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Movie Review: The Dark Knight

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Author/Source: Eric Ward

Topic: Movie Review, Reviews

A review of The Dark Knight including description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review: <i>The Dark Knight</i>

Overview

The bottom line (at the top) is this is an excellent movie that your kids should NOT see. However, if they do see it, don’t miss the opportunity to talk about some of the issues this movie raises. On the surface, this is a basic, crazed-maniac- wants-to-kill-and-destroy-and-hero-has- to-stop-them kind of plot. However, there are some deeper themes that are addressed in this movie that make it stand out as a great movie.

Concerns

The biggest concern for this movie is violence. Although that is probably shared by all superhero movies, not all superhero movies feature the villain talking about the pleasure he gets out of killing with knives instead of guns. Heath Ledger plays an exceptionally twisted Joker who likes to tell some pretty horrific stories about how he got the scars on his face. There is a psychological aspect to the violence in this movie which elevates it beyond a basic superhero violence level.

Another concern that some may have in this movie is use of alcohol. In two separate scenes, characters from the movie suggest to someone that alcohol is a viable way to deal with their problems. Nothing is done to suggest that they may not be right. The only other concerns were fairly minor (considering the movie is PG-13) such as a few scantily-clad women and mild profanity (limited to the use of the word “hell”).

Teachable Themes

  • “Know Your Limits”
    Much is explored in this movie concerning the limitations of a moral code. When is it acceptable to go beyond that code and when is that unacceptable?
  • “Either you die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
    That is the philosophy of district attorney, Harvey Dent about living in a corrupt world. How possible is it to live without being corrupted by the world?
  • “Some men just want to watch the world burn,” says Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler.
    The question that is hinted at is “Why?” The Dark Knight assumes a belief in the basic goodness of humanity and questions how that goodness goes wrong. It is interesting to compare that viewpoint to biblical view of the basic sinfulness of humanity.
  • “Endure – they’ll hate you for it.”
    Perseverance in the face of evil and standing for what you believe in is addressed as Bruce Wayne questions whether or not he should continue as Batman.

Other topics that are addressed in this movie include, personal sacrifice, grief and revenge. There really is a depth of social commentary presented in this movie that could be explored for a long time.

Biblical References

  • Perseverance
    • Romans 2:6-7
    • Galatians 6:9
    • 2 Thessalonians 3:13
    • 2 Timothy 2:3
    • James 1:2-4

  • Sinfulness of Humanity
    • Romans 3:23
    • Romans 5:12
    • 1 John1:10

  • Revenge
    • Leviticus 19:18
    • Matthew 5:39
    • Romans 12:19

Discussion Questions

  1. Consider the following quotes from The Dark Knight and discuss their implications:
    • "The only morality in a cruel world is chance." –Harvey Dent
    • "People deserve to have their faith rewarded." – Batman
    • "Sometimes truth isn’t good enough." – Batman
  2. Batman breaks the law in order to bring justice to criminals. Is that ever acceptable? Why or why not?
  3. Harvey Dent, Batman, and a nameless security guard are all shown losing their temper and responding with violence. Did it help? How did it make things worse?
  4. At the end of the movie, Harvey Dent was presented to the public as a fallen hero even though he had become the villain, Two-Face. Is it ever acceptable to lie to protect someone from the truth? Why or why not?

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