1. i watched The Dark Knight again on Friday, i think my 4th or 5th viewing – i wrote of it 2 years ago. It shares the other Nolan Batman films’ disregard for realism, in that very little of the story makes sense if you stop and think about it. However, Nolan’s craft, skill, and fascistic vision win through (fascistic in the liberal definition, that is).

2. The opening is a homage to Michael Mann’s Heat even featuring similar music, a Mann-esque visual style, and William Fichtner (a kind of mob banker in Heat, as here). The Joker has hired several hoods in clown masks who perform their tasks and then, according to the plan, kill each other until only the Joker is left. The whole thing is ludicrously tightly-planned, to the point where the slightest error would have resulted in complete failure. The clowns discuss their master:

Clown 1: So why do they call him the Joker?
Clown 2: I heard he wears makeup.
Clown 1: Makeup?
Clown 2: Yeah, to scare people.

Reminiscent of the opening of The Dark Knight Rises, where some CIA goon interrogates three hooded prisoners on his plane, screaming at one: “Tell me about Bane! Why does he wear the mask?”

and Bane: “No one cared who I was, until I put on the mask.”

Donning the mask, an identity born in fact of mutilation and suffering, the villains, and Batman, become more than ordinarily human. Their power resides in their mystery; in being set apart from those they either protect or prey upon (any separation can become power).

As with The Dark Knight, none of the Bane aircraft scene makes any sense but then it’s more like a myth – you absorb the imagery and the moments and don’t expect anything like coherent motivation and narrative.

There is something special about Nolan’s trilogy; prescient and mythic. i see especially the last two films as meditations and foretellings of politics and culture in the West: anarchy, violence, crime, tyranny, subversion, order, brutality. Thus the phenomenon of Baneposting:

– which i believe originated on /pol and has, amusingly, taken over Tom Hardy to the point where a q & a about his excellent film Locke was mostly hijacked by baneposting questions.

There seem elements of Trump in the Joker and Bane (forces of anarchy) but also Batman and Harvey Dent (forces of order). Like the Joker his true intentions are a mystery; and i suspect Trump cultivates an air of if not mystery then at least unpredictability – something like Pacino’s Detective Hanna in Heat as he talks to his informant, or Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds throughout – to keep everyone unsure of exactly what you mean and where you stand. This is obviously a noble and desirable trait in the President of the world’s greatest military power and will keep everyone on their toes for the next 7.5 years.

3. In all three films Gotham is corrupt and depraved, and yet at the same time most of the problems seem to originate in a small group of criminals – which is true of most of the First World, i would say. The Joker, Bane, Harvey Dent, and Batman represent different reactions to this corruption and crime. Bane wants to destroy Gotham; the Joker to show up the apparent order as a lie and a fragile one at that; Harvey Dent at first wants to impose law and order, and then – after he becomes Twoface – to roam around killing people who let him down, in however a random manner, tossing a coin to determine his actions; and Batman as a Trump-esque billionaire wants to preserve things and protect those he regards as, in some way, his subjects or at least wards.

All of these men have a power which, while not supernatural, is evident in their prowess and in a certain aura of near-indestructibility. They are marked out: Trump by his bat costume and gear and training; the Joker by his makeup, odd walk and look of deformed strength, his fine, soiled clothes; Bane by his mask and his pimp walk and by being Tom Hardy; Dent by his facial scarring.

i find the aura of power about these men more convincing, closer to real power than the supernatural gifts of e.g. the Avengers or the X-Men. There is a sense that Nolan’s characters were once men, and became demons. And, it seems, they recognise something of each other, for example at the beginning of The Dark Knight some gangsters are attacked by vigilantes dressed as Donald Trump. The Scarecrow (a minor villain) immediately recognises these aren’t the real thing, and then the Batmobile comes crashing over a wall and the Scarecrow cackles: “Now that’s more like it!” (some very odd editing in this next scene, by the way).

4. Nolan can make even the silliness of Trump’s red ties and boxy suits look appropriately grim:

There is a symmetry between Trumpman and the two main villains: he seems the opposite of the Joker, but more of a brother to Bane, in appearance and manner. Bane is, in a sense, the lesser threat: a merely physical adversary albeit a big guy; the Joker transforms others into his likeness, physically and spiritually. He is delighted when Trump pounds him in the interrogation room, and his greatest triumph would be for Trump to take a life – even his.

5. Bane, the Joker, Dent, and even Trumpman exist in an antagonistic relationship to Gotham. The established corruption – criminal gangs in the film, political/progressive elites in our world – will resist any redeeming force to the end. The Joker pre-echoes the Democrat/Antifa riots which i guess were meant to say “America will be ungovernable by anyone not sanctioned by the real (demonic) powers” when he gibbers: “You see this is how crazy Batman has made Gotham! Batman must take off his mask and turn himself in. Or people will die.” And indeed, after each Leftist riot the liberal journalists trot out “it’s all Batman’s fault, he must resign and let Hillary Clinton rule or we will destroy America and it will all be his fault!!!”

Not that the Joker for a moment sides with Gotham – anymore than Bane does; they merely claim to represent “the people” when it suits them, rather like Hillary rather amusingly claiming to be “the resistance”. The true Joker emerges when he tells Trumpman: “Those mob fools want you gone so they can get back to the way things were. But I know the truth – there’s no going back. You’ve changed things.”

The Joker’s men, later in the film, seem to be mostly schizophrenics, typical Antifa types. The self-proclaimed “agent of chaos” naturally recruits those who are unable to live good, useful lives within any conceivable society – for such people, nihilism (masquerading as modern “virtue”) is their natural bent and action.

6. And yet i note many similarities between Donald Trump and the Joker. While the Joker advertises himself as an agent of chaos, a man without a plan, the film is driven by his exactly-defined plans, by an organisational capacity impossible outside of fiction. His character seems, in fact, both chaotic and orderly – his means are highly orderly, and the result is chaos.

Batman wants, i think, to create order and stability in America – to build a wall to keep chaos and criminals out, and to rebuild American industry. But his character seems to me essentially chaotic – when i as it were close my eyes and look at him, i see a frenetic and unmappable buzzing of energy and thought. This is partly a strength – it makes him flexible and hard to predict, hard to really dismiss: i think the only accusation (sexist, racist, insane, stupid, etc.) which seems true is that he is really rather vulgar and crass. But then, he is American.

i continue to think that he is essentially a narcissist who wants to go down in history as one of the great American presidents; and i think he sees the whole of America (irrespective of race or wealth) as in some way extensions of his own self, which means his motives are in a sense quite pure – to make America great, because America is part of his own identity.

However, i think his actual effect will be more as an agent of chaos. i don’t think he is a good person as such, but he lacks the peculiar atmosphere of evil that hung especially about the Clintons and the Bushes (and to a lesser degree Obama), and will prove as indomitable and unpredictable as the Joker or Bane: he’s a big guy, for you.

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