Days before the opening of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, hate radio’s Rush Limbaugh claimed that the film was part of a liberal conspiracy to discredit Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. He based this on the name of one of the villains in the film: Bane. This would obviously remind people of Romney’s past association with Bain Capital…Right. It’s easy to conclude that Limbaugh is an idiot. But he isn’t. The fact that he’s still on the air is proof positive that he is an expert at exploiting the fear and stupidity of his followers.
At least I thought so. But Rush is now blowing a big opportunity. If you’re reading this, Rush, get yourself to the theater and actually watch The Dark Knight Rises. If it has a political agenda, it’s actually ultra-conservative. Thematically, it’s the modern right winger’s wet dream. Consider the basic conflict: on one hand you have gazillionaire Bruce Wayne, a dude rich beyond avarice. Is he a bad guy? Hardly. He plows millions into all the gadgets it takes to fight Gotham’s criminals. He even sacrifices his body. There’s no more cartilage in his knee. None at all! The poor guy has to wear a really painful brace to help the less fortunate. And he’s not doing it for profit. Never do we see him exploit the masses. He uses his wealth, as well as his martial arts training, for good. He’s even willing to risk his company on a far-fetched dream to bring unlimited energy to the city. He’s a perfect example of one of those exemplary “job creators” Romney and his stooges are always going on about. What would Gotham City do without him and his wealth?
Enter Bane. Groomed in the world’s worst prison, this masked man wants nothing more than to unleash the disenfranchised on the wealthy and privileged citizens of Gotham. Bane first builds an army of orphans. These blood-thirsty boys have been booted out of orphanages all over the city. Why? Unbeknownst to Bruce Wayne, funding to them from Wayne Enterprises has dried up. Now the boys are let loose on their sixteenth birthday. What’s a poor person to do? Rape, kill and pillage! The only thing keeping Gotham from plunging into anarchy is the benevolence of Bruce Wayne. But hey, he needs the help of Wall Street, so even if some of his plans seem a little shaky, don’t sell off the stock. Otherwise, poor people will immediately invade your home, take your stuff, rape your daughter, and throw your carcass from the balcony. Why? Because this is the nature of poor people. They don’t want to work. They’re just waiting for a leader to take them on a violent crusade. I’m surprised Nolan didn’t name Bane “Obama.”
As it turns out, Bane is just the beard for Miranda, played by Marion Cotillard…Yes, a FRENCHIE! Oh No! She turns out to be the real evil. Intent on realizing her father’s dream of “restoring balance” to Gotham, Miranda is the puppet master. Even after sleeping with Bruce Wayne, his first real contact with a woman since the death of the love of his life, Miranda turns, revealing her evilness, even plunging a knife into the Batman’s gut. What a whore. And what is this “restoring balance” stuff? It turns out it’s nothing more than entombing Gotham’s outrageously noble policemen in the subway while the poor and the recently released violent criminals (one might have been called Willie Horton) “redistribute the wealth” of the city. Even Catwoman’s bff, a drug addict and prostitute, finds a nice little pad on the Upper Eastside, now that the previous inhabitants have been chucked from the balcony.
How does Miranda keep the Feds from ruining her plans? She’s turned that energy source machine into a Weapon of Mass Destruction. (The French are Iranian sympathizers, you now.) The Feds do send in some commandoes. They last about 38 seconds. The only real hope for the good folk of Gotham is Batman, of course, a private citizen, with a little help, granted, from the local police. Batman flies off into the sunset with the weapon in tow, where it blows up “harmlessly.” (Just like after BP’s catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, I’m sure all that radiation will just sort itself out.) Everyone thinks he’s dead. And what about the awesome mansion of his? He stipulates in his will that it become an orphanage. What a guy.
Bruce Wayne/Batman’s not dead, of course. He ends up in Florence with the now noble and nice Catwoman. Nolan has called this the last Batman film, but the ending suggests a sequel. My guess for the next villain? The leader of the League of Shadows, Miranda’s father, isn’t really dead. As it turns out, he’s been the true source of evil all along. His name will be “Weinstein.”