The Hero America Deserves?

The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and the Liberalism of Fear
  • Bruce Baum


Hollywood movies often reflect their historical moments in intriguing ways. Or, as Slavoj Žižek puts is, “Hollywood blockbusters are precise indicators of the ideological predicament of our societies.”1 Recent Hollywood superhero movies, including Christopher Nolan’s recent Batman trilogy (Batman Begins, 2005; The Dark Knight, 2008; and The Dark Knight Rises, 2012), are big business endeavors.2 As such, they manifest some of the worst tendencies of the culture industries, giving moviegoers ever-new minor twists on a few basic ideas of good and evil, romance and violence, confusion and redemption.3 Not surprisingly, these movies are designed to entertain audiences and make money; yet they also inhabit and typically engage the politics of their historical moments. This is because for the central themes—typically, clashes between good and evil, love and heroism—to be embodied in plausible ways they have to resonate with current political events and popular ideological understandings.4


Obama Administration Suspected Terrorist Liberal Imagination Hollywood Movie Occupy Wall Street 
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  1. 2.
    Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan, produced by Larry Franco, Charles Roven, and Emma Thomas (Warner Bros., 2005);Google Scholar
  2. The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan, produced by Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, and Christopher Nolan (Warner Bros., 2008);Google Scholar
  3. and The Dark Knight Rises, directed by Christopher Nolan, produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan, and Charles Roven (Warner Bros., 2012).Google Scholar
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© Bruce Baum 2016

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  • Bruce Baum

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