I normally refrain from doing movie reviews. There are very few movies I truly like and while I enjoyed Batman it has some editing problems that made it hard for me to watch. Most people won’t even notice these. I did however find it to be the most interesting movie on an intellectual level that I have seen in years. In fact I can safely say that the “Dark Knight Rises” is the movie “Atlas Shrugged” aspired to be.
Warning Spoilers ahead.
The movie is one very long exposé on how the Occupy Wall Street movement seeks to undermine and destroy society. Early in the movie the main villain Bane breaks into the stock exchange and causes Bruce Wayne to lose all his money. Not deterred by this Wayne works to keep his company out of the hands of Bane’s financial backers but falls into the intricate web of Ra’s al Ghul’s Daughter. It isn’t revealed until the last 30 minutes of the film that she is one of the villains but it was obvious from the beginning. Why was it obvious? First she had a Russian accent and Hollywood seems to think it is safe making Russians the perpetual villain, but second and most importantly her character constantly spouted left wing rhetoric about helping the poor and making the world a better place to live. Of course Wayne falls for this, thinking that Wayne Industries will be safe in her hands until he can rebuild his fortune. He falls right into the trap.
A secondary plot is the Selina Kyle/Cat Woman story. Bruce is easily able to track her back to her lair after she has stolen his deceased mother’s necklace and he confronts her in her home. Here she goes off on a long tirade about how the rich steal from everyone and she is taking back what she deserves. She also tells Bruce that the end is near for Capitalists like him and that a storm is coming that will wash them all away and there is nothing he can do…
The Storm does come, in the form of Bane using Wayne Enterprise technology to build a nuclear bomb with which he holds the city hostage. The bomb along with all of Batman’s neat war toys (that have been hidden in Wayne Industries all this time) effectively nullify the government of the city and the federal government. By this point in the movie Bane has broken Batman’s back and left him to rot in a prison. Bane has told Bruce/Batman that his goal was not to kill him but to break both his body and his spirit. Here Bruce Wayne, outside of the Batman persona, shows that he is not just a rich playboy but that he can overcome through hard work any set back. While Gotham city falls into chaos, and Bane and his henchmen murder the “1%” after mock trials, Bruce Wayne works to rebuild his body and soul. He builds and creates where Bane can only break things down.The metaphor is laid on thick so even the dullest will recognize it.
Bane and his people who are obviously the Occupy Wall Street crowd do occupy the city. Bane gives speech after speech about how the rich and powerful have stolen from the poor and how he is giving back to the people what has been stolen. He could have almost been holding a red flag with a hammer and sickle or parroting one of Obama’s anti-capitalist rants. While the occupiers are looting the city we get a glimpse of the Gotham apocalypse through the eyes of Selina Kyle. She and her hench-woman enter a home. Her side kick is thrilled to be looting but Selina sees what is really happening. They have destroyed what was once beautiful. People had made a life in this home and those who had done nothing to build, but only to destroy, had torn down that life. Selina Kyle had a spiritual awakening in that moment. She no longer wanted to be one of the destroyers of society. She no longer wanted to be a parasite like the throngs who gleefully looted the homes of both the wealth and the middle class. She had transformed from villain to hero.
I will refrain from commenting on any more of the movie and there are quite a few more surprising conservative moments. Overall this was one of the most conservative films I have ever seen out of Hollywood. It highlighted the idea of individual action over government interference. Only the individual doing hard work can overcome adversity. No amount of government interference will help. In fact the government acts only as a menace to the innocent in this movie. It was cathartic to go to a movie and not see one more worthless environmental or social message that is designed to make you fell guilty about being alive. This movie made you realize in the words of Bruce Wayne….”Anybody can be the Batman.”
PS….To answer a criticism about this article from the fans of Atlas Shrugged. I am not making a direct comparison of John Galt and Batman the title is meant to express my belief that the “Dark Knight Rises” accomplishes what the “Atlas Shrugged” movie attempted.