The Dark Knight Rises As a Pro-Fascist Movie

“Americans live in a society right now where fascism is trendy. We are more militarized, by money spent, than the entire rest of the world put together, and one of the men running for president has promised to increase that spending. We have more people imprisoned per capita, than any society in human history, including China, apartheid-era South Africa, and the Soviet Union. These are facts. They reflect a status quo in which fascist solutions for society’s ills are considered good ones by a portion of the populace, and it is to that demographic, the American political right, that The Dark Knight Rises is explicitly pitched. The entire film is peppered with conceptual catchphrases, like “peacetime”, “appeasement strategy”, “those who have too much”, and so on, designed to appeal to the worldview of people who think Fox News does journalism. A deliberate caricature of the imagined opposition is created, and then duly punched into submission in accordance with superheroic genre convention.
Some will argue, and have argued, that the film is more even-handed than it is, that it presents a moral dilemma between fascism and anarchy that Batman must resolve via a middle ground. It doesn’t. There is no anarchy, merely a choice of two dictatorships, and Batman doesn’t resolve it, he comes down very squarely on the pro-fascist side. Commissioner Gordon is presented as having doubts about the Harvey Dent Act, but he never speaks out against it, his words against it are stolen by bad guy Bane, and he is put in his place by new good guy John Blake, who dismisses his attempt to remain morally good as useless. Again, in case the red meat for the right wing is too subtle for some, the film explicitly casts “sustainable energy” as a doomsday weapon. Nolan clearly didn’t want us to miss his point, so I feel it would be bad manners to pretend I did. Fascism may not always be palatable or pleasant, the film tells us, but it is necessary and it works. At no point in the movie do fascist solutions fail, except in cases where they are not fascist enough. The strongmen who Do What Must Be Done, the classic excuse of the fascist, are always right. When the Gotham police are led into a trap, it is under the command of Gordon’s successor, who is shown to be a cowardly quisling who only redeems himself by putting on a uniform and shooting scruffy people. In short, The Dark Knight Rises posits a conflict between the form of fascism some Americans currently favor, and a strawman version of their imagined opponents, and places the center of moral good firmly on the pro-fascist side. This isn’t even subtext, it’s just text in context.”

The Dark Knight Rises Is a Pro-Fascist Movie — The Good Men Project.






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