Advertisement

The Hero America Deserves?

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

Abstract

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

Keywords

Obama Administration Suspected Terrorist Liberal Imagination Hollywood Movie Occupy Wall Street 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  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
  4. 4.
    See Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott, “Super-Dreams of an Alternate World Order,” The New York Times, June 27, 2012, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/movies/the-amazing-spider-man-and-the-modern-comic-book-movie.html?scp=14&sq=Dargis%20Superhero&st=Search (accessed July 20, 2012).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    David Cole, “Can Privacy Be Saved?,” The New York Review of Books 61, March 6, 2014, pp. 23–24.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Text of George Bush’s speech, The Guardian, September 21, 2003, at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/sep/21/september11.usa13 (accessed November 10, 2014).Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Stephen Holmes, “What’s in It for Obama?,” London Review of Books, July 18, 2013, pp. 15–18.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    See Mark Danner, “In the Darkness of Dick Cheney,” The New York Review of Books, March 6, 2014, pp. 49053.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    Judith N. Shklar, “The Liberalism of Fear,” in Liberalism and the Moral Life, ed. Nancy L. Rosenblum (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), pp. 21–38, at p. 21.Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (London: Andrew Crooke, 1651; McMaster University Archive of the History of Economic Thought, 1999), Ch. 13, p. 78 at: http://resolve.library.ubc.ca/cgi-bin/catsearch?bid=7178069 (accessed November 11, 2014).Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    Paul Krugman, “Bailout for Bunglers,” The New York Times, February 2, 2009, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/02/opinion/02krugman.html?_r.1&th&emc.th. (accessed February 13, 2009).Google Scholar
  12. 22.
    See Krishna Guha and Edward Luce, “Greenspan Backs Bank Nationalization,” Financial Times, February 18, 2009, at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e310cbf6-fd4e-11dd-a103-000077b07658.html (accessed February 23, 2009).Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    Manohla Dargis, “A Rejected Superhero Ends Up at Ground Zero,” The New York Times, July 18, 2012 (in print July 20), at: http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/movies/the-dark-knight-rises-with-christian-bale.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120720&pagewanted=2 (accessed July 20, 2012).Google Scholar
  14. 26.
    Scott Foundas, “Cinematic Faith,” film comment, November/December 2012, at: http://filmcomment.com/article/cinematic-faith-christopher-no-lan-scott-foundas (accessed November 13, 2014).Google Scholar
  15. 29.
    Jeff Jensen, “‘The Dark Knight Rises’: Bring on the ‘Knight,’” Entertainment, posted July 13, 2012; published in issue no. 1216, July 20, 2012, at: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20612774_9,00.html (accessed November 11, 2014).Google Scholar
  16. 35.
    See also Rolling Stone, “Christopher Nolan: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Isn’t Political,” Rolling Stone, July 20, 2012, at: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/christopher-nolan-dark-knight-rises-isn-t-political-20120720 (accessed November 13, 2014).Google Scholar
  17. 39.
    See Stuart Hall, “Encoding/Decoding,” in Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972–79, ed. Stuart Hall et al. (London: Hutchinson, 1980), pp. 128–38.Google Scholar
  18. 40.
    Glen Weldon, “Catharsis in a Cape: On Comic-Book Heroes and Real-World Violence,” NPR: Monkey See, July 20, 2012, at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2012/07/20/157115707/catharsis-in-a-cape-on-comic-book-heroes-and-real-world-violence (accessed November 12, 2014).Google Scholar
  19. 41.
    See Dan Frosch and Kirk Johnson, “Gunman Kills 12 in Colorado, Reviving Gun Debate,” The New York Times, July 20, 2012, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/21/us/shooting-at-colorado-theater-showing-batman-movie.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120721 (accessed July 21, 2012).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bruce Baum 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Baum

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations