*Spoilers beneath the cut*
Why is so much lefty pop culture criticism both repetitive and generally bad criticism: take the criticism of Batman, it is not like the Dark Knight was more “subversive” than the Dark Night Rises, Batman in that movie keeps an allegory about problematic executive power only to justify its use while pretending to condemn it. It is also not like Batman was ever a particularly “lefty” source material. This is not anything but obvious. There are interesting things to be said about the Nolan Batman, particularly that it is sort of a mess artistically, and that it has conflicting messages: this review, while somewhat in the same tone as a lot of the silly articles I have seen from lefty publications, discusses it a little better. It admits the function of much of the culture industry is anyway: to reflect back at us what we already think we know.
Expecting a piece of popular culture to be beyond the cultural limitations of the current is silly: Batman has always been about the contradictions of the wealthy “crime fighter” is explicitly fascistic, like the lefty origins of Superman who morphs from an alien hero for the poor in the earliest comics to its nearly fascistic manifestation during the Second World War until the 1970s. The politics morph with the culture because that’s what adolescents fantasies reflect for purely “objective” commercial reasons. This point has been made by comic book writers themselves from Neil Gaiman to Alan Moore as early as the late 70s. At this point, pointing out that comic books have a hero-worshiping, almost fascistic, element is, well, a “duh” statement.