Flicks Between Cultures: Batman Begins

It's a jolly-good lighthearted summer action film, so I hate to analyze it through my strange "between-cultures" perspective, but didn't the ninja men of the shadows reflect the prevailing American fear of religious terrorists? Their masked order's quest to annihilate immoral societies sounded strangely 9-11-ish to me. But the American way (we like to think), Batman's way, is about justice, not vengeance, and, by gum, a white male billionaire is the just the person to execute it. Forget democracy, the legal system, and the courts — we want a benevolent vigilante to defend our cities and eliminate dangerous foreigners.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the movie. And I, too, want America to be safe. But I LIKE the legal system; I like the checks and balances; I like the democratic process where the people make decisions and get to blog boldly on places like my Fire Escape. I don't want ANY billionaire to preserve the peace singlehandedly, no matter how benevolent and/or tormented he is.

My favorite male character was Officer Gordon, a law-abiding officer who refuses to be bought or bribed and ends up saving the day. At the end of the movie, Batman refuses Gordon's thanks, but I think Gordon was the one who deserved Batman's gratitude. No escape to the Himalayas for him. He was the American male archetype I like best — a middle-aged family guy doing his duty, upholding and obeying the law through good times and bad. Now that's a hero, if you ask me.

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