The film for many people is acting as a Rorschach blot for them to plot their own politics on to. That said, some arguments are far, far more supported by the text than others.
The Dark Knight Rises is not a conservative film. - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
There’s a solid reason that Bane and company more closely resemble the mujahideen than the Occupy protestors: they’re from the same part of the world. Batman Begins opens with Bruce Wayne being recruited in a Bhutanese prison and then scaling the Himalayas to train with the League of Shadows. The prison pit in The Dark Knight Rises is located near the northern Indian border with Pakistan, and the majority of those imprisoned in it aren’t chiroptophobic American billionaires. That Fu Manchu mustache sported by Ra’s al Ghul belongs to a tradition of racist caricature of people who come from China and Japan and India. The geographic and narrative cues align with the visual to demand that the League of Shadows be seen as an old school Oriental menace whose politics amount to whatever-frightens-white-people.
Only in this last sense can the projection of conservative politics onto The Dark Knight Rises be understood:the only thing the League of Shadows shares with the Occupy movement is an ideological commitment to frightening white people. That both are successful says nothing about the film, but speaks volumes about the conservatives watching it, who have invested so heavily in their illegible projection that they makes claims like:
Gotham City is thriving as the third film in the trilogy opens. Harvey Dent’s legal legacy is so profound there’s no longer a need for Batman. He’s retired, bum knees and all, while crime continues to decline. So clearly the city’s punitive system isn’t corrupt, and we certainly don’t see mass economic woes.
Toto is wrong on all counts. Far from “thriving,” Gotham is a city in which orphans have taken to living in the sewers to survive. Dent’s legal legacy may be “profound,” but it’s also founded a lie and maintained by mass incarceration. Crime “continues to decline,” but the prisons overflow with criminals whose prosecutions were legitimate, because “the city’s punitive system isn’t corrupt,” so all those prisoners must have committed the crimes of which they’re accused. Finally, Toto fails to “see mass economic woes,” even though, to return to where this chain of inept summation began, ophans have taken to living in the sewers to survive.