|An Anarcho-Tyranny Hero|
For those who have read this site for awhile - or picked up Hollywood in Blackface - you should know I believe that superhero movies are the last realm for white actors to have the opportunity to play the proverbial bad ass, the white knight.
In the sequel - Captain America and Whiteness, which comes out next Friday - you'll understand why this is so important. Actors like Christian Bale, Tom Hardy (though he will be playing the villain Bane - part of Liam Neeson's League of Shadow's - who wants to destroy a decadent and dying Gotham instead of saving it) and director Christoper Nolan are putting together what I believe will be the most anticipated film of all-time in Dark Knight Rises.
Of all the superhero stories, the only two that make any sense are Batman and The Punisher. Strangely, The Batman is always fighting crime in a Gotham City that is set in an America perpetually stuck in the 1950s. In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne's parents were gunned down by a white guy - Joe Chill - though, as we learned yesterday, most of the crime in major cities is committed by nonwhites.
This is incidental, as the entire concept of an aristocrat training to avenge his parents death and trying to bring order to a city overrun by crime is noble, a healthy reaction to a society where Anarcho-Tyranny reigns (it should be stated that The Batman is blatant ripoff of Zorro, but whatever).
In what I believe is one of the finest pieces of fiction written in the past 50 years, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (1986), a retired Bruce Wayne/Batman decides to return to a Gotham City to fight for justice once again. Richard Spencer wrote a great summary at Takimag, which I'll reproduced below:
Perhaps the best elaboration of the tensions inherent in the Batman character can be found in Frank Miller’s masterful graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns (1986). The conceit here is that after spending a decade in unpleasant retirement, a fifty-something Bruce Wayne is driven to once again to go kick ass on the streets of Gotham. But when the Dark Knight returns, he encounters none of the brightly dressed mafiosos of the original comic but instead a gang of teenage punk rock sadists, “the Mutants”—’60s counter culture with a gun.
Ruling the city is an effete liberal elite that offers the few remaining good people of Gotham barely a semblance of order. Among them is Dr. Bartholemew Wolper, a psychologist who’s been “rehabilitating” and subsequently releasing the Dark Knight’s archenemies, who, of course, quickly return to murder and mayhem.
On television, Dr. Wolper refers to Batman as a “social fascist,” then as a “social disease.” Comissioner Gordon—Batman’s only real ally in law enforcment—goes into mandatory retirement and is replaced by the post-feminist Ellen Yindel, whose first act on the job is to issues a warrant for Batman’s arrest.
There is some hope in Gotham. Carrie Kelly, a young girl who eventually becomes Batman’s new “Robin,” decides to join the Dark Knight after listening to her baby-boomer parents prattle on about the caped “fascist” who’s “never heard of civil rights”—“America’s conscience died with the Kennedys.”
The ultimate villain in The Dark Knight Returns is in fact Superman—whom America’s folksy, patriotic president sends off to fight the commies, deflect a nuclear weapon, and finally bring down the ungovernable Dark Knight. At the close of the novel, Batman is so alienated from civil society that his only recourse is to, in fact, “go underground,” where he plans to train an army that might one day “bring sense to a world plagued by worse than thieves and murderers.” The Joker being dead, one senses that Batman’s referring to the Wolpers, Yindels, and the rest of the establishment.
The fact that Christoper Nolan has borrowed heavily from The Dark Knight Returns (and Miller's Batman Year One) in framing his magnificent Batman trilogy is exciting, because the films are so incredibly illiberal. I haven't seen a script for The Dark Knight Rises, but it's my opinion that film will go back to the first movie, where Bruce Wayne is given the opportunity to join the League of Shadows and destroy Gotham. I'll quote from Spencer again:
In the wild, Wayne meets the mysterious Henri Ducard, who offers him admittance into a secret society that, Ducard insists, represents something much greater than the crude vigilante justice Wayne has been pursuing. Ducard is a leader of the League of Shadows, a collective in which “hatred of evil” is made an “ideal,” and which would teach Wayne to strike against criminals as something more than a man. Wayne joins, and it is with the League that he, in a sense, learns to be a Superhero, studying Ninjitsu as well as the “theatrical” means of stoking terror in the hearts of one’s opponent.Tom Hardy plays Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, and it's my belief he will be the tool of a returning Ra's Al Ghul - played by Taken's Neeson - in finishing the task of destroying Gotham City, something Wayne reneged on doing and ultimately thwarted in Batman Begins. If you haven't seen Hardy in Bronson, I highly recommend you check that movie out to see what it is an actor is supposed to do in film and the energy he will channel in bringing Bane to real-life.
The turning point in Bruce’s training comes when Ducard demands that Wayne actually kill one of the low-lifes the League had picked up. Wayne demurs, “This man should be tried.” Ducard’s response: “By whom? Corrupt bureaucrats?” Wayne thus learns that the League’s purpose is not simply to execute criminals but whole societies that have grown decadent and are “beyond saving.” The League has, through the centuries, served this purpose, bringing down “Constantinople and Rome before it.” Gotham’s time has come, and Wayne is being trained to be its hangman.
Wayne rejects the League, fights his way out of its compound, and battles against it throughout the rest of the film. Much like Abraham looking onto Sodom and Gomorrah, he believes there are enough good people left in Gotham to warrant its rescue. But then what’s most important is that in Nolan’s reinvention, Batman’s origins lie not in some distant planet or ideal of Truth and Justice but in the nihilist, “anarcho-fascist” League of Shadows—Batman against Gotham.
People who read SBPDL are probably wondering why in the world this is being written here: for three reasons. Christoper Nolan's 2010 film Inception had nary a Black actor (with The Prestige, Batman Begins, Memento, and The Dark Knight only having ancillary Black characters), showing that Token Black characters are unneeded in telling a great story that resonates with a huge audience.
Secondly, I wanted to see how many hits posting a headline that states "Dark Knight Rises" teaser trailer available here. Back in mid-2010, Google heavily censored this site by removing many of the original search engine terms that would send people here. I'm curious to see how it plays on search engines.
And third, that people all around the world are clamoring for news on a teaser trailer for a movie that doesn't come out for a full year shows that Nolan has done something special, telling a story of a character obsessed with vengeance and going outside the law to do.
As most other superhero films falter and flop (Green Lantern is one of the biggest bombs of all-time, with a budget of more than $200 million and a marketing budget nearing $130 million, generating only $105 million at the domestic box office), the tale of Bruce Wayne seeking the means to fight injustice and donning a cap and cowl continues to resonate throughout this country.
So no, I haven't been able to find a teaser trailer for Dark Knight Rises. Like many, I'll be seeing Harry Potter - and cheering for Voldemort against that segregationist Harry Potter - but will know that much of the anticipation for seeing the film will center around viewing the teaser trailer for a movie that comes out in 2012.
But knowing that millions upon millions of people are searching vainly for a teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rise puts a smile on my face. Much of the influence for Nolan's previous films comes from Miller's work and it is this line that has always resonated with me, where Wayne/Batman has beaten Superman and utters:
Batman: You sold us out, Clark. You gave them the power that should have been ours. Just like your parents taught you. My parents taught me a different lesson... lying on this street... shaking in deep shock... dying for no reason at all. They showed me that the world only makes sense when you force it to.That the incarnation of Batman the country (and world) craves now isn't some nipple-suited wearing freak like in Batman and Robin, but The Batman ripped from the pages of Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns and Batman Year One is encouraging.
After all, that Bruce Wayne finally realizes there are worse things then thieves and murders terrorizing the world.