Liberal film critics across the country have blasted the conservative themes in the Dark Knight Rises, even as they praise the movie's quality. Andrew O'Heir, in his review for Salon.com, hyperbolically warned that the Batman franchise ended with "a gloomy, magnificent (and fascistic) spectacle." The article's headline described it as director "Christopher Nolan's evil masterpiece."
The Washington Post's Ann Hornaday extolled the film as a near classic, but lectured, "'The Dark Knight Rises' becomes an almost spiritual parable of anti-populism and unshakable faith in law, order and the morally superior wisdom of the One Percent." She also pointed out that the film hews "faithfully to Batman’s libertarian leanings."
L.A. Times film critic Steven Zeitchik appeared astounded that the Occupy motives of the film's villain, Bane, are portrayed negatively:
Contradictions abound in "The Dark Knight Rises." There is a man (Thomas Hardy’s Bane) who urges populist unrest against a monied elite and a woman (Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle) who speaks the language of social justice, stirringly asking a member of the 1% "how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” Yet both are, for at least chunks of the movie, villains — in Bane's case, murderously and maliciously so.
Baffled by the Dark Knight Rises' themes, Zeitchik was utterly confused by who Nolan is calling on viewers to root for:
In the film's most blatantly political scene, Bane whips supporters into a populist frenzy as they literally rip wealthy people out of their penthouses to beat and rob them. It’s a jarring viewing experience. The language of revolt and justice would seem to call for sympathy with the rebels. But the violence of their attacks makes you side, discomfittingly and reflexively, with the pampered rich.
(For more on the L.A. Times review, see Breitbart.com.)
The Salon.com review managed to slime the movie as "fascistic" and "evil." O'Heir, even invoked Hitler:
It’s no exaggeration to say that the “Dark Knight” universe is fascistic (and I’m not name-calling or claiming that Nolan has Nazi sympathies). It’s simply a fact. Nolan’s screenplay (co-written with his brother, Jonathan Nolan, and based on a story developed with David S. Goyer) simply pushes the Batman legend to its logical extreme, as a vision of human history understood as a struggle between superior individual wills, a tale of symbolic heroism and sacrifice set against the hopeless corruption of society. Maybe it’s an oversimplification to say that that’s the purest form of the ideology that was bequeathed from Richard Wagner to Nietzsche to Adolf Hitler, but not by much. Whether you think Nolan is endorsing or condemning that idea, or straddling the fence with a smirk on his face, is very much up to you.
The nation's most prominent film critics may be fond of the Dark Knight Rises, but not by the movie's non-liberal themes in the movie.
From the other ideological perspective, conservative columnist Charles Hurt actually linked the Dark Knight Rises to the violence in Colorado:
Director Christopher Nolan, speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of “The Dark Knight Rises,” you told us how much you love going to the movies and how they are “one of the great American art forms.”
You are devastated that such an “innocent and hopeful place” — here you are talking about the movie theaters that play your twisted movies — would be violated in such an “unbearably savage” way. I mean, really, who could think up such monstrous hatred and nihilistic violence? Umm, have you watched any of your own movies lately?