The Dark Knight of Our Souls

The Hero and Terror

The Dark Knight portrays a quintessential struggle between good and evil in in a fantasy setting that’s an allegory for the real world and the larger struggles within it. It’s the movie about the war on terror that Hollywood cannot and will not force itself to make.

Hollywood has made several attempts at war movies, but they cannot help but be perniciously moralistic in purveying their political views in them.  There’s no choice to make other than to not watch if you oppose those views. Nobody goes to see those movies because you know how they will be. Our troops, the US, our institutions are almost always portrayed in them as bad. Who wants to see them when most people, even if they disagree with the war, know that the US is not wholly bad?

When you start from the concept that all war is bad no matter the motive, then you end in a moral quagmire where the good becomes the bad and evil gets ignored, or worse, justified.

The Dark Knight is breaking records and many will see this movie multiple times. They will see it not because of the special effects, not because of the great acting, not because of the superb editing or directing. They will see it instead because it portrays heros who must make moral choices over and over throughout the movie. They must choose between life and death, good and evil, they must choose between happiness and misery, they must weigh and judge.

I’ll not spoil the movie with specificity about those choices, but among them are the choice to confront or submit to terror, to sacrifice happiness for the greater good, to choose between life and death, to submit to venality and easy path or to persist through pain and horror.

Most of America and our troops will love this movie because in every scene those moral choices are made during The Dark Knight moment by moment by moment. They will recognize those choices for they also have to choose, to judge, to decide. In the case of our troops every choice in the movie is one they’ve already confronted and chosen rightly on.

The poster says “Welcome to a world with no rules” but the nihilistic and Nietzschean statement gets overuled by laws and choices: those laws that the universe and reality present us with, and those choices we make to build purpose within it. Watch for the choices in this movie if you would grasp meaning from it.