Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christopher Nolan's Batman is an Allegory to Conservative Ideals

I finally saw The Dark Knight Rises today and left the theater in awe and blown away with the work Christopher Nolan has done in bringing back this amazing character and American hero to film in a more realistic manner than had Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher. Walking back to my car and thinking about this film, combined with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, it brought me to the conclusion that the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy not only ties in with current events in the period of each film's release, but is allegorical to the ideals of Conservatism: protection of citzens, individual freedom from a centralized authority, a belief in Exceptionalism, an acceptance of evil's existence, the reaility that it must be eradicated and that good will prevail! (SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T YET SEEN THE DARK KNIGHT RISES)

These opinions are nothing new, as Andrew Klavan, Amanda Read and Ben Shapiro have written about how Batman resembles political figures and represents issues of the time. Taking what they have brilliantly written, I'm going to build upon that in tying in Nolan's Batman trilogy with the bigger picture.

In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne is haunted by the senseless death of his parents at the hands of a mugger. His parents were wealthy individuals who worked to use their wealth to help others; whether by building a public transportation system to attempt to unite the city, or through donations to organizations which will help the poor of Gotham City. The city the Waynes loved so much, Gotham, is overrun by crime and corruption, while being controlled by insidious people who care more about enriching themselves than providing the citizens for whom they work and represent with a safe community where they can build their lives. Similar to his father, Bruce Wayne believes that the people of Gotham are good and that good will overcome evil, just as Conservatives from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush have. This is why Bruce Wayne, under the dark of night and disguise of a reckless socialite, spends his family's fortune to fighting this evil behind the mask of Batman to carry on his parents' work. In this film, Batman's true enemy is Ra's Al Ghul, who, unlike Wayne, wishes to use his organization, The League of Shadows, to wipe Gotham off the face of the earth. Just as the Soviet Union viewed the United States, he thought the world would be a better place without the evil of Gotham, so he set out to "bury" Gotham in its own evil. Just like Ronald Reagan stood up to the Soviet Union, strengthened her defenses, gave the message of the American upper hand and relied on American Exceptionalism to win the day, so too did Bruce Wayne, with the help of Lucius Fox and Jim Gordon. In both cases, both victories can be tied to the principles of conservatism. And in the end, Batman won the battle, Gotham was saved from the wrath of Ra's Al Ghul, but still had to be on her feet, as did the United States after the Soviet Union dissolved.

In The Dark Knight, Batman continues to use his wealth for good, this time, he battles the Joker, who, is not a criminal, but a terrorist. He doesn't care about money or about fame. As Alfred Pennyworth put it,

"Some men aren't looking for anything logical like money. They can't be bought, bullied reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
In a nutshell, this was what the Joker did throughout the whole film, turning citizen against citizen and eventually taking Harvey Dent, Gotham's "White Knight" who 'brought hope to the citizens of Gotham, and turning him into an evil madman. What the Joker did to Gotham is exactly what Islamic Radicals have tried to do to the United States. For George W. Bush, he saw the attacks of September 11 as the last straw in terms of Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States and he fought back; militarily and technologically; the same way Bruce Wayne did! Bush had his critics and Batman had his critics, but both won the day - Bush in that THE UNITED STATES WAS NEVER ATTACKED ON HER SOIL AGAIN DURING HIS ADMINISTRATION, and Batman/Bruce Wayne bringing the Joker's reign of terror to an end. Both did not back down, did not negotiate, did not look to appease, but worked hard to defeat, and in that job, they took the blame, both took the punishment of their decisions, but they both believed they were doing good and defeating evil.

And in the Dark Knight Rises, which I just saw today and found to be a great close to this wonderful trilogy, the most obvious observation is that the Bane-Bain comparison is false! Even Bane's creator say so! Instead, Bane is the vehicle for leading Gotham down the road of an "If Occupy Wall Street ruled" scenario - rhetoric and action against the rich and makers of society, people living in prison and fear, as well as show trials in a Jacobin-style Reign of Terror to invoke fear, while pushing the movement's agenda. With the turn of Selina Kyle away from Bane and in support of Batman, her transition personifies the disillusionment many of this movement will eventually face when they see poverty continue, just as we are beginning to see in 2012 when ideals of "Social Justice" and "fairness" fail. The youth of America who bought this in 2008 are seeing it rear its ugly face as they cannot find jobs. In addition, we see, in The Dark Knight Rises, a return to the original battle of good vs evil that started the Nolan reboot of Batman - Batman vs the League of Shadows. The League used Bane and his Occupy Gotham movement as the vehicle for a second attempt to destroy Gotham City. And again, just as Conservative leaders like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush did, Batman faced this evil, fought it, overcame it and won.

Each Batman film in the Christopher Nolan trilogy did an incredible job of articulating the ideals of Conservatism, why it is superior and why it works. Furthermore this Batman trilogy can be added to the list as one of the greatest comic book based series of films, as well as required viewing for all Conservatives, be it casual observers or leaders of tomorrow. Hats off on a job well done, Christopher Nolan!

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