This week may be a milestone in movie history. The long-awaited Dark Knight Rises comes out this upcoming Friday. To say the least I’m kind of “geeking out” a little bit. I’ve even purchased tickets to see all three movies in a row, with The Dark Knight Rises playing at midnight.
But my love for these movies is more than just because it is Batman. It is because they are extremely well written. It is rare to get a pulp hero story that is so firmly grounded its themes can shine through. That is what The Dark Knight is all about. It balances themes of chaos vs. order, good vs, evil, and right vs. wrong.
That being said, they are many complex metaphors and analogies throughout the films and I’m sure The Dark Knight Rises will introduce even more representations that will make its audiences think.What stands out to me though is how the conflict between The Joker and Batman during The Dark Knight contains many Christian parallels.
So, in honor of The Dark Knight Rises coming out this week, I’ll share my analysis.
During The Dark Knight we are introduced to The Joker. A nameless criminal that seems to be Batman’s exact opposite. What is significant about The Joker is that he is a corrupter. He wants to draw out the worst in society.
That should sound familiar because it is what the devil tries to do with us. He tempts us and shows us our flaws. He wants to make us believe that we are not capable of anything good. The Joker does that to Gotham City. He creates an environment of fear and doubt among the citizens.
You see, as long as we live our lives in fear and doubt we will not be capable of trusting in God’s will. We won’t have the necessary faith to live up to the calling that Christ has laid out for us. Ultimately, it is a form of corruption that the devil wants us to be burdened by, but we must not forget the truth.
The truth is Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
In The Dark Knight Harvey Dent is referenced as being “the best of us”, meaning he was the one that was incorruptible. On a Christian level, there is a parallel between him and Adam. Before the devil tempted Adam he was a perfect man. Once he choose to disobey God he became corrupted through sin.
This is what happens to Harvey, too. The Joker tempts him and he quickly changes into Two-Face. Harvey Dent falls from grace and became corrupted by sin. He goes on a killing spree that erases anything good he has ever done. Our own sin is like that, too. Our sin can run rampant and destroy everything good in our lives, but good news is around the corner.
During the last ten minutes of The Dark Knight we see Batman save the day and it is interesting to see how he does it. After capturing The Joker, Batman goes to stop Harvey, but it is too late. Harvey seems too far gone and ends up falling to his death during the fight.
The consequence of Harvey’s actions will be known to the world. Every good thing he has done will be undone because of his final actions, but Batman does something unique. He tells commissioner Gordon to let him take the blame. To let Batman take on the burden of what Harvey has done.
This should sound familiar because it is exactly what Christ has done for us. He has taken the blame for our sin. He has redeemed our lives so we can live in goodness and not be judged for the things we have done wrong. That sacrifice was committed on the cross and all we have to do is recognize our sin and ask for forgiveness.
Batman is not a perfect metaphor for Christ, but in the last ten minutes of The Dark Knight he sacrifices himself and takes the blame of someone else’s sin. He never loses faith in the people just like Jesus never stops loving us.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
The beauty of Christ is that he rises from the grave. He has power over death and now we are made free from death. We have eternal life because of Jesus’ sacrifice.
I don’t know the plot of The Dark Knight Rises, but I have a feeling they’ll be some parallel’s between evil, Christ’s Resurrection, and possibly even his second coming. These are only guesses based on the title, though. I have mentioned before that I believe it is in human nature to reflect the story of Christ in our stories. Christ metaphors can be non-intentional, but I think our human need for salvation is so great that we are drawn to these themes.
I could go on further, but this simple parallel in The Dark Knight should remind us of how Christ takes on the burdens of the world. We no longer have to live in fear and doubt because we live redeemed lives through his sacrifice. So, as everyone watches Batman this week we can be reminded of what Christ has done for us.