Batman: The Dark Knight

Along with millions of other Americans, I caught a Friday showing of The Dark Knight. I’ve actually been a fan of comic books and super-heroes ever since I can remember, so I was eager to see the follow-up for what in my mind is one of the best comic adaptations to the big screen ever (my top three in no particular order: Spiderman 2, Iron Man, and Batman Begins).

The film didn’t disappoint, largely living up to the considerable media praise its received. It sports fine acting performances all around, from Heath Ledger’s disturbingly vivid turn as Batman’s arch-nemesis, the Joker, to Gary Oldman’s subtly strong Lt. Jim Gordon. And I’d agree with those who’ve suggested that while the film certainly has its fair share of summer blockbuster elements, it stands as much more than mindless popcorn entertainment. Driven by director Christopher Nolan’s compelling vision, the film’s tone is dark, gritty, and unsettling in more than a few places, a fact that nonetheless helps to lend this current incarnation of the Batman mythos more realism and undoubtedly more lasting value.* Yes, this is the rare summer movie fare that gives its viewer much to chew on.

With that in mind, here are a few questions to ponder after viewing The Dark Knight:

1. What about the film’s artistic execution (acting, directing, music, lighting, plot, special effects, etc.) did you particularly appreciate. Why?
2. Batman himself is vigilante. Why might this path be problematic? How does this manifest itself in the movie?
3. What is this film’s view of human nature? How does it compare with a biblical worldview?
4. How is the Joker’s evil differentiated from that of the other criminal elements in the story? How is it similar? How does this relate to a biblical perspective concerning sin?
5. How does the movie contrast Batman with Harvey Dent? With the Joker? What is the effect of these juxtapositions? What other themes are communicated by the Dent storyline?
6. In what ways is this story a tragedy? Why are these tragic elements compelling?

Feel free to raise your own questions and/or comment on the above.

*The film’s tone should, however, give many parents pause in deciding whether or not to allow their children to see it.

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