movie franchise devotes itself to an ideal

For Batman Begins, Warners executives wanted a very 'dark' movie and were hoping for the director of Fight Club [violence against people you know as a way of finding oneself] and Panic Room [everybody's home is in mortal danger]. They got the Memento director instead.

The movie has since been made. A trailer and promotional posters [Fark mocking] have been released. It will open next year.

the promotional materials

To my eyes, the trailer is straight fascism. Following the lead of the Nazis, it promotes the icon of a man with his shirt off, who is 'devoting himself to an ideal', involving a vindictive and insane version of law & order.

I wasn't sure until I saw this secondary promotional poster [compare Nazi eagle].

I guess that's what 'dark' means now to some in Hollywood: sociopathic isolation faux-redeemed by violence. In this movie the symbol is a dark predatory bird gleaming like metal.

He can't be a family man

Over the years many people have joked that Batman must be gay1 because of his bachelor status, and -in the tv version- Robin as the 'boy-wonder'. The simpering butler has been mentioned in this regard (whether these matched any actual gay lifestyle or not).

But that is not it - Batman cannot be a lover of women becuse his victimhood is essential to the fantasy. And real men are iconically not victims.

Everyone know knows it isn't really like Batman to be intimate. For him to be a well-adjusted family man would ruin everything! If Bruce Wayne takes a woman (in the movies) it's incidental.2

the mask

Authoritarian ideology demands submission. And submission lies in the subtext of the Batman story. This morphs into two forms at the surface.

  • The reversed form is the hero's vigilantism. People who have a negative attribute enjoy fantasizing they are the opposite. eg: People who have submitted politically will identify with fiercely-independent movie characters.

  • The non-reversed form is there as Batman's black mask. That's the way the unconscious works - the undesirable appears on the surface only symbolically.

In the archetype sex slaves wear black masks. Thematically Batman is the Gimp from Pulp Fiction - here with a mansion, a manservant and the ability to avenge his degradation.

At the surface Batman has anger and an urge to violence. The story's explanation3 is so artificial it has never been internalized by fans. The real explanation is unconscious: that Bruce Wayne fans have submitted (are in political bondage) and Batman is their compensation fantasy.

the political spectrum has to be mentioned

The standard Batman plot has class-war written all over it in ghost lettering. The born-millionaire gets to beat up much poorer people as a hobby. They are the thieves, even though he has never worked a day in his life and he lives in a mansion.

A secondary effect of creating a broad archetype that deals falsely with class issues like Batman does is to misdirect any potential anger at people at the top of the economic ladder.

These class-war details are not contradictory to fascist ideology - the rich Italians who began the movement in the 1930's felt themselves victims (as a bunch of Bruce Wayne's).


It is possible to make a great, popular and fascist movie (Dirty Harry and Straw Dogs are the two I can think of). Warners might have got there with Fincher as director. I imagine with Nolan instead, their über-dream wont be realized, and next summer the movie will only gross $200 million.

sarcasm: But not to worry, somebody someday will manage to convincingly dramatize the origins of lawless violence by the idle rich, and to justify it.

  1. the pop confusion about Batman as gay (vs being a repressed bondage freak) parallels the confusion inside the mind of the rw pundit/nutcase TMW profiled a couple of weeks ago. The Nazis' submission to political ideology deformed their personalities (even making some sexual perverts). Gays are not perverted. About Kinsey I have no idea.

  2. There may even be an Oedipal subtext, the muggers that killed his mother stole his chance to be a family man

  3. that his parents were killed by muggers