An Exploration of 'Real World' Concerns in Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy

To what extent do the films in Nolan’s Batman trilogy engage with 21st century anxieties, and how are they aligned within the Batman myth? After exploring the origins story, Nolan decided to place the character within a contemporary framework. How was he influenced by previous interpretations, and what do the films say about American attitudes towards crime? Possible themes: vigilante justice, crime prevention, state control, corporate guilt.

  • There is also an interesting amount of political/economical systems portrayed within the movies. For example the first movie, with Raz Al Gual (sorry if that's miss-spelt) we have him try to put totalitarian rule over Gotham, and an attack on democracy for the greater good. In the second movie, the Joker's actions could be said to follow the anarchist philosophy. And in the last, Gotham is placed in a state of Marxism, with the leaders and wealthy cast out and the poor rise up and take control. – Thomas Sutton 6 years ago
  • Great question!!! I was quite surprised by the villain Bain whose role almost seemed to portray the Wall Street Occupy movement as in error. Definitely a comment on corporate greed. But at least a blockbuster movie did not try to have a holier than thou attitude about making money. – Munjeera 6 years ago
  • I've always found the most troubling, and as a result, fascinating, element of this kind in those films is the moment in 'The Dark Knight' when Batman creates the Gotham-wide sonar reader, in order to catch the Joker. That's an absolutely humongous infringement of civil liberties, which Fox states quite clearly when he's shown the machine. It echoes very much the actions taken by Western governments in the heat of the War on Terror. And yet, without it, Batman probably wouldn't have found the Joker in time to save the ferries, and countless civilians would have been murdered. Was the massive intrusion into Gotham citizens' private lives vindicated by Batman's saving of the ferries? Is it better to live compromised, safer lives or pure, free ones which carry a far greater risk of terrorism? There's a quotation from Benjamin Franklin which reads roughly: 'Those who sacrifice liberty for security will in the end enjoy neither.' I think they're wise words, and probably true, but this debate, exemplified most in 'The Dark Knight' but present in the other two movies two, is one with no easy answers. – J.P. Shiel 6 years ago

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