What's so special about Florence?
by Chris Dee
Florence, Italy was the cradle of the Renaissance, that
resurgence of art and learning that followed the dark ages.
Without going into anything about the art of those periods, it works
on the most superficial level: after Gotham, after the darkness,
after the Dark Knight, Florence is the most appropriate place for a
rebirth, a new life, and most significantly a new life of light.
But it all becomes so much richer and more significant when we
consider how much the dark ages reflect the reign of darkness in
Batman storytelling. The ruling bodies of the Middle Ages,
both religious and secular, founded their power on the concept that
man was fundamentally evil and fundamentally irrational.
That's why they needed God's anointed one to be king and the Church
to look over his shoulder. In a democracy, we feel people are
capable of assessing the world around them and, if properly
informed, making their own decisions and governing their own
affairs, but in the middle ages, we were assumed to be too
fundamentally sinful and foolish - or as Joker put it in The Dark
Knight "these civilized people will eat each other."
Nolan's Joker personifies an attitude towards humanity that is both
medieval and that of influential 80s writer Frank Miller.
Everyone is fundamentally corrupt and corruptible, people are
irrational idiots. The
people mindless mobs
of Gotham in Burton's Batman's films are what the Millerites think
of you and me.
For all it's flaws, The Dark Knight Rises could have
signaled an end of that Batman, in allowing not just Bruce and
Selina but the entire mythos to escape out of the dark age into a
new era where heroes are indeed noble, acting from the best of
motives. Where flawed does not mean corrupt but merely human,
where man is fundamentally good and fundamentally rational, where
individuals can make a difference.