Finally, a worthy critique! Click here.
On a more serious note, I did find this movie to be entertaining and thought provoking, though not in an intentional way. Ray Ortlund, a great man and pastor whom I respect and admire caught onto something of this (click here for post), in a way that I almost missed. While I did not leave with the same passionate conviction he did, I totally agree that the “story” of the movie was not as redemptive as some people might want to make it out to be.
Some of us go to the movies for a relaxing, entertaining evening; others to engage in our culture and discern either false truths or echoes of eden. These are both good reasons. What I am afraid of is something someone over at Ray Ortlunds blog commented on: that we may become too numb in our entertainment driven culture to discern the stories being communicated.
What I found interesting in The Dark Knight is the question it held in tension: when does righteousness become unrighteousness when dealing with unrighteousness? A question under this one would be: Did the Joker ultimately prevail in his endeavor?
[Spoiler alert – If you haven’t watched the movie, and intend to, don’t read the rest.]
I found the the resolution to the story of The Dark Knight to be a great conversation starter, but an unsatisfying solution. We leave the movie supposedly swallowing that Batman is the hero because he and Gordon cook up a “spin” on the truth: Batman takes the blame; Dent takes the heroic credit. Batman is a self-imposed martyr for the sake of a people who don’t appreciate him like they should.
While this has a faint odor of the gospel story, it betrays something fundamental. In this story, evil is not dealt with, but covered up. And in the process righteousness is defined only in terms of the end, and factored out of the means of reaching it.
It doesn’t matter how we get there, just so long as we do.
But this betrays righteousness at its very heart. And this is not the gospel story of the Bible. Jesus Christ was the one who “became sin for us” but also the one who “knew no sin.” The life of Jesus and his death on the cross, as the means to the end of our being made righteous before God, was righteous itself.
In the end, the Joker prevailed after all. This is not the story of the gospel, but rather a Nietzsche-esque Yin Yang symoblism that passes for our contemporary worldview of life. Evil is present, rampant and pervasive, and instead of truly dealing with it, we need to co-exist with it in a way that does the least damage for the most people.