On Sunday, Nina and I finally caught The Dark Knight Rises. We both enjoyed it*, but with a nearly three-hour running time, I felt sort of numb afterwards, finding newfound respect for the terse minimalist Jack Webb police procedural-like feel of the half-hour Adam West Batman series from the 1960s.
OK, just kidding. But still, two hours and 44 minutes is way too long for anything that wasn’t directed by David Lean.
Speaking of which, at the Corner, Michael Walsh, linking to Andrew Klavan’s review in the Wall Street Journal, sees a Dr. Zhivago-esque subtext to the movie, which is obsessed with the dangers of revolution:
[I]f insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, what are we to make of every murderous Regressive movement from the French Revolution to the October Revolution to Mao and Pol Pot? All of them began in resentment and ended in oceans of blood. In fact, one of the worst things about being a Regressive is having to ride the tiger that eventually eats all of them. In Dr. Zhivago, the idealistic Pasha becomes the feared zealot Strelnikov who in turn becomes another of Stalin’s statistics. In this Batman installment, Bane’s raging Id and his secret controller’s lust for revenge are both defeated by heroes who understand where the truth lies.
In a spoiler-filled round-up at Big Hollywood, Ben Shapiro dubs The Dark Knight Rises, “Magnificent … And Most Conservative Film Ever.”
Most conservative film ever? Well…
After The Dark Knight, we already knew Batman was a Republican. In The Dark Knight Rises, this son of privilege who made a fortune in his own right stands up for free enterprise and individualism against the collectivist demagogues who stir up class warfare and vilify the wealthy. That’s right — this time he’s BatMitt.
Here are the political takeaways from The Dark Knight Rises:
5. Bane is not Bain.
Rush Limbaugh, who apparently hadn’t seen the new movie, initially wondered, “Do you think that it is an accident?” that the movie’s lead evildoer is named Bane in a summer of chatter about Mitt Romney’s former outfit Bain Capital.
But not only is the bad guy’s name a coincidence (it dates back to 1993), Bane is the opposite of Bain. The villain plots to destroy Bruce Wayne by attacking the Gotham Stock Exchange, then launches a Marxist revolution in which the lower orders strike down the financiers and the “oppressive” bourgeoisie. Bane even empties the prisons, though to his credit he doesn’t do what the Democratic Party would, which is to guide the mob to the nearest polling place and forbid anyone to check their IDs.
My reaction to the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s excellent Dark Knight trilogy is in the Wall Street Journal today:
Murder is the opposite of art: destructive, impoverishing, nihilistic. To discuss the act of a killer as if it had some relevance to a work of culture is to usher the age-old enemy of mankind into one of his citadels. So I will pass over the massacre in an Aurora, Colo., theater in a silence respectful toward its victims.
But the film that was playing in that theater—”The Dark Knight Rises”—deserves to be loudly celebrated as a masterful and stunningly honest work of Western popular culture.
The movie is a bold apologia for free-market capitalism; a graphic depiction of the tyranny and violence inherent in every radical leftist movement from the French Revolution to Occupy Wall Street; and a tribute to those who find redemption in the harsh circumstances of their lives rather than allow those circumstances to mire them in resentment.
You can read the rest here.
Cross-Posted from Klavan on the Culture
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
On Good Morning America, ABC News’ Brian Ross and George Stephanolpoulos suggested that the Tea Party might be connected to the mass shootings early this morning in an Aurora, CO theater during a screening of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. The mainstream media attempted to blame the Tea Party for the Tuscon shootings in January 2011, shortly after Republicans swept the midterm elections. Now, in the critical 2012 elections, the mainstream media seems poised to do the same–and ABC News has led the way.
Here is the exchange between reporter Brian Ross and host George Stephanopoulos about apparent suspect James Holmes:
Stephanolpoulos: I’m going to go to Brian Ross. You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.
Ross: There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.
Stephanolpoulos: Okay, we’ll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.
I’ll update as the inevitable scapegoating continues. Links to relevant news stories, tweets, and blog posts in the comments are appreciated.
Update 6:50 AM PST: The Belfast Telegraph reports on the president’s response to the shooting and the youngest victim:
President Obama urged the nation to “come together as one American family”.
Some of the injured were children, with the youngest a three-month-old baby. Victims were being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman.
Local reporter Justin Jones said the gunman was wearing body armour and a gas mask.
“The attacker shot a baby at point blank range,” he said.
Another eyewitness, James Cameron, said the baby girl was shot in the back.
Update 7:12 AM: ABC news reveals the shooter’s mother is not surprised that her son would commit this horrible act:
A San Diego woman who identified herself as James Holmes’ mother told ABC News she had awoken unaware of the shooting and had not yet been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved.
“You have the right person,” she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. “I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado.”
Update 7:18: Mother Jones staff writer Stephanie Mencimer tweets:
Update 7:45: In These Times “labor journalist” Mike Elk:
Elk then decided to retweet these statements:
Elk then expressed his main concerns regarding this tragedy:
Update 8:10: Kevin Drum of Mother Jones:
Update 8:22: Gawker highlighting disturbing images, allegedly uploaded by one of the victims from the Emergency Room:
Update: 8:25: Politico reports that ABC is backing off from the irresponsible Tea Party reporting:
An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. Several other local residents with similar names were also contacted via social media by members of the public who mistook them for the suspect.
Update 8:50: David Sirota at Salon has decided to use this tragedy to begin a debate about whether we should use the word “terrorism” to describe acts such as this:
For all the legitimate questions that will be asked in the coming days (Why are there so many mass shootings in America? Why is it so easy to buy weapons-grade tear gas canisters? How much is this related to the availability of guns?); for all the insulting media coverage that will try to ramrod the dead Fargo-style into the woodchipper of the presidential campaign (New York Times headline: “In Wake of Colorado Shooting, a Concern Over the Proriety of Campaigining”); and for all the demagogues who will use this tragedy for their own gain (pro-gun GOP Rep. Loui Gohmert is today blaming the shooting victims for not being armed) – there is only one harrowing conclusion we can come to for certain immediately after such a heinous act: terrorism has no specific nationality, geography, race or creed.
Not surprisingly, police and reporters have been quick to tell us the opposite — that the suspected shooter was likely just a “lone wolf” and that “this act does not appear to be linked to radical terrorism or anything related to Islamic terrorism,” as ABC News put it. This newspeak is supposed to reassure us that this is anything but terrorism — that terrorism is something that happens only in far away places or huge cosmopolitan cities, not in an Anytown, USA in the American heartland; that terrorism never comes at the hands of a “24-year-old white American male” named “James Holmes,” it only comes at the hands of dark-skinned “evildoers” with hard-to-pronounce names. In this, we are expected to be sedated by such reassurances, and to ignore the ever-growing list of such “lone wolves”, and to reject a much wider definition of terrorism, no matter how much the reality of shooting after shooting after shooting screams at us to accept it.
But with bodies strewn across an Aurora movie theater, we must ask: what is terrorism, if it is not a man in a riot mask and bullet-proof vest, armed with tear gas canisters and weapons, meticulously executing a military-style assault on a crowded movie theater?
Just because something is “terrifying” it does not mean it’s an act of “terrorism.” The term “terrorism” refers to violent acts inflicted in order to intimidate a population into submitting to political or cultural revolution. Here’s the dictionary definition:
[ter-uh-riz-uhm] Show IPA
A mass murderer who wants to “watch the world burn” is not a terrorist like Al Qaeda is and Bill Ayers was.
Update 9:27: I’ve taken the last update with Sirota and highlighted it as its own post here along with an excerpt on the subject of evil from Dennis Prager’s new book:
Update: 9:53: From the Huffington Post: Colorado Shooting: What We Know About James Holmes:
Lt. Andra Brown of the San Diego Police Department briefed reporters outside James Holmes’ mother’s home Friday. Brown confirmed Holmes attended high school in San Diego before going to Colorado to pursue additional studies. Brown would not name either school.
San Diego media outlets have reported Holmes attended high school at Westview in Carmel Valley. He was also reportedly pursuing a PhD in neuroscience at University of Colorado-Denver. He supposedly enrolled in the fall of 2011, but dropped out in June.
Police are still trying to clear the suspect’s Aurora apartment. According to police, explosives found inside the unit are “very sophisticated” and could take some time to disarm.
The FBI has revealed Holmes is a white male who is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 24 years old, with a birth date of Dec. 13, 1987. Authorities have found no significant criminal record and no terrorist affiliations. Investigators suspect he acted alone.
A motive in the shooting is not yet known.
Update: 10:00: Twitchy collects Tweets from those choosing to blame Rush Limbaugh for inspiring the shooting.
Update: 10:08: Twitchy also highlighted comedian D.L. Hughley’s response to the massacre:
Update: 10:45: From the influential progressive blog Crooked Timber, and promoted in a tweet by Slate writer Matthew Yglesias:
One of Yglesias’s followers made the argument more openly:
A few months ago I blogged through every chapter of Afrolantica Legacies, a book written by Derrick Bell, the founder of Critical Race Theory and one of Barack Obama’s intellectual mentors. In part 7 I noted where Bell chose to blame unemployment for inspiring inner city drug dealers to break the law. This is a common way that progressives choose to shift responsibility for evil acts away from individuals and toward “society.”
11:13 Update: PJ Media’s Editor-In-Chief Roger L. Simon at his blog this morning:
I am not calling for censorship here, nor for gun control laws, but for a modicum of self-censorship on the part of the filmmakers and the film and television industries. They should ask themselves to what end is the violence they are portraying and whether it need be so explicit. Can they make their points as effectively, perhaps more effectively, without the endless splatter and gore?
Hitchcock’s Psycho and Fritz Lang’s M (about a serial killer), scary as they may be, are considerably less explicit than Natural Born Killers and considerably better artistically as well, yet it is Natural Born Killers that is said to have inspired copycat crimes.
I blogged about Stone’s most recent film Savages two weeks ago here at PJ Lifestyle.
One of the copycats inspired by Stone’s film was Columbine — the two killers debated over whether Quentin Tarantino or Steven Spielberg would do a better job making their life story. Instead they got Gus Van Sant with 2003′s Elephant, a quiet, very overrated art film that featured a scene where the two shooters kiss before beginning their massacre.
Update 11:32: From ABC News: Aurora ‘Dark Knight’ Suspect James Holmes Said He ‘Was the Joker’:
The man in custody for allegedly killing 12 people at the screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado told authorities after the shooting that he “was The Joker,” NYPD police commissioner Ray Kelly said today.
Kelly told reporters the suspect, identified by federal officials as 24-year-old James Holmes, had dyed his hair like The Joker. The Joker is a well-known villain in the fictional Batman universe. The attack took place at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the final movie in a Batman trilogy, following “The Dark Knight” in which The Joker was the principal villain.
Two federal law enforcement officials confirmed the details of The Joker costume to ABC News. Police said the weapons used in the massacre include a military-style AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and two handguns.
Update 2:07 PM: I’m continuing the afternoon coverage in a new post here at PJ Lifestyle:
More coverage at PJ Tatler:
Rick Moran: Why Is Brian Ross Still Working for ABC News?
Bridget Johnson: Obama Cuts Short Campaign Swing Because of Shooting
Rick Moran: Colorado Shooter Was Dressed as ‘The Joker’
If The Dark Knight was about the War on Terror, The Dark Knight Rises puts equal force and fury behind a tale about financial crisis and revolution. It’s the first Occupy Wall Street blockbuster, and that Christopher Nolan’s film was well underway before the OWS movement even got started is a tribute to his perspicacity.
The new film is a pleasure, sprawling in its storytelling, satisfyingly brawny, and occasionally moving, particularly in a terrific final act. In addition to all of that, the movie is so unabashed about its conservative message that you practically expect it to end with a dedication to Ronald Reagan. See if you can think of the last movie you saw that shows hundreds of big-city police officers lining up against a rowdy mob — and the police are the good guys. The movie is a counter-revolutionary document with as much damnation for populist revolt as Dr. Zhivago.
Like Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises is slow to get started and features a lot of long, talky, somewhat painstaking exposition before Batman finally appears about 45 minutes in. After staying out of the public eye for eight years, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is a mass of scar tissue who can’t walk without a cane due to a bum knee. Alfred (Michael Caine) is more or less a nanny to him, and at a fancy party he is helpless to stop a society jewel thief named Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) from robbing him of his mother’s pearl necklace.
Tom Hardy may be a bankable Hollywood star these days, but one of his biggest roles is off-screen: as a father to his 4-year-old son, Louis.
“I like to go no longer than three weeks without seeing my loved ones, but it does take some juggling,” Hardy, 34, tells Company Magazine’s August issue of being a working dad who often has to film far from home.
“I’m very much aware of being a ‘Skype father,’ which is sad,” he says. “But I have to have the finances to make sure [my son will] be secure, and I can only do that by working.”