Batman vs. the politics of resentment

Later, after Bane’s revolution has destroyed the investment class with mob violence and show trials and thus plunged Gotham City into chaos, Catwoman and her fellow thief enter a ransacked house. “This used to be someone’s home,” mourns Catwoman, her conscience awakening. “Now it’s everyone’s home!” exults her unrepentant colleague, gloating over the ruin.

The world of the film is our world, and the direct opposite of the world imagined into being by our intelligentsia. Here, free markets and investments, while creating super-wealthy men like the philanthropist hero Bruce Wayne, also create a rising tide of money that lifts the rest of us. Meanwhile, the forcible redistribution of private property is identified as theft, the forerunner of disorder and despotism.

But the heart of the film is not money. It’s people and what they choose to make of the injustices of their lives. Catwoman is the linchpin of that theme. She is the link between those like the heroic capitalist Wayne, who allow hardship to temper their souls, and those like Bane, who cling to their hurts and demand to be repaid in societal destruction. Catwoman begins as a thief making revolutionary proclamations: “There’s a storm coming.” She ends up confronting the true nature of that storm and a choice between that and freedom’s better way.