    It’s nice that you try to bring up deeper interpretations of the movie’s intentions and whatnot, but the sheer amount of bias and mistaken facts is unbearable. I mean, yeah, point out that Limbaugh’s claims of the film as an attack on Romney because of a name is stupid but don’t turn around and do what he’s doing.

  • 77. adam  |  July 24th, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I’d say the anti-99% critique of the movie is very surface level or really a complete mischaracterization.

    The review kind of misses the idea that both Tate and Bane are co-opting the revolutionary and environmentalist message they run on. They’re not from that ilk, just using it as a means to get what they want. The entire idea is give hope of change/revolution then pull it away. The revolutionary rhetoric in the film owes more to the Soviet Union Stalinist corruption of communism than the OWS movement and you see this in the scenes like a literal bread-line (classic McCarthy-Soviet scary-tale) and the mock court that is about sentencing, not convicting (another Stalinist callback). In that way Bane is the placeholder for Stalin, one who talks the talk but is really just using it to manipulate the masses to his dictatorial whim.

    The fact that freeing all the prisoners has absolutely nothing to do with the Social Justice handbook and more with classical revolutionary imagery (French revolution?) should really tell you that. Also that much of the film was written before the OWS movement came into its own but that’s a common fallback.

    Not defending the depiction of the police or the whole melee scene near the end which were both godawful. That and the whole self-evident good-bad nature of characters has a lot more to do with Comic Book Movie than Christopher Nolan being amateur (which he isn’t).

    Oh yeah, I realize that no one gives a fuck what my twitter account name is and so I won’t be providing a link–that’s a way of preempting your lack of interest in my thoughts.

  • 78. Bollox  |  July 24th, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Enough of this fake violence. Where’s the War Nerd? There’s so much real-life violence, we need to hear from the Fat Man!

  • 79. haywood  |  July 24th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Point of Information: The movie’s scenes on Wall Street were filmed during the occupation of Zuccotti Park last fall. A few of us were bored that evening and went with mock signs saying “Batman is the 1%”… good times. good times.

  • 80. casino implosion  |  July 24th, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I don’t know what salon fanboy was smoking, but that idiotic “Star Spangled Banner” scene was the worst, most embarrassingly lame part of the worst movie I have seen in many, many years. I was literally squirming and kicking in my seat.

    Figures, I finally say to myself “I guess I’ll drag down and catch one of these comic book remake blockbusters that everyone is so gaga about these days, see if there’s anything to it” and this is what I get.

  • 81. ribbon  |  July 24th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    By your logic, there is no such thing as a propaganda-infused movie, period. By your logic, “Birth of a Nation” and “Jud Suss” are just well-made fantasies, which we can enjoy by just “suspending our disbelief.” And anyone who disagrees with this is an “idiot who has no right to be reviewing movies in the first place.”

    I think I’ll leave it at that. Either my point is clear enough to you, or you have not heard of either “Birth of a Nation” or “Jud Suss,” in which case I’ve lost interest in you and your comment.

  • 82. Sane  |  July 24th, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    All of the comments and this website seem like psychos.

  • 83. Soolaimon  |  July 24th, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    So, as someone writing a review on the internet (I’m not even going to call you a critic, because even if you’re not a critic you’re a goddess) aren’t I supposed to do a little soule searching before I venture to disagree with the your views, oh holiness? How about I start with some questions for you:

    Maybe chronological facts, for instance. Lie how this movie was written long before the occupy movement started. Though it was filmed during, you can’t accuse them of changing the script on the fly because, you know, it takes thousands of people and months of planning to get a scene like that underway.

    Then there’s the fact that the people in that fight are Blackgate prisoners and mercenaries? Not a crowd of the poor and downtrodden.

    And then what about how obvious they made it that Bane is a manipulator, using the would-be revolutionaries to his own ends?

    Your failure to miss these facts makes it clear that you have the same capability of understanding what’s happening in a movie as a nine-year-old.

    And how about Selena and the picture? I know you’re just bantering about her being worried about the picture of the blonde people. But is it really so wrong to be remorseful about dragging a family out into the street and wrecking their home? What’s the matter with you?

    This is the most pretentious, morally twisted, disgusting thing I’ve read. You are the Left Wing Glenn Beck. People like you embarrass your side of the political spectrum. Just like with Glenn, I drown out the good points of your ideology with my obnoxious extremism, and that’s why me and my mom can’t agree on anything.

  • 84. TruthBTold  |  July 24th, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    When a racist bottom bagger writes a comment,
    when a racist bottom bagger clicks the mouse,
    this is what you get.

    Guess who owns Hollywood, the film distribution network, the cinema chains, the newspapers, the tv stations, Wall Street banks, and guess who falsely led the “leaderless” Occupy Wall Street movement down a goal-less dead-end?

    If I may spell it correctly on this website, the answer is BILLIONAIRES. But they are more than 1%, which is why they chose the catchy “99%” slogan for OWS. Just another deception.

    My website, if you dare click it, tells the truth that more and more Americans are waking up to, finally.

  • 85. C. W. Buttsworth  |  July 25th, 2012 at 3:25 am

    man, can we not all be pumping “Cracked” up in here? that stuff, that whole “humor site news of the weird” genre, is low-tier petit-bougie dreck.

  • 86. Simon Girty  |  July 25th, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Like nobody’s considering an inverted remake of ‘Dawn of the Dead’ with 99% flesh eating consumerism? Or given the diminished numbers over the premier weekend, reducing investor return… Wonder if anybody’s considered an even more despicable remake of Mel Brooks’ The Producers: “Springtime for Obama,” defensive firearms welcome (with smart grenade launchers & bayonets) lotsa crank, booze and hollow-points available in the lobby?

  • 87. Marx D. Spot  |  July 25th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    TDK was also hailed as a ‘conservative’ movie, which is funny to me, since it really underlies the tension between the right’s emphasis on law and order and their tendency to justify authoritarian exceptionalism at the drop of a hat.

    Anyway, I think this ‘conservatism’ is less a function of these themes being present and more a sociological fact that the cultural-interpretive gestalt has itself internalized reactionary paranoia. If Burton’s Batman came out now we’d read it as right-wing. But one thing I noticed in the movie is that at no point does the 1% defend itself ideologically: it wins entirely by force of arms and overweening moral confidence, two imperialist traits, but never actually presents a convincing case as to why the ‘good guys’ should win.

    This movie is not a defense of aristocracy, it is a sublimated death wish. We’re all Bruce Wayne, wishing against all odds for clean power and clean streets, but we can’t do it–the Dent act, as Bane correctly notes, is based on a lie, and the fusion reactor is dirty after all. We have a pensee magique fantasy about faking our death and starting over without the past hounding us. We laugh nervously (and knowingly) when Bane responds to the day trader’s assertion that there is “no money to steal here” with a quick “oh? then why are you all here?”. Gotham–New York, that is–the nerve center of global imperialism, the capital of das Kapital–deserves a reckoning.

    That’s the heart of things. We worry that the global poor have a legitimate case against the West and all we have to fall back on is force and money, and our whole discourse of human rights, due process, the rule of law, global justice, is just a hollow sham we can afford when our might is ascendant. TDKR isn’t an apology for the 1%, it is a reminder that we privileged are the elite in virtue of being even able to be complicit with the ruling class. Oh, I’m not fracking for gas, I’m not running dirty mines or beating workers, not directly. But I shop and eat well and live comfortably and drive around and turn on the AC. If the Joker represented the private chaos within us, Bane is the public chaos around us, the reminder that our existence is purchased with a moat of arms and war and only within that little moat can we worry about the rule of law. Just because the Batman is defending our order does not mean the order is defensible. The order is never defended, just protected. If there is anything truly reactionary in the film, it is the nihilistic insistence that there can be no accommodation or solution or reparation, just violence to perpetuate our faltering lives and lifestyles.

  • 88. CensusLouie  |  July 25th, 2012 at 1:53 pm


    Remember when reactionary movies were silly little fantasies like Red Dawn? At least no one was outright fellatingng the super rich in Golan Globus flicks.

  • 89. internal exile  |  July 25th, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Dear Eileen:

    It is not possible to spoil this movie.

  • 90. Zog  |  July 25th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    @ 66

    OMG, so… suspending disbelief is MY job. So all my life when I’ve been watching movies that i didn’t enjoy, it was just because I was an uncooperative filmgoer. I gotta tell you, all this time I seem to have laboured under the belief that it was artists, writers, actors, directors etc. who had the job of creating believable, coherent worlds without gaping plot holes, ham acting fake effects and so on for me to enjoy. That explains a lot.

  • 91. Flatulissimo  |  July 25th, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Hmm, obvious idiots are becoming really defensive and pissed off. This review must have done something right.

  • 92. super390  |  July 25th, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    To all those saying that Nolan finalized the script before OWS and “nothing could be changed”…

    Peter Jackson was rewriting his Lord of the Rings movies every day while filming. Every actor with lines in it complained about getting new script pages slipped under their doors every morning. Sometimes major changes were made on a couple of days’ notice. Far bigger and more complex shoot than Nolan’s.

    Also, many filmmakers create their stories in the editing room out of a mass of footage. So the choice was still there well after Nolan was shooting on Wall Street with OWS protestors in his view. Clearly he was no fan of this fantastic opportunity to step into the footprints of Costa-Gravas or Haskell Wexler, because he didn’t share their sympathies.

  • 93. Judas Priest  |  July 26th, 2012 at 1:33 am

    So the fact that in the end, the good guy Batman defeats the so-called left-wing mob led by Bane is just irrelevant? You like to focus on all of these symbolic metaphors to our current issues in society but only to the extent that they fit into your beliefs? As someone who simply saw the The Dark Knight Rises as what it actually is, an action movie, and does not feel the need to transfer every single piece of art into a take on culture and society I am disgusted by this work of what I would barely consider writing. Instead of focusing all of your obvious political animosity at a freaking movie, why don’t you spend your time writing about something that actually has political relevance. While you may think that you’re this brilliant political analyst, you are nothing more than another ignorant writer looking to create an outrage in the most remote possible places. Feel free to continue to spark revolution amongst the unintelligent population that most assuredly loves you and respects your writing.

  • 94. Judas Priest  |  July 26th, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Oh and feel free to “moderate” and delete my comment, because everyone knows the non-Fascist frontmen such as yourself like to censor out the words/beliefs of others.

  • 95. C. W. Buttsworth  |  July 26th, 2012 at 5:19 am

    you know what i wonder is, is there like a populist superhero? is that possible?

  • 96. Soolaimon  |  July 26th, 2012 at 6:10 am

    @C.W. Buttsworth
    “man, can we not all be pumping “Cracked” up in here? that stuff, that whole “humor site news of the weird” genre, is low-tier petit-bougie dreck.”

    Yeah, because extreme left yellow journalism is totally high class compared to hilarious writing backed by painstaking research, Mr. uh…. Buttsworth. Pleasure to meet you, I’m Mr. Butt-Cracked.

  • 97. Foppe  |  July 26th, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Nice review over at Jacobin:

  • 98. Ozinator  |  July 26th, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Judas Priest’s take is what I’m getting back from sports oriented sites where I’ve shared this article. It’s always entertainment unless it’s a rightwing fuckwit saying it’s socialist propaganda…then it’s “Please say it isn’t so, Rush! Are you sure my men in tight fetish sex suits are lefties”? Then ironically, they feel better about their self-image after someone tells them how stupid they are by pointing out it’s not leftist propaganda but propaganda propaganda.

  • 99. Adam West  |  July 26th, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Jeez. Back in ’66 this used to be good campy fun and we’d shoot the show and go out for some drinks and get laid and not think Batman suits and Penguin gear were existentialist boilerplates. Then comes the emo phreak, Tim Burton, and cock-in-ass Michael Keeton and it all becomes uberArt and then this Human Fart called Nolan makes bloody fucking Batman into the Joycean prose of our pathetic civilization. hey—hat’s off to the Holmes motherfugger—he was right on target. This film is a bomb, but it will kill at the box office.

  • 100. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg  |  July 26th, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Where is Ernst Stavro Blofeld now that we need him?

  • 101. George Kaplan  |  July 26th, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Needs more exclamation points.

  • 102. Zirb  |  July 26th, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I knew I hated the movie when I saw it, but I didn’t know why. This review is why.

  • 103. franc black  |  July 26th, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Yeah, it was a pretty dumb story, and the fights and high-tech props were mostly silly.

    But this review is so negative and obvious in its critique, I stopped reading about 1/3 of the way through.

    Surely I can do better. Next time I won’t even leave a comment. AEC, willing of course.

  • 104. stasis  |  July 26th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Stories are a tool for the transmission of morality. This is why you can search the internet for the many terrible articles labeling the Greeks and Germans as grasshoppers and ants. This is why Atlas Shrugged is still relevant today when so many equally terrible pieces of fiction have been erased from popular memory.

    The inspiration for Dark Knight Rises is overtly political. This is a movie that introduced a special forces squad only to kill them off minutes later so it could reenact the Fallujah hangings. Talia is a stand-in for the Western paranoia over Iran (claims to be developing a nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes, actually creating a nuclear weapon for use on a civilian population. You do the math). And as 48 already pointed out, Goyer doesn’t have much of a reputation for subtlety.

    Where this gets truly offensive begins with the “framed photo of a nuclear family has been smashed” mentioned in the review. When Catwoman picks up that picture she says “This was somebody’s home.” Her neighbor turned looter responds “Now it’s everybody’s home!” This exchange is blatant red-baiting as we gasp in horror at the disrespect of the most sacred of human rights: the unlimited right to property.

    From there, our evicted rich folk are taken to a sham trial (ironically presided over by a literal straw man) where they are automatically assumed guilty (of being rich), officially dispossessed of their property, and exiled/executed.

    Ok, boiler plate French Revolution stuff. Big deal, right? The problem is that people being dispossessed from their homes, denied a fair trial, and expelled from society isn’t the stuff of a far off dystopian future. It’s happening, right now, in America, and I guarantee you it’s not the underclass running these trials:

    Luckily, Rises is such a sloppy mish-mash of competing philosophies that its ineffective as propaganda, but it’s propaganda nonetheless. The inversion of class dynamics it depicts is disgusting, and for a movie so enamored with the French Revolution, it shows an unsurprising ignorance of the sheer perversion of justice that makes revolution possible in the first place.

  • 105. Ozinator  |  July 26th, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I vote Stasis leader of the 99 percent! Well done, Mate

  • 106. Patriot  |  July 27th, 2012 at 1:13 am

    The rabid fans always go into spazz mode about how something is “just entertainment” because they are weak people who live vicariously through their superhero fantasies. Criticize their fantasy life and they will respond dramatically. Look what happened on Rotten Tomatoes, where the editors had to shut down the incredibly abusive and misogynistic comments.

    The rabid fans identify with Batman and superheroes because they feel powerless, and want to feel powerful. It’s a slap in the face for them to think that the message of the movie they idolize is actually that they, the 99% are simply pawns in a war between the gods.

    I might accept that attitude from teenage boys but it is completely pathetic in grown men.

  • 107. Dimitri Ratz  |  July 27th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Humanity has a drive to succeed and to some degree requires control to understand what it wants. What we see, hear, and do determines this for us if even on a superficial level. I mean this obsession with house (hut), guaranteed work (servitude), and general goods are installed peasant mentality. I’m not advocating bum lifestyle, but the demands are so low that there is no negotiating angle from the 99ers, not that I would advocate these bottom feeder needs as goals. The problem with society is made believe ethics. For example entitlement is bad, your not entitled to anything, but to the sweety, walnut smell flavored balls of Gingrich. Until people realize that they are entitled, that existance is not a benevolent gift from some fat ugly entrepreneur, but is within each of us to decide to be as evil or as good as we choose our fate will continue to be forever locked into a hoard of dispensable pawns, because we live in fear of the stupidest instilled religious and social fears. Each of us must look with full confidence to the future despite the end result of failure for most of us, and countless futility of our actions, because things need to be done for sake of doing them, not their calculated end results. Constantly planning for possible contingencies we loose track of reality, become desensitized to it, and forgo the ancient warning that great evil lies looking beyond the day.

  • 108. Fissile  |  July 28th, 2012 at 11:49 am

    @77. adam,

    “The review kind of misses the idea that both Tate and Bane are co-opting the revolutionary and environmentalist message they run on.”

    Right, so the message is: “Sure people have legitimate grievances after having their lives ruined by Wall St and the banksters, but there is NEVER any legitimate reason for violent revolution. People who advocate dragging the 1% to the gallows/guillotine ALWAYS have ulterior motives. We shouldn’t dwell on past wrongs, but instead concentrate on building a better world through niceness, and besides, not all the 1% are complete sociopaths. Just look at Bruce Wayne. He gives money to orphans!”

    So Tate and Bane are co-opting the revolution. Well, what of it? The guilty are at least disposed of.

  • 109. Anarchos  |  July 29th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    The character that Morgan Freeman plays is named Lucius.

    “If we look beneath the surface of our public affairs, we can discern one fundamental fact, namely: a great redistribution of power between society and the State.”
    -Our Enemy, The State by Albert Jay Nock

  • 110. Ljl  |  July 29th, 2012 at 11:41 am

    i am fascinated by how this review assumes art=politics. I guess you never read comics growing up or anything but they are escapist fantasy in the sense of pulp and crime noir (save ur post-modern critique to this last sentence for another day, we’re both jacking off on the Internet here in in indiscernible directions). If you find the movies cheesy, fine, batman is cheesy . And that’s how I like him. Would you like a new Matrix movie written by Zizek or something? Comic book movies don’t inspire me to start a revolution, thats not their point (if you want one that tries harder than all these mainstream movies you’re so pissed about go read the brilliant Grant Morrisons stuff on the Invisibles), thats what books on politics and philosophy and science fiction are for (for me). Comic movies are genre pieces which has to be explained to the average moron and philiosophy graduate student alike. Comic movies come out of the superhero mythos, again what did you expect?
    I mean it’s batman, were you expecting The Caped Commune Creator?

  • 111. MQ  |  July 29th, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    “Tory bastard”? Eileen = John Dolan 100% sure! Good to know he’s still doing a bit of writing…

  • 112. Flatulissimo  |  July 29th, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    @110 has either never heard of propaganda and would swear that it doesn’t exist in the USA, or that it has no effect. That 48 billion a year spent on advertising isn’t doing anything, really.

    When was the last time collective action was positively depicted in American entertainment? Like somebody said in a comment on the Spiderman review – “That would set a terrible example don’t you think? After all when these children grow up they might think that collective action is somehow acceptable.”

  • 113. Trevor  |  July 29th, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    For added fun, Bane also has shades of bin Laden. A foreign fighter brought in by the oligarchs to do their dirty work and then it turns out he wants to burn them and their whole world over some two-dimensional conception of justice.

  • 114. Ozinator  |  July 29th, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    yeah, 110 is either a rube or thinking a bunch of kids here might be. “oh, it’s comixy and cartoonish, relax”! “Fascinating” that he/she brings up terms like “pulp” and “noir”. fuckwit

  • 115. damn red  |  July 29th, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Kind of expected this, now where can I find a “Viva Bane” t-shirt.

    Also fuck comic book readers.

    Kind of happy that batman dies. And he will get the proper corporate shill send off when the franchise is rebooted to put him in the future Justice league movie just to take more money from the comic book reading shit heads.

  • 116. Breitbart Is God  |  July 30th, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Breitbart, may he rest in peace, was a pure soul, and he liked watching heroes romp in adult action flicks. I have no idea why he needed all those Kleenex boxes, though. I like this Batman guy because he dresses up like a lot of my friends, but tell me: Has he lost his virginity yet? If not, will he take me to an Asian Spa?

  • 117. Mitchell  |  August 1st, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Le Monde tackles the question, gauche or droite?

  • 118. Nazidethpig  |  August 1st, 2012 at 11:56 am

    This movie was so full of hokey schlok I’m surprised I didn’t take the theater hostage and demand my money back even though i didn’t buy my own ticket.

  • 119. Ankita  |  August 1st, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Oh come on! Batman is a character created by Bob Kane. Calling Nolan a fascist over making a movie about a billionaire vigilante, is a quite extreme to say the least. Yes Bruce Wayne’s parents re rich but they were different from the other rich white folk, they actually believed in helping the poor. When Alfred tells Bruce that the world doesn’t need Batman but people like his parents, he’s not saying that corporations help people, he’s saying that so Bruce doesn’t get himself killed and that he could make more of a difference from the inside with his company as Bruce Wayne. That is not Bruce/Batman’s thinking though, he believes that he can help Gotham better by not being part of the system. What you said was completely the opposite of what the movie talks about. Also when Bane talks and they don’t cut to reaction shots of the mob is true and is a part of good film making, to get the audience involved and question their own morality not to make them feel like they side with the villain. The League of Shadows is similar to Ozymandias or the other way round I should say, they believe the only way to rid Gotham of evil is to destroy it and rebuild it, the Illuminati agenda basically. Batman/Bruce Wayne like his parents is more optimistic about the situation and believes that he can change the people.

  • 120. Ankita  |  August 2nd, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Also what Bane is trying to do is destroy the city. He will punish the rich but he will kill even the poor as the LoS believe that no one in Gotham is innocent and that Gotham needs to be completely destroyed and rebuilt and there is no hope for the people. The Joker proves this as well when he turns Harvey Dent, Gotham’s White Knight, into a villain, even Ramirez. Also the LoS in Batman Begins use the city officials to do most of their work and infiltrate Gotham at every level. When Bruce Wayne’s parents are killed by one of the people they are trying to help, it sets up the theme of Gotham being a doomed city that no one believes in but Batman. He is the only saviour of this corrupt city. That is the theme of the comic. Bane’s agenda has nothing to do with the 99%.

  • 121. The Gubbler  |  August 2nd, 2012 at 2:39 am

    I can only say that I am thankful I watched this on a crappy cam torrent from the ****** Bay (I don’t know why but I just thought it was appropriate to censor myself there, probably a manifestation of the dark side of my radical left wing internet propensities)which was hard enough to take in that form, as it spared me from the full on “Dark Knight Rises Experience”.

    blah blah blah…

    here is a Robespierre youtube video clip…

    REIGN OF TERROR (directed by Anthony Mann)

    It was an OK movie (The Black Book aka Reign Of Terror), nothing special, but absolutely fantastic by today’s standards.

    Anyhow, let us all pray for the Demonoid administrator. May your wonderful website recover and continue to thrive!!!!

    Viva Demonoid!!!!

  • 122. The Gubbler  |  August 2nd, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Did I mention, whatshisname sucked as The Joker in the last one???

    Oh yes, I think I did (in a previous thread).

    Kudos to me!!!!

  • 123. The Gubbler  |  August 2nd, 2012 at 2:43 am

    Viva Dickens!!!

  • 124. The Gubbler  |  August 2nd, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Kudos to you Eileen for mentioning the utterly confusing Star-Spangled Banner scene.

    Was that Oliver Twist’s boarding school twin singing????

  • 125. Counter PUNCH!!!  |  August 2nd, 2012 at 10:23 am

  • 126. Bert  |  August 2nd, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Is this the same Eileen Jones who loved that Go Galt mess Iron Man 2?

  • 127. Ljl  |  August 3rd, 2012 at 12:35 am


    Nice ad hominem. Logical fallacy for the win. YOU WIN! Great rebuttal, really phenomenal.

  • 128. Mr. Bad  |  August 4th, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    @116. Breitbart Is God

    OMFG I laughed, I really “LOL”. Thanks Ames, if that’s who you are, you dog.

    “Because you’re the hero Amerika deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt you because you can take it. Because you’re not our hero, just a stupid hopped up journalist with no class. You’re a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark Kike.”
    Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.”

    THANK YOU AND GOOD (K)night!!!

  • 129. Mr. Bad  |  August 4th, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    @116. Breitbart Is God

    OMFG I laughed, I really “LOL”. Thanks Ames, if that’s who you are, you dog.

    “Because you’re the hero Amerika deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt you because you can take it. Because you’re not our hero, just a stupid hopped up journalist with no class. You’re a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark Kike.”

    THANK YOU AND GOOD (K)night!!!

  • 130. The Gubbler  |  August 5th, 2012 at 4:01 am

    The Stranglers – La Folie

  • 131. The Gubbler  |  August 5th, 2012 at 2:05 pm


    I just dunno anymore.

    It seems like… well, nobody cares anymore.

    Humans don’t care about the animals.

    Humans don’t care about other humans.

  • 132. Alex  |  August 5th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I didn’t see it as anti-99%er so much as Bane inducing anarchy. (I went to the bathroom before the prison breakout scene so maybe I missed something) I mean, he did have a nuclear bomb and he had the people trapped on the island. Most of what he/they were doing was to torture Bruce Wayne for murdering Talia’s dad. Basically, “if I’m going to die anyway may as well have as much fun as I can and torture this guy.”

    One anti-1%er scene though, was the attack on the Stock Exchange. It’s a real shame they didn’t break out the Joker and have him induce anarchy/take control.

    Let’s be grateful for one thing though…. at least Ben Roethlisberger gets killed in the movie 😀

  • 133. Punjabi From Karachi  |  August 8th, 2012 at 5:52 am

    With all your spoilers in this review, why didn’t the reviewer and all you eX-holes, include the fact that “The Exile”, in this movie, is a punishment maneuvre, and an especially sadistic, crypto-entertaining one.

    You guys suck donkey balls for not bringing up “The Exile” punishment in The Dark Knight Rises.


  • 134. Punjabi From Karachi  |  August 8th, 2012 at 5:54 am

    The Exile.


    Lol. Don’t complain that you lot aren’t having an effect on the culture, cause subconsciously… 😉

  • 135. The Gubbler  |  August 20th, 2012 at 4:43 am

    It’s been on my mind for some time and, well, here it is….

    Burt Lancaster is the only person who could play Batman.

    Thanks for listening.

  • 136. The Gubbler  |  August 20th, 2012 at 6:27 am

    I suppose Chris Hayes could be Robin, but he would have to do a bit of soul searching and shape up his act.

  • 137. Nkulus Destiny  |  August 25th, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Top review. Havent been on eXiled in a while but this and Ames’ Romney Mormon expose are pure gold.
    As always many butthurt libertards, who apparently also can’t read, on the comments (for me #66 Dillon Mckenna takes it for Pig headed shit-eater comment of the day) but at least u can’t be accused of merely preaching to the converted ..

  • 138. Liz K  |  December 22nd, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Hello. I used to really hate most of this writer’s movie reviews, syndicated on Alternet. (See her spiteful, cynical-toned meanderings on the animated features Up and Wall-E for an example of the irritating stuff I’m talking about! Well, I mean, if you can’t like a kids’ movie.. 🙂 )

    But she’s spot-on 100% right about this one! Way more on the mark than Andrew O’Hehir! 🙂

    I wonder why when I Googled up TDKR movies, on several occasions, I never found it? (I still didn’t, today: I came here via a link from another skeptic, a blogger.)

    Anyway: more like this. (Instead of trashing cartoons, Eileen!) I think we need on the whole more SKEPTICAL, “unconvinced” reviews of blockbuster movies, especially from womenwriters, against movies which have macho themes, and which tend to monopolize the “propaganda market” – as superhero movies – and war movies – tend to do! I wonder what Ms Jones thinks of Ms Bigelow? Hope she hasn’t given her an easy ride just for being a woman propagandist. I shall have to see!

  • 139. Liz K  |  December 22nd, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Um – I’m sure I’ve put a comment on here about the review – so where is it? (Because when I sent it again, it said “you’ve already said that”. There surely wasn’t time for it to get censored – ! so is there moderation on here? or am i here by the grace of the AEC?)

  • 140. Liz K  |  December 23rd, 2012 at 1:40 am

    What is the AEC??

  • 141. mijj  |  January 15th, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    > 110. Ljl : i am fascinated by how this review assumes art=politics.

    every act is a political act .. especially the construction of “art”.

  • 142. Mars  |  February 14th, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Yay – Batman doesn’t die – autopilot fixed before flight so he bails-out – Catwoman wearing the pearl necklace in the restaurant, etc…

    Great movie – must suspend disbelief re the political wishful-thinking of other posters here.

  • 143. Kristofer  |  February 17th, 2013 at 1:59 am

    What’s up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this paragraph i thought i could also create comment due to this sensible piece of writing.

  • 144. Darren  |  May 12th, 2013 at 9:17 am

    This is the 3rd article I’ve read Eileen Jones, and all I can say is, you write so goddamn well it makes me want to slit my wrists and stop polluting comments sections. But I’m too much of a coward to do either. I’ll just keep following your great writing. Thanks!

  • 145. dark tykes  |  May 23rd, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    The trailer to dark knight said it all. Look for the shot not in the movie where Batman holds a cell phone to his ear watching Gotham on a tall building with cell phone towers behind him and who is funding your hero? Watch and weep as JP Morgan Sacks(pun) Chase Bank comes out from behind and shows it self to be the foundation for Nolan’s Batman. Ever since I saw that trailer it has enraged me more and more thinking Americas paid a lot of money to watch the wall street knight kick down the little guy and cheered it on. It just goes to show if the right guy does it people love tyranny. Batman does everything that the last few presidents have taken part in America claims to loath and everyone loved it. It’s a sad truth people want to be mislead they just need a daddy figure to talk them through it.

  • 146. dark tykes  |  May 23rd, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    I love these ignorant people who say things like you assume art=politics, well I’m a film school student and you people need to keep your mouth shut about things you know nothing about. Art not only equals politics the people who make movies call them self your culture industry. I had film classes on Theory that focused on nothing but the politics of every film, this is required for any film degree. Here is an example as taught in film class- Thelma and Louise is a film about women trying to free them self from their place in society. One of the first scenes is Gina Davis in the kitchen. So she leaves the kitchen gets assaulted becomes a criminal and ultimately has to die because there is no place in the world for a free woman. Oh Its just a movie about two girls who get into trouble to the rest of you but to the educated like myself I see the message loud and clear. Get educated or get out of the way people at least this writer has an opinion outside of warner brothers programming. You know nothing about film something that pulls your emotional strings like a puppet before I went to school I was an idiot who really thought art was imitating life. Now they taught me the goal is to get people to mimic the product. You want proof go watch people dance today. Since film doesn’t show feet people now think flopping your arms around and writhing your waist is dancing when in reality they are mimicking extras told to flop around more by the director. You know how many life long Micheal Jackson fans go ooh when you tell them watch MJ’s feet. But yet every person I know who never had a single dance lesson always says its in the hips. Hollywood?

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