Jerry Bowyer

The third film in the Batman series is a direct polemical assault on the French Revolution and its political heirs, which includes Occupy Wall Street and perhaps Barack Obama. I would say that it is the exact opposite of so many revolutionary-wannabe films from Fight Club to V for Vendetta (which has provided the tell-tale Guy Fawkes masks to the Occupy movement), except that in order to be opposite, they must in some sense be comparable and DKR is far superior to the others artistically, commercially and philosophically. The crazed theater shooter, if he turns out to be as much of an attempted revolutionary hero of the poor, the depressed, and the downtrodden as his predecessor at Virginia Tech, will prove to be a better match for the villain in the third film than for the one in the second film.

While superficial analysis has tried to make hay out of the name of the villain, Bane, which is a homonym for Bain, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney, the truth is that Bane the villain is philosophically much closer to Bam the President than to Bain the firm.  Spoilers from here on…Bane is a man who speaks for the ‘oppressed’ (his word) masses against the upper classes. He is Gotham’s revolutionary ‘reckoning’ who urges the people to ‘storm’ (again his words) Blackgate prison and release the prisoners within. That’s the moment in the film at which I became sure that the French Revolution theme was intentional. Bane, like Robespierre, the real life villain of the French Revolution, uses the freed prisoners as the vanguard of the revolution and as citizen brigades to roust the affluent from their homes and expropriate their property, dragging them before citizen tribunals before which their guilt is already determined based on their class. They are then executed, judged by the lawless element of the city which had until the revolution been festering on the edge of society.

This film shows no ideological sympathy for the Occupy Movement.  Bane, the terrible villain of the film, literally occupies Wall Street, taking control of the trading floor of the stock exchange. Police are hesitant to deal with the problem partly based on class warfare complaints that it’s not their money at risk, but the money of the wealthy Wall Street guys. But a trader explains that it is indeed the cops’ money too: that it’s everybody’s money that is part of the financial system, including cops’ pensions.


Jerry Bowyer

Jerry Bowyer is a radio and television talk show host.

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