Today, Superheroes as depicted in comics, television and films are our desire for a forgotten past. Mythology told brave tales of gods, strange creatures, men and women who sought a place for themselves on this planet traversing the cosmos.
Perhaps, it is the times in which we live that we crave the past lost in the mists of time. Some distant memories or harmonic chords trigger the deep memories of the race. Out of the past we see our future.
Out of the ashes of a decaying society heroes and heroines arise to combat injustice and inspire hope. These individuals are flawed with multiple personal issues riding on their shoulders.
The noble elements of morality, friendship, love, and sacrifice have their part in a saga which plays out in the lives projected on the screen before us. Like a Greek tragedy we are shocked and silently weep for the heroes as they march to their fate, predestined by the gods for their own amusements.
Every hero or heroine must have an equal foe to struggle against. Like the two-headed coin of Harvey Dent, one side is light and the opposite side is dark—tarnished by the daily smoke of struggle.
BATMAN: The Dark Knight
Batman, Harvey Dent, Jim Gordon and Rachel Dawes face the criminal underworld with dignity and equal force. Every hero needs a nemesis.
The usual assortment of 30’s type gangsters are for comic relief. The real nemesis, or antagonist, for both Batman and Harvey Dent is the Joker, a psychotic rogue. The Joker’s insanity is his genius, a pure sociopath who was abused by his father. However, when they have to contend against the Joker, a mastermind of such diabolical skill and application, they face their own mortality.
There is a love triangle—Bruce, Rachel and Harvey. Rachel is torn between her love for Bruce, her childhood sweetheart, who she knows is Batman, and Harvey who is every woman’s White Knight, fighting for truth and justice in the judicial halls of Gotham with danger and enemies on every side. Harvey is as pure as they come in true comic book lore.
In such sagas death is a reality. To deal with loss seems to be the hero’s or heroine’s chosen fate. The Dark Knight shows a side of Batman rarely seen—grieving for a lost love and a man who could have led Gotham to the heights of redemption.
All great stories share elements of triumph and tragedy. A hero’s personal loss can take many forms. Batman and Harvey react differently to their mutual loss.
However, a hero, no matter how brave and noble a white knight, must face evil and loss. It is the loss of a love which can easily transform the hero to a villain—in the sense that the hero descends to the same level as the basest criminal. There in the shadows of the unsavory elements of the human soul is a rot that eats the life of the hero.
This film begins with a promise of hope, but in the end hope is a mirage to satisfy the masses. However, the sleep of false security in a society built on shale is destined to bring the nightmares of torment and anguish once again.
For Gotham the hope of tomorrow is found in an outcast who assumed a mantle of guilt in order to protect a dream of a white knight remembered as Harvey Dent and his true love, Rachel Dawes. Two individuals claimed by the madness of the Joker.
The ideal hero is not always the hero presented to the public. One classic example of this is THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE. Sometimes, the lie is more important than the truth.
In the end Batman makes an unalterable decision like Harvey Dent. Batman’s ultimate sacrifice for Gotham City is a testament that sometimes a hero must become the villain for the greater good.
Jim Gordon becomes the bridge between the truth and the lie of these two true human heroes.
Batman is not a super hero. He is a very human being who can do super-hero feats. He gets hurt, and he feels real pain—physical and emotional.
You have the citizens of Gotham, who both Batman and Harvey are pledged to protect, even though there are moments when you wonder why, since to the citizenry truth and justice is great as long as they don’t have to sacrifice themselves for it. This film shows human nature at its worst and its best.
The Dark Knight is a dark, disturbing piece of film fiction. Children would find the images haunting their subconsciouses for decades to come. It is an intense film which brings a number of motifs together in a cohesive script.
Who is your personal superhero? Why? Are there any real heroes in your daily life? If so, have you told them that you believe they are special?
Heroes exist because humans have an innate quality to strive with the forces about them and to overcome. And what about you? Don’t underestimate your abilities and talents. Heroes and heroines come in all shapes, sizes and ages.
G. D. Williams © 2011
July 20, 2012
The Dark Night Trilogy Blu-ray (will be released December 4, 2012 )