Boycott the Batman: The Dark Knight Trilogy Turns on Us

by Scott Creighton

UPDATE: read the last installment of my Boycott the Batman series Boycott the Batman: Batman Shrugged

Ever since Christopher Nolan took over the Batman franchise in 2003, he has increasingly redefined the Dark Knight to the point where he is nothing more than Dick Cheney in a cape talking in a raspy voice and each and every villain has been demoted from super-natural cartoon caricatures to all-to-human obsessed terrorists with a grudge and WMDs.

We have put up with Nolan’s personal “war on terror” appeasement campaign and even allowed him to profit immensely from it, but now I say to you, enough is enough.

Let’s boycott the Batman.

At a time when the vast majority of the people of this country are about to experience even greater hardships due to the neoliberal Washington Consensus and the recently modified NDAA of 2012 which appears to grant the current administration expanded powers to use the military against their own citizens, Nolan’s next Dark Knight film looks to depict the 99% as the enemy of the state and the Batman’s final foe.

Our history is replete with directors and studios who have punched their career tickets in Hollywood by churning out propaganda films for the war-mongers. Frank Capra and Disney teamed up to make a series of films during the early part of WWII called “Why We Fight“. They were pure propaganda overseen by the U.S. Army Special Services Division designed to push a non-interventionist public further into the European War and to keep them supporting it no matter what the cost. That’s just one example. There are many others featuring names like John Ford, John Huston, Clark Gable, Ronald Reagan, and James Stewart just to name a few.

In 2003 when Nolan first took over the task of continuing the Batman series of films, this country was already in the throws of a serious debate about the fraudulent “Global War on Terror”.  We had just been lied into an invasion and occupation of Iraq and the Bush administration was constantly using their color-coded “terror alerts” for political purposes as has been exposed by Bush administration insiders long ago.

By the time Nolan’s first Batman offering came out in 2005 people were seriously questioning the Bush administration’s definition of terrorism and their use of the “terrorists” as justification for many foreign and domestic policy choices. So Nolan offered up to us a revised version of an iconic American hero having to go to “the dark side” (as Dick Cheney famously said) to do battle with… the terrorists.

In Batman Begins, Nolan’s silver spoon hero travels the world to find himself only to end up being recruited (while in prison mind you) by Ra’s al Ghul and taken to some mountain fortress (who else had a mountain fortress? oh yeah, the terrorists in Afghanistan) where he learns combat training from a bunch of hooded terrorist types. Batman refuses to cut some poor slob’s head off (Daniel Perle video anyone?) and he single-handedly defeats the terrorists and escapes to go back to Gotham and uses his access to his arms contractor business to “fight crime”. His costume is a Kevlar body suit designed for our soldiers in their fight against the “war on terror” but was too expensive for them (damn bureaucrats in Washington), his nifty gadgets were all from special ops R&D projects, and his bat-mobile, far from the slick targa style racer of old times turned into a special ops “bridger” that looks more like a armored personnel carrier than the Bat-mobile.

The threat in Batman Begins is a terrorist chemical weapons attack planned by Ra’s al Ghul and a character called “The Scarecrow” to change the morally bankrupt Gotham City, a city Ra’s al Ghul considers to be a den of vice and sin. Sound like Dick Cheney wrote that part of the plot line?

If you take a look at how these characters were drawn as originally, you will see that Nolan has taken a decidedly different turn when it comes to presenting them in his film. He has made them human terrorists rather than arch-villians. Ra’s al Ghul for instance is a 600 year old… well… ghoul. And the scarecrow is, well, a scarecrow.

Ra’s al Ghul

The Scarecrow

How are they depicted in Christopher Nolan’s film Batman Begins?

Noland’s Ra’s al Ghul

Noland’s Scarecrow

In Noland’s next Batman film, 2008 The Dark Knight, his efforts to appease the on-going “war on terror” are taken to a stark new level. Also note that at that time the current terrorist flavor of the month was the “homegrown terrorist” who had been “radicalized” by the internet.

Again we have the threat of domestic terrorism and actual terrorist acts taking place throughout Gotham City. The Joker appears in this film as a seriously disturbed individual, not transformed by falling in a vat of toxic chemicals, but instead he’s an angry young white guy with some scars on this face wearing make-up which constantly runs during the film.

We know he’s “crazy” because he constantly makes up different stories about how he got the scars on his face and he sets fire to a massive pile of money, which probably offended more audience members than his planting a bomb in the body of one of his thugs (ever heard of that terrorist threat?) and blowing up the police station.

There are two things that are important to note about The Dark Knight aside from the fact that he’s an angry “homegrown terrorist” with some face paint and a shit load of explosives.

The first thing is the ending of the film in which, after Batman stops the Joker’s terrorist act with the ferry boats, he has to kill Harvey Dent who has become Two Face.

Two Face (the district attorney) had gone on a killing spree and it looked like Gotham was going to lose “hope” because their hero had turned into a villain.

So what does Batman and the Police Commissioner decide to do? They lie about who actually killed Two Face’s victims in order to protect the new found “HOPE” of the people of Gotham.

They conspire to create the illusion of the terrorist Batman in order to protect the murdering district attorney Harvey Dent’s image… and in Noland’s vision this “noble lie” is good for the people. It keeps the black and white separated, the good from the bad with no grey in between.

If you never heard of the Noble Lie, “In politics a noble lie is a myth or untruth, often, but not invariably, of a religious nature, knowingly told by an elite to maintain social harmony..”

The noble lie is the essence of the global war on terror.

The second point of interest is Alfred’s speech to Bruce Wayne:

“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought or reasoned with or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn”.

Ironically it was Alfred and his men that burned a forest and every living thing in it to get the “terrorist” he was talking about way back in his past. White is black. Black is white. The arsonist accuses me of arson.

That brings us finally to the third Christopher Nolan Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.

This film comes out early summer of 2012 and according to the previews, it will pit Batman against Catwoman and a character called Bane.

The trailer shows a conversation between Cat-woman and Bruce Wayne as a young child signs the National Anthem at the start of a football game. We see Bane rising up from some hole under the stadium, literally crawling out of the sewers, then they cut to Cat-woman whispering in billionaire Bruce Wayne’s ear:

“You think this can last. There’s a storm coming Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better baton down the hatches cus when it hits you’re all going to wonder how you ever thought how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us”

While she is whispering this in his ear, Nolan’s trailer shows clips of terrorist attacks on the policemen, angry mobs rampaging through the homes of the wealthy elites dragging white women down the stairs, and the ever menacing Bane walking through the bowels of the stadium on his way to commit an act of domestic terrorism.

Criminals are busted out of prisons by armed revolutionaries and in one clip it appears that average looking civilians are fighting with the police on the steps of City Hall while Batman faces off with Bane.

Once again in this film, Christopher Nolan has chosen to humanize Bane so that he doesn’t even remotely resemble the original character but instead he looks like an average person wearing a re-breather mask.

The graphic novel character of Bane is a huge monster constantly pumped full of a chemical called Venom which transformed him into super-human villain who ends up breaking Batman’s back and putting him in a wheelchair, whereas Noland’s creation is simply a malcontent Tom Hardy hooked on pain-killers with a remote detonator switch.

In the trailer Bane talks to Batman telling him that he can die only after Bane sees Gotham reduced to ash, probably a reference back to the Alfred “some men just want to watch the world burn” story from the previous movie.

Looks like Bane is just another Christopher Nolan terrorist/villain; unreasonable men who can’t be bought off or “negotiated with”. Isn’t it terrible when someone doesn’t have a price and refuses to sell his ideals short? In Noland’s world, that is what one calls an “extremist”

The problem with this Noland terrorist is that he is borne of us. He is not super human, he isn’t a monster… he’s the proletariat and the underclass in Nolan’s fast approaching class warfare storm.

Bane is the terrorist stereotype that all the establishment dreads when the working classes decide they have had enough and dare to stand together, to rise.

Typically, when countries are neoliberalized like this one is, far-right ultra-fascist sympathizers, aided by institutions like the CIA or MI6, stage terrorists acts which are then immediately blamed on the opposition and dissident groups. This allows the government to justify mass arrests and detentions in the name of national security. This recently happened in India (just read the writing of Arundhati Roy) and Iraq after we “liberated” it.

It is not a new pattern and considering what we have recently seen with regard to the pending collapse of the Euro-zone and the enhanced detention authorization in the NDAA 2012, it would be foolish for us not to be concerned about an obvious bit of propaganda “rising” from the likes of Chris Noland.

What is left out of the equation of Noland’s new Dark Knight is the fact that the class war began long ago. The people don’t want to rampage through the opulent mansions of the 1%, they want the 1% to stop rampaging through their humble middle class dwellings. But they wont and they are making that perfectly clear.

30 years ago the business class conspired with the Reagan administration to declare their “trickle down” warfare on the working classes 30 years ago then they went after the unions looking to break the back of collective bargaining.

They followed up with the “New Dem” Clintons and they advanced the assault with the North American Free Trade agreement, the Welfare Reform law, and their final assault which removed the New Deal protections granted by Glass-Steagall. The Clinton generals even sidelined Brooksley Born when she tried to warn of the coming disaster in the unregulated derivatives market. They created a law to make it illegal to attempt to regulate that particular weapon of economic destruction before they left office.

Then the Bush administration came to power via a crooked election and a sympathetic Supreme Court and they immediately started a program to help pay the down payments for under-qualified home buyers trying to get into their liar loan houses. And thus the sub-prime crisis was created.

And then there were the bailouts.

The middle class has been shrinking at an ever increasing rate since the 80s. Real wages have been diminishing and for the first time since the Great Depression, children aren’t living better than their parents did. Education is becoming a thing for the middle class alone, while unemployment is skyrocketing regardless of the Clinton administration’s new rules on counting the unemployed.

This latest collapse evaporated retirement accounts, 401ks, of tens of millions of working and retired Americans. They are currently looking to offset the deficit created by the bankers and the war-mongers in power by eliminating the social safety net and various programs designed to help the people when they need it the most. Cities are selling off public assets while the foreclosure rates have skyrocketed just like they did during the great depression.

The solutions being given voice in the corrupt halls of congress center around still more deregulation of big business and banking, more privatizations like the education system, more prisons, and the post office and of course handing over social security to Wall Street… the final nail in the New Deal’s coffin.

It is not us who is rampaging through your precious 1%ers sacred halls Mr. Noland, it is you who are rampaging through ours. And we are tired of it.

The Global War on Terror is a fraud. Christopher Noland’s scary boogie men have been proven time and time again to be hand crafted by those people in power who wish to have more power, who wish to see the dawning of a New American Century.

We must reject Christopher Noland’s last insulting offering to the long list of propaganda films made in America.

We will “rise” against a corrupt and unjust system, but not by dragging women down flights of stairs, bombing police stations, or by blowing up football teams during America’s great distraction… we will rise and we will unite, just as we have done so often before in our history to support workers rights, to support women’s rights, to support Civil Rights.

And when we do I put forward to you that we must also unite in our stand against propaganda like this. We must show Hollywood and directors like Noland that there is a price to pay for taking sides against us and propagandizing the American people.

When the last phase of this class war begins, it will not by us who commit acts of domestic terrorism against the people, it will be those who have been terrorizing America already for the past 30 years. It will not by us who steals from them, but they who continue to steal from us.

I am Bane. Let us reject Noland’s appeasement to the gods of the new imperialism and refuse to fork over one thin dime of our harder earned wages so he can please his owners.

The Dark Knight sinks.

Boycott the Batman in 2012.

40 Responses

  1. Excellent analysis Scott. It seems all the comic book characters work for the Pentagon, and I guess it has always been so. I own a collection of old Superman cartoons from the 40’s, and in several of the later episodes the man of steel is in the pacific fighting the “Japs” alongside the U.S. Navy, and the character of Captain America was created specifically for war propaganda puposes around the same time. I also recently watched the movie Thor, where the thunder god tells an American government official, “We’re on the same side.”(barf) And don’t forget the military contractor/crime fighter(there’s an oxymoron for you) Anthony Stark a.k.a. the Invincible Iron Man. I loved all these characters as a kid. What a difference a few years(or in my case many years)and a little observational awareness can make in your perceptions.

    • Yes, the graphic novels turned into films recently have been nothing but one long recruitment commercial and an ever-lasting ode to imperialism. (You do, in fairness to Iron Man have to admit though that the last villain they presented… was a competitor military contractor)

      But I would also like to point out that the only real exception to that rule was of course The Watchmen, from which part of my avatar and my logo on the top of my page comes from. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it.

      • The ending of the movie was utter crap, though – I wanted to see giant exploded squid.

        That ending meant that Max Shea and the others were never disappeared.

        • I think they kinda did the same thing with the ending of the film that Dark Knight did. Many Watchmen fans were very disappointed with the ending, as was I. The choice to make Jon the enemy rather than the squid from another dimension was interesting. Didn’t like it.

    • The more I think about it Stan.. you know, I agree with you about the purpose that comics have served over the years, but with the GWOT there is a slight change which I think is reflected in Noland’s Dark Knight series. Ever more increasingly we are becoming the enemy. And considering where we are headed, I think that is an ominous direction for a director to chose.

    • Yes, I totally agree..Superman set kids up for WWII, and Star Wars for these ME wars.

  2. go see “The Help”… a movie that is worth your money…..
    agreed… I will not ever see or watch the ‘Rise of the Dark Knight’.

  3. Killing and then wearing the enemies uniform is old, very old. Batman’s uniform was plundered from his cold body along with Bruce Wayne’s riches and identity and the rest. That was why the secret identity was so important. Best guess is the Penguin is in control as his ideology seems the most consistent. When this fraud is generally acknowledged and the fight goes hot I am for calling Sergeant Rock as he is undefeated. I am with you, we must try starvation first.

  4. The first Batman from ’89 was decent, the rest are shit like everything else Hollywood produces.

  5. Y’know, it strikes me that except for Superman, who’s an alien, and Spider man, who’s a whiny male chauvinist who’s unhappy that his wife earns more than he does, just about all superzeroes I can think of are rich people who don’t have to work for a living. Their sympathies would naturally be with the 1% at the top because they are part of it. And as for Spidey, he somehow manages to have the money to keep getting hold of the ingredients that go into making his spider silk, and to continue maintaining his spider uniform/s.

    As for Bratman, I never watched that garbage.

  6. Great article! It’s hard to believe the critical praise that 2008 movie has?! It is also depressing reading young adults loving it so much without any thought to it being a piece of propaganda. But then again, if you talk to movie fans, “Triumph of Will” remains the standard propaganda piece. They do not look at “The Dark Knight”, “The Hurt Locker”, “Avatar”, etc., as “propaganda”.

  7. I think the 1960 film “Exodus”, is the most appalling piece of propaganda I have seen.

  8. I’ve actually been a fan of the last two films, but I had noticed a few unsavory themes inherent in the films.

    Scott – thanks for this article. I think our children are being suborned.

  9. CSA Confederate States Of America is my favorite agitprop piece.

  10. That was a picture of The Scarecrow before he actually BECAME the Scarecrow. You see him as a villain in The Dark Knight.

  11. Although you make a great analysis and this is definitely true, for people like me who have not read the old comics the way it is portrayed really appeals to the masses. Though that is what many people hate nowadays is the corrupt way in which people make things to satisfy millions even though it is not the best or in this case the truth. However, this is what makes the money, and in all honesty in terms of a film, it is a really really good film (The Dark Knight more so than Batman Begins). Compared to the actuality of the story of Batman and even the video games Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, the new films do not come close. However, this does not mean it deserves to be boycotted. For example, take the Harry Potter movies. Some of those movies were absolutely terrible compared to the books. But does that mean we boycott the movies altogether? No it doesn’t. Instead find the value of the film in regards to film itself and try to find the brilliance in that. If you can’t even find that, then it’s truly terrible. In the case of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight the movies have been innovated to fit the current events in order to attract more viewers. Despite this drastic step to devolve from the true stories of Batman, the movies have done extremely well. I am okay with this style of Batman movies, because if I ever want the real Batman I can go play Arkham City and be him myself.

  12. Ive always been a fan of the x-men where the gov is portrayed as sometimes distrustful and hostile.

  13. Ive seen a lot of your metaphors and completely agree. I have some similar one of my own as well. Some I think you completely stretched on but I’m not arguing just disagreeing. The other thing and only other thing I disagree on is where as you don’t like these movies because of this symbolism. I love them. If he wasnt Brittish I would want Nolan for president!!!

  14. Some good thoughts here (obviously, since you are still receiving comments 5 months later). On one important point I disagree, however, I think Nolan’s Batman is intended to be unsettling. Your analysis comes from the starting point that Batman is the super hero, and therefore, he is meant to be righteous or praiseworthy. I’m not convinced that Chris Nolan is coming from the same place.

    One example is the noble lie. That moment in the film was disturbing to me, and judging by your writing, it was clearly disturbing to you as well. It seems to me that the scene worked as intended. It was written and filmed in such a way to make us feel that the Batman was not noble, not praiseworthy. From a more detached perspective, think of the implication of the lie in terms of who it regarded: our superhero is two-faced about Two Face. Batman has become the villain, not only in the eyes of Gotham. The film makes it clear, to me, that the Bat has truly fallen–the only way to go is up. Hence, the Dark Knight will indeed rise, the question is: how far?

    I’m withholding judgement on the motivations of the third film until I’ve seen it, of course, but I’d encourage you to remember one thing from the Batman universe: our superhero has allied with both Catwoman and Bane from time to time.

  15. […] Boycott the Batman: The Dark Knight Trilogy Turns on Us […]

  16. […] Boycott the Batman: The Dark Knight Trilogy Turns on Us […]

  17. Fucking far left kooks. Political extremism is what;s scary, not TDKR or Nolan(whose name you repeatedly spelled wrong).

    • Yeah, and you know hes “far left” how exactly? Or are you calling us that?

      Fucking far right kook. See how easy that is partisan dickbag?

  18. I see some of this “I am bane” rhetoric, and I wonder if the Colorado shooter who dressed up in a bane-like gas mask had some kind of Marxist agenda. Even if he was a marxist I’m not saying marxism as a whole is bad because of one bad marxist who did some awful things (personally I’m a Fabian marxist). I’m just kind of wondering out loud if the politics of an unwell mind had anything to do with the catastrophe.

    • A couple of things:

      First, he wasn’t dressed like Bane… he was dressed more like Batman. In case you haven’t noticed, Batman looks more and more like a tactical officer even the storyline has him using military grade body armor and equipment pilfered from his own company. The gas mask is purely functional… keeps the gas out and keeps people from seeing his face. Bane wears a mask as a delivery tool for “Venom” or in this case, a painkiller.

      Where is the evidence of this being from someone of an “unwell mind” other than the obvious slaughter of innocents, which according to the White House, Obama makes decisions on every Terror Tuesday? and cheney did the same with his little trips to “the dark side”? the suspect had no history of mental illness or even run-ins with police. In fact, he was a camp Councillor, respected as being very bright by his teachers in college. Why would one assume an “unwell mind” in his case, provided you don’t convict him of this crime before he even goes to his first court appearance?

      How does one get a “Maxist agenda” out of all of this? Is that just the beginning of the trend to demonize the “international leftists”?

      • Your facts are wrong. He was dressed like Joker. He had a history of mental health red flags. Where do you get your info?

        • Nobody is going to call this idiot out for repeating what the ignoramus media shat out their std infected suck holes. You idiot the media was just trying to tie up ends looser than their rooster gobblers any comic book fan or person with two working eyes knows despite what propaganda tells you the joker has “GREEN HAIR” had GREEN HAIR will always have GREEN HAIR you idiot. It is amazing how people repeat the most false garbage because pastor O’reily on the idiot box says it it must be the word of infallible gods. Go F yourself coming on here like a parrot and trying to get into an intellectual discussion with out a brain. So dumb shit explain why his hair was bright red if he was trying to be the joker when he looks closer to some chola clown?

  19. It’s funny how when you try to make a point of how Nolan got the characters in Batman Begins all wrong, you just prove that you have absolutely no idea what happens in the comics. All in all, very entertaining article, it made me chuckle.

    • Evidently, Ben, you don’t understand what you read……..

      • I understand very well thank you very much, I’m just pointing out a specific part. I also think that there are several people, such as our dear author here, who try to make a big fuss out of absolutely nothing. The thing is everyone who agrees with this article, sad to say, are agreeing to the point this man makes on the facts that he doesn’t know the first thing about Batman. Batman is not SUPPOSED to be the knight in shining armour. It seems that most people here cannot see the world and it’s people as being either really good or really bad.

        Bruce Wayne: People are dying, Alfred. What would you have me do?

        Alfred Pennyworth: Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.

  20. You crazy ass conservatives frighten me. They let you people have a brain? It’s a movie series. A well-written, well-directed movie series which only serves to entertain. Not everything is some psychotic liberal analogy for supporting imperialism or terrorism. It’s. A. MOVIE.

  21. I appreciate the analysis and found it very thought provoking, but I think you are missing a very simple, direct, and obvious point….

    The villains in these Batman movies were made more human to make it more of a mainstream action flick rather than a “Superhero” movie. Same can be said of the incorporation of terrorism rather than “supervillains”. This is the world we live in (whether we like it or not). Art imitates life, and vice versa.

    You obviously have a very extreme stance and my comments will never sway you, but maybe someone else reading this page that is not quite so jaded will understand what I mean.

    When you start talking about Black Flag terrorist attacks as if that is proven established fact is where you lost me. Believe it or not, there ARE people in this world that are happy to kill innocents to further their agendas. Its not all a big Govt conspiracy. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  22. Actually, the terms are interchangeable. Read the first sentence in wiki:

    To call these “false flag” (happy?) events common in warfare is an overstatement at best. The exist, but they are rare. Conspiracy theorists act like every tragic event is the result of one. Which is classic boy crying wolf craziness.

    I think it is hilarious how you folks depict anything military as bad, corrupt, evil, twisted, and not to be trusted. Face facts – military R&D is where a lot of leading edge technology comes from. Has been that way as long as man has engineered things. Leonardo Davinci included. If you deny that you simply don’t know history.

  23. watch the trailer at 1:22 cgi batman spies on city through cell phones and who comes out from behind the structure he stands on? jp morgan chase bank you know the one that has a dilated asshole for a logo. As soon as I saw this trailer I knew it was a propaganda film unfortunately most Americans are completely stupid to this kind of blatant propaganda on purpose. You can’t have the cannon fodder understanding the game.

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