Wall Street Journal column: "Batman and 300 were pro-Bush movies"

Wow. The thing I loved about 300 (the movie) was that it was clearly designed to be read both ways. It deliberately fouls up being read easily in any regard–pro-America, anti-America, homophobic, homophilic. It’s truly post-postmodern because it designs itself to be read in a way that defeats reading.

Plus, you know, ninja rhinos and stuff.

Unicorn nailed it The Dark Knight. I’d like to quibble a bit around the edges though.

The thing I found amazing about the film was how soaked in 9/11 imagery it was - panicked commuters trying to escape the city. Batman standing in ground zero-style rubble. Horrible moral choices inflicted on everyone throughout. It’s difficult to imagine a movie using those before 2001.

Nothing in the movie is directly analogous to the Bush administration. That doesn’t change that it’s entirely about examining the concept and implementation of justice, however, giving each character a specific archetype approach to justice and working through the implications of each:

  1. Two-face starts as Jimmy Stewart (idealism will save us) and ends up as a way crazier Dirty Harry (vigilante justice).
  2. Gordon manipulates the corrupt system he controls (work through the system, making the best of the bad situation).
  3. Batman operates entirely outside the order of society, answerable only to a few select people (paramilitaries, intelligence agencies).
  4. The mayor does nothing but generically support the people trying to make things better when its convenient (influencer nudging things here and there around the edges).

This is traditional really good comic book fare; you make everyone an extreme, turn them lose, and watch the fireworks. The Dark Knight is so good because it focused on that, rather than the usual comic book movie fare of flawless evil or flawless good slapping each other for 2 hours.

  1. Two-face starts as Jimmy Stewart (idealism will save us) and ends up as a way crazier Dirty Harry (vigilante justice).

Gonna have to argue that. Moving from making your own fate to fate moves us. Although I can see the fate comparison in that line:

I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?