The Dark Knight on Heroism: Part 1

Batman as the Hero

Batman as the Hero

I saw the movie for the second time on Friday – two weeks after the first experience in Manhattan. I feel that I would need a DVD version to watch over and over to get all the hero-related themes, but I’m going to try anyway.  Here is part 1.

“What’s the difference between you and me?”

One of the impersonators at the beginning of the movie said something like this to Batman. Batman gave a trite response, but the truth is much more important. Let’s look at some requirements of heroism to find out.  These comments are based on the assumption that the Impersonators are fighting crime – not simply part of the criminal element.

Heroes Take Conscious Action

We saw Batman make the conscious choice to become Gotham’s protector.  He didn’t accidentally fall into the job.  The Impersonators also made a conscious choice to make a change.

Heroes Make Sacrifices

Bruce Wayne has sacrificed his normal, apparently easy life.  He sacrificed a relationship with Rachel Dawes.  He sacrificed a lot of money to fund the Batman.  The Impersonators would seem to have sacrificed too.  They also sacrificed their normal lives.  They sacrificed their relative safety.

Heroes Are Selfless

Bruce Wayne does what he does for the people of Gotham City.  So do the Impersonators.  They’ve been inspired by Batman.

Heroes Do Are Good

The Impersonators are doing good by fighting crime.  As does Batman.  However, Batman shows by his actions and words that not only does he do good, he is good.  For example, he won’t kill, while the Impersonators freely use guns.  Ultimately this is what makes a hero.

Heroes are good people.  They have a code, or a set of rules, or simply understand goodness.  They are good people.

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2 Responses to The Dark Knight on Heroism: Part 1

  1. Aaron Romoslawski August 4, 2008 at 11:59 am #

    Heroes truly are people who are willing to sacrifice their own easy life to help others. When Batman made the decision to become the “villain” in the movie for the sake of Gotham, he did what was right, but what was obviously a difficult choice. In our world we need to have more people willing to do what is right, even though it may not be ideal for that person at that moment.

    One recent example of someone making a truly great choice would be George H. W. Bush. He ran into office swearing not to raise taxes, but when the country was facing absolute ruin, he sacrificed his political future by raising taxes. Thanks to this increase in tax revenue, our country saw the extreme prosperity in the nineties, rather than depression era problems. Hopefully our youth will learn from these messages sent out of Hollywood that heroism is about doing what is best for the common good, not what is best for the individual.

  2. Stephen Pearson August 6, 2008 at 7:32 am #

    A good read, and Bel and I have not seen the movie, but it leads me to the question what is being “good”? Is good relative to the cause, or is good whatever the majority needs, or what your friends believe is right.

    One thing springs to mind is Doctor Who, (and I know I am mixing my Sci-Fi) here, but when the Doctor is given the chance to destroy his arch-enemy the daleks, before they can begin to destroy worlds, he doesn’t do it. He is willing to do what is good, but realises that removing them from history will remove the good that evil brings. The worlds that were brought together in fear of the daleks, the people that sacrificed themselves to conquer the common enemy.

    I think one of the things that separates Batman from other super heroes, is he will always hand the villains over to the police for a fair trial. And this means he does deliver his own justice, like the Impersonators are.