The Rise of the Superhero Franchise
With the rapid rise of superhero themed films since the release of Bryan Singer’s X-Men, one of the most important franchises to come out this resurgence is Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy. The Dark Knight Rises’ profits reached multi-millions while it discussed contemporary topics such as Occupy Wall Street and the Financial Crisis of 2008 veiled as a simple popcorn flick. Though at the same time, it could also be considered an outstanding piece of art.
The Drive of Art
The drive of art is to organize our daily experiences into a manageable coherent order. Though, at times, films instead create an incoherent message. The reason a film may seem incoherent may be the film exhibits a message that differs from the ‘hero’s’ personal beliefs that are at odds with their society. The Dark Knight Rises shows that Hollywood blockbusters are a reflection of our society at the time they’re created.
How the Dark Knight Rises Reflects Contemporary Society.
Nolan’s attempt to conclude a modern multimillion-dollar franchise, in which the second film was hailed as modern masterpiece, Nolan was faced with the task of trying to outdo his own creative work. Nolan decided to take Batman out of the realm of a comic book and place him in a modern world closely resembling our own, and faced with social injustices such as a lack of distribution of wealth. This allowed for a film that both entertains, and critiques our society. The incoherence begins with Bane, who is clearly portrayed as the antagonist with his large mask demonstrating that he is not human, and marks him as the main antagonist.
Batman Fights Out of Love, Not Hate.
The Dark Knight Rises is in a long tradition stretching from Christ to Che Guevara of revolutionaries that used violence out of love. A revolution is born, and guided out of love. This is the first of many instances in the film in which The Dark Knight Rises exhibits an incoherent text, and in the case of Bane – violence is bad but also necessary. Though at the same time Batman’s character faces the same issue – violence is bad, but that it is necessary to stop violence, thus showing how both the hero and villain’s ideals are more in line with each other’s than at first glance. This creates the first of many incoherent messages.
The Incoherent Message
The bulk of incoherent messages arise from Bane’s idea in overthrowing the ‘one percent’ to allow the ‘ninety-nine percent’ to rule, as they should, which at the same time is an allusion to the slogan of Occupy Wall Street’s ‘We are the 99 percent.’ This is very important to note because the film, even though it’s a work of fiction, still comments on contemporary topics such as injustice inflicted on the working class by the rich. Bruce Wayne is millionaire in the film, something most viewers seem to forget, something that Bane obviously sees as a negative quality. In real life though people with money, at least contemporary beliefs, are bad people, ergo we should see Bruce as a villain to our society. The way the film attempts to fix this is show how Bruce funds orphanages.
As a viewer we are able to forgive Bruce, but somehow still identify with Bane.
Who Is the Real Hero?
The obvious belief is that we should see Bane as a hero, because he fights for people in a sense, and Bruce as a villain for attempting to stop him. Though this isn’t what is actually going on. The film creates an incoherent text with Bane serving the people to overthrow the ‘one percent’, who’ve caused injustice onto the working class, with a revolution that should be seen as savior. This incoherence is caused when viewers have the delusion that violence is bad, and the overthrowing the ‘once percent’ is an injustice in itself even though they have caused pain to the working class. The film is both advocating for an overthrow, but at the same time asking that it not actually occur because Bane, as the villain, is asking for it.
A Reflection of Our Society
The Dark Knight Rises is a contemporary incoherent film with a constant barrage of mixed messages. The hero has qualities deemed culturally negative, and the villain vice versa. The film itself, after being analyzed against the social-political environment it was created in, asks the viewer to accept the classical hero arc – and as the title implies – for the hero to rise up, and finally sacrifice him for the greater good. Though in the film there are many moments that can be interpreted either way. Examples include the possibility of a grassroots-driven revolution that is for people, by the people; but also the possibility that it be driven under a dictatorship as shown by Bane. The film also creates incoherence, as whether it truly advocates for this revolution because of social injustice, or rather it is wrong to act on this because ultimately people will suffer, as the rich do in the film, and finally cause for a ‘hero’ to do what’s right even though he is going against common belief.
What do you think? How does The Dark Knight comment on contemporary society? Even though the film is incoherent? Share your thoughts with us.
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