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Cut for spoilers, potentially triggery discussion.


Okay let's talk about incarcerated women, shall we? We see two of them in the film: Talia's mom and Selena. Talia gets to see her Mom pulled away for a gang rape after which she dies (though, in retrospect...that doctor could engineer some stuff up for Bane but not for her, huh? WTF patriarchy?). Then we see Selena go to prison; they explicitly say it's all male because it's so easy for her to break out of women's correction centers. This is immediately followed with the dialogue of "it's okay, she knows how to take care of herself."

Um.

So...does anyone else read this as reinforcing the onus of "it's your own fault if you get raped"? Cos that's kind of what I see here.

~

Another thing that really struck me is how the international actors are coded within the broader context of the film. Tom Hardy (English), Liam Neeson (Irish), and Marion Cotillard (French) all get elided into the vaguely middle-easteriness of it all. (Question: Did anyone catch where the prison was supposed to be?) In contrast, Michael Caine is the good guy, but he's the Cockney who calls Bruce "Master" and only wants him to be personally happy.

'Kay.

And then there's the whole only-Bruce-can-be-trusted-with-the-nuke issue.

Let's contrast this with the Avengers briefly.

The Avengers are a nominally international body: Cap, Iron Man, and Hawkeye are Americans; Black Widow is formerly Russian; Bruce is essentially a wandering ex-pat; Thor is a legalized alien. *G* SHIELD itself is a bit fuzzy--there's that "Homeland" in the title but Fury's bosses are pretty clearly an international group itself. In the comics SHIELD is basically one or two steps above Interpol, which can similarly be assumed here given the ease with which Cap and Widow go into German civilian airspace. Of course, they too have to deal with a nuke at the end and only the wealthy billionaire industrialist can take care of it.

~

So. Thoughts? Comments? Flung produce?

Comments

( 12 comments — Add your .02 )
workerbee73
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:37 pm (UTC)
Okay, I haven't seent he film yet, but I'm very intrigued by the meta discussions I have seen. And I gotta say now, I'm not a big fan of Noaln's love for man!pain-at-the-expense-of-a-woman trope he's so fond of. :/

Loved your Avengers comparison, btw. International teamwork ftw!
caitri
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:53 pm (UTC)
*G* Thanks!

I've been thinking about Avengers vs. Batman a loooooooooot (not one but TWO posts!) I wonder if I hobbyhorse overmuch or not, but... I see what I see there. :/
workerbee73
Jul. 23rd, 2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
I saw the first post too! I've never met a spoiler I didn't like so I pretty much no most of the main plot at this point. And seems pretty decent on paper but I can already tell I'm going to have Thoughts about it.
caitri
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
ETA: And let's talk about strong women vs. "strong women" with Natasha vs. Selena when you do see the movie!!!!!
workerbee73
Jul. 23rd, 2012 02:57 pm (UTC)
Ooooh eeenteresting. Now you know you're going to have to give me a teaser, right? :D
caitri
Jul. 23rd, 2012 03:15 pm (UTC)
Well here are some vague thoughts (followed by dammit, why do I not have a Natasha icon): So Selena is comparable to Natasha on the surface level, but a lot of things didn't click. I'm still trying to work out why in my head.

In terms of narrative/emotional arcs, Natasha redeems her comrade (Hawkeye), faces her fears (Hulk), and I think an argument can be made about how she owns up to her feelings for Clint. (Her admission that she's "been compromised." Yes, so subtexty, and YET.) Selena goes from thief to hero (?), and has UST and/or romance with Bruce--or at least that's what actions tell us, I didn't really feel it emotionally; not sure how much that was the actors' chemistry vs. Nolan being Nolan.

Violence against women. Twice in Avengers there is the point that Natasha makes herself look weak to exploit men; Selena does so as well. I wonder/hope maybe something ended up on the cutting room floor of Batman: in the prison break sequence there's a brief shot of Selena looking worried behind bars, and then we see her next on the streets checking out the devastation. I wasn't sure if we were supposed to see Selena's fear of prisoners as a woman (I can't remember if this is before or after te flashback to Talia's mom being pulled away for the gangbang) or just fear of the prisoners generally/anarchy/wev.

At any rate I think that Natasha's interrogation scene with the Russians had some call-backs to a Buffy moment where her rage is fueled not by being menaced but by the knowledge of what would have happened if it had been another woman who had been menaced sans Slayer strength. I didn't get that resonance with Selena, which is to say, she has two scenes with another woman character that she kind of protects (the other character is presumably at least a petty thief if not a hooker, but she doesn't even have a name) but she also has a kind of...not exactly contempt for her but there's no attachment/connection to her.

I'm kind of babbling at this point, it feels like. Maybe I'm too tired to articulate it all well, or maybe I need to see it again, except I really don't want to. :|
workerbee73
Jul. 23rd, 2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
Verra interesting. So would you say there's legit feminism!fail going on?

Also, from what I'd read, I'd wondered how they were going to balance two potential romantic sotryline in the same film for Bruce (one with Selena, one with Talia). You think it was overly ambitious storytelling or just lack of chemistry or something else?
caitri
Jul. 23rd, 2012 06:24 pm (UTC)
I think what they were going for was a griefstricken!Bruce learns to feel! again! sort of thing, and it...so didn't work. This was part over-ambition--like, seriously, they have a lot going on in this three hour film and it sure as hell *feels* like a three hour film--and part lack of chemistry and part trying to force a feeling besides nihilism into it. "It's not all doom an' gloom, kids! Look, there's smooches!"

Yeaaaaaah, real emotion doesn't work that way, sorry, guys. Not only was there no build up or progression but there was no *time* for build up and progression.
workerbee73
Jul. 23rd, 2012 07:40 pm (UTC)
I feel like we might need a flowchart to keep track of all the levels of man!pain....
naturelf
Jul. 23rd, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
I can't answer where the prison was supposed to be, I do believe some of its composite locations are in India. The trailer for The Fall shows two of them: the blue city at 0:40 and the reservoir with the neat stairs at 1:49. The DVD commentary mentions specifics, but broadly: India.

At least in Avengers, the billionaire/nuke scenario completes Tony's character arc? He didn't spend six months or years angsting about creating a potentially dangerous source of clean energy. He took a massive skyscraper off the grid as his character introduction. I suppose Dark Knight Rises about how burning fossil fuels is a secure and terrorist-proof source of sustainable energy? WTAF.
morfin
Jul. 25th, 2012 03:37 pm (UTC)
Here's my take on the comment about "She can take care of herself." That was said right after she grabbed the wrists of a prisoner, and did a cartwheel, twisting and breaking his wrists. What I got was the idea that she was more of a danger to the other prisoners, so they didn't have to worry about having a woman in a men's unit. If she couldn't take care of herself, then it would be different.

I agree, I don't really buy the idea that Bruce Wayne is the only one who can be trusted with the nuke. I can see Wayne thinking that, but that doesn't mean it's right. I also question that no one else but the one scientist can diffuse it. Sorry, don't buy that at all. Shaky plot device. They needed the bomb mcguffin for the storyline, and they didn't do a good job of setting it up.

As for nationalities, remember, Talia's father is just taking the mantle of Rha's al Ghul. His real name is Henri Ducard and is French (I believe this was in the Batman, Son of the Demon comic). I don't think the movie showed where the prison is. I was left with the impression it was in the Middle East someplace.

I do agree, in comparing Catwoman with Natasha, Natasha does come off as more capable and intelligent. I found her exploits in Avengers more interesting, and would pick her in a one-on-one confrontation with Catwoman. On the other hand, being the longtime DC fan, Julie Newmar caused strange stirrings in my utility belt also when watching her when I was growing up, so I've always had a thing for Catwoman (except for Michelle Pfeiffer. Never cared for the actress, and hated the costume in her film).
caitri
Jul. 25th, 2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
I salute your DC knowledge! *salute* Also, Julie Newmar. Always salute her, for REASONS.

Right then. I thought the thirty seconds of Talia and Bane's backstory was more interesting than either of the other emotional plots. Michael Caine was perhaps the best thing about the film, and he NAILED that breakdown scene early on--I just thought that Bale's response was horrible. Like, were the actors in the same frakking room when they did that?? Because WTF!

I've seen some wank from people about Bruce's happy ending being all Inceptioney--was Alfred just imagining it? NGL, I think that would have been way more interesting than the pair ditching their old identities and chilling in Europe.
( 12 comments — Add your .02 )

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