Boycott the Batman: Nolan’s Chaotic, Clunky Propaganda Machine

by Scott Creighton

Update: read the latest in my Boycott the Batman series Boycott the Batman: Batman Shrugged

I am Gotham’s reckoning” Bane

While driving along, I chanced upon a curious ending to a segment on National Petroleum Radio this afternoon. They were closing a discussion of Christopher Nolan’s latest and last Batman offering, The Dark Knight Rises. What I gathered from the few moments of the chat was that they had been discussing the propaganda aspect of the film: meaning Nolan’s less than transparent promoting of support of the Global War on Terror™. Seems like they were debating whether or not it was offensive propaganda targeting the Occupy Movement or if it was just good clean wholesome fun. They closed by saying some guy from Zuccati park just wanted to see the movie because he wanted it to be good so I guess NPR did what they do best.

Regardless of the NPR spin, the last trailer is out and it leaves very little to the imagination as to which side of the debate is actually correct. Nolan’s Batman is propaganda and I would recommend not paying to see it and here is why…

You can watch the trailer for yourself so I won’t waste time breaking it down except to say:

  • You now have scenes of masses of people marching menacingly through what looks like Upper Manhattan 5th Ave past the doormen of the elites
  • You have these same “have nots’ rampaging through the homes of the wealthy, dragging women down the stairs, needlessly wrecking the place, and cruelly pulling the helpless elites from their hiding places to outcomes unknown.
  • You have scenes of terrorist attacks on bridges in “Gotham” (Manhattan) and the scene cuts to children looking out of a school bus window (“Won’t SOMEBODY think of the CHILDREN?!!”)
  • You have mobs of the unwashed masses running at the heroic police officers while Bane (their drug addled leader) sets off more bombs at a football stadium (what’s more all-American than football?)
  • You have what appears to be military grade heavy weapons deployed on the streets of the city.
  • You have protesters dressed up like Syrian “rebels” armed with AK-47s
  • You have Bane and “the terrorists”, the bad guys, ransacking the New York Stock Exchange…

let me say that again

  • You have Bane and “the terrorists”, the bad guys, ransacking the New York Stock Exchange
  • And you have Bruce Wayne, the billionaire silver spooner telling Alfred (his man servant) that he isn’t afraid… he’s angry.

Thus is the final trailer for the film which comes out day after tomorrow.

Since December of 2011 I have been calling for American movie goers to pass on this little bit of for-profit propaganda.

In Boycott the Batman: The Dark Knight Trilogy Turns on Us , I explore how Noland has changed the basic concept of the Batman story to meld it into a Cheneyesque “us verses them” narrative. I show how Nolan has turned super-villains into nothing more than terrorists with WMDs and how sometimes the greater good is served by heroes doing evil. If that doesn’t remind you of Cheney claiming we were going to have to move down “the darkside’ to combat terrorism after 9/11, I don’t know what would.

Last month I wrote about the latest posters promoting the film and how obvious the connections with the Occupy Movement where.

Now this final promotional trailer further supports my initial conclusions about the film.

But I am also finding that a large number of film reviewers are kind of hinting at the same conclusions that I reached.

The canvas is epic, the themes are profound, the execution is … clunky.

And that rep is not just intact but the inspiration for the Dent Act, which the mayor of Gotham City boasts put thousands of bad guys in prison with little in the way of due process. With the scum now off the street, business flourishes while the gulf widens between rich and poor.

… wealthy people living high while beneath them, in the sewers, apocalyptic forces gather, embodied here by a masked muscleman called Bane

… Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, who preaches class warfare to Bruce after he catches her rifling his safe” David Edelstein

Film critics Marshall Fine, Christy Lemire, and Nick Pinkerton have panned the film for various reasons.

Rotten Tomatoes had to turn the comments off on the Dark Knight page because of the vicious levels of “hate” and threats of violence stemming from Nolan’s fans reacting to bad reviews. It was the first time Rotten Tomatoes has had to do that.

Nolan has come out and defended his hate-spewing fans who are attacking those who give the film bad reviews. Imagine that: the people who like his pro-War on Terror Dark Knight and his anti-Occupy Dark Knight Rises resort to anger and threats of violence when faced with differences of opinions. It’s interesting what he says about them…

“”I think the fans are very passionate about these characters the way a lot of people are very passionate. Batman’s been around for over 70 years and there’s a reason for that. He has a huge appeal, so I think you know people certainly respond to the character,” he said.” Fox News

If you were going to pick a film series to use as a vehicle for propaganda like this, wouldn’t Batman, the Dark Knight, be the perfect choice? Like he says, people are passionate about the Batman. It’s been around for 70 years. Of course his fans feel connected to the product… that’s how marketing and propaganda works.

“CHANGE” anyone?

Perhaps Nick Pinkerton comes closest to what I see in the film…

If The Dark Knight openly invited interpretation as the War on Terror Batman, then The Dark Knight Rises, whose creators obviously scented the class discontent in the air, is the Occupy Wall Street installment. “You think all this can last?” down-and-out survivor Selina says upon meeting Wayne at a fancy-dress masquerade ball. “There’s a storm coming.”…

… That storm breaks in the form of the living incarnation of Have-Not rancor, Bane…

… Bane is, in posture at least, a radical revolutionist, setting himself up as the champion of the disenfranchised, though it is difficult to imagine who would be seduced by his tactics or his plan “to return control of the city to the people,” followed by the neutralization of law and order and the foundation of a Gotham Commune….

… The perpetrators of the city-upending mutiny have no interest in a new order, only in seeing Gotham purged in blood with a rote ticking time bomb, an apocalypse that precludes the possibility of revolution either failing or succeeding on its own terms.”” Pinkerton

I have to disagree with one thing here though: the Dark Knight would be considered the PRO-War on Terror Batman and the Dark Knight Rises would be the ANTI-Occupy Wall Street Batman. The devil is in the details, Mr. Pinkerton.

According to the reviews, the revolutionaries who are opposed to Gotham’s authoritarian rule (the new Dent Law is passed in light of Batman’s killing of Harvey Dent) get hijacked by Bane’s leadership who is actually being run by Ra’s al Ghul, the terrorist from the first of Nolan’s series.

The implication there-in is that when (if?) the revolution ever starts and the “disenfranchised’ “have-nots” decide to mobilize against the ruling elites, then they are probably being run by outside actors with different agendas, kinda like what Hillary Clinton is doing in Syria. Of course, no REAL revolutionary movement could start in America without the terrorist “international leftests” at its helm.

And what is the greatest fear of the elites at a time like this? Is it the random attacks of the directionless mob or is it the fear that someone will rise, someone like a Moammar Ghadafi, who will give the revolution direction, focus it like a laser, and rout the serpents from the hallowed halls of congress like Andrew Jackson? Someone who will make the revolution institutional and clear the institutions of the blight of the neoliberal Washington Consensus before it takes hold of this country forever.

Their greatest fear… is Bane.

Another negative review from the Associated Press pointed out a rather common criticism of the film which leads one to a better understanding of it’s broader purpose:

“But Nolan’s approach is so coldly cerebral that it’s a detriment to the film’s emotional core. It’s all doom and gloom and no heart. There is no reason to care about these characters, who function more as cogs in an elaborate, chaotic machine than as real people whose souls are at stake.” Associate Press

This is an all too common flaw in the propagandists efforts in that too much attention and effort are focused on the message and the vehicle itself, the story, is left to rot.

Propaganda works best on certain base emotional levels. Appeals to emotional connections via visual imagery like the blowing up of bridges and the quick flash to the children’s faces in the school bus are typical. The imagery forces emotional recall as is evidenced by the review…

Gotham is under siege in ways that tonally and visually recall 9/11; what is obviously the island of Manhattan gets cut off from the outside world at one point.” Associate Press

More than one reviewer writes that Nolan’s Dark Knight falls flat on many levels including believability, character development, and just plain “heart”

That is what you would expect from “clunky” propaganda… no heart.

How does a film extolling the virtues of Ayn Rand’s soulless philosophy ever have any chance of possessing a heart?

The reviews are in, the last trailer is out there, look at it all for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Though I hate to say it (I could certainly use the 3 hour distraction) I’m going to stand by my original assessment of the film and boycott the Batman. Nolan won’t count my 15 bucks in with the billions he will probably make for demonizing the resistance in America before it even really starts.

Boycott the Batman


41 Responses

  1. Gee, a super-rich dilettante who “fights crime” with ultra-high-tech, ultra-expensive gadgets and has an underground hideaway in his splendiferous mansion is being used to spread 1%er propaganda? Who’d have thought it :/

  2. Yeah, you nailed this one. Ive always disliked Batman to be honest. And DC comics overall really.

    You know what the hilarious thing is though? The Republican drones led by Limbaugh are crying about how this movie is an attack on Romney because the villains name is Bane. Get it? Bain? They also somehow interpret it as PRO OWS. So fucking stupid.

  3. “You can have yours,
    just give me mine.” …

    …my pay–my pocket full of change.

    But they don’t even want to do that, the bastards. And the Batman is on their side! What next?

    r ap

  4. I think Nolan and his raging, hateful fans have given themselves away better than any of us could have done…

    The message is clear: the globalist monsters are the pure, innocent good guys and anyone who disagrees is a vile terrorist just torching to do something horrible.

  5. Hate to sound like a broken record but, Batman(DC/Time Warner)+Newsroom(HBO/Time Warner)= Controlled Conflict. Bet nobody knew I was a mathematician.

  6. It is as if the American Media in all its forms is intentionally oppressive by design, so as to dissuade people from engaging in the political process. Bill Maher says were all dumb like Mike Malloy. Mike Malloy who said “petitions don’t matter,” opened a segment last week saying “We all know 85% of Americans are stupid morons.”

    Webster Tarpley of Prison Planet called OWS dummies, useful idiots on the radio Sunday.That is the very defintion of co-opting. Tell people they are powerless and weak. Tell them their petitions don’t matter. Tell them their protests are pointless. Mike Malloy did the exact same thing on his show.

    Ron Paul and Santorum cater to the Christian Coalition/ Religious Right and do so for business reasons … monetary support and donations. Especially Evangelism and TV preachers is merely a money enterprise.
    The fundraising machines keep the GOP in place, not the pro-con religious debates Bill Maher or Mike Malloy highlight and bore us to distraction with.

    So when liberal hosts like Norm Goldman, Mike Malloy, or Bill Maher scream about religous wackos taking over America its really self-serving bulls__t for their niche audience. Norm likes
    screaming “Teabagging Bozos!” because he thinks it gives himself a boost to his shallow diatribes. Maher and Malloy are making money, the former in the millions.

    The Tea Party and Christian Right are such a small minority in America, but they are over emphasized by the corp. media and the talk shows because it is politically expedient for the 2 Party System to trivialize matters to distraction, its is easier to oversimplify matters and say, “I live in Atlanta with all the DUMB, religious, racist, hayseeds, you see …” and extrapolate that to the whole country, and blame that as WHOLE reason America fails.

    The real reason America fails is because the Democratic Party is set up to fail. It rolls over and plays dead, sells out to the highest bidder, and has no morals.

    “Cynics know the cost of everything, and the value of nothing,” – Oscar Wilde.

  7. shut up you damn hipsters… its a movie. get a life and quit overanalyzing everything

    • Hipsters? Whatever hick. Because mass media NEVER tries to manipulate people for political ends right? Nobody has an agenda, its “just a movie”.

  8. Some guy shot up a screening of “Dark Knight” last night in Colorado and killed 14 people. Tragic no matter what the circumstances but I wonder how long it will take for the media to tie the shooter to OWS(or related causes).

    • Despite the attempts to link this shooting to any specific group, I think there’s something odd about the shooting itself. Why during this specific film, why Colorado? Does this sort of thing happen a lot in the US but just doesn’t normally coincide with a premiere?

      I’m not looking for a conspiracy but of all the films for this to happen on, why the Batman movie? Just coincidence I suppose.

      • Weve been lied to so much that it seems only natural to be suspicious of just about everything at this point. Shootings happen all the time in the US but very rarely on this scale.

        I dont know what to think about this. There are lots of odd things about it. It could just be what it looks like though. Either way, it seems there is an attempt underway to link the killer to OWS. If this ramps up and certain “evidence” is found “linking” this guy to OWS or related causes I’m going to take it as a huge red flag. They havent gotten into his apartment yet but when they do I’m sure the MSM will be all over it. Unless they find something confiriming he was in fact an MK ultra tool or something.

        • I can’t help but wonder why it is taking so long to get into his apt.’….
          seems they have all these modern digital equipment things that should make it easy to see into his place without even going in…

          • They claim the killer told them its rigged so if that truly is the case its understandable that it would take a long time. Still, I look forward to seeing if any further “links” are made, either to “islamic terrorism” or Iran(which would point to Israel) or to OWS(which would point to CIA).

            I still think its likely this really is just a “lone nut” but that doesnt mean the media and PTB wont twist the hell out of it for its own ends. ABC had a big graphic saying “Batman Massacre”. What promotion, as morbid as that sounds. Ive seen clips of the movie interspersed with clips of the crime scene and victims crying. Now everybody will go see the movie and get the message contained within it. Not to mention cops will be given even more leeway to have their way with protesters.

          • Had a birthday few days back, Jan. Got a gift card for Barnes & Noble. Ordered a brand new Zz Top CD (sucker for that sound), and a couple used DVDs–East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath. Now, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have got Manchurian Candidate instead.

            Been a while since I’ve seen that one. No telling what they can do, these days, through a TV or a PC.


  9. You are an idiot. People like you spouting garbage like this is exactly why neocons can exist in the first place. You are directly responsible for the advent of the tea party. Christ, your views are just as stupid as theirs. Two ends of the same shit sandwich. Grow the fuck up and get a job and maybe a cat or two and start smoking weed or something.

    • No, the corporate media and partisan Republican voters being fooled by them are why the tea party exists. Neocons have basically always existed even if they havent always been called that.


        • You are clearly a lunatic “dmastri”. What exactly is your point? I never talk about “the illuminati” or aliens and as far as I can tell Scott never has either.

        • dmastri2, in his/her rhetorical smoke bomb, said:

          “Christ, your views are just as stupid as theirs. Two ends of the same shit sandwich. Grow the fuck up and get a job and maybe a cat or two and start smoking weed or something.”

          The diabolical LEETS totally control Holywood, the mass media, the Freemasons, the local, state, and federal governments, and so on, simply to feed into their fiendish addiction to money-power. This is merely another example. How dare we humble serfs EVER have the audacity to critique the disinfotainment indoctrinations of the almighty LEETS?

    • Aside from you, dmastri2, spouting garbage….. which ‘tea party’ are you referring to ? LOL


    Breaking news about the ‘shooting’ at the Aurora, Col premier showing of Batman movie…. this morning around 2am ?
    The comments are also scary….. talking about taking gun rights from Americans….

  11. Let’s blame the shooting on Iran since it’s the trend to blame other countries for our own doing and justify a war on Iran.

  12. They have identified shooter as James Holmes, white and 24… his mother says she is not surprised….. but media does not report why she says such a thing…
    FBI says Holmes is not listied on any terrorists lists or extremist group lists….. just a regular American white young man?

  13. Anyone wishing to see the Batman movie in NY will have police protection;
    “Statement from NYPD: ‘As a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is playing in the five boroughs.’ – via @NBCNews

    Submitted 12 mins ago by editor ”

    Paris has cancelled premier showings of the movie.

  14. Gotham’s reckoning?

    Take us over to the dark side, Mr. Cheney, and see what it brings–for real.

    r ap

  15. @chris -Well, here’s the first to link to OWS :

    “As speculation mounts about the motive behind the mass shooting, one private investigator has said that Holmes may have been part of Occupy Wall Street’s most violent faction Occupy Black Bloc.

    Bill Warner told how the Batman movie portrays the OWS crowd in a negative vein, leading him to believe that may have been a cause behind gunman’s rage.”

    Read more:

    • Wow, that didnt take long did it? And “one private investigator” says huh? How cute. Thanks for the link annibelle. I expect more of this.

      • Well, what do you know, the media tries to link another psychopath to the only forces left in the globalists’ way.

        This is really sick and vile. Everyone will be pointing fingers at someone else, while nobody wants to look at environmental influences on shootings like this. You know, like massive inequality, really widespread poor mental and physical health, a violent imperialistic culture, and countless others…

        • The gun control advocates are of course using it to their advantage, also ignoring the things that you listed that may have contributed to the shootings(if it was not a psy op and just a deranged lone nut). Everybody has an agenda, the truth is secondary to most.

  16. ‘Dark Knight Rises’ massacre: 12 shot dead in Colorado ‘Batman’ screening

  17. Looks like there’s going to be a body count in reality that might match the one on the film.

  18. Seems Holmes was a Medical grad student..but was withdrawing from his program…….
    never been in any trouble……. they have a picture of him now…



    OR IS IT?

  20. I watched it and it was an abomination of propaganda BS. Friends of course loved it! Cant see through the lies..sheep..

  21. Why would it be so important to hammer the name “Dark Knight” home? Well, it seems to me that this film could just as easily have been called The Dark Knight Returns. Sure, they probably wanted to avoid confusion with Frank Miller’s comic of the same name (or a potential DCU animated adaptation) — but maybe… just maybe… DCE/WB is open to the possibility of a live-action version of Dark Knight Returns somewhere down the road.

  22. Nice write up. Especially with Burton’s 1988 film, if the Batman movies should be dark, they are also silly colorful crazy escapism,. These Dark Knight movies are depressing propaganda.

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