OK, I admit, I was wrong! There, I said it, are you happy now?
For an actual review of the movie and plot you can go to any of these reviews…. What I’m going to do here is tell you what I liked and why it is even interesting and powerful for those with a Christian worldview.
One thing you need to know about the movie is that the basic story tells how Bruce Wayne (Batman) got to be who he is. To get that part of the story, the director used flashbacks to see a glimpse of Wayne’s childhood, his privileged childhood and his warm and gracious father. In one very simple yet poignant scene, the young Wayne fall down an abandoned well and is injured. His father calmly comes to rescue him.
After he rescues him and is comforting him, his father says. “Why do we fall down?” And then he answers “so that we can learn to get back up again.” This is such a simple principle but I think it has great relevance in life and especially in the Christian life. In the Christian life it is in failing and then coming to God for reconciliation and forgiveness that we learn that life a continual cycle of falling and then getting back up again. But even more, it is this reconciliation process that we learn and experience what grace is. So this short little scene had such huge relevance to real life.
The young Bruce Wayne witnesses the murder of his parents in a senseless crime. This trauma bends his life to focus on avenging their deaths but that opportunity is stripped from him when someone else kills his parent’s murderer. So he decides to flee to the east to attempt to deal with his hatred and anger and maybe learn a way to fight these forces of evil. While in this world, he become very powerful in his skills as a fighter using many of the techniques of the eastern marshal arts experts. It is also during this time that he meets the charismatic cult leader known as Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson of Star Wars fame). This cult, the dark shadow uses vigilante techniques to wipe out decadent cultures through out history (ok, this is a bit of a stretch, but bear with me) and Wayne had been trained in all of their skills, but in the end, he rejected vigilantism. He chose fighting for justice without taking the law into his own hands. Of course this causes a huge split with the cult leader and there had to be a great ninja scene to complete this action.
But, the point of all of this is that Batman choses justice. Of course this has relevance in the Christian life. We are to care for the poor, to love justice, to fight evil etc. But what are our means? This very powerful super hero has the skill, ability, desire to clean up a corrupt metropolis, but he constrains himself to work within the law. We also must work within the law.
So the result of all of this is that I have realized that I am officially a curmudgeon. My default position in the world of entertainment is that my kids can not know best and recommend a great movie that has some very worthwhile themes. Wow, dad is humbled again. Isn’t it great being a parent?