A Dark Knight for All Occasions

A Dark Knight for All Occasions

When I was younger, I never questioned Batman. He was a superhero who showed up to beat criminals when they did bad things. When you're five years old, that sort of simplicity is all you really need.

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This is why I prefer Marvel: their characters aren't the embodiment of ideals, but the result of the events that shape them.

DVS BSTrD:
This is why I prefer Marvel: their characters aren't the embodiment of ideals, but the result of the events that shape them.

Eh..I'd say they sit between those two points in both DC and Marvel, I've never really read that much Marvel, but I'm sure you could apply the below reasoning just as much to any big name Marvel character. Except old school Captain America, that guy was a walking ideology/propaganda machine. I mean seriously, Batman is the epitome of "result of events that shaped them", dude can't stop thinking about the night his parents were shot, he's a complete nut.

I mean if we're talking Bats and Supes, Batman and Superman both fight for the same ideal, though they go about it in the obvious different ways. However! While they fight for their ideals, Bats was shaped souly through the fatal shooting of his parents, one could argue Bats stayed that way and never really grew up past that point, he's obsessive, and is generally accepted that Bats is the real persona, while Bruce is a facade. He was shaped by that one event, and to reacts to it in such a way that he becomes Batman.

Similarly, Superman was shaped by having happened to have landed near the Kents, an integral part of his personality and fundamental Humanity. Which is the most important bit, that he's really Human. He may biologically be Kyrptonian, but because he grew up as Clark, that why he decides to be such a force for good, Superman is an extension of Clark, not the other way around, (Bats is the inverse of this), had the Kents not picked him up, he would've been moulded differently, perhaps even become evil, like in Red Son (he crashes in Soviet Russia, for the non versed :P ). It's why Bills speech about Superman ticks me off so much.

The characters themselves may try to embody those ideals, but it's only because certain events happened to them that they felt the need to uphold them so strongly. Which is essentially one of 4 ways every superhero began their journey:

Tragedy - Batman/Spiderman
The need to better - Supes/Captain America
Trained into it - Wonder Woman /Thor
...and they thought it'd be cool - Booster Gold/Iron Man

I've probably had a far too idealized version of batman. I don't dispute vigilantism makes things messy because it opens the door for every nutter that things they can solve the world's problems by donning a cape and a mask. Even if the first person is a paragon who can do no wrong, what about those that follow? Too much collateral damage and ignorance down that path. That being said, Batman always appealed to me. Kind of like a superdetective (in a non-superhuman kind of way), with no special abilities, just his wits and resources. He only is able to do what he does because he's so damn wealthy and connected but most of what he does is theoretically possible for a human to do. That brings with it some level of inspiration, even if it's just from a limited/childlike perspective.

I think that criticizing a film simply for taking a political bent is ridiculous. If the point is artfully made and isn't bashing the viewer over the head, films are allowed to have opinions, even if those opinions veer towards the conservative. I personally disagree with the whole patriot act breach of privacy thing on a fundamental level, but I can't fault The Dark Knight for simply providing an alternative perspective that, contrary to popular belief, is quite compelling and well thought out. Also, like any intelligent film, it invites its audience to think about its message, not just accept it blindly. That's what separates it from borderline propaganda films like Elysium, which condense complex issues down to simple baby logic in a way that robs the allegory of any meaning. Both Batman and Morgan Freeman (I forgot the character's name, okay?) question what they're doing, and do so knowing that there is no easy solution.

Everyone seems to think that it would be so great if all art conformed to their liberal-leaning worldview (which, I emphasize, I share), but if you bash every film with a conservative message you're essentially making the argument that there are no valid points to be made on the other side, which is false. Most major debates have intelligent arguments on both sides, and listening to both sides means admitting the virtues of well-made films that contradict your personal politics.

If Batman used all his money to solve the social problems causing crime, for instance lack of education and job opportunities for young people resulting in a sense of meaninglessness and hopelessness and drug and mental health problems going untreated he would be so much more effective.

Now he just wastes all his money on expensive toys so he can beat up these people for his own entertainment.

dochmbi:

If Batman used all his money to solve the social problems causing crime, for instance lack of education and job opportunities for young people resulting in a sense of meaninglessness and hopelessness and drug and mental health problems going untreated he would be so much more effective.

Now he just wastes all his money on expensive toys so he can beat up these people for his own entertainment.

If crime was simply a result of socio-economic factors it would have risen sharply during the recent recession. Despite the economic problems crime continued to decline. This may be just a result of statistics but I doubt it. It declined at a slower rate than pre 2007 iirc, but it declined none the less. Some crime is a result of non economic issue. Some individuals are non functional whether there is prosperity or poverty. The possible impact of improved access to mental health care is impossible to determine although it "feels" as if it "should" have a measurable (positive) impact. But then so "should" increased poverty (have had a negative one).

My statistical basis for this a pdf from the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality titled "Crime and the Great Recession". I picked it up for classroom discussion. They reflect at length on the possible causes and statistical / data issues but don't have firm conclusions.

www.soc.umn.edu/~uggen/crime_recession.pdf

 

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