Archive of ‘Contexts’ category

Batman Context and Critical Reception

The Dark Knight trilogy had it’s first part released on June 17th, 2005. The trilogy as a whole displays massive problems in today’s society. One massive event that happened before the films were even written was the September 11 attacks on the world trade centres in America. This was an event that shook people across the world and the event that followed by the government, such as the “War on Terror”, can be seen reflected in The Dark Knight. Using an article and crash course video on the subject (linked at the bottom) I have seen a few similarities of real world events that can be seen echoed in the Dark Knight:

  • Extraordinary Rendition – This is when governments take somebody from one country to another one, typically to avoid certain torture or interrogation laws. America did this a lot during the war on terror and still happens today. In The Dark Knight, Batman takes Lau from Hong Kong back to America to interrogate and arrest him.
  • Money is Nothing – In the war on terror, hundreds of billion were poured into the military by the US government. This angered many Americans as there was still money issues and poverty on America’s home soil and it seemed like money meant nothing to the government in spite of completing their main objective. Similarly in The Dark Knight, the Joker burns million of dollars as it means nothing to him, he wants to complete his mission and that is all he cares about.
  • Surveillance – In America, freedom and safety are one of the top priorities for the government however these two can clash a lot. After 9/11, the government set up Prism which spied on people phones and messages without them knowing, people got mad as this was a breach of privacy and therefore diminished peoples freedom. In The Dark Knight, Batman uses some methods which can be seen as sketchy and an invasion of privacy for instance, when batman uses peoples cell phones to track people. This is a massive breach of freedom and even Lucius Fox isn’t okay with the technology.
  • Becoming the Villain – Bush did some very very questionable things in his war on terror but it was technically for the greater good and protecting America. This made many Americans look at him negatively and like a bad guy or villain. In The Dark Knight, Batman does everything he must in order to stop the Joker and protect Harvey Dents name, which leads him to becoming the villain that the people of Gotham hate.
  • Torture in custody – In The Dark Knight, we see Batman beat up the Joker after he has been arrested. Similarly in real life, the US government tortured prisoners taken from places like Afghanistan. They built a prison specifically for the Us’s enemy’s called Guantanamo Bay which was used as a platform for torturing and interrogating prisoners.

Turner, P., 2013. Dark Knight, Dark Ideas. Media Magazine, April 2013, 37 – 41.

Crash Course. (2014). Terrorism, War, and Bush 43: Crash Course US History #46. [Online Video]. 30 January 2014. Available from: [Accessed: 9 December 2019].

Pan’s Labyrinth Context Research

When studying films context can be a major part in understanding the meaning and symbolism inside the film, and understanding the basic setting of the film. Pan’s Labyrinth is set during The Spanish Civil War (Jul 17, 1936 – Apr 1, 1939). This helps to understand why Captain Vidal and his soldiers are fighting the rebels. It also gives us some context for the meaning and symbolism that Guillermo Del Toro puts into the film like the Pale Man sequence symbolising the powerful fascist government fighting the weak and powerless common people. The theme of the film is disobedience against a totalitarianistic, fascist government oppressing the common people. However, context isn’t only important in Pan’s Labyrinth. For example, if a movie is set in World War 2 then understanding that war and the impact it had on the world will help in understanding the director or the writers intentions.