Batman: Occupy Gotham City?


The L.A. Times catches a hint of the Occupy Wall Street movement in the trailer for next year's Batman sequel, The Dark Knight Rises:

We already knew Christopher Nolan was up to something topical with "The Dark Knight Rises" when he decided to shoot near Occupy Wall Street. Now we have a clearer sense of what that topic is.

As the Batman film's new trailer released online Monday suggests, it's economic disparity and government response to organized protest, among other subjects.

Over a haunting rendition of a child singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" (lest there be any doubt about his national themes), Nolan offers us a peek at his haves-and-have-nots preoccupation when he has Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle whisper in the ear of Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne a message from the 99%.

Here's the trailer: 

Director Christopher Nolan's last Batman film, The Dark Knight, featured the Caped Crusader hacking Gotham's mobile phone network, turning it into a network of sensors, and using it to track down the Joker, a plot point which a number of people took as a quasi-endorsement of Bush-era anti-terror surveillance tactics. I remain skeptical, however, that Nolan's seriously trying to make a substantive political statement with either movie; it seems more like he's just trying to lend his comic book movies additional gravity by alluding to relevant political issues. It's context, not argument. 

Read my short take on the Batman-goes-corporate series Batman, Inc. here. Reason on comic books here

NEXT: Space Mogul Richard Branson Defends Our Rights to Explore Outer Space and Inner Space

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Most of the movie was already filmed before OWS existed (I saw something resembling the Batmobile outside Mellon Institute one day last July), so I really doubt any major plot points revolve around OWS.

    Also, (spoiler alert) Catwoman is a villain.

    1. “Catwoman is a villain.”

      Not in my book, Tulpa.

      1. As a great man once said, Shut up Danny Devito!

      2. Catwoman has always been a villain. That doesn’t make her any less hot. And who doesn’t love a bad girl?

    2. I don’t care what she is as long as she has claws.

      1. Don’t forget the cat o’ nine tails:)

    3. I saw them filming in Lower Manhattan in November, so they were certainly still filming after OWS started.

      1. Movies are written before they are filmed.

        1. Ha true, but they could be rewritten right?

  2. “The Legend Ends”…WTF…

    1. Yep, this is Nolan’s last Bat-film. I’m sure WB will come up with something new in a few years.

      1. Hopefully they can get that genius JJ Abrams working on it.

  3. It’s context, not argument.

    Meaning comes from context. By providing context, you are shaping meaning, and it gets harder to say you aren’t making an argument.

  4. I would like to occupy Anne Hathaway. That is all.

    1. Before or after eats something?

      I didn’t know your tastes went in the bony direction.

      1. “I didn’t know your tastes went in the bony direction.”

        You mean the bone in the white shorts?

      2. The ugly women and gay men mafia of Hollywood have gotten to her and got her to starve herself. But she is still very attractive. She would be more attractive if she would gain fifteen pounds. But I would still hit it.

        1. Might want to put some bubble wrap around her pelvis and ribs first, though.

        2. Start providing her with some calories while hitting it.

      1. I’m still vague on the difference between an entertainment journalist and a stalker.

        1. Hey, at least they didn’t use drones or red light cameras.

        2. The pay. Same as the difference between an amateur and a professional.

    2. She’s apparently down with Occupy.

      1. Her sign apparently says “Blackboards not Bullets”.

        1. Anne Hathaway is pretty well-informed about Wall Street corruption. Her ex-boyfriend was one of them!…..2620080911

      2. She is a total leftist nitwit. I would only occupy her on the condition I didn’t have to have a conversation with her.

        1. Good to see chivalry is not dead.

  5. Also Nolan has been known to deceive with his trailers before. There are several suggestions about the plot of Inception in its trailers that turned out to be completely false upon viewing the flick.

    1. Was that movie any good at all? I never saw it. I figured it was either very interesting or would suck ass.

      1. It was interesting, though it’s hard for some people to understand what’s going on when. My informal poll seems to show a correlation between video gaming background and understanding the jumps between “levels” of the story.

        1. Wow no wonder I had no trouble with it. It was a great movie though.

          1. Most people I know liked it (but that’s a group full of gamers). Other than me, everyone in my family who saw it hated it, but they also hate games, one reason I minimize my association with them.

        2. I liked it until one of the people I was watching it with pointed out that in the ice world, the gravity was wrong (in that there was any).

          From that point on, it annoyed my too much to really enjoy the rest of the movie. Dammit people, get your internal consistentcy correct!

          1. zero grav effects are $$$$

            1. Then rewrite the fucking script.

              They did it at the level between the bridge and Hoth. The hotel level, I guess it is.

              1. During most of the hotel level they weren’t in free fall yet. Only a few scenes had to deal with that (though they are the most memorable).

      2. I mean, the basic enabling premise of the plot, ie that it’s possible to deliberately construct a dream world for yourself, and have others share in it while they dream, is ridiculous. But once you get past that it’s a good story.

        1. I always found that principle to be kind of a dumb premise for a movie. But since I am pig, I will probably rent it for Ellen Page who I find very cute.

          1. Blech. A little boy with long hair.

            1. No. She is cute. Not gorgeous but I like the Pixie look.

          2. I thought Inception was great so did my wife and daughters.

        2. I would like to point out that one need not ACTUALLY go through all that trouble to implant an idea or concept in another’s brain. It is done every day all the time by almost everyone. And when done with purpose and control it is a very powerful thing…good thing most people are very good at it.

          1. Not to the degree they did it in the movie.

            1. sure…even moreso and it can be done supreficially with little to no preparation. It can be done extremely deeply with a lot of prep.

              For a very extreme example watch Darron Brown convince Simon Peg what he wants for x-mas AFTER he had simon right down what he wanted. Amazing video but the “explanation” part is woefully lacking (probably due to time) on what Darron actually had to do to accomplish it.

    2. Also Nolan has been known to deceive with his trailers before.

      You know what other theatrical trailer was deceptive? Dr. Detroit. When I saw the trailer, I thought it was going to be the funniest fucking movie ever made. It wasn’t. I am disappoint.

  6. On what delusioned artistic spectrum does Bale’s lukewarm impression of James Brolin constitute an acceptable Bruce Wayne?

    1. George Clooney. That is all.

      1. George Clooney played it for laughs, and channeled Adam West more than once.

      2. I have never liked Clooney. He always comes off like an a**hole to me.

    2. Non-Batman Bruce Wayne is kind of a styrofoam character. He’s rich and a good guy. Beyond that there’s not much to judge a performance by.

  7. it’s economic disparity and government response to organized protest, among other subjects.

    Project much?

  8. I don’t know that the cell-phone-as-tracking-device idea was endorsed. Morgan Freeman’s character seemed to have some pretty strong ethical misgivings about its use.

    1. “Batman has no jurisdiction”

      Also Alfred recounting the story where he burned down an entire forest to kill one guy.

  9. I’m going out on a limb here and stating that I am not a Batman fan. At all. Who’s with me?!

    1. I don’t like any comic book movies.

      1. I’ve never seen the appeal of superhero comics and movies. Especially Batman.

        Weird, I know.

        1. I don’t see it either. I haven’t seen a single Batman movie since the old one with Jack Nicholson, never saw any of the Spiderman or X Men movies. They all look dumb and childish.

          1. Most of them are, but Batman is different. Nolan shows just how compelling and morbid comic books can be.

            Comparing Tim Burton’s Batman to Nolan’s vision is like comparing original Battlestar Galactica to the darker, more serious remake.

            1. Two comparisons I’m not equipped to make.

              I rather enjoyed Burton’s Halloween/Xmas mashup, though.

      2. The new Batman films are more like graphic novel movies.

        And my action figures aren’t dolls!

      3. John|12.20.11 @ 2:53PM|#

        I don’t like any comic book movies.

        So you didn’t like the The Road to Perdition?

        how about 300?

        I did not like Ghost World personally but I did like Sin City, V for Vendetta and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

        But yeah Barbarella sucked.

        The Lone Wolf and Cub movies were pretty good for the b-movie samurai genera of the 70s

        1. Oh i forgot….even though i hated the ending that prison escape fight in Oldboy was pretty damn awesome.

    2. Batman in theory is brilliant.
      Batman in practice has been a protracted series of long, fecund, painful bowel movements.

  10. Batman represents our defense and security contractors who can do anything off the grid.

    1. That’s an interesting take. I’m going to watch them from that perspective, and hopefully I’ll like Nolan’s series better. I’ve always found them be completely vacant, run of the mill action movies but with irritating delusions of grandeur.

  11. So, does Catwoman turn a cop car into a litter-box to fully embrace her OWS message?

  12. Re: The Dark Knight and anti-terror tactics, don’t forget that Batman went way beyond waterboarding when trying to get intel on the Joker.

    I’m sure you all remember the scene where he cut Eric Roberts’ thumb off.

    1. He did? I thought he just broke his ankles by dropping him off a ledge. Cutting off a person’s fingers is too Jack Bauer-esqe for Batman.

      1. That’s correct, I was just trying to make a bad joke about another Eric Roberts movie, The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984).

        Relevant scene –

        1. That’s exactly what I thought of when you said that. Loved that film.

  13. Couldn’t be any worse than In Time. It’s entirely about haves and have nots. Capitalist Darwinism being mentioned more than once. Perfect sermon coming from Hollywood and their hard luck stars.

  14. On the whole it should be a hell of a picture. I have my reservations about Hathaway as Catwoman, I’ve never seen her play anyone other than the Nice Girl or Emotionally Wrecked Bitch, neither of which is Catwoman’s personality.

    Tom Hardy, on the other hand, looks pretty terrfifying as Bane. I always wanted to see a serious film adaptation of him that accurate reflects his intelligence in addition to his strength, and how he’s really more of an anti-hero to Batman than a villain. And how can you not love him when he destroys Heinz Field and takes out some of the Pittsburgh Steelers and their annoying fans?

    1. Heinz Field gets torn up like that all the time. It’s a terrible playing surface.

    2. I was hoping Roethlisberger would play Bane, but apparently he’s just an extra.

      1. [insert Steve Smith joke here]


  15. The pundits will try and analyze the context of the movie within present day in order to write their next 50 “Rich People: How Do We Get Their Money?” stories, but I agree that Nolan isn’t really reaching for that with these films. The second one explored a wide variety of humanities shortcomings and moral dilemmas, especially the final scene with The Joker’s ferry experiment.

    I expect plenty of other ethical issues will be explored in the third installment, and the “rich vs. poor” will be but one of many.

    I have no idea how they will ever recover from Ledgers performance though. He completely outshined everyone in that film and the other characters looked less believable as a result. I’m not sure that Hathaway will be enough to correct this issue.

    1. I’m resigned to this being “Return of the Jedi” to “Dark Knight”‘s “Empire”.

      1. Sounds about right. Pleas no fucking ewoks though.

        1. That would totally suck.

    2. especially the final scene with The Joker’s ferry experiment.

      Though Batmat’s interpretation of the outcome was completely wrong — most people were totally OK with blowing up the other boat as long as they didn’t have to do it themselves. “Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough”, I guess.

      1. Well the Joker’s position was that one of the boats would definitely do it because “when the chips are down, these so-called civilized people will eat each other”. Clearly he was wrong and that even when it is very much rational to kill another person, people have difficulty crossing that line.

        1. They would have eaten each other, as long as someone else got them started.

  16. I tend to leave my politics at the movie theater door. You already know most of what comes out of hollywood leans hard left so I just try and look past it.

    1. Yeah, you pretty much have to with movies and music.

      How the fuck did leftists convince all the young and artsy people that they were cool? Seems obvious to me that libertarianism should be the cool political philosophy. Particularly when you consider how many young leftists consider themselves anti-authoritarian.

      1. When your entire life experience has been mommy and daddy giving you things socialism makes a lot of sense.

        The free market’s superiority is an extremely counterintuitive thing for the human mind.

      2. They prey on the young’s concept of “fairness”. The cry of the young “That’s not fair!” (accompanied by stomping feet when necessary). The details of how you go about trying to make everything fair (which is equated with equal) are not discussed. Ironically there is also an anti-establishment aspect which is not actually equated to the establishment but rather to “things you were taught by your parents”.

  17. Spoiler: Bruce Wayne turns out to be a communist, and dons a new, red costume with a hammer and sickle on his chest.

    1. I was watching Star Wars the other day. Had never really dawned on me that the rebel squadrons attacking the death star were red and gold.

      1. Screw you….so are my glorious SF 49ers!

        Steeler fan can eat it!

        1. San Fran = red & gold. Its all starting to make sense now.

  18. Here’s an early Christmas present for John and all the other hounds. Makes you forget about Lobster Girl. Google “China Lee Playboy 1964”.
    She’s 69 now but back when she was 22??? Probably not suitable for work.
    But “they are spectacular and they are real.”

    1. The women in Playboy were amazing in the 1960s. So much better than the photo shopped silicone ones of today. You can’t beat real.

    2. You gentlemen must be familiar with my body of work?

  19. I hate billionaires. I’m going to put on a costume and make their lives miserable!

    Unless, of course, they donate to Media Matters.

    1. Let me don my monocle and you can punish me.

  20. I’ve enjoyed Nolan’s take on Batman much more than any of the previous films. I don’t think he has tried to inject a political message into his movies. The Batman movies he’s done have just been great stories about a wealthy man that suffers through a horrible experience as a kid and decides to do something about corruption when he grows up. What’s really impressive is how he risks his life standing against the corruption instead of using his wealth to benefit from it.

    1. Unfortunately, in Dark Knight he seems to think that TheRightPeopleInCharge is a valid solution to Gotham’s problems.

      As for Ms Dawes, what a slut. As far as we can tell, she was doing every one of her bosses in the DA’s office.

      1. I see what you’re saying, but I don’t think of it as TheRighPeopleInCharge. I think it was more of needing people that weren’t corrupt and were brave enough to take on the mob, dirty cops, etc. Bats intentionally surrounded himself with honest people that weren’t afraid to fight injustice, the same attributes anyone would want in a police comissioner or DA. It was only natural that he wanted people with these virtues in those positions.

        As for Ms. Dawes, yep.

        1. The majority of Batman’s organized crime foes seem to make their money in drugs. Wonder if the Caped Crusader has made the connection between organized crime and the War on Drugs.

          1. IDK, but I think anyone called “the world’s greatest detective” should be able to figure that out if a lowly cubicle dweller like me can.

  21. Occupy Gotham? Wasn’t that the plot to Arkham City?

  22. I read and enjoy the Culture novels by self described socialist Iain M Banks.

    The Culture is a space faring society that is ruled by super AI and made up of sever species of sentient people who in their founding as a society were gene-fixed and they speak an artificial language invented by the super AIs.

    The tyrannical history that would be needed to create such a society is horrifying.

    I think I can handle a few OWS allusions in the up coming batman movie.

  23. Personally, I hope the idiot occupiers and their supporters in the press believe that the catwoman speech shown in the trailer is really a “voice” of the occupiers.

    If that were true, then art would really be reflecting reality, as the speech/threat by catwoman is directed towards the hero of the film. So, the catwoman’s threat is misplaced, just like in the real world, where the occupy anger is misplaced towards the 1%.

    As an aside, I’ve always been fond of batman. I mean, come on….wealthy industrialist realizes that government has failed the city, and decides to take on responsibility on his own and fight crime. The individual doing what the government should be, but failed, to do. And all of it funded b/c the hero is the head of a wealthy corporation.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.