This essay contains spoilers to the movie. Though this movie is well over seven years old, we would still hate to be “those guys” and ruin it for you before watching it. That said, you have been warned!
By the end of The Dark Knight all the good that seemed to be accomplished by Batman, Commissioner Gordon, and Harvey Dent, is unraveling from the chaos created by the Joker. His greatest achievement of chaos is the apparent corruption of Harvey Dent, turning him into the villain, Two Face. The reason that this was so costly was that Harvey Dent came to be Gotham’s White Knight, in whom everyone, including Bruce Wayne, placed their hope.
After Harvey Dent loses his bride-to-be, Rachel Dawes, and gets mutilated by an explosion, he goes on a killing spree out of his despair and desire for retribution. The final scene, Harvey Dent captures Commissioner Gordon’s family and threatens to kill them to get back at Gordon. Batman, of course, comes in and saves Gordon’s son, but Harvey’s life is lost in the collateral damage. The greater lost to Batman was that Harvey’s image as the White Knight was corrupted. Joker had won because he was able to take down the “hope” of Gotham.
Batman does not want the Joker to win so he decides that Gordon should place all the blame on him. Batman would take the responsibility for all the murders including that of Harvey Dent, and Harvey will continue to be the White Knight of Gotham. In a parallel scene, Alfred decides not to tell Bruce Wayne the truth that Rachel was going to choose Harvey instead of him. And here is when the most thought provoking line of The Dark Knight occurs. “Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.”
As a discerning viewer, I must ask the question “Is this true?” It sounds good, especially with triumphant music playing in the background as Batman rides off into the darkness. But that is what it leaves us with: darkness and despair. The city of Gotham is left to believe in something that is not true, that is in fact an outright lie. Bruce Wayne has the same false belief that Rachel would have chosen him.
Some might argue that this is a good action because it gives people hope and is necessary in the long run for the greater good. The fear is that the people’s faith in Harvey Dent won’t be rewarded because their hope was in something that ultimately failed. But, maybe that is the point of truth and faith. They aren’t to be separated. If anything the failure of Harvey Dent proves that hope and faith cannot be placed in a man, but something or Someone greater. The truth would have revealed this, but instead the people of Gotham, including Bruce Wayne, have placed their faith in a lie. It is all about to fall down like a house of cards.
As a believer in Christ, the truth is absolutely important. My faith depends upon the reality of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, or else “we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19) There are many who agree with Karl Marx that religion is just the opiate of the masses. To some degree Batman’s assessment would agree. However, as a person I want something more than a lie. I want to know what I believe in is true or else it is meaningless.
Jesus claims, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” (John 14:6) The difference between Christ and Harvey Dent is that Christ won’t let us down; that as we put our faith in Him we are confident to enjoy the Father forever. Faith can only truly be rewarded when it is placed in the Truth.