Dark (K)Night Movie Review

10 08 2008

In his typical fashion, Kunstler opines on the new Batman movie and what it says about us:

The most striking thing about the new Batman movie, now smashing the all-time box office records, is its emphasis on sado-masochism as the animating element in American culture these days. It must appeal to the many angry people in our land who want to hurt others, even while they themselves feel deserving of the grossest punishments. In other words, the picture reflects the extreme depravity of the current American sensibility. Seeing it all laid out there must be very validating to the emotionally confused audience, and hence pleasurable, in all its painfulness.

…By the way, forget about God here or anything that even remotely smacks of an oppositional notion to evil. All that’s back on the cutting room floor somewhere (if it even got that far). And I say this as a non-religious person. But the absence of any possible idea of redemption for the human spirit is impressive. In the world of “the Batman,” humanity at its very best is capable only of being confused about itself. This is perhaps an interesting new form of dramaturgy — instead of good-versus-evil you only get befuddlement-versus-evil. Goodness has lost its way in the dark night of the American psyche, as might be understandable considering the nation of louts, liars, grifters, bullies, meth freaks, harpies, and tattooed creeps we have become. The best we can bring to this predicament is the low-grade pop therapy that passes for thinking nowadays in educated circles. Any consideration of the heroic is off the menu here. We can’t ask that much of ourselves. It’s too difficult to imagine. Meanwhile, The People — that is, the citizens of Gotham City — literally banish even the possibility of heroism from town at the end of the movie — they take an axe to it! — perhaps indicating that they deserve whatever befalls them or, shall I say, “us.”

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the review, having not seen the movie myself, but I found it interesting nonetheless and so I thought I’d post it to see what others thought about it. Also, is Kunstler off the mark because he’s not a Christian, or is he on the mark because he’s not encumbered with so much of the psuedo-Christian hubris that permeates modern Christendom? On other topics I often find the latter to be true with Kunstler. Its not that I trust his viewpoint, but I often trust him not to fall for the same fallacies I do, if that makes sense.




2 responses

14 08 2008

He nailed it. I have tried to point out how dumb Christian reviewers are to promote this movie, for the reasons that Kunstler gives.


There is a lame attempt at the end of the movie to show the “goodness” of humanity. The Joker sets up a Philosophy 101 experiment whereby two ferries are rigged with explosives, and the detonator for each ferry is on the other boat. One boat is full of regular people, the other (coincidentally) is full of prisoners. It turns out that both boats decide not to blow the other up. On the regular people boat they call a vote, and everybody votes to blow the prisoners up, although everybody is too cowardly to push the detonator button. On the prisoner boat, the prisoners want to blow it up until a huge, black prisoner takes the detonator from a guard and throws it out the window. (The two boats seemed to me to be symbolic of democracy and dictatorship.)

Batman uses the fact that neither boat blew up to tell the Joker that people are still “good,” but the rest of the movie works to counteract that claim.

14 08 2008

Thanks J!

I was in college when one of the sequels to the previous Batman movie series came out. This one had the Penguin in it, and maybe Catwoman. While I didn’t think of myself as a squeamish person, nor particularly high-strung ethically, I remember turning the movie off less than half-way through. It just seemed too dark and disturbing, and for no reason at all. I had a knot in my stomach, and just did not find the movie in any way enjoyable. All those thoughts come back when I read a review like Kunstler’s, and I appreciate your critiques also.

Keep up the work on your movie review site – I always check there first when I’m curious about a movie!

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