The Dark Knight

When this movie first came out I was serving as a missionary in Bolivia. There so happened to be a theater in the town where we lived and they were going to show The Dark Knight when it released. Though I had learned to live simply since being in the jungles and mountains of South America, usually without a phone, internet access, or my precious coca-cola, I allowed my hopes to get set on this one indulgence. I even spoke with the theater workers to make sure the movie was not dubbed in Spanish.

Sure enough, that fateful day had come. In eager anticipation, I went into the city ahead of my friends to get the tickets. I walked up to the ticket register and asked for four tickets for The Dark Knight. But before giving her my money, I wanting to make sure that it was not dubbed in Spanish. When asked she answered in the affirmative, and there my hopes were dashed. I put my money back in my wallet and the lady at the register asked me what was wrong. I told her politely that I didn’t want to watch it in Spanish. She then looked at me incredulously and said, “But you speak Spanish!” I then carefully explained that a movie made in English should be watched in English. Could you imagine the Joker making all those incredible one-liners in Spanish? Crazy.

Alas, I finally was able to watch the movie in another city and it was as glorious as I could have imagined. Since then I have seen the movie many times and with each time I feel I grow in my appreciation for its depth and complexity. I probably realize a new theme or fascinating character comparison with each viewing. Even after seeing The Dark Knight Rises I still believe this to be the best of the trilogy.

After two years from where the last movie left off, the criminals in Gotham are scared into hiding from Batman’s exploits against crime. This gives hope to Bruce Wayne that there might be a chance of a life after Batman that can be enjoyed with his childhood friend Rachel Dawes. However, as it turns out she has taken interest in the rising star of Gotham, Harvey Dent, who is seen as the White Knight (the most obvious comparison throughout the movie to Batman). Bruce Wayne’s hopes start to diminish as the Joker shows himself as a force to be reckoned with, pushing Batman and the rest of Gotham to their limits by causing chaos and anarchy with his “social experiments.”

There is no doubt Heath Ledger steals the show as Joker as he is absolutely captivating in each scene he appears. Much credit has to be given to Aaron Eckhart for his role as Two Face, given the complexity of emotions displayed throughout. The movie is visually stunning and I still applaud Nolan for refusing to do these movies in 3D. The film is much darker than the previous almost in every way, from the lighting to the story.

Batman Begins showed us that Christopher Nolan had truly only just begun with his interpretation of Batman.  The Dark Knight itself would be considered nothing short of brilliant whether this was a movie about Batman or not.  Interestingly enough, this film is not really about Batman. Sure, he is the main character, but Nolan sets out to explore humanity in the midst of trial as the Joker continues to force people in perilous predicaments to see how they will respond. Many moral and ethical issues arise that would be good for discussion. A good movie can cause the audience to question what they might do in a certain situation. In fact there are many times where we as the audience feel as if we are on one of the ferries at the end of the movie presented with the detonator.

As a movie, The Dark Knight delivers in every way. It does, however, leaves us uneasy about its statement on truth and faith by the end of the film. We will definitely tackle that. The altruistic Batman presented in the first film is much more gray in the sequel. Throughout the trilogy Batman walks the line between vigilante and hero, and specifically in this film we vividly see the tension. As believers, we still must ask, “Is this the hero we want?”

Below are some explorations of The Dark Knight from a Christian worldview.

Dark Knight: the Joker’s Worldview

Dark Knight: we are Harvey Dent

Dark Knight: is the Truth good enough?

Dark Knight: Discussion Questions


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