Why do Christopher Nolan's Batman movies inspire such awful behavior?
Back in the long-ago past of 2008, a coterie of mouth-breathing fans of Nolan's The Dark Knight caused a minor disgrace to humanity by posting incendiary comments at the web sites of various newspapers and magazines that had the gall to print negative reviews of the film. This week, in response to reviews of The Dark Knight Rises, they've upped the ante, threatening, among other things, sexual violence towards Associated Press critic Christy Lemire.
The obvious question: What message, exactly, are you trying to send? Do you think threatening someone will automatically convert them to your point of view? Wouldn't that more likely cause them to dismiss you and everything you have to say? (Okay, that was more than one question, but you get the point.)
Even more embarrassing is the whole Bane/Bain thing. You know the meme: Bane is the villain in the film, Bain Capital is Mitt Romney's money management firm, which one is the greater villain, ha ha ha. Sensible people would take the whole thing about as seriously as all those Hitler-reacts-to-whatever clips on YouTube, but never doubt the ability of right-wing crazies to overreact. This was intentional, they say, as if the makers of a movie that went into production two years ago somehow knew who the Republican presidential nominee would be in 2012, and that there would be a fuss over this particular business he ran.
This is nonsense, of course, but it would be equally ridiculous to believe The Dark Knight Rises has no political agenda. Nolan has claimed all along that the film was inspired in part by the Occupy Wall Street movement, and it seems unlikely his sympathy will be with the 1%.
Still, most networks and cable outlets--who have inexplicably covered this story as if it somehow can be considered, you know, "news"--have treated this particular flareup as a throwaway, gently mocking some of the more rabid conspiracy nuts for believing that a movie based on a comic book could have any deeper meaning. That "lighten up, it's a superhero" attitude is incredibly condescending, exactly the type of thing to inspire rabid Fanboys to believe no one takes them seriously, that causes them to see every bad review of something they hold dear as an affront to their very existence, thus causing them to write threatening letters--and the whole cycle starts again, a sequel to a movie nobody liked in the first place.