The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Archive for the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Category

The Dark Knight Rises – Is anyone else kinda wishing he’d stayed down?

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Dear Kathryn,

While I actually saw TDKR on Tuesday night, I’ve had a hard time sitting down to write to you about it. I just did not enjoy it, and am puzzled by the overwhelmingly positive response it is getting from reviewers I generally respect and agree with. Am I missing something here? Help me understand! Over at the AV Club, Scott Tobias calls the movie a Rorschach Test, and I think that begins to capture my frustration. While debates pass back and forth over whether this is right wing propaganda or right wing propaganda undoing itself from within in some form of postmodern play, I’m left wondering if Nolan even knows the real answer. Not that authorial intent needs to drive our sense of meaning here, but my sense is that TDKR isn’t playing with political themes because it’s interested in the ambiguous dimensions of cultural zeitgeist; rather, it’s playing back and forth with these themes because these themes sell. I don’t want the film to pick a side (and my hunch is that with some distance, just as with the second, the side will end up looking much more like right-wing, uber-capitalist wet dreams than the inevitably failing moments of ambiguity currently allow it to do). Sure, Occupy appears here as both “unifying force” and “order-upending menace,” as Tobias notes. But the intrigue of a Rorschach Test lies in the fact that one’s response is immediate – I see what I see immediately. With TDKR, it’s 5 days later, and I still don’t know what the hell I saw besides a lot of explosions, a ridiculously moping millionaire, and a lot of Catwoman’s ass on a motorcycle. Read the rest of this entry »