Tag Archives: The Dark Knight Rises

Optimism vs. Cynicism: The Great Heroic Debate

Batman in The Dark Knight Rises

Let’s talk about utopias, giant robots and pop culture.

There’s been much talk surrounding the recent hit Pacific Rim, and how, in all its giant-alien-clobbering awesomeness it was very quick to be dismissed as a shallow creation by critics. Fair enough, I suppose, Pacific Rim isn’t exactly an award winning struggle with the Great Themes and overall the movie was pretty simple, especially in terms of its black and white morality (humans = good guys, giant poisonous aliens = not so much). It’s a lot of fun, plain old monster fighting fun, not exactly gritty, dark or deep. But here is the question: must it be, in order to be accredited any artistic merit?

Apart from, of course, the awesome characters, worldbuilding and immensely creative design of the whole thing, you could argue that one of the big appeals of Pacific Rim is that it’s an optimistic science fiction, where humans and their inventions and relationships actually end up saving the world instead of trashing it. Raleigh and Mako, the main Jaeger team, could be given the title of the heroes of the movie and could convincingly hold onto it, being heroes in the regular sense of wanting to save people, do good and being genuinely likeable characters along the way.

They aren’t twisted or cynical or even snarky, and they don’t have fathoms of shadowy depth and inner turmoil. Neither of them is Christopher Nolan’s Bruce Wayne in terms of dark, brooding complexity, but rather than making them immediately seem shallow and boring it made them part of the overall enjoyability of the movie. Perhaps, if nothing else, it’s because they stood out of the crowd. Continue reading

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Holy Dark and Gritty Retool, Batman!

Remember when superheroes were wholesome and happy-go-lucky? Good, innocent comic readers could sleep at night in the assurance that Superman would never fail to leap those tall buildings and that Captain America was punching Nazis and Communists in the face on their behalf and keeping them safe. They were created as a beacon of hope and a showcase of the power of simple white over black morality.

The Dark Knight Rises poster

Spiderman: And then there's THIS ASSHOLE

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Filed under Pop Culture Ponderings