As a comic character, Batman seemingly teeters on the line of fascism. He breaks the law regularly, but when he sees other people doing the same thing, he suddenly takes the moral high ground. His nearly solipsistic worldview falls in line with some troubling ideologies. The secret meaning behind The Dark Knight Rises is one of Camus-meets-Nietzsche nihilism where the status quo becomes prized over a world where everyone lives as equals.
This messaging in The Dark Knight Rises is hard to miss - it lies in the dialogue, and especially in the actions of Batman. Many viewers feel this is the worst of Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, and while plenty of plot holes and overall odd moments exist in the nearly three-hour film, the most overt negativity comes from all the pro-capitalist Dark Knight Rises propaganda.
This isn't to say Christopher Nolan agrees with this line of thought, of course. Regardless, in The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan casts the anti-corporate revolutionaries as sneering, mustache-twirling villains, while the bureaucratic members of the local government and the wealthiest of Gotham are portrayed as heroes for simply existing. Thematically, The Dark Knight Rises is a complete mess.
Without Leadership Based On Capitalism, Gotham Falls Apart
Once Bane sends Bruce Wayne packing and wins the day in the second act, Gotham morphs into an Alice in Wonderland version of a leftist world. People are held in a kangaroo court, with their sentences handed out before they’re charged.
It’s as if the film is saying that populations without strong ties to corporations or a capitalist government can’t create good leaders.
The Audience Is Supposed To Feel Bad About A Billionaire Having His Wealth Redistributed
One of the main parts of Bane’s plan involves taking Bruce Wayne’s wealth and redistributing it among the people of Gotham - and you, as an audience member, are supposed to be upset about this. More than anyone, Bruce Wayne knows that money is freedom.
This is a character who gets away with whatever he wants because he boasts the cash flow to do so. But now that someone understands how to hit Bruce Wayne where it hurts (in the pocketbook), he’s suddenly in the fight of his life.
In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman fights not for your freedom - he’s fighting to regain his monetary independence.
Batman Is No More - Long Live Batman
The film climaxes with Batman supposedly sacrificing himself. In the process, he saves Gotham and transforms himself from a hero into a martyr. A statue is raised in his honor, Wayne Manor becomes an orphanage, and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Robin is inducted into a silent system of succession that will allow Batmans to watch over the city forever.
The sanctioned creation of a line of Batmans who are meant to work outside the law as a squadron of secret police is terrifying.