I FINALLY had a chance to watch Chistopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” the other day & I’m here to report that the film has lived up to its hype. It’s not just a pop culture phenomenom – it’s almost a work of art.
From a political standpoint, I find its attitude towards contemporary society – specifically one defined as a capitalistic democracy – decidedly mixed. While the film ultimately thinks that people in a moment of crisis will ultimately do the right thing (& thus validate the democratic system), it infers that those moments are rare & that the sprawling mass that is humanity by itself can’t cope with the kind of threat posed by the Joker who, in the movie, is the ultimate Will-To-Power nihilist. The only thing that stands between the chaos represented by the Joker & the future of any civilization is the antithesis of democracy – the “uberman” Batman. “The Dark Knight” further posits that Batman must be viewed by the society he protects as a threat to its social order in order to perpetuate the “illusion” that democracy can sustain itself when “in fact” it takes a “strong man” to defend civilization against barbarism.
“The Dark Knight” is that rare gem of a Hollywood movie in that it seduces its audience into contemplating issues deeper than is usually the case for a popular form of mass entertainment. Agree/Disagree?