, , , ,

In the latest Batman film, the villan’s green clown wig and make-up are gone! Instead, The Dark Knight’s “Joker” is the very face of evil. And yet, in his madness, he forces the citizens of Gotham to examine their own good and evil—and the shadows that lie between.

Bruce (Batman) Wayne pleads to his butler, “People are dying. What would you have me do?”

Alfred replies, “Endure. You can be the outcast. You can make the choice that no one else will face—the right choice. Gotham needs you.” One of the most dramatic scenes is when the Joker stands unarmed in the street taunting Batman to kill him with the Batcycle.

District Attorney, Harvey Dent, foreshadows his own moral choice when he tells Wayne, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Police Commissioner, James Gordon, asks Batman how one can remain a decent man in indecent times.

A boatload of prisoners and a boatload of Gotham citizens must decide to either blow up the others’ boat or both be blown up at the stroke of midnight.

And, finally, as the trailer asks, “Can you avenge evil and not become it?”

Writer and director, Christopher Nolan, has provided a whole Bat Cave full of legal, philosophical and spiritual quandaries and skillfully portrays how his characters struggle to deal with them. (This is a great movie to see as a group and then meet afterwards at Starbucks to discuss.)

In the end, Batman is viewed as a masked villain and rides off scorned by the very people he sought to save—like many situations we face in our personal lives. What is right and wrong is not always obvious. Doing the right thing is not always popular or politically correct. Right is not always rewarded. Evil doesn’t always where smeared clown makeup; sometimes it wears a badge or a tailored suit. And all of us will eventually confront the “dark knight” of our souls.

But we must “endure.” We “can make the choice that no one else will face—the right choice.”

(And, oh yah, it’s a great movie, and Heath Ledger is amazing as the Joker.)

Related sites

What is good? What is evil?

How can we overcome evil with good?

Who is the ultimate super hero?