Superhero Status Quo

In the summer of 2012, British director Christopher Nolan
released The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final
chapter of the big-screen Batman trilogy he started in 2005 with
Batman Begins. Now that all three films are
available in a single box set, it’s easy to see what ties them
together: While previous cinematic portrayals of Batman focused on
the freak-show aspect of the character and his world, Nolan has
recast Gotham City’s most famous avenger as a defender of order,
civility, manners, and common decency—a small-c British
conservative in a mask and cape. ;
In all three films, Batman plays the role of the anti-radical.
Whether he’s fighting a religiously tinged order of authoritarian
ninjas, the chaotic nihilism of the Joker, or the paramilitary
people’s revolution of Bane, Nolan’s Batman is an establishment
figure whose primary purpose is to fend off radical social change.
Batman has no desire to reshape Gotham; he fights for it to be left
alone. —Peter Suderman


Superhero Status Quo

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