Friday, June 26, 2015

Thoughts on Batman movies and the world as it is.

If one reads up on the recent golden age of TV (I’m not so sure about that, but it is better than that which came before), they also hear about the handful of somewhat serious movies. Of course, the prattle in the mainstream media focuses on the big movies, trying to tie in why something not as superficial as most movies did so well. Where they err is when they make some claim that a certain movie is deep. One such series is the Batman series. Heath Ledger’s performance aside, I’m of the thought that the entire series is a little overrated. This alone is worthy of a thesis level expose, but I have neither the time nor the inclination for that. I will say that, like most Americans, I was very entertained by the movies (again, Heath’s performance must rank amongst the best performances by a villain that I have ever seen), but to stretch that into some idle talk about how deep they were, how they spoke to the war on terror (they might have, but only with a sophomoric understanding of the matter). 

Allow me to explain. The first one didn’t seem to say much about evil, not the way I saw it. It was with the second one where we saw something more along the lines of trying to tout something like the world view we see in most of our own foreign policy. And that’s where I simply don’t agree. Again, it was at best, simply conservatism trying to masquerade as deep thought. And that during dinner conversations I kept hearing people (who were, certainly, smarter than I) tell me that the Director was well versed in the classics and thus was truly delving into the depths of humanity when he made these movies. Fair enough (and I won’t even mention the pressure I’m sure he was under to make the movie to the normal Hollywood formula), but if these movies represent the classics in a film form, we need better classics. 

One can even see how many of the million dollar sentences in the film have leaked into the national dialogue. And the likes of Thomas Friedman have been trying to tie in ISIS to the joker. Brilliant. And yet even the deepest lines of the movie should not be considered as anything more than entertainment [1]. When Alfred talks to Bruce about a man who robbed caravans meant to bribe tribal leaders, he ends with the line, “some men just want to watch the world burn.” Is that so? Many people never even question that line, and it would seem that they should. How is a man who is essentially a modern day robin hood (the bandit who wasn’t robbing the caravans for his own personal gain was considered as such by Alfred) and in the end, it was considered good to burn down the forest by those in power. Fair enough [2]. But isn’t this a very good case against those in power, such as Batman, rather than other people? And yet, no one mentions anything about this aspect of the movie. So people, have discussed it, nonetheless, and shot down the Robin Hood interpretation. I can only see either a hagiography for the bandit, or a incrimination of Alfred and Batman; both of whom see the world in a colonialist fashion.

Furthermore, in the last movie of the trilogy, I have an extreme bias against the ending (though, in the end, the movie was much more underwhelming than the second movie), whereby the Batman appears to make the ultimate sacrifice. Powerful moment, I thought. And yet it goes on to waste that and have the happy ending that all movies without significance have. Again, what does that say about the sacrifice made and how it was that the Batman decided to disappear? In my view that made a possibly strong movie into another Disneyfied one. 

And over all, this plays into the movies like Zero Dark Thirty and others that only seem to laud power. And as it's famously said: in the fight between the powerful and the powerless, staying silent (what most people choose to do) is to side with the powerful. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it is certainly what I see, even in movies like this. 

[1] For those who truly think that this is nothing, that this is entertainment, please. We all know better than that at this day in age.

[2] And if this is indeed some poisoned seed that was meant to be dropped into the movie, then very well, I stand corrected. 

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