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The Dark Knight Rises, Part Two…Zeitgeist

It’s poised to do it again, of course. Occupy Wall Street, 9/11, and the horrific events in Aurora, Colorado have seemingly confirmed this. I applied the word “Zeitgeist” to 2008’s “The Dark Knight” in my previous post, and its theme of terrorism, false heroes, and the tragedy  of Heath Ledger’s death provoked me to apply that designation then. I honestly didn’t imagine that 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises” would regain that title, but now I believe it to be the overwhelming favorite. Who would’ve “thunk” it? As of this writing the film has made nearly 300 million dollars worldwide in about 5 days…and at least a billion is a pretty safe bet before the theatrical run is completed. Seeing it on opening day, I couldn’t help but wonder if any of it was actually filmed after OWS set up camp in NYC’s Zucotti Park on September 17th, 2011. And even if Nolan hadn’t yet wrapped principal photography, how much time did he actually have to so resolutely insert such blatant OWS touchstones? He seems like a visionary, either way. And it’s astounding for me to contemplate how furtively he injected such potent 9/11 imagery into both the 2008 and 2012 movies. A lot of people stare at me dumbfounded when I mention the infamous ferry scene in “The Dark Knight” as being a metaphor for the attack on the World Trade Center. It was pretty obvious to me on my first watch, but I can understand how many might miss it. For one thing, most must think that a superhero film would never contain that much subtext. Hey, even Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns” from 1992 was loaded with religious symbolism. But 20 years ago the world was a different place, so Nolan’s iconography carries much more sting. Was I the only one who shuddered during “The Dark Knight Rises” when the bridges were blown up and then the entire police force was buried underground? I highly doubt that. And, of course, we have this crazy person from Colorado massacring 12 people, and wounding dozens more, while sporting dyed bright red hair and calling himself “The Joker”. And this during a presidential election year with the issue of gun-control poised to leap to the forefront. It is a very good thing to witness Christian Bale becoming a real superhero through his recent actions. It was not all that long ago that Bale was being labeled a “jerk” after a well publicized incident on the set of “Terminator Salvation”. His appearance at a Colorado hospital this week should eliminate any remaining vestiges from that recorded occurrence. The pictures of him visiting the wounded from the shooting are quite touching, and only the most cynical among us would label this simply “damage control”. I’m not buying that claim, btw. If he is really the “jackass” that some people insist on labeling him, he wouldn’t have showed up in the first place. Bravo Christian! It was a classy move. The last 5 months of 2012 promise to be far more tumultuous than the first seven have been. And what we’ve had so far has been far from docile. “The Dark Knight Rises” is indeed only a blockbuster movie…but I doubt a more perceptive one will be released this year.


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