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May 5th, 2013


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10:05 pm - On Marvel vs DC
torrain: "It's wrong to tie Christopher Nolan down and tattoo 'a watchman IS a civilian' on his eyelids, right?"

(As part of a discussion about Batman vs Iron Man, wherein the "Iron Man saves the world from aliens" versus "Batman beats up poor people" difference is exemplified in recent films.)

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:torrain
Date:May 6th, 2013 02:15 am (UTC)
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Eyes. On his eyes. Because really.
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From:fatpie42
Date:May 6th, 2013 01:06 pm (UTC)
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Explanation?
[User Picture]
From:torrain
Date:May 6th, 2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
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The Dark Knight Rises is notable for (among many things, so many damn things) its characterization of Gotham's non-rich citizens as "horrible bullies who will side with the scary brown men who blew their own stadium out from under them at the drop of a hat, and promptly run around beating the shit out of little old ladies and smashing pretty things" while the police are "a rare and special breed apart, not one of whom was ever seen to do anything but wear a uniform and not need a shave for months while surviving in or below the kangaroo-court-suckling, totally hostile environment which is filled with people who have absolutely zero interest in helping them, because all those people are civilians (see definition above)".

I would appreciate it if perhaps Mr. Nolan took it upon himself to remember certain things (pointed out quite eloquently by by the estimable Mr. Pratchett, in the voice of one Mr. Vimes); to wit, that police officers are also people, and members of their society.[1] As a result, perhaps tarring everyone who was not on duty at the time of a vicious terrorist attack with the "ewwwww, look at the poor people, obviously they're craven and gross and sycophantic" brush is frankly lazy, and shitty storytelling to boot.[2]
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[1] Mr. Pratchett also has a wonderful line in skewering pithy assumptions about the moral character and social acceptability of being poor.
[2] Even if you do do it with Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Who deserved a better movie.
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From:fatpie42
Date:May 6th, 2013 03:09 pm (UTC)
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Aren't the people wrestling with little old ladies mostly the criminals freed from Gotham's overcrowded prison?

And aren't the police unable to be rescued by civilians because civilians are too busy hiding in their homes? And also because trying to save the trapped police officers would most likely get them shot?

But yeah, Dark Knight Rises was wonderfully filmed and horribly written. I think it might be a little hypocritical to inflict mob violence on him for misrepresenting ordinary people as easily forming into a violent mob.
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From:theweaselking
Date:May 6th, 2013 03:18 pm (UTC)
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Aren't the people wrestling with little old ladies mostly the criminals freed from Gotham's overcrowded prison?

No. Most of them are civilians, taking Bane's exhortation to smash the system as an opportunity.

There ARE criminals, but mostly it's just normal poor people.

And aren't the police unable to be rescued by civilians because civilians are too busy hiding in their homes?

No. Most of the civilians are enthusiastically looting and cheering on the Scarecrow's court, because they're poor and there's no cops. When they're not actively hunting down and executing all the rich, productive, USEFUL people who you can tell are better because they're rich.

Because, you see, the moocher class will take any opportunity to destroy the Randian supermen who actually make society work.
[User Picture]
From:fatpie42
Date:May 6th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
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There ARE criminals, but mostly it's just normal poor people.

How could you tell?

Most of the civilians are enthusiastically looting

Once again, how can you possibly tell?

Because, you see, the moocher class will take any opportunity to destroy the Randian supermen who actually make society work.

So the bus driver getting the children out of Gotham is a police officer too? Clearly there are good people, but they are not strong enough to save themselves.

Perhaps I find rioting and looting by ordinary people a little more realistic seeing as it happened in places all over England during the riots the other year. It certainly wasn't ALL people (and certainly not only poor people) that were happily engaged in looting during those riots and so I didn't presume that was the case in Nolan's movie either. But yeah, turns out that gleeful looting and violence when law and order breaks down is actually pretty realistic. - Nothing Randian about it.

Edited at 2013-05-06 03:28 pm (UTC)
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From:torrain
Date:May 6th, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
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Oh, be fair. Most of the rich people we see aren't useful either. Perhaps they're just meant to be better?

Seriously, the ridiculous criminal/non-criminal dichotomy in the Batman movies is creepy, and watching the later stuff has made the earlier movies suck more for me. Here, let's unpack a couple of lines from Batman Begins:
When you lived among the criminals, did you start to pity them?
The first time I stole so that I wouldn't starve, yes. I lost many assumptions about the simple nature of right and wrong. And when I traveled, I learned the fear before a crime and the thrill of success. But I never became one of them.
Because, of course, actually committing a crime doesn't make you a criminal. Breaking the law doesn't make you a criminal. No, being a criminal is something viler, something that our hero never truly did, because only criminals can commit real crimes...

...wait. Isn't this the Orson Scott Card logic? You know, "Ender doesn't do bad things because you need bad intent to do bad things and only bad people have bad intent so he doesn't do bad things, so he's not bad"?
[User Picture]
From:torrain
Date:May 6th, 2013 04:30 pm (UTC)
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...pursuant to this, I am reminded of Sandman's beautiful line in that Spiderman movie; and I have yet to see a Batman movie where I would find it at all plausible for the contention "I'm not a bad guy, I just had bad luck," to be treated with respect.

(I mean. Seriously. Dredd handled poor people with more respect than Dark Knight Rises. Dredd.)
[User Picture]
From:torrain
Date:May 6th, 2013 04:19 pm (UTC)
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Nope, they're the hordes of poor people rising up against the rich, as foreshadowed by Catwoman early in the movie. I mean, unless you're working on the assumption that the dangerous criminals all stopped to change out of orange jumpsuits and, say, into bellhop uniforms before throwing senior citizens down the stairs?

Also: no, the civilians were not busy hiding in their homes for weeks (actually I suspect closer to months, given what we are told about the bomb, but I will cut it down to weeks given that perhaps magic push-the-spine-back-in therapy causes accelerated healing, and anyway why would you expect reliable information about the bomb); if nothing else, they would have all starved. Drake's clearly afraid of being spotted, there's no indication of organized patrols, and he and Gordon can't make one contact? Can't find one reliable person they knew from before? Yes, yes, there are no cops, but seriously--they don't know one EMT or fireman or relative of a cop who is willing to give them a place to stay, go out and keep an ear to the ground, or get supplies?

No, they do not, because the only non-cop inhabitants of Gotham city worth showing are people who kowtow to scary brown terrorists, assault those who can't defend themselves, and react to the return of law and order by using automatic weapons on uniformed officers.

((Actually, seriously where was the food coming from? Gotham is an island. A crowded island. Possibly there were UN food drops? I mean, clearly the cops found razors, so perhaps there was a food supply as well underground, or some kind of freight train...))

*raises eyebrow* This isn't mob violence. This is personal online hyperbolic venting about a high-handed jackass who spent hundreds of millions of dollars painting people who are neither "rich" nor "cops" as cowardly and opportunistic collaborators. Because once you take the cops out of the equation? Nolan wants to be clear that you can look to the classic example of Western civilization that is Gotham and know in your heart that if you scratch someone who isn't rich, you will find a snivelling quisling. And in response to his million-dollar class-panic fantasy, I get to spend ten minutes and perhaps a quarter on expressing my fantasized reaction to it.

((Also, remember that efforts to research green energy are directly responsible for putting orphans out onto the street! To be cold. Or starve. Or to get beaten up by Batman.))
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From:fatpie42
Date:May 6th, 2013 04:43 pm (UTC)
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as foreshadowed by Catwoman early in the movie

You mean Catwoman, the small-time supervillain? The one who, by the time the mobs start uprising has both entered and exited Gotham prison?

Yeah, that's why I thought that the people doing the looting were ex-prisoners of Gotham prison (and possibly their criminal friends from before they were locked up - like Catwoman's thief friend).

willing to give them a place to stay, go out and keep an ear to the ground, or get supplies?

Not sure what you are saying. Gordon and a select group of people are attempting to form a plan, but supplies are coming from Bane's own people (and presumably he's providing them with safety razors or something). If they started trying to get the police out of the underground they WOULD be spotted and killed.

*raises eyebrow* This isn't mob violence.

Oh sure, you're just fantasising about mob violence. And Nolan is just fantasising that people would start looting if law and order breaks down. I wish the London riots had just been fantasy too.


I think I may actually have commented on the orphans thing in my review of this. It's as if Bruce Wayne is the only one with any money. How about the orphanage be supported by taxes instead? That'd work right? It seemed very libertarian to propose that the only people responsible for safeguarding children is big businesses while the government is left entirely out of the look. So yeah, that bit DID feel rather Randian to me.

I'm not sure that the green energy thing is fair though. They could have made a fortune from the green energy device if it wasn't far too easy to turn it into a bomb. That's an anti-military perspective and a PRO green energy perspective. It's the idea that orphanages can't last without Wayne Enterprises that bugs me.
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From:torrain
Date:May 6th, 2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
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Yep. The one who specifically warns Wayne that the system will be overthrown, that he and his rich friends are going to regret leaving so little for "the rest of us". So what is that, again? Wayne's friends are the rich, and everyone else is spoken for by a criminal?

(And yes, she rejects it. Don't worry, by that point the civilians have proceeded to fulfill her prediction.)

I'm saying that the cops are attempting to form a plan, because with an entire city full of people who've just, told that they could be blown up at any time, and are regularly seeing people get executed, no-one else is getting their thumb out of their ass to be constructive. No-one. Not in the first panic, not in the days that follow, not in the weeks after. No-one except the cops do anything. Never had a badge? Well hello there, quisling. Be one of the unannoying ones and just lie there limply, would you? The real people will do something; cops are real people, unlike you. The only ones of you worth speaking about were last seen dragging someone out from cover and beating them up.

(I'm fantasizing about me violence. Where are you getting this mob thing? I am, to be specific, fantasizing about tying Nolan to a chair, putting a buzzy thing on his eyes that will[1] put a pithy line about NEWSFLASH COPS ARE HUMAN PEOPLES WHAT LIVE IN A CITY on his eyeballs while yelling about how they are not the only human peoples what live in a city and maybe he should stop being a high-handed snip about all the others, and then letting him go. He'll be fine, it'll be like Sharpie-ing up his face if he got drunk and made an ass of himself. Does that make it clearer?)

I really came away with the reading that it was the decision to pour all the money into the research that resulted in the Wayne Foundation being impoverished, rather than the research ultimately not working out, but okay. Regardless, the only people who are morally upstanding are shown to be cops, people who know Batman's secret identity (Alfred, Lucius, the Bat his own self), or the orphanage priest.

(Nolan could have just had one of the politicos at the party going on about how the 'care in the community' effort had freed up funds formerly assigned to orphanages, as well as doing the 'we are safe and content now, so let's throw the war hero who has given his all to the job under the bus, since war heroes are inconvenient in peacetime' dance at Gordon...)

Regardless, explicitly showing care and consideration implemented by the society as a whole would undermine the idea that only rare special people (cops, Batman and his tiniest Google+ circle) can actually make a difference, and would have granted agency to common people rather than uniformed ideals. DC has never been good at that.

Oh, the subtlety of that movie.

((Are we meant to buy that it's substantially more dangerous than a common- or garden-variety nuclear reactor? And seriously, if it was so incredibly easy to turn it into a bomb, why did they keep it around? I mean, I have been cutting the Dark Knight movies slack on science for years--I am still hugging my idea that the totally plausible explanation for why the water-to-gas gizmo didn't explode thousands of people on its trip through Gotham City was simply lost on the metaphorical cutting room floor--but that was stupidity on the part of people, not glitches in science.))
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[1] Bloodlessly, neatly, without causing writhing pain which would interfere with the lettering.
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From:fatpie42
Date:May 6th, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
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I think my perspective might be coloured by the fact that I'm from the UK where ordinary people don't have guns.

Certainly the bad guys in Gotham have Batman's old tanks as well as their South American military training, so your average person's guns would still be of pretty limited use against THEM.

But here in the UK, if dangerous criminals were all released from prison and provided with illegal arms to use without fear of the law while the military and police forces had both been put out of action, we'd be seriously helpless (for obvious reasons).

I suppose in the US it's easier to imagine every Tom, Dick and Harry coming out with their semi-automatic rifles and mowing down the baddies by themselves. (Not Bane's men, sure. But ordinary criminals from the prisons would be easier to deal with I suppose.) So it becomes more likely that the reason this doesn't happen is because they are actively looting the houses, as opposed to because they are hiding and terrified (and most likely starving too).

Part of my problem with The Dark Knight Rises has always been that the views of ordinary people are simply not expressed here. But I suppose it is possible that Nolan thinks the scenes of looting IS showing the reaction of ordinary people. (Though even if that IS the case, he still ought to have had some of them actually SPEAK about it in some way.)

Edited at 2013-05-06 06:54 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:torrain
Date:May 6th, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC)
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I'm from Canada, spent part of my childhood in the UK; while my gut reaction is also that "ordinary people don't have guns". I will catch myself and note that ordinary people do sometimes have guns. And I am certainly not talking about heading out into the street to shoot everyone who looks scary--but could we at least get a little resistance going here?

For the love, the supposedly good person who you can infer didn't loot and who is directly responsible for the welfare of a large number of children does not even bother to gas up his own vehicle in case something happens that might make it possible to escape. There is no-one who offers help. There is no-one coming by to check on him and the kids who he could ask for help, whether because he is too craven to ask or they are too craven to be trustworthy. He does not even ask the surviving cop who has been coming around for help.

Motheragod: Thumb, extract thineself from ass (for something other than stealing and looting, please).

I am not entirely sure that Nolan believes in ordinary people--but if he doesn't believe they will either riot or do nothing, then he believes that criminals stop and change into a nice array of office clothes so they just look like common working stiffs (for the benefit of movie cameras that don't exist in their world) before they assault and destroy things. Neither viewpoint is appealing. The first is comprehensible, if repellant.
[User Picture]
From:torrain
Date:May 6th, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
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Tangentially, since I have been considering time elapsing, and groceries, and other such considerations:

I have a new theory about Dark Knight Rises! Remember how when Bane attacked the stock exchange, it was early afternoon, and then the cops show up and cut the stock exchange fiber connection, and then Bane escapes and we have the chase scene outside and it's full dark?

Clearly Bane has strange time dilation powers. The longest you can assume that scene taking in terms of time for the characters is a couple of hours and that is stretching it; the shortest you can assume it took on the clock was from around two-thirty in the afternoon until six-thirty. (Yes, I'm being generous. Yes, I looked up Manhattan sunrise and sunset times. And assumed October, actually, which was also rather generous.) Time around Bane is at least halved.

Perhaps these powers originate from the Pit (yes, his mother was bitten by a radioactive prison or something while he was in the womb; it's a fine tradition, hush). But there's no suggestion that he had a particularly accelerated development... so perhaps the Pit actually accelerates time relative to the rest of the world, and this effect was cancelled out by Bane.

This hypothesis holds that time in the Pit is doubled relative to the rest of the world, and time around Bane is halved relative to the rest of the world. Four weeks in a Bane-less Pit can pass while only a week passes in Bane's presence.

Let us further hypothesize that the ancient and mystical technique of "oh, hey, just let me push your spine back in" actually results in weirdly accelerated healing, and it takes no more than three months (but Bane-less Pit months!) to be back up and moving athletically after it is applied.

Finally, let us hypothesize that there was an immediately convenient mode of transportation from the Pit to Gotham, enabling Batman to return within a couple of hours once he got out.

So... yeah. With magical time dilation, Gotham was under Bane for three weeks. If you scrap that, and just go with the hitherto undiscovered technique of spine-pokey, and the incredibly convenient transportation, it was three months. Where was all the food coming from? Even Candyman had the (awful, out-of-place) scene of Candyman letting the kidnapped infant suckle blood.

(ETA: for the record? "Magical time dilation" and accelerated spine-pokey healing gets Batman back to Gotham in twenty-two-and-three-quarters days. Lucius Fox explained the bomb would go off twenty-three days after it was created. The secret, I have clearly stumbled upon it.)

Edited at 2013-05-06 07:04 pm (UTC)
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From:fatpie42
Date:May 6th, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC)
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Okay, let me just make clear that I am not saying that TDKR is a good movie. It has a LOT of problems. I love the atmosphere, the acting and the camera work (and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman), but it has become increasingly clear that the plot is VERY dodgy.

All I was denying was that we need to accept that it was mostly the ordinary civilians partaking in looting, as opposed to the masses and masses of inmates previously locked up under the Dent act (e.g. Catwoman) who are now released. - That's it!

Let us further hypothesize that the ancient and mystical technique of "oh, hey, just let me push your spine back in" actually results in weirdly accelerated healing, and it takes no more than three months (but Bane-less Pit months!) to be back up and moving athletically after it is applied.

Now THAT is a fair criticism. Heck, it's a really simple and obvious criticism.

Here's Batman's health as the movie progresses:
1. Batman has leg damage which he apparently needs a special device to put right.
2. Batman has no leg device any more AND has severe back damage.
3. Wise man in prison resets Batman's back. (Batman still has no leg device.)
4. Batman's back AND leg are both completely healed. Apparently. Meaning that not only has his back healed up from being severely damaged before, but apparently he must have grown new cartilage. He can now attempt a dramatic jump that none of the other inmates in the prison are capable of.
5. Batman has just failed to make the dramatic jump and has fallen only to be caught by a rope digging into his fragile spine. After a short break he's ready to jump again. (WHAT???)
6. Batman achieves the impossible jump, proving that everyone else in the prison is less capable than a recent invalid. Sucks to be them. Now Batman proceeds to find a way to get back to Gotham double-quick in spite of having no passport, no money and absolutely no idea where he is. Easy peasy!

So yeah, NOT A CHANCE.

Where was all the food coming from?

People are starving. We see one kid stealing an apple. Clearly most of the inhabitants of Gotham will be long dead and yeah, I suppose ordinary civilians MUST be looting because otherwise they'd have none of the food. Still, at least they don't have to suffer from radiation poisoning from the fallout when a nuclear bomb detonates 8 miles away. (The Chernobyl incident affected sheep in Wales. There is no way that cancer rates in Gotham aren't going through the roof over the next ten years.)
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From:torrain
Date:May 6th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
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Understood. :) Agreed with you on those points; it's just that while the plot is dodgy, my most acute problem with it is that it's bloody hateful towards anyone who isn't rich or uniformed. Part of that is the looting--and we clearly do disagree on who engaged in it, and I am going to stand by my assertion that it wasn't released inmates and Nolan-criminals[1] who engaged in most of the looting; looking at the scenes again, those are employees, office workers, people who work for a living. Part of that is that no-one who isn't rich or uniformed does anything helpful, and what we end up is a narrative about a city where if you aren't a cop or rich you are an insipid or opportunistic quisling.

I have considered the proportion of cops and cavalierly rich to the general population, both among people that I know and love and the percentage of the population in general, and I find DKR to be really goddamn creepy. I mean, if DKR were a person offering to give my sister a lift, I would try to find her another way to get where she needed to go and if I couldn't I would worry until she let me know that she'd made it wherever safely. Because DKR is not an axe murderer or anything, but they've loudly and bombastically made it clear that they're pretty sure that average people (like my sister, like other drivers, like pedestrians) don't actually count and aren't worthy of consequences or anything like that.

DKR is a beautifully-made movie. But having noticed the plot-fail (which I can forgive!) and the creepiness (harder...), I find it's harder for me to appreciate that. It's like a beautifully written poem which explains that the best thing a retail clerk can do is keep their mouth shut and smile while real people are talking--

--oh, god, it's like Lovecraft. And his weird and lyrical and rather lovely fantasy piece which ended with "and then the fine and noble society of white men was destroyed by the invasion of evil ugly squat yellow Eskimos, and they are still around today, bloohoohahahahhh."

(So not joking.)

A/y!

People are hungry (although the only person we see stealing food is a child fending for themselves, who is not a typical social signifier), but calling them starving seems like it's pushing it; they're relatively clean, neat, healthy, and the urgency of needing food never comes up. The priest at the orphanage doesn't mention it, the orphanage apparently doesn't lack for food but I don't recall any defenses against people who might raid for food, Foley talks about waiting it out as if shelter, heat, and food were not important considerations. I'd buy it as a forgotten point, though.

(And then there was Blake/Drake's eyes not melting out of his skull. Oy.)
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[1] Nolan-criminals, you see, are a special kind of person or possibly thing. They're not people who commit crimes, no. Nolan-criminals are other.

Edited at 2013-05-08 11:48 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:fatpie42
Date:May 9th, 2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
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But Nolan-criminals include Catwoman.... Is she 'other' too?
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From:torrain
Date:May 9th, 2013 06:45 pm (UTC)
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By virtue of being white, thin, and pretty, she is given something approximating a character arc and allowed to be redeemed by the Sterling Example of Rich Man What Fixes Things For People Who Don't Deserve Him.
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From:fatpie42
Date:May 9th, 2013 07:14 pm (UTC)
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Okay, one issue I have here.

I'm told that the looters cannot be villains because they are wearing shirts and ties (therefore ordinary people who've just been to work). Fair enough, I'd forgotten about that and it's a good point.

However, the next moment I'm being told they are poor. Seriously, if I'm portraying someone as poor in a film, I wouldn't normally dress them in a tie. These aren't the desperately poor. They are the downtrodden who feel they are owed something by those with more than them.

And let's face it, the idea that normal people would loot if given the opportunity is demonstrably true! We all SAW IT HAPPEN. Not all the looters in the London riots were poor. Many were found to be middle class. The destruction wreaked on the areas of London where the looting took place was appalling. Most of those involved were at no point involved in any kind of protest beforehand. They didn't care what the original cause for protest had been. For them this was pure opportunism and greed. They felt they were owed something and so they took what they thought was owed to them. What's more, they found it a thrill to do so.

None of those people needs to care one little bit what Bane had to say. They've got their opportunity to take what they feel they deserve and the police can do nothing about it. So they take their opportunity gleefully. In the light of the London riots (which didn't take place until 3 months after TDKR started filming) that sounds pretty true to life.
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From:torrain
Date:May 9th, 2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
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No-one said anything about desperately poor. And yes, this is exactly the point:

In Dark Knight Rises, if you are an adult who is not uniformed (largely cops, but this does also cover the priest--and, amusingly, would also cover Alfred if he was not presumably very well off) or rich, then the only way you are relevant is because you are a dangerous, selfish, potentially violent parasite. That is the only way you are worth depicting. Selina Kyle gets the redemption arc; yes, she is in the touched-by-Batman circle but it wouldn't work if she wasn't exactly this to start out as.

Give me one split minute of screen time that says different. Give me the old man who stands up when Loki is telling the crowd to kneel. Give me Jay Jonah Jameson lying through his teeth to protect some freelance photographer he doesn't even like at the cost of his own life. Give me the Howling Commandos. Give me the counterexample that says Nolan bothers to conceive of common people who aren't filth.

Go.

Edited at 2013-05-09 07:31 pm (UTC)
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From:fatpie42
Date:May 9th, 2013 09:58 pm (UTC)
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Give me one split minute of screen time that says different. Give me the old man who stands up when Loki is telling the crowd to kneel. Give me Jay Jonah Jameson lying through his teeth to protect some freelance photographer he doesn't even like at the cost of his own life.

The Batman movies are trying to be plausible. Sure, they don't always succeed, but they also aren't actively seeking out unrealistic cheesy nonsense for the hell of it.

No idea who the howling commandos are. *googles* Oh right, some of the goofiest nonsense in the whole Marvel universe. Got it...

Look, if you introduce a team of soldiers who we are supposed to look on fondly, you should actually do something with them. I'm not accepting the excuse that "they show the decency of the common man". What they do is show that the film is keen to introduce characters that it can't develop properly.

Nolan introduced more stuff than he could properly tackle in his script as it was. I don't really think that adding even more characters to flesh out would have helped it.

I've just remembered a fantastic movie moment that subverts the very trope that you feel should have been shoved into Nolan's third Batman movie. You want someone who stands up to the bad guys? Ever seen "Killing Zoe"? There's a scene where an American tourist decides to speak out against the bank robbers.

http://youtu.be/PmlVCQ_WDHQ?t=1m46s

P.S.
would also cover Alfred if he was not presumably very well off

Servants are rich people all of a sudden? Wow, suddenly "Downton Abbey" doesn't seem quite so horrible (even if it is still interminably boring).

it wouldn't work if she wasn't exactly this to start out as

Wasn't exactly what?
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From:theweaselking
Date:May 9th, 2013 10:41 pm (UTC)
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the very trope that you feel should have been shoved into Nolan's third Batman movie.

You misunderstand the point, entirely.

Hint: "It would have been a nice letup to the unrelenting demonisation of the underclass for there to be SOMEONE, ANYONE who wasn't a looter, a cop, or a personal friend of Batman's."

What they do is show that the film is keen to introduce characters that it can't develop properly.

It really wouldn't have taken much. And in contrast, they spend a lot of screen time establishing that the average citizen of peaceful, settled, idyllic Gotham is secretly a looter who hates and fears his betters and only needs an excuse and the removal of the police to immediately trash shit.

Servants are rich people all of a sudden?

In general, no. Alfred specifically, *yes*. And even if he wasn't rich-and-staying-because-Batman, he falls under the "personal friend of Batman" exception.

Wasn't exactly what?

Read it again.

"In Dark Knight Rises, if you are an adult who is not uniformed (largely cops, but this does also cover the priest--and, amusingly, would also cover Alfred if he was not presumably very well off) or rich, then the only way you are relevant is because you are a dangerous, selfish, potentially violent parasite. That is the only way you are worth depicting. Selina Kyle gets the redemption arc; yes, she is in the touched-by-Batman circle but it wouldn't work if she wasn't exactly this to start out as."

You don't appear to understand the complaint.

Perhaps, and here's a suggestion, you should decide whether you want to

A) argue that the film DOES NOT hate poor people because you're not good at noticing details,
or
B) argue that the film's hating of poor people is justified because you're afraid,

and stick with whichever one you finally decide on? You've been arguing both of those so far, and they're mutually contradictory.
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From:torrain
Date:May 9th, 2013 11:20 pm (UTC)
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Hint: "It would have been a nice letup to the unrelenting demonisation of the underclass for there to be SOMEONE, ANYONE who wasn't a looter, a cop, or a personal friend of Batman's."

Yeah. I mean, if only there was such a character that had a history in the comics that they could have drawn on. Perhaps someone (a doctor?) who used her skills to actually help the downtrodden and disadvantaged in an immediate measurable way. Someone who, when Gotham was cut off from the outside world, was brave and strong enough to run the only medical clinic for its inhabitants. A longstanding character who has an extensive history of actually putting herself at risk to do good--

--oh wait, shit, Dr. Leslie Thompkins is a female character who doesn't end up screwing Bruce Wayne. Even if she is a friend of the family, never mind, there's no room for that.

(ETA: I mean, yes, they would have had to tweak her a little to keep her from being a Batman+. But there's a foundation there they could have worked with, and chose not to.)

Edited at 2013-05-09 11:21 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:fatpie42
Date:May 10th, 2013 03:22 pm (UTC)
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It really wouldn't have taken much. And in contrast, they spend a lot of screen time establishing that the average citizen of peaceful, settled, idyllic Gotham is secretly a looter who hates and fears his betters and only needs an excuse and the removal of the police to immediately trash shit.

You mean like actually happened in real life during the London riots?

You say they spent a lot of screen time on it. It was actually pretty tame by comparison to what we saw through the streets of London a few months after filming took place.


I'm quite happy to accept arguments when they are well argued. I'm not an apologist. If the reasoning is good, I'll accept it. When it was noted that the people doing the looted were wearing shirts and ties, it because pretty clear they hadn't just been released from the prison (where everyone wears orange).

What I'm concerned about here is the idea that portraying the police as good characters isn't good enough because they wear a uniform and that portraying ordinary people looting is somehow unfair. Like you said at the beginning, police are ordinary people too (though naturally we do see the bus driver and the orphans being good albeit with the direction of a police officer - who, you might remember, gives up being a police officer in the end). And the looting is actually toned down from what we saw in real life that same year.
[User Picture]
From:theweaselking
Date:May 10th, 2013 04:55 pm (UTC)
(Link)
You mean like actually happened in real life during the London riots?

I mean almost entirely *unlike* what happened in London. In Gotham, in response to a terrorist attack destroying a landmark and murdering thousands of people, much screen time is spent explaining how otherwise decent people with lives and families and jobs joyfully join in the violent mob for the purpose of pulling down and destroying the wealthy, out of fear and jealousy. Since the Glorious Underappreciated Police, who have been Hamstrung By Liberal Budget Cuts And Policies, are prevented from restraining this uncontrollable moocher class (composed, I again point out, of every non-rich citizen we see until VERY late in the movie), they ruin everything and begin executing everyone the movie presents as their betters in a kangaroo court run by a well-known supervillain.

None of which happened in London.

Compare with, say, New York City's response to a terrorist attack destroying a landmark and murdering thousands of people. I'm just saying.

I'm not an apologist.

You really are.

When it was noted that the people doing the looted were wearing shirts and ties

Not just "shirts and ties", but job uniforms. Waiters. Doormen. Parking Attendants. The underclass. The other. The poor. THEM.

What I'm concerned about here is the idea that portraying the police as good characters isn't good enough because they wear a uniform

Your concern is noted, but misdirected. The problem is not that "portraying the police as good characters isn't good enough because they wear a uniform", it is that *only* uniformed paramilitary officers of the state are presented as *having the capacity to be good*.

Nobody is objecting to the "cops are generally good guys" vibe. The objection is to the "non-cops are always evil" vibe.
[User Picture]
From:fatpie42
Date:May 10th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
much screen time is spent explaining how otherwise decent people with lives and families and jobs joyfully join in the violent mob for the purpose of pulling down and destroying the wealthy, out of fear and jealousy.

Those interviewed after the London riots said that they felt they were owed something. They felt that the richer elements in society had promised them something and they deserved to take it back. Unfortunately that dissatisfaction was probably felt less by the shops that were part of big national and global outlets and rather more by the people who owned local businesses whose shops were also wrecked. The sentiment, however, was pretty much what you've described. Anonymous interviewees expressed how they felt a thrill from taking part in the riots and the looting and wanted to do it more than once for that reason. They were dealing with their fear of instability and their jealousy of those who already possessed what they seemed to be constantly promised.

It seems to me that the real life case shows that Nolan's fictional scenario isn't as far fetched as you are suggesting.

Since the Glorious Underappreciated Police, who have been Hamstrung By Liberal Budget Cuts And Policies

Conservative budget cuts actually. But yeah....

this uncontrollable moocher class (composed, I again point out, of every non-rich citizen we see until VERY late in the movie)

*shrugs* When does the shirt and tie guy turn up then? I thought I remembered that being during the initial looting. Not later on.

Not just "shirts and ties", but job uniforms. Waiters. Doormen. Parking Attendants. The underclass. The other. The poor. THEM.

Office workers, teachers, etc. The 99%. Yes, I do agree that the political message IS problematic. Not because these people riot and loot, but because we never see their perspective on it. That people WOULD do that is FINE by me, but that doesn't mean that the film was right not to give any screen time to the people themselves.

It was mentioned earlier that 'even Dredd' did better on this. Actually I'd say that "Dredd" did a very good job on this. We DO see both sides. We can SEE why people are involved in fighting the judges. We also feel sorry for those people when the big baddie decides that an entire floor of the housing block is expendable. Also we have the psychic in the middle of it. Yes, the people in the block are kind of portrayed as scum sometimes, but they are not an incongruous group which has He-Man-villain motivations. They are in a variety of situations and they are doing their best in a situation where they cannot rely on the authorities to help or protect them and so we can see why they make their decisions.

So yes, I think we have a point of agreement in all this ranting. But my specific concern is the idea that the rioting in Nolan's movie would not happen. My response is yes it would! What is missing, however, is some exploration of the sentiments of people doing the looting (which is undoubtedly a major reason why, within context of the movie, you personally FIND it to be so unrealistic).

The objection is to the "non-cops are always evil" vibe.

Okay then. I don't think there's a "non-cops are always evil" vibe.

Looking back I can't see any response to the bus driver and orphans example. Why don't they count as good guys?

Anyway, I don't think TDKR is a good movie. I feel I need to point that out again. It's well-shot and well-acted and I like a lot of the action sequences, but the plot is dogshit and it becomes increasingly obvious that it is dogshit the more you think about it. For all sorts of reasons.

However, the decision to portray the nobility of ordinary people through a policeman rather than a fireman, office worker or parking attendant, is NOT, to my mind, a problem worthy of special note.

P.S. I hope I haven't come across as a dick in recent comments. I was up late last night (writing job applications, of all things, with work in the morning too) and I could probably do with some sleep. I hope this comment comes off a little more balanced than some of the others.

Edited at 2013-05-10 09:15 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:theweaselking
Date:May 10th, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Looking back I can't see any response to the bus driver and orphans example. Why don't they count as good guys?

The orphans: Because they're not characters. They're "THE CHILLLDRUUUNNN" that we're supposed to be asking "what about?" while Those People and Those Non-White Foreigners ruin everything by no longer being 100% downtrodden.

The bus driver: Because he appears at the end of the movie, after all of the rest of the imagery, does not contest the imagery, and his sole narrative purpose appears to be "now we don't have to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt or one of the kids drive"

However, the decision to portray the nobility of ordinary people through a policeman rather than a fireman, office worker or parking attendant, is NOT, to my mind, a problem worthy of special note.

It wouldn't be, if that was what had been done.

However: Police are inherently *more* problematic than many others because of their access to the state monopoly on violence. You have to be careful with them - and this movie not only wasn't careful, it went straight off in the opposite direction of careful.

It didn't "use a policeman to portray the nobility of ordinary people", it used *all* policemen to establish clearly that policemen are *not* normal people. Policemen, in that movie, are special, and noble, and good and this is *unlike* normal people. In fact, policemen (and rich people! Can't forget rich people) are the ONLY noble and good people. Ordinary people are evil.

This is not "portray the nobility of ordinary people through a policeman".

It is the tired, much-repeated argument that policemen are unique and special and are The Thin Blue Line that separates civilisation from the depradations of the civilian hordes, who are weak and greedy and smallminded and easily led by suspiciously brown foreign terrorists. It's a talking point that we've seen a million times, in reality and in fiction, often from the police themselves.
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From:fatpie42
Date:May 10th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It didn't "use a policeman to portray the nobility of ordinary people"

Y'see, I kind of thought that it did.

Just to expand on that a little (so you can state more clearly exactly how wrong I am), the movie seemed to be suggesting that Batman isn't above and beyond ordinary people. Anyone can be a hero. And it seemed to me that the 'anyone' was here represented by police officers who were prepared to stand up for what was right without tanks to back them up.

That is, of course, how we end up with the random situation where Bane's heavily armed terrorists and the police, presumably also possessing smaller guns of their own, end up all engaged in a fist fight. It doesn't make any sense, but the idea seemed to be that the typical police force had the strength of will to fight bad guys themselves and that they were able to be just as heroic as Batman without 'all those wonderful toys'.

Naturally we don't see old ladies joining in the fight. We see the people whose job is supposed to be to maintain law and order. The people who are supposed to protect the average Joe.

What this whole thing seemed to be forgetting was that if it weren't for this super-villain who was creating the whole ridiculous scenario with the bomb and the closed-off city, it otherwise seemed that the Dent Act worked. Gotham hasn't needed Batman for 8 years.

I honestly think Nolan intended for the Dent Act to, at best, seem ambiguous. But the way the movie plays out, I couldn't help but feel that it ended up being portrayed as a good thing which Bane, by releasing the prisoners, undoes. There didn't seem to be a clear explanation of why the lock-em-all-up solution was a bad thing. I can tell that in real life it is a bad thing, but in TDKR? It's not made terribly clear at all.
[User Picture]
From:theweaselking
Date:May 10th, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oh, and about Dredd:

They are in a variety of situations and they are doing their best in a situation where they cannot rely on the authorities to help or protect them

Yes. Exactly. They're not presented as evil or cartoonish or irredeemable, or lazy or greedy, and at no point are they defined as a whole as "unwilling to help themselves".

Unable, maybe.

Requiring, likely deserving, more assistance than they get? Yes.

Unwilling to do the work, only wanting to steal from people who have worked? No.

This is one of the many ways in which Dredd is better than Dark Knight Rises.
[User Picture]
From:fatpie42
Date:May 10th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Agreed. Dredd does some fantastic world-building while TDKR seems to send the world built up by the previous two films (somewhat shakily in The Dark Knight, I felt) crumbling into a cartoonish farce.

Dredd is a blooming GREAT superhero movie. (Anti-hero movie, whatever. It's the same genre essentially.)
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From:glenn_3
Date:May 11th, 2013 06:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
You seem to believe there's only three possible positions citizens can take in a riot situation: rioting, keeping their heads down and ignoring the needs of anybody else, or getting in the faces of rioters and getting themselves smacked down. But there's at least one other option: doing what good you can for both yourself and others, without putting yourself directly in harm's way.

I had cousins living in LA during the riots there. They failed to break anything, hurt anybody, or steal anything. They opened their home to a couple people who couldn't stay in their own and provided first aid when they saw people injured. They didn't feel all that special for not rioting and helping where they could, which tells me that their closest friends and neighbors were also not rioting and helping where they could.

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From:fatpie42
Date:May 11th, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
But there's at least one other option: doing what good you can for both yourself and others, without putting yourself directly in harm's way.

One option I kept referring to, I didn't call "keeping your head down", but rather I called it "hiding out". Hiding isn't necessarily on your own and for THAT length of time it would almost inevitably be something you did with other people, helping each other out.

My point is that we don't see people helping each other unless they are police officers because the characters we are following happen to be almost exclusively police officers. That doesn't mean that the other people aren't there (and helping each other, absolutely) but we don't see them because they are hiding.

In the situation Bane has set up, being at all linked to the police would be a death sentence. No one is going to want to be seen near one if they value their lives. I suppose there could have been a scenario where ordinary people have to hide a police officer, but yeah, as it is, the only place where we see this is from a police officer's own wife and she doesn't get much screen time. (Though I'd note this is more of a long term problem with Nolan and female characters than a failure to portray good characters that are not rich or police.)

They didn't feel all that special for not rioting and helping where they could.

Oh absolutely. More terrified I'd expect. (Naturally fear and bravery are not opposed to one another.)

I'll say again, I don't really like the movie that much. SInce re-watching the movie on DVD I've realised that my original review was much too positive. TDKR has a massive scale involved and it seems to waste time on all the wrong things, but I think it wants to focus on the conflict with Bane, not on the situation of ordinary people.

In a way, TDKR is following in the footprints of the 1989 Batman movie where people are greedily celebrating The Joker because he's throwing money at them. We can be pretty sure that some people would know that The Joker was dodgy and wouldn't be lured by the money and we don't see really see those people. Of course we know it's perfectly plausible that many people would be in those streets waiting to grab as much money as they can.

It seems to me the problem is that it doesn't SHOW ordinary people being good and brave. I disagree with the idea that Nolan doesn't believe that these people exist.
[User Picture]
From:glenn_3
Date:May 13th, 2013 07:37 am (UTC)
(Link)
Fair enough.
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From:torrain
Date:May 9th, 2013 10:59 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I am delighted and unsurprised to see that you concede my point and you can't think of a single example of Nolan portraying an average person taking it upon themselves to try to act decently. Not succeed, I will note (the first two examples I cited both required a costumed hero to save them, and while the third required Cap to save them, they then followed up by making themselves extremely useful WRT shooting Nazis/Hydras[1]), but merely try).

I note your argument that he deliberately does this in the name of making a plausible movie. (Plausibility is clearly such a high concern for Dark Knight Returns.)

This is quite illustrative; thank you for explaining what you think of as plausible. Apparently we agree on what Nolan feels it is important to establish.

To your postscript:

* Alfred is the personal assistant and butler of the scion of a billionaire family, a skilled veteran of the SAS, and a capable EMT. An unsurprising salary for the personal secretary of a billionaire CEO is between $200,000 and half a million a year (thank you, Ms. Bosanek), and Alfred's skillset, time commitment, and qualifications all exceed that. Even if you leave aside bequeathments from the last round of the Wayne family, it is reasonable to assume he would be compensated commensurately.

So while I will not speak to the salary of servants from nine or ten decades ago: yes, it is reasonable to assume that the pennyworth of Alfred Pennyworth is measured in the millions.

* Wasn't a "dangerous, selfish, potentially violent parasite".
---
[1] For the sake of clarity: yes, those were all examples from the movies. Since you referred to that group of soldiers as needing to do something beyond show the decency of the common man, and since what they actually did was help destroy a bunch of Hydra bases and kidnap Zola, I am going to presume you either didn't watch the movie, didn't pay attention, or didn't realize those were the Howling Commandos. Either way, I do hope that's cleared up.
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From:fatpie42
Date:May 10th, 2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I am delighted and unsurprised to see that you concede my point and you can't think of a single example of Nolan portraying an average person taking it upon themselves to try to act decently.

I concede that any examples I give will most likely be taken as exceptions that prove the rule.

I'm pretty sure I already mentioned the bus driver. I would have thought the orphan kids counted too. But since both are just doing what a police officer says than, let me guess, it doesn't count?


As far as the plausibility is concerned, your main argument seems to be that the opportunistic looting is implausible. As I have noted before (and you seem strangely unwilling to concede this point), it is DEMONSTRABLY the case that plenty of ordinary people will be opportunistic bastards when given the chance. While we do not see the ordinary people who go into hiding and/or lock their doors while this havoc is taking place, that does not mean Nolan thinks they don't exist. Clearly the orphans must have been doing something for all that time.


and since what they actually did was help destroy a bunch of Hydra bases

Not onscreen they didn't.

and kidnap Zola

Who?

I am going to presume you either didn't watch the movie, didn't pay attention, or didn't realize those were the Howling Commandos

Technically, going just by the movies, there AREN'T any Howling Commandos in the movie. As far as I could tell (though admittedly that movie does get horrendously tedious by that stage so perhaps I missed it) that title is never given to them. It is only though wikipedia that I can tell who the term is referring to.

They are pretty minor characters really. You say that they are responsible for destroying the Hydra bases, but they are just a few POWs and we never see anything to make us think that they could destroy an entire base by themselves, or even lead a team to do so.

Perhaps I was just distracted by the absurd spectacle of a man in a brightly blue cheerleading propaganda outfit with a brightly coloured shield trying to sneak around a Nazi army base undetected. Captain America should not really have been able to rescue ANYONE at that stage in the movie if it relied on him remaining undetected, because he would have been caught in less than ten minutes.

Edited at 2013-05-10 03:24 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:theweaselking
Date:May 10th, 2013 04:45 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I concede that any examples I give will most likely be taken as exceptions that prove the rule.

First: You seem unaware of the correct usage of the term "exception that proves the rule". The phrasing of that term in more modern English is "the exception that proves the universal rule to be *false*"

As such, if your examples were accepted as exceptions that prove the rule, that would be a good thing.

Your examples (the orphans, one single bus driver) are unconvincing.

As I have noted before (and you seem strangely unwilling to concede this point), it is DEMONSTRABLY the case that plenty of ordinary people will be opportunistic bastards when given the chance.

So you've decided to give on arguing that the movie doesn't hate poor people, and stick to "hatred of poor people is right because poor people scare me" once and for all? Good to know.

"and since what they actually did was help destroy a bunch of Hydra bases"

Not onscreen they didn't.


Apparently you didn't watch that part of the movie.

"and kidnap Zola"

Who?


Or that part.

Technically, going just by the movies, there AREN'T any Howling Commandos in the movie

Or that part.

You say that they are responsible for destroying the Hydra bases, but they are just a few POWs and we never see anything to make us think that they could destroy an entire base by themselves, or even lead a team to do so.

Or that part.

Was there any part of First Avenger that you *did* watch?

Perhaps I was just distracted by the absurd spectacle of a man in a brightly blue cheerleading propaganda outfit with a brightly coloured shield trying to sneak around a Nazi army base undetected.

Ah! At least one part.

But, regardless, your "I didn't see any examples of normal people being non-horrible in Captain America" argument is undermined not only by your apparent missing of all the examples, but also by your previous "I didn't see any examples of normal people being demonised in Dark Knight Rises" argument. Yes, we've ESTABLISHED that you're uncritical and unattentive, more examples of it are not strictly required.
[User Picture]
From:fatpie42
Date:May 10th, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
(Link)
So you've decided to give on arguing that the movie doesn't hate poor people, and stick to "hatred of poor people is right because poor people scare me" once and for all? Good to know.

I did cite a real life example.... *shrugs*

I'm not sure what hatred of the poor has to do with this. Many of the looters during the London riots were middle class and in Nolan's TDKR we already noted the looters were wearing suits and ties. Sure that doesn't mean they are particularly well off, but it does make "the poor" a less than apt description.

Apparently you didn't watch that part of the movie.

Yeah whatever. Some small minor characters who have barely any screen time and aren't introduced terribly well were involved in destroying bases. Wonderful. What's the point?

Heck, they are soldiers. They are in UNIFORM, so apparently they don't count. Right?

"I didn't see any examples of normal people being non-horrible in Captain America"

I never said that. My issue is that all the examples of good people being noble were the ridiculously cheesy bits.

Okay, let's imagine we're looking at a debate between Star Trek and Star Wars fans. A Star Wars fan notes that Star Trek is elitist since everyone is wearing a uniform. They then decide to point to a more standard everyman from Star Wars: Jar Jar Binks. The Star Trek fan might get annoyed by that, but not because there are no standard everymen in Star Wars, but because Jar Jar Binks is about the worst possible example you could try to use to start promoting Star Wars.

You're talking about a bunch of POWs who randomly get introduced part way through Captain America and, to those unfamiliar with the comics, were very poorly fleshed out indeed. And you are saying they are some kind of wonderful example of noble actions by ordinary people. It's such an irritating choice because they were such a LAME part of the movie for me.

Also, the guy in Avengers who says "basically Loki, you're just like Hitler" - Yeah, REALLY not a good moment IMO.
[User Picture]
From:theweaselking
Date:May 10th, 2013 09:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Heck, they are soldiers. They are in UNIFORM, so apparently they don't count. Right?

... since the movie didn't spend a lot of running time explaining that "only people in uniforms can be good, all people out of uniforms are bad", no. Their uniformed status doesn't matter, in that case.

A Star Wars fan notes that Star Trek is elitist since everyone is wearing a uniform

A ridiculous statement in many ways, not the least of which being it's utter inaplicability as an analogy here.

As I said before: The problem is not that "portraying the police as good characters isn't good enough because they wear a uniform", it is that *only* uniformed paramilitary officers of the state are presented as *having the capacity to be good*.
[User Picture]
From:thornae
Date:May 6th, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)
(Link)
You forgot "... you inbred streak of piss!" d=


(I know I'm in the minority, but Jingo is still my favourite Vimes novel.)
(Also, it just took me less than a minute to get up from the computer, find the book, and open it to the right page to check that I had indeed got the quote right. Nonetheless, despite apparently knowing it far too well, I think I'm going to read it again now. And then I may eventually get around to watching the 2nd and 3rd Nolan Batman films, to see what all the fuss is about.)



[User Picture]
From:torrain
Date:May 8th, 2013 07:23 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I did! Well, I more think it didn't quite fit the tone of the immediate conversation, but yes, I omitted it in the discussion of tattoo-by-fouring. :)

(It's hard for me to pick a favourite... Men at Arms is not it, though I still rather like it. Jingo and Hogfather were what reintroduced me to Pratchett as an adult, though, and I rather like them both very well.)

(I wouldn't bother with the movies. They're very well-crafted, but if you poke their timelines with a stick they tend to fall apart, and they're really just gross about how they treat people.)
[User Picture]
From:xengar
Date:May 7th, 2013 12:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
One thing that hasn't been mentioned so far, which I think needs to be brought up at least, is that in Christopher Nolan's version of the setting Gotham City is explicitly the worst the world has to offer. The plot of the first movie is that the League of Shadows has decided that Gotham is too corrupt and must be destroyed. And inexplicably they choose to make it even more corrupt for a while, rather than going straight to the part where they destroy it. Since the League is again the adversary of the third movie, it stands to reason that they have again followed their modus operandi and put effort into destabilizing everything before sweeping in with their plan to destroy the place. Whatever their reason for doing so might be.

It doesn't make these themes any less problematic, but I suppose it does explain one of the oddities of the Batman universe. Since so many of Batman's adversaries are non-powered individuals, they invariably have an army of thugs at their beck and call. And the villains obviously aren't involved in any sort of "thug share" program, because the plot is often something like "the Joker's forces are clashing with the Penguin's, Batman has to keep the civilians from being hurt in the crossfire." This being so, exactly what percentage of the population in (Batman's) Gotham City aren't moonlighting as members of one gang or another?
[User Picture]
From:torrain
Date:May 8th, 2013 07:19 pm (UTC)
(Link)
(1) They kicked Bane out of the League, remember?

(2) It explicitly isn't horribly corrupt and destabilized. It was getting better by the time the Joker showed up, and by the time the third movie rolls around eight years later it's the kind of place where (rich) people are comfortably referring to it as peacetime and talking about getting rid of the hardbitten honest and incredibly effective police Commissioner because they don't need him anymore, and the goal of one of the best thieves around is to get her criminal record erased so that she can start over. (Hint: if she wants to keep being a thief, she doesn't need to start over.)

Dark Knight Rises diverges sharply from a Batverse where any notable percentage of the population is drawing a salary from one of Batman's foes, because it's actually a pretty safe place without high levels of crime or crime bosses (and the concomitant armies of thugs that you theorize) to speak of.

That said: assume that there are a hundred Batvillains to speak of with thug gangs. I'm pretty sure this is high. Assume each of them has eight hundred individuals working for them (ah-ha-ha-ha, but assume, since we are thumbnailing), and assume, as you say, there is no overlap. No-one ever says "yeah, okay, I worked as muscle for the first Black Mask, but he hasn't been around in years, and I hear that this Crane guy is hiring." No-one ever says "I worked for the Joker until he had one of his crazy moments at my cousin, who also worked for him, so hell yes I quit and I work for the Falcone family now."

Then, lowball Gotham's population by assuming it's that of 2011 New York City, just over eight million. It's been mentioned to be as high as ten million, but what the hell, I'm digging up figures that will give you a ridiculously low answer about what percentage of the population aren't gang members. And with those figures:
Exactly what percentage of the population in (Batman's) Gotham City aren't moonlighting as members of one gang or another?
Over 99% of the population.

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