I went to see it in an Upper East Side theater. There were a lot of violent scenes. There is a scene at the beginning where a man gets his guts ripped out. There is another scene where everyone in a bar is shot pretty graphically. There is an entire massacre of a bunch of people. Through all of these, the theater remained silent, save for some popcorn chewing noises. And then – then there was a scene where a group of Upper East Side residents were pulled out of their apartments and had their fur coats pulled off and a collective horrified gasp rippled through the theater. To be fair, poor people also drank their champagne.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that there were some very tense dinner table conversations about how it was shocking that the doormen in the movie – the first line of defense against intruders! – did not stop Bane’s people from pillaging 740 Park. Why? Why were they not more helpful? Alfred would never have let this happen, which is just another reminder that you really need a faithful family retainer. A lot of doormen are not going to be getting Christmas bonuses this year, is what I’m saying.
Beyond that, the movie spends a good deal of time depicting the horrors of the French revolution. Bane proves himself to be a dictateur sanguinaire which is pretty unsurprising, although, I mean, you shouldn’t generalize about people who wear face masks. I guess you can generalize about people who blow up football fields, though. Suffice to say, shoeshine boys from the stock exchange all join Bane’s army and rampage through the streets looting, and beating old gentlemen in tweed jackets and… starting small trash can fires? I don’t know why there are so many trash can fires when there is still power in Gotham, but okay. That’s what people do when they are being angry proles, I guess. Angry proles have really bad circulation and are cold all the time.
Meanwhile, traitors to the revolution (anyone sane who does not love starting trash can fires) is “exiled” onto an ice flow. We watch as they desperately try to scuttle on the ice to normal, non-revolutionary America. No one makes it and we watch and they plunge into the frigid water.
Even Catwoman – who initially loved stealing from the rich – is horrified. So horrified that she decides to help save the city.
There’s some subplot about a microchip, but the entire lesson of the movie is “do not let poor people rise up. They are going to go Robspierre on you.”
So, if you are a Republican, whenever people praise things like Occupy Wall Street, you can now snap back, “when Bane took over Gotham – was that a happy moment for you?” And, actually, some assholes will cross their arms and say “yeah” but, God, they are such assholes, and you will have to take out your pocket square and slap them in the fact with it, and then there will be a duel, and this is why people on the opposite ends of the political spectrum cannot get along and – Jesus! Why are you even fighting about Occupy Wall Street? It happened months ago! You’re at a dinner party! Just talk about the quail they’re serving (too bony!)
In conclusion: do you think Alfred was a Republican? Or an Obamican? Or is he like Stevens in Remains of the Day and just follows his employer’s political opinions? Because I’m pretty sure Batman is a fascist.
Pictures via Warner Brothers/The Dark Knight Rises