Saturday, August 09, 2008

Movie Review - Batman, The Dark Knight

Because of wildly glowing reviews, including from people I trust, I went to see the new Batman movie with great anticipation. Not only was I disappointed, I was discouraged that so many people see this as a good movie. It's not. In fact, I found it to be the most disappointing movie I have seen in a long time.

***Spoilers ahead***

The main reason I disliked it so much was the fact that every hero became corrupted. Harvey Dent was portrayed as an unselfish, sacrificial hero, yet, when he lost his girlfriend, he became a psychopathic, murdering maniac who was ready to blow the head off a little boy who had nothing to do with his loss. That seemed so ridiculous, it was truly pathetic, story-wise.

Then, when Dent dies, Batman and Gordon try to cover up this madman by lying about who killed the five police officers whom Dent had killed. Batman and Gordon agreed to say that Batman did it.

What? Are you kidding? Save the reputation of the psychopath and destroy the reputation of the true hero? For what reason? So the Joker wouldn't "win." Lie to honor the dead false hero, who can't help you anymore, and destroy the true hero who can help? That's absurd. It's stupid. It's wrong.

Because of this lie, the Joker actually did win. Every "hero" proved to be corrupt, just as the Joker had hoped. Batman and Gordon would spread this lie to the masses to protect a madman, a truly corrupt act.

Also, the movie seemed to glorify brutality and darkness. Brutal, callous murders abounded, including killing methods that were truly gross.

And the movie had so many story holes! Didn't anyone of the hundreds on that ferry think, "Wait a minute! Maybe the Joker's lying. Maybe pushing the button will blow up our own ferry!" I thought of it. Why didn't anyone else think of it?

Also, didn't anyone think about disabling the bombs? "Hey, if this thing is detonated by a transmitter, there must be a receiver at the bomb. Sure, it's hard to defuse a bomb, but it's usually a lot easier to disable a receiver." Yet, no one gave that a thought.

And how did the Joker get hundreds of explosive charges into the hospital without anyone noticing? How did he go into the hospital dressed as a nurse when obviously, with that face, he didn't look like one? Why was Dent, the one person who was to be guarded the most carefully, left unguarded?

There were many more holes like that. But the most important reason I disliked the movie was the corruption of every hero. If not for the lie at the end, I could have gotten through it with a smile, because good would have triumphed over evil, and light over darkness. As it ended, however, that wasn't true. Evil triumphed. Darkness prevailed.


Annalyn said...

I'm not defending Dark Kight, but I do think there was one good, meaningful part where Darkness did not prevail: On the ferry with all the convicts, they were deciding whether or not to push the button to blow up the other ship. One of the convicts said he was going to do something they should have done right away; he threw the thing overboard. Other than that, though, the movie was too dark for me.

Bryan Davis said...

Yes, liliannalissa, that was a flicker of light, my favorite part of the movie.

Astral Pen said...

My dad didn't like the ending, either. I suspect the writers threw it in to portray Batman as a hunted man by the police in the next film, to further isolate him from the outside world.

On the one hand, Batman and Gordon have what sounds like a good reason to put the blame on Batman. Since Harvey Dent has become an icon of virtue and justice in Gotham, the revelation of his heel turn would disillusion the public. But I didn't get the impression that the people of Gotham were good because of Dent. The whole episode with the two boats was to illustrate that the people of Gotham, even criminals, wouldn't callously kill others even to stay alive. They didn't do that just because of Dent's example, I'm sure. It represents a lack of faith in the people of Gotham, which again, has the smell of a plot set-up for the next movie.

On the positive side, I've noticed these newer Batman movies restore Batman's vow to never kill, even if they are psychopaths like the Joker. Many comic book fans were disappointed that Batman's Batmobile blew up a factory full of people in the Tim Burton 1989 film.

And how did the Joker set up those bombs in the hospital? Easy. He's a master villain. They all seem to have the ability to set up elaborate traps in incredibly secure places. I'm sure it's listed as a cliche somewhere.

- Jason

Jonathan Maiocco said...

I was thinking about seeing the movie in theaters, but now, I won't. I just don't want to pay $6.50 to get stuff put in my head that is evil.
Thank you for reviewing it Mr. Davis!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the review. I had heard several mixed comments about this movie and was debating whether or not to go and see it. As a general rule I love super hero movies. Good versus evil is one of best parts in a great story for me. However, a small red flag went up when I saw how dark the film was.
Also I appreciate your take on the part where Batman and Gordon lie about who killed those people. I hadn't thought of it in the way that you described it before.
Thank you again, Mr. Davis. The review was helfpul!

Pam Halter said...

Speaking as a adult who grew up with the TV Batman show (my very favorite) I am saddened to see where Batman has gone.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Mr. Davis the movie was a little dark. But I saw kids who looked like they were 6 to 12 years of age. Parents shouldn't expose dark stuff from the batman to little kids. I was also wondering are you thinking of making a movie for your dragons in our midst series? I think it would be a big hit!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry Mr. Davis but I disagree with you completely.

Perhaps I am a little dark, i shall have to look into that, but I loved the movie.

And I will tell you why...


As Gordon and his son stand next to Dent's dead body at the very end of the movie.

"Daddy why is Batman running away?" - Son

"Because we are going to have to hunt him." - Gordon

"But why? He didn't do anything wrong." - Son

"Because he is the hero we need but don't deserve..."

(note: that is from memory so it may be a little off but that is the gist of it.)

***End Spoiler***

Now, if I am not mistaken, was not Christ also the hero we needed but did not deserve? Granted we didn't lie to cover up another man's death and then use him as a scapegoat. But didn't he die for US? Didn't he take on the sins of the whole world to die for us? The ultimate lamb? The ultimate sacrifice?

Batman isn't dark, he is the light. He is the man who stands in for us as we lay rotting in our own filth. Batman follows the hero mentality. He has his faults and in no way is he Christ, but Mr. Davis you are a man of literature and as one I should think you would see him as he is...a hero. A light. A man so strong, he doesn't kill the joker. The joker murdered millions and yet he lives. And Batman will not go against that.

I don't see what Batman did as giving victory to the Joker, because his heart was not corrupt. He willing took on a lie so that the city might one day be released from it's filth. Christ took on the death of a murderer and he was blameless. But that didn't stop his own people from turning on him. That didn't stop the crowd. That didn't stop us.

And your right, Truth sets you free. But sometimes, Truth needs to hide for a moment before it is spread. It is why Prophets are given discernment. Because sometimes you must wait for the Spirit to move you before you tell that which you know.

The truth of Batman will come out. It always does. But his sacrifice is noble. And in my opinion not to be belittled.

Thank you for your review but I kindly disagree with you.

Bryan Davis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryan Davis said...

Truth Seeker, I disagree with you in the same way. Batman's lie didn't save anyone. It didn't protect anyone who should have been protected. It didn't help anything. Batman would have been a hero if he had not lied, and the lie only subtracted from what he did. It was a silly thing to do, and it ruined his reputation.

Bryan Davis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Finally someone who disliked this movie as much as I did! I thought I was crazy, 'cause everyone else seemed to love it.
The acting was great, and the filming was all well done, but it was the subject matter that I had a problem with.
Deffinitely an over-rated movie.

Anonymous said...

I think that the reason they spred the lie, which I agree is completely wrong, is because a hero like batman inspires people to dress up like him and fight crime as shown in the movie, but a hero like harey gives people hope. Thats why Gotham needed a hero like harvey.

Author Scott Appleton said...

I agree with Siobhan: why do so many consider this movie so highly. Yes, it is well acted. Yes, much of the dialogue is well written. But evil triumphs... the villain survives. And, though some may disagree with me on this, if Batman wanted to protect the people of Gotham than his duty was to kill the Joker. I am disturbed by the movement against capital punishment and the lack of distinction between eliminating evil and commiting a murder. Well, I disliked the movie and I saw no comparison between Christ's substitutionary attonement and Batman's foolish final act.... And does anyone else think that Harvey Dent, if he was as strong a proponent of justice as the movie claimed, would have stayed true? His corruption threw me in the worst way because it didn't strike a chord with reality. I cannot think of a single historical instance where a strong, upright man let his arch-enemy live and turned to killing the innocent.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Mr. Davis. I don't remember a hero act in the movie. It seems that the director wanted evil to win instead of good. How can people say it was a good movie. They just want to support the actors. I think it was one of the darkest movies I've ever seen. There was only a couple daytime scenes. But most of the fighting scenes was in the dark. I thought that the movie was not encouraging. I've seen lots of movies, and that one was one of the darkest ones I've ever scene. And how can a lie be an act of heroism anyways?

Anonymous said...

I've never liked Batman. I would prefer Lord of the Rings and Star Wars over any hero movie. I have the choice to see Batman or Clone Wars. I think I'm going with Clone Wars based on what you and many others have said about Batman. Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Dad! :)
I interpreted the end a little differently. I though that Batman's decision to cover up Dent's death was a case of lying to save lives. They weren't trying to protect Dent's reputation for his sake, but for the sake of maintaining the intregity of an icon of hope. Batman's reputation was already sullied because of the lies spread about him.
Perhaps their logic is flawed and probably won't even work, but I thought it was made with the noblest of intentions. Batman's sacrifice was meant to preserve hope.
My favorite part was also the two boats. The scene was beautifully done. I don't know if people in that situation would think to try to diffuse the bomb. They were all panicked and it didn't seem that anyone was at all trained to deal with such scenarios. I dunno; I was so caught up in the moment I didn't even look for story flaws. I know, I'm supposed to be a daughter of yours! :)

I really enjoyed the movie, although I can't say I was pleased to see a group of boys in front of me that couldn't have been more than 10. The movie portrayed the real world in a very vivid light, and there are things children just shouldn't see. In that sense, I would agree that it was too dark. Definitely not a kids' movie.

The Writer said...

Everything Batman did he did for good. If he and Gordon had come out with the fact that Dent was (pardon the pun) dented, all the hope that the people of Gotham had for their city's future would be lost. And the reason "there was no repentance by the one who benefitted" (your words) is that said person had already DIED. This does make it harder for him to turn from his ways and become the white knight that Gotham wants again. This film is all about showing the light in the midst of the darkness, because that makes you appreciate the light more. When did we see the light of Jesus' resurrection and his saving of the world? In the midst of the darkness of his death. No, I don't think little children should go to this movie, but this movie shows the darkness defeated. In Psalm 23:4, it says "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are beside me." There is supposed to be darkness, for this movie is set in the real world. It merely shows an amplified version of it. It's like reading a Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti book. The best placce to see the light is the darkness. That's all for now.

Bryan Davis said...

Scott, you're right there is absolutely no real parallel between Batman's lie and the sacrifice of Christ. It's completely fabricated. Trying to compare a loving, perfect, righteous sacrificial death to Batman's lie is an insult to the gospel.

And I agree with you about the ridiculous change in Dent, from a sacrificial hero to a psychopathic murderer just because a girl died. Absurd.

Wilsonator, you are correct, as well. Good thoughts.

Guntotinangel, it's tough to disagree with my own daughter, but Batman's lie would not save any lives. It would likely cost lives as he, Batman, would not be as free to rescue. As the new villain of Gotham, he cannot be the hero he needs to be.

Maintaining the integrity of an "icon of hope" actually would do great damage. Forcing the city to live a lie cannot be a good thing, especially when the lie eventually comes to the light. It seems to me that you wouldn't want the government (i.e. Gordon) to fee a lie to the people and perpetuate it by making a villain out of a hero.

And to say that the movie portrayed the "real world" in a vivid light is also inaccurate. I doubt that any city in this country has ever gone through what happened in this movie. It wasn't real at all.

Bryan Davis said...

The Writer,

Of course Dent couldn't repent and change. That's my point. It couldn't be a parallel with the gospel.

This movie did not show the light in the midst of the darkness. There was no light. Batman had been the light, but his lie proved otherwise. The darkness is not defeated.

I am amazed at how people are defending this lie. It was senseless, purposeless, and hurtful. The city needed to know who their real hero was, but Batman and Gordon chose to deify a man who was ready to blow a kid's head off. There was no honor in this, no saving grace, no benefit, and absolutely no parallel with the gospel. In fact, it was, in some ways, an anti-gospel.

Mrs. Wright said...

What amazes me is how often we Christians try to find Biblical parallels in movies that were written by unbelievers who share a different world view than ours.

Some thoughts I have after reading this review and the comments on it:

1. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NASB) 2 Cor. 5:21

Let's not forget the first part of that verse. Christ was sinless. Though he "became" sin on our behalf, he did not sin. He did not lie.

2.Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.(NASB) Philip. 4:8

Keeping this verse in mind, we should ask ourselves if attending this film glorifies God.

3. It seems to me that there are greater questions about this movie than whether or not it portrays any Biblical truths.

For instance, how will themes such as "the ends justify the means" influence viewers? What effect does viewing dark violence have on society? Will certain elements of this movie entice impure thoughts?

Instead of getting caught up in arguing over the story line, let's consider that we should seek to please God even in our entertainment choices.

Nick Duerr said...

Mr. Davis,
If the comarison is between Batman and Jesus Christ, would you not say that Jesus took the murders of innocent people on himself? Batman is human. He cannot supernaturally take away someones sins. If it was their intention, the film makers used human means (in this case lying) to transfer Dent's guilt to Batman. You said in your last post "There was no light. Batman had been the light, but his lie proved otherwise. The darkness is not defeated." Dent was the light. Bruce Wayne was going to give up his Batman guise and let Dent be the light for Gotham. He said (I believe to Rachel) that Gotham needed a hero with a face, and Dent would be that hero. Batman took the blame, not nessecaraly as a cover-up, but he took the blame, so that the people of Gotham would not see the corruption to the light. Now I have no reserves saying that lying is bad. But in an alegory, the comparasons are never perfect, therfore you have to use a less than perfect comparison. Also, in our world, darkness has not been ultametly defeated, and will not untill judgment day. Any way, on the subject of biblical comparisons, World Magizine (which I would highly recomend) had a review of The Dark Knight in it. They compared the Joker to Satin. It is obvious in the movie that the Joker is not in it for money (he burned the huge mound of cash sitting there). He is there for the simple joy of killing (which is not a joy). But also the Joker is not just a killer, he is a corroupter. Obviously he corrupted Dent, but also he was trying to get normal-everyday-frendly-neighbor people to kill other people. Obvously there was the ferry scene, but there also his "try outs" after having killed the one gangster in the begining, and where he had people try to kill the Wayne Enterprizes associate who was going to blow Batman's covor. It is a dark movie, and I would agree with the reviewer in World Magazine and say that the movie should have been rated R. Whether the film makers intended it or not, there are parallels that can be drawn between Dark Knight and the Bible.

Bryan Davis said...


First, it's true that Jesus took murders upon himself, but only from repentant people, those who surrender themselves to Him. Harvey Dent never did that, so there is no parallel. Jesus did it through a righteous act of sacrifice. Batman did it through a lie. So there is no parallel. Jesus made His followers righteous. Dent remained a psychopathic murderer, so there is no parallel.

It's true that Batman's reason was to give the people a hero with a face, but Dent wasn't a hero. He was a murderer. Gotham shouldn't have looked to Dent as a hero. He simply wasn't one. Why invent a hero who isn't one when you have a real one? It doesn't make sense.

Was the Joker like Satan? In some ways, yes. He was evil. He was a corrupter, as are many evil people. Satan, however, seems to seek glory and power for himself, while the Joker sought only chaos. The parallel isn't very close.

So, again, the so-called parallels people make between this movie and biblical truth are stretched beyond reasonable limits. They just aren't there.

Anonymous said...

I think that the movie was completely dark.there is no similarity at all between acahrist and Batman. Batman should not have lied because even if you lie to save lifes, alie is always wrong.

RavenM said...

I bet you're getting tired of answering the same arguements over and over again lol. I agree with you that it's stretching way to far to try to find biblical paralels in this movie. Why even bother unless you are trying to justify watching it?
I also thought the lie at the end was stupid! Perhaps the intentions were noble, but still it was a stupid solution :( They got rid of real hero by their lie. Completely pointless.

I love fantasy and hero stories and I was awed by the acting in this film, but I agree with your general opinion of this movie.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the movie review and for everyone's comments. My husband and I are trying to raise three boys in this society and a lot of things get muddled into grey areas instead of black and white as they should. My oldest son is almost 15 and wanted to watch this movie, along with some others he's heard kids talk about at school. So far, we've restricted our boys to G movies, some PG and the odd PG 13 if we watch it ahead of time then with them. I've been accused of sheltering my children from the real world by not allowing them to watch movies like this but there is so much evil in the world I see no need to watch senseless violence and killing being glorified.
The junk Hollywood is putting out in the name of entertainment is saddening. The changes in what's acceptable even in sit-coms between when I was growing up and my kids' time is astonishing. Lying, killing, haven't we better things to do with our time than watch that? We try to base what we watch on whether or not God would be pleased with it. Thank you for the review so I don't have to subject my family to this.

Bryan Davis said...

Tammy, you're welcome. I agree with you.

Isn't it strange that people claim that we're not exposing our kids to the "real world"? There is nothing "real" about this movie. Our kids will never run into anything close to the characters or events in this movie. The story is a twisted view of reality. People who think this is realistic have serious problems.