A Dark Knight Philosophy

Last night I finally caught up with everyone else in America and saw “Dark Knight.” I have to say that all the reviews were dead on; this movie was amazing! Heath Ledger was especially incredible, which makes his untimely death that much sadder. Such amazing talent cut so short…

A lot of interesting questions about life and justice were brought up in this movie. For those who also saw it, I’d love to read your input on a few things. For those who have not seen the movie, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. Seriously. I am going to discuss the ending in detail, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now.


Harvey Dent

I’m not too familiar with the Batman storyline, so I had no idea that Harvey Dent was going to become Two-Face. That entire scenario took me by complete surprise.

Dent was the best of the best, a shining example of morality and goodness that kept everyone else in balance. This was why the Joker focused on bringing Dent down (for anyone who has read the Old Testament, it reminded me of Job a little bit.)

If Dent fell into corruption, his fall would create a domino effect, taking everyone else down with him. He would prove, in essence, that everyone is corruptible and every hero, no matter how bent on goodness, has a breaking point. And Dent did fall… He became the very thing he hated.

So here’s my question… Do you think this philosophy (“everyone is corruptible”) is true in real life? Can anyone crack if put under enough pressure?

Dent fell because he was overwhelmed with pain and grief. He fell because, from his tragedy, he learned that life and justice are just matters of chance and absolutely nothing makes any sense.

Do you think you could have stood firm and held the “higher ground” if you experienced what he did? To be honest, I don’t think I could. Much less than that has taken me down and left me re-observing everything about life, wondering about the “bigger plan” and if some of us really just get the short end of the stick. At the same time, I’ve known people who have gone through hell and come out of it stronger and better, throwing away bitterness and replacing it with resolve.

Which type are you?

Batman’s Sacrifice

Gotham City needed a real hero and Harvey Dent’s fall would lead the people to chaos. Because of this, Batman took the blame for Harvey’s crimes. Although he was the one who actually saved the city, he took the blame and punishment for things he never did.

Do you think that was a good idea?

I’m still undecided about whether Batman’s action really was necessary. He believed it had to be done to “save” the people of Gotham. But to me it just seemed horribly unfair. But maybe that’s the point. The entire movie seems to play on the theme that life just isn’t fair. Sometimes sacrifices seem to be in vain, sometimes innocent people are hurt… The movie took a lot of time to show us that the Joker was crazy just because. He didn’t have a deeper motive. He just wanted to see everything burn – and he knew that Dent was the key.

It’s the classic tale of good vs. evil with a twist. Evil has no real motivation, no real background. There’s a very thin line between hero and villain, and every hero has the possibility within himself of becoming a villain. As is often repeated in the movie: “You either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain.”

Batman’s sacrifice ruined the Joker’s plan – at least for now.


12 responses to “A Dark Knight Philosophy

  1. No, not everyone is corruptible, though I do agree with the phrase, “You either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain.” In the political sense, I believe that is true only because, in time, you will upset enough people by being Dudley Dooright all the time that they’ll villainize you and destroy your character, and although you’re still a good person, you’ll be perceived as the bad guy.

    That said, some people are VERY corruptible, but not all.

    Also, I too was left uneasy about Batman’s decision at the end. It’s like he wanted to play martyr and force the public opinion on him to turn sour for the next movie. With a little effort, he could have easily rubbed enough brain cells together to figure out a better lie than that while still protecting Harvey’s image. Heck, people would have probably believed that Batman ate the assailant if it came from Gordon.

  2. I thought that was horribly unfair, too. At the same time, Harvey Dent stood for something, stood for hope in the people’s minds. If the people had known of his fall, their hope would have died.

    Like you, though, I wondered. Why did they have to blame anyone? Couldn’t it have been an unsolved crime? Couldn’t they have just brushed it under the carpet rather than blamed Batman? Couldn’t they have blamed the Joker or something?

  3. Dent’s fall from grace from easy. He’s a man who sees everything in 2 neat little boxes of idealistic black and white, good and evil. Nothing in the middle. Hence his penchant to make decisions at the flip of a coin. ones and zeros. Integers and no fractions. The shock of losing his girl, of him being saved instead due to the Jokers superior wit, and his disfigurement sends him barreling down that road. Pain, physical and mental, will turn you into a savage fast.

    Batman took the blame because he likes to suffer, he does. His pain validates his existence. And taking the blame invalidates the Joker at the same time. It’s a Win Win but in this world of apathy I found this gesture of nobility to be much to heavy handed.

    And the movie left me without any feelings. I wanted to have my world rocked and it barely got nudged.

  4. You know, I think that most people are able to crack … probably why so many good politicians go bad. I’m so glad you finally saw this movie, it really was fantastic. Poor Batman, losing his lady …. And Dube, you just missed my HUGE post I wrote about Drew Barrymore’s film Whip It! Check out my page now!!!

  5. You know where I stand on this… I think all of us can be corrupted. It takes the right combination of twists and turns, but it happened to me years ago. Luckily, there is always room for redemption (thank God!)

  6. I think some people die before they become corrupted. Not many, but some. I don’t know how I would handle it – thank goodness this was just a movie. 😯

  7. I just saw this movie. I didn’t really have any big take on it either except I thought it was highly deceptive of the film makers (and or writers) to push chaos theory and chance on the audience. For me, all things are deliberate with much intention. I really do believe there are o coincidences and that things that happen are planned by some entity–whether good or evil. The hard part is being the unwilling pawn in someone else’s games o plans. That is where I believe that idea of chaos might apply. Wrongdoings and evil most certainly do lead to tragic havoc in the lives of many. So that part is chaotic, but the first intenion is always deliberate. The aftereffects are probably most often just random effects. So perhaps chaos does exist in that manner, if at all.

    I think I just contradicted mysef. I must be two faced.

  8. Really interesting questions. I do believe, however, that ALMOST everyone is corruptible. It’s just a matter of finding out what will corrupt them. Money wouldn’t have done it for Harvey Dent, as it would for “most” people. But the chance for revenge against those who killed the one he loved? As a parent, that seems a bit more realistic to me than it did before I had children (even though this wasn’t about revenge for his child)… I believe that Bruce Wayne/Batman, though is the rare example of one who can’t be corrupted.

    He has all the money in the world, so that’s not going to get him. Everyone he loves has now been killed; what does he have left? His incorruptibility. That’s all he has left. So now that’s all he refuses to give up. And he doesn’t care at all if others believe he is corruptible, because he knows the truth.

  9. I agree with Rachel. Everything spawns from a diliberate action. Or does it? Either way chaos usually spawns almost always from diliberate actions, simply because they are deliberate, they are supposed to have a meaning, and thus envision the action. That’s what makes it worse when they fail.

    p.s I loved the Joker!

    Can’t really see how they’re gonna portray him in the next movie…
    But I really want to see him again to see what he/the directors/writers do!

  10. Dang, I’m REALLY behind in answering comments. I’ve got to get better at this. By now, no one will be reading my response to this one. Sorry!

    Kevin – Good point about looking at it from a political sense. Batman’s decision was definitely dumb. And I hope some people aren’t corruptible… :-/

    Spy – Great point. Why couldn’t it be an unsolved crime? Those happen all the time!

    Dave – Good point about how it was easy for Dent to fall. And ya, Batman does seem to like suffering. Maybe, like some people IRL, he’s addicted to being miserable.

    Girl – Your post about Barrymore is amazing! WOW!

    Adam – Thanks for sharing. I knew from your blog post that you’d want to visit here!

    Rambling – Can’t wait til you see the movie!

    Teeni – Thank goodness is right! I wouldn’t handle something like that well at all. :-/

    Rachel – YAY! I’m so glad you commented! 🙂 Good point about chaos. Some people thrive on creating it.

    Amy – GREAT point. Yes, some people require different things to corrupt them. So true.

    Zen – Welcome! I hope you come by again! The Joker really was great. And ya, chaos usually does come from deliberate actions. So sad.

  11. I’m way behind the times. I just saw the movie last week; I just found your blog today. Nevertheless,….

    The Joker is a missing character in this modern age. He helps. Dent’s dark side is Man-E-Faces. That’s okay; Harvey’s job could have been to regulate and utilize, in an appropriate way, his dark side. He fails. It’s really not the Joker’s fault that Harvey goes astray. The Joker merely gives him the opportunity to see deeper, behind the veils of truth.

    Batman is a clean and complex Samurai. He’s so deeply, existentially kind, that he appears evil.

    Great movie, fine post.

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