Mixed messages from the movies

Often, we find ourselves at a movie theatre on a Saturday night trying to catch the new blockbuster that has been taking the box office by storm. We sit down, eager to enjoy this theatrical phenomenon with a few close friends.

We watch a superhero destroy an army of aliens in Manhattan, or a man “dreamscape” into the minds of his enemies to find their darkest secrets. After the movie, we marvel at the spectacular CGI and the brilliantly mastered screenplay. We might even discuss the actor’s portrayal of a conflicted character, but how often do we ponder the information that is being fed to us?

In the Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan beautifully portrays the inner struggle of a conflicted battle between good and evil – a classic tale that is the basis of almost every superhero movie. Although in the Dark Knight it is not simply a matter of absolute good and absolute evil; it is the battle between choosing what is good and evil. When compared to other superhero flicks, it is a profound perspective in the sense that it allows the viewers to contemplate what we define as standing up for good and forbidding evil.

In the movie, it is implied that the two opposing forces are Batman and The Joker. Batman, in this case, represents order and justice, while The Joker represents anarchy and chaos. These two ideologies collide with Harvey Dent caught in the crossfire. Dent represents the struggle – ergo, his alias, Two-Face.

It is clear that the the main characters in this motion picture are constantly struggling to corrupt each other by forcing each to second guess their decisions. We learn that The Joker had used Batman to corrupt Dent by strategically placing them in a scenario that forced Batman to choose between saving a public hero and saving someone he loves. This, in turn, led to the corruption of Dent, which was a result of the constant conflict that he was forced into by The Joker.

The dichotomy of chaos and order are only balanced by the sacrifice of justice. In the end, Batman takes the blame for the murder of Dent, and in doing so he thwarts the sinister scheme of the Joker to paint the icon of justice in Gotham, Dent, as a public enemy.

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