Movie Review: The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight (2008 )
Starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger
Okay, cards on the table. It’s a Batman movie. I’m gonna like it. I thought Batman And Robin was one of the greatest travesties to ever grace the silver screen and I still enjoyed it because it was a Batman movie. For months I’ve been avoiding the hype about The Dark Knight. I’ve avoided the trailers. I’ve avoided the viral marketing. I’ve avoided the news reports of Ledger’s untimely death. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Batman Begins was a great movie. It had it’s problems, but I was able to overlook them. But the vibe was that The Dark Knight was in a totally different league. A much better league. So what did I think?
Batman’s war on crime is working. Criminals are running scared and organised crime are resorting to desperate measures. Coupled with the arrival of idealistic district attorney, Harvey Dent, things are looking good for Gotham. But of course, if the crime problem was solved in Gotham there would be no more Batman movies, so something has to go wrong. That something is the Joker.
The Joker is a force of nature. No identity, no history, no motivation. The Joker is a being of pure chaos and anarchy. Let loose on Gotham, he is Batman’s exact opposite. Batman is controlled, disciplined, ordered, seeking to bring hope and light to the people of Gotham. The Joker is uncontrolled, undisciplined, chaotic and seeking to show the people of Gotham that deep down they are all animals. Things blow up, the psyche explored and nothing is cut and dried. There are no simple answers to problems in The Dark Knight. And for every victory there is also a tragedy.
I loved this nuanced take on Batman. I love that we get inside the heads of all the main characters, trying to work out why they do what they do. And I love that we never really comprehend who the Joker is and why he does what he does. He is an enigma and that’s the way he should be. Less prancing and more mayhem. I also appreciate how the plot is so detailed. This is not a movie of strung together action sequences. There’s police corruption, political intrigue, master plans unfolding. You have to keep paying attention and the movie makes sure you’re enjoying every second of it.
One of the (many) themes of the movie that struck me was that of idealism. Harvey Dent, Batman and Jim Gordon are three characters that represent the ideals of justice. These three men will do what ever it takes to bring order and peace to their city. They are determined to stick to their convictions and to their integrity. There is a scene where Dent is about to cross the line, where he is about to commit an action that will get him the answers he wants, but will tarnish him, even destroy him, in the long run. Batman is there to stop him. To remind him of the true nature of the battle they fight. The ends do not justify the means.
Even when under pressure, when it would mean the deaths of those they hold dear, when events are spiralling out of control, these men stay committed to their goal. That is why they are the heroes. As a Christian, I am reminded of the life that I am called to live. I am committed to the truth that is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I seek to live a life that brings glory and honour to him. No matter the cost. Because I know that any price that I pay now is nothing compared to what is waiting for me on the final day. For a Christian, we know that the world will try and bring us down. That we will feel like we are under attack and it will feel like the only option is to give it all up. During those times, we are to remember the words of Romans 8:35-37 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
No matter how bad things get, we are to remember that Christ died for us. That nothing can seperate the risen Lord Jesus from his people. These are comforting words when the night is its darkest. Unlike Batman, we have the certainty of how things are going to end up. We know for a fact that everything will work out. If he can persevere on idealism alone, how much more should we press on with the certainty that comes from the promises of God?
The Dark Knightis a great movie. This is the kind of Batman movie I want to watch. I can’t wait to see what will happen with the third one.