What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

‘Dark Knight Rises’ hits economic inequality theme

Mark Garrison Jul 18, 2012
HTML EMBED:
COPY

‘Dark Knight Rises’ hits economic inequality theme

Mark Garrison Jul 18, 2012
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Kai Ryssdal: If you’re among the fantasy faithful who’re gonna go see the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” when it opens this weekend, you could go about it two ways. You could just enjoy it as a darkly entertaining superhero movie. Or you can give some thought to the deeper themes.

We, naturally, are intrigued by the economic subtext. Because Bruce Wayne is, after all, a 1-percenter.

Marketplace’s Mark Garrison has this spoiler-free story.


Mark Garrison: The movie is loaded with the mandatory explosions, fights, Batman biceps, Catwoman curves. But Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern says an economic inequality theme is there too, right from the outset.

Joe Morgenstern: It’s the one powerful speech in the film, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, or Selina Kyle, whispering into Bruce Wayne’s ear.

Anne Hathaway in “The Dark Knight Rises”: There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches ‘cause when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.

There’s also the attack on Gotham’s stock exchange by the villain Bane and his thugs. Pundits are musing about the movie’s point of view. But finding the film’s politics isn’t easy, Morgenstern says.

Morgenstern: The movie is a Rorschach test. It’s so expert in handling the themes that are in the air and in the culture without committing to any program about them.

The last Batman film pulled off a similar trick, handling post-9/11 themes of wiretapping and torture. Hollywood Reporter staff editor Jordan Zakarin says people on the right and left will see the Batman they want.

Jordan Zakarin: You can see someone who’s doing extraordinary things to fight terrorism or you look at it as somebody who is a, you know a rich guy who’s very charitable, the sort of big money donor to the Democratic Party if you want to go that far.

Not everyone’s going that far. I talked to the manager of a comic book store a block from Zuccotti Park, birthplace of Occupy Wall Street. He wasn’t thinking about economics. He just hopes this movie’s as awesome as the last. Decide for yourself Friday.

I’m Mark Garrison for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.