10 Troubling Messages From Superhero Movies

The Dark Knight Rises

Alright, so if you take your morals from superhero movies, you're probably a bit of a dunce, but given that these films are more often than not aimed at children, shouldn't we be paying attention to what sort of ideas they're feeding them? Comic book films were long thought of as lowest-common denominator fare for the drooling masses, though in recent years that perception has shifted towards works that meet audiences half-way, offering some food for thought and, you know, actually being entertaining. As such, the messages have become more incisive and provocative as the years have passed, making some often pretty unsettling statements about the nature of the world around us. The directors may play dumb when they're rumbled, but you can bet that the second they get home, they start grinning like a maniac about their oh-so-clever, often quite demented subtexts. Read on and have your view of 10 superhero movies forever ruined...

10. You Can't Trust Your Government, Or Really Anyone - The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises This message was about as subtle as Nick Nolte paying his bar tab, but Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises is unquestionably the most nihilistically bleak superhero film ever made, because that's, like, cool right now. Many have tried to dissect its various political ideologies, though the most obvious one cutting through the entire picture is a complete distrust of the government; the film opens with Gordon (Gary Oldman) about to give a speech condemning Harvey Dent and unmasking his charade, but he bottles it and runs home. His subterfuge is later revealed by Bane (Tom Hardy), causing the city's single idealistic cop, John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), to sneer at Gordon from a pedestal of implied superiority. The cops are lying scum and the government ends up abandoning Gotham, causing many of the hard-up citizens to incredulously start revolting against the city's rich and famous in a shoehorned class allegory. Of course, Bane turns out to be an even worse tyrant than the scumbag authorities, so the message really seems to be that there's nobody left to trust anymore, especially once Batman "dies" at the end. Of course, Robi-I mean John Blake is going to take the mantle of Batman soon enough, but my kid cousin weighs more than him, and probably stands a better chance fending off Gotham's rogues gallery too...
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Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.