Monday, August 6, 2012

Batman: What has risen?

No art can escape the epoch in which it was created, and the best art is that which attempts to undermine the social mores of the period that produced it. The Dark Knight Rises seems destined to go down in history as the first film of the post-Occupy world. Each frame of the 164 minute blockbuster burns with anxieties of social crisis and class-conflict that cannot help but evoke allusions to the Arab Spring, the square occupations that spread across Europe and most poignantly the Occupy movement that gripped public imagination in the United States last fall (This is not the intention of the film maker. The Dark Knight Rises was written before Occupy set up camp in Zucotti Park and was filmed deliberately away from the park, but this is nevertheless the lens through which the film is viewed).  Doubly confounded by its social content and dual figure archetype Bruce Wayne/Batman, however, The Dark Knight Rises is not only unable rise above its contemporary milieu but it is ultimately bound to reinforce the status-quo rather than contest it.  

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