Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Batman Kicks Iron Man’s Ass

Warning: Spoilers, especially of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight.”

Toward the end of “The Dark Knight,” it’s revealed that Batman/Bruce Wayne has been working on a secret project that basically turns everyone’s cell phone into sonar images. He can spy on everyone in Gotham City. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but it’s both ultra cool and scary as hell. Batman realizes that one person shouldn’t have this power- he rationalizes using it because he needs to track the Joker, who is undeniably worse than Batman.

This same Batman who, in “Batman Begins,” brought down the entire League of Shadows to save the life of one murderer doesn’t trust himself to only use the spying device once. That’s why he gives Lucius Fox, the head of Wayne Enterprises’ Applied Science Division, the power to destroy it at any time. And he does just that, once Batman has found Joker.

There are a few decent people in the government, but even those decent people can be corrupted, as happened to poor Harvey Dent. A recurring theme throughout the film is that Commissioner Gordon doesn’t know who on the police force he can trust.

Compare this to the fascist presented in the Iron Man movie from earlier this summer. This is a guy who builds weapons for the government, so it can perpetuate its Middle Eastern war policies. When Tony Stark is kidnapped by insurgents, he uses his expertise to build a weapon to free himself. Upon his return to the United States he builds another, more impressive killing machine, so that he can fly back to the Middle East and act as a de facto government agent.

He hasn’t learned anything at all. Tony Stark should never have been in the Middle East at all. Our soldiers shouldn’t have been there. If it hadn’t been for the United States’ failed policies, he wouldn’t have gotten kidnapped.

Iron Man works for the government. Batman works outside of the government. At the end of “The Dark Knight,” Commissioner Gordon is forced to destroy the Bat-Signal, effectively severing all ties between hero and government. At the end of “Iron Man,” Tony Stark is recruited by Nick Fury of SHIELD, which we’re led to believe is some government defense agency.

A couple of more points:

Batman refuses to use a gun. Iron Man has rocket launchers that pop out of his shoulders.

Bruce Wayne spends the entire film nursing his broken heart. Tony Stark literally has a hole in his chest.

Bruce Wayne pretends to sleep with one hot prima ballerina after another, as part of his carefree, millionaire playboy cover. Tony Stark actually hops from bed to bed (come to think of it, this is one point where Iron Man is better than Batman. Sorry- forget this one.)

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