2nd Thoughts on The Dark Knight

In thinking about TDK the last night or two, although my overall impression of the movie changed with a key event in the story, there were a few good points that should be noted.  It was a deep movie in a way, and was definitely thought provoking (long post follows …).  1. The movie did a good job of exposing the dark nature of mankind at times; as the Bible says, ‘All have sinned and come short of the glory of God’ (Rom. 3:23).  2. The democratic process does not always vote for the true ‘good’.  People can be ruthless at times when hiding behind a ballot; democracy is amoral:  it is the people who give democracy a moral conscience: good or bad.  3.  In the face of the ‘democratic process’, sometimes it just comes down to an individual doing what is right (or moral) even when a democracy (or angry mob) is against it.  One is reminded of ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ here: a vivid picture of that concept.  4. Even criminals can change to the good.  5. We all have doubts about doing the right thing at times; e.g., for Christians, will we normally choose to follow Christ and do the right thing, or capitulate to a democratic vote (e.g., do we stand against something evil, when everyone else cheers it on?) when the pressure is on?  6. We can always stop and choose to do good – even in the face of overcoming hatred or anger.  It ain’t over ’til it’s over!  7.  Sometimes we simply fall short; there is a reason we need Jesus to save us.  8. Sometimes people are completely given over to chaos; ‘their conscience is seared with a hot iron’ as the apostle Paul wrote.  9.  Even the heroes make bad choices sometimes; that is my opinion of Batman’s final choice anyway.  10. People must take responsibity for their actions; although this was categorically denied by the movie (in the end), my thoughts crystallized on it in reaction to the portrayed notion.  11. Revenge is never a good thing for us to exact on others; there is no good that comes from it!!  12.  There are difficult ethical or moral dilemmas in life; that is why we need moral guidance from the Lord:  otherwise we are left with morally-right-by-decree (e.g., in our time, it is the Supreme Court).

And, there were a few other (long-winded) observations I had in general: a) The movie had a very existential philosophical outlook:  making choices is the only outlet (a pagan) world has.  The view is that our choices give our lives meaning ‘in-life’ (even if the skeptic sees no meaning ‘to life’).  b) In my opinion, there was ultimately an attempt to disgrace all those who are esteemed as great ‘doers of the good’ (Someone else may watch the same sequence I’m thinking of and think the complete opposite; I’m OK with that — it is an ‘art’ form after all); i.e., cover up a ‘hero’s’ wrongs and let people think that s/he was an idealistic ‘do-gooder’ until the end.  This casts doubt on every real ‘hero’ out there in my opinion.  I strongly feel that, although this may happen at times, it does not have to be the truth in all, or even most, cases.  There is simply a ‘conspiracy mentality’ that is endemic to Americans, I guess.  Well, I’m here to say that: NOT everything is a conspiracy!!  c) Ironically, there was the exact opposite point as b) conveyed (!):  The hero becomes the ‘villan’ (at least in image).  My question is: Why?  In the specific sequence I’m thinking of, there was no need for this!  The numerous other criminals who did wrong were still guilty and got a deserving punishment.  Why blur the lines between good and evil?  It is nonsense, in my opinion.  d) We live in a paradoxical age; people are portrayed to have solid notions of what is right and wrong at times, and yet practice moral relativism when it is convenient.  That is, in the movie, people’s impulse to do good or evil sometimes just hangs on a whim; people are shown as morally ambivalent at times.  Or, said another way, the dogged moral pragmatism of Americans is underscored.  If it is going my way, it must be OK; but if it is not, I will choose self-preservation of life, comfort, and my own personal happiness over doing the good. e) There is nowhere to hide from a true agent of chaos in our society:  anyone or anything can become a victim due to another’s evil choices; the Joker is an exaggerated case in point.  f) Lies are shown as becoming ‘good’ (or ‘necessary’) things at times.  Since honestly is one of the foundations of a stable culture, this is particularly subversive.  g) The movie was very much a reflection of the moral culture that is ‘out there’.  [Christians are called to a higher standard, though!  The early Christians lived in moral and social conditions that have several similarities to our time.  We can still choose to follow Jesus and be light in a dark world!]

Lastly, the major point still vividly remains (to me) from a quote at the end: “But he didn’t do anything wrong.”  That is what I can’t forget.  The question is: will there be any redemption (or truth) in the future?  I sure hope so.

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Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 2:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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