I felt crushed to see Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) aka Batman walk away from the scene into the dark alleys after Batman had saved Police commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) from being killed by the two-faced Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart)..
He walked away from recognition as a hero to become the wanted villain.
“He’s the hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now … and so we’ll hunt him … because he can take it … because he’s not a hero … he’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector … a Dark Knight,” says Gordon,to his son, who just moments before was in the hands of Dent, the new and bold District Attorney of Gotham city.
Harvey was planning to torture Gordon by killing his son, because Harvey suspected the latter, including several others he had “terminated’, was involved in the murder of his girlfriend, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyallenhaal).
But Batman, being Batman – “I am whatever Gotham needs me to be” – decided to take the blame for Harvey’s murders so that the two-face can be remembered as a hero. Why?
He understood that the people needed to believe that the brave and courageous still existed in a world rampant with corruption and lies.
“This city just showed you that it’s full of people ready to believe in good,” said Batman to the Joker, while swinging from the edge of a high rise building, ready to dive, when the Joker (the late and wonderful Heath Ledger), releases the rope.
He was referring to two ferries nearby – one carrying civillians, and the other, convicts – who decided not to kill each other despite the fact that the Joker had threatened to kill them at midnight, if they did not press the trigger to bomb each other first.
So, Bruce Wayne understood, as any hero would, that the manhunt for Batman the villain was the one thing that could unite the people, thus give them hope, to survive in a world, which was fast losing hope.
How many of us could do that, walk away from glory and name, in this world where fame and glam are everything?
Dent, though being a tough DA (we may dream forever to have a DA like this), succumbed to the pressure of staying honest to his profession when Rachel, the love of his life was blown to bits in a bomb blast set up by the Joker – the agent of chaos.
True to his words – “Either you die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” -Dent lived long enough to see himself become the villain.
But I felt crushed, again, when Rachel, also Wayne’s old time friend and love interest, gave him up and chose Dent, because he was a vigilante.
“You know that day you once told me about, when Gotham would no longer need Batman? It’s coming,” he says to Rachel, an upcoming assistant DA, at a party he threw in honor of Harvey, the new kid on the block, to say “I believe in Harvey Dent”.
Yes, she waited too long. If my boyfriend were Batman, I supposed I want him to continue his work. You cannot take Batman out of Bruce Wayne, or vice versa.
Truly, I had an emotional experience watching this movie.
The call for justice in an indecent time resonates well with what’s happening in our country. But is truth enough to save human kind?
“Sometimes, the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded,” says Batman to Gordon.
So, when the going gets tough, some people become corrupt; become two faced, in times like this – a time when truth is suspended, so that betrayals become evident. It has to surface so that betrayers can be dispensed with. Or else, how do we move on?
How many of us would hold to our own principles, to our own truths when faced with grave danger, not only to ourselves, but our loved ones? Many of us, I believe, would relent, until we have made a commitment to be fearless and heartless. And even then, when the lives of our loved ones are at stake, what do we do?
I once asked my mom what would she do if I were arrested for my political writings, she said she would not visit me in jail. She added that if they asked her, she would say she does not know me. She said I always knew what I was doing, and if I landed in jail, that I would know what to do.
I was amazed at her answer. To me, it meant that she was beyond fear. Who could threaten her? And I do not have to relent, because I have no one to be fearful for. But would I relent for fear of myself?
Strangely, the other character which enthralled me in the movie was the Joker. He was evil, yes, but he spoke eternal truths about how human beings behaved in the real world, how often their true colors surfaced when pushed to the corner, when offered bribes, position or power, that is too enticing to resist.
His observation about the police force was spot on.
Joker said to a policeman while trying to seduce him to lose his temper, so that he can overpower the man, and get himself out of the lock-up:
“Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can’t savor all of the … little … emotions. You see, in their … last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way … I knew your friends better than you ever did. [pause] Would you like to know which of them were cowards?
In the same lock-up, he tells Batman, who tried to wringed the truth from him about the whereabouts of Rachel and Harvey (the Joker had strapped both of them to bombs and oil drums, at difference locations), with little success at first:
“When the chips are down, these, uh … civilized people, they’ll eat each other,” he offered, referring to the police. Can we argue with him, if we look at our present circumstances?
Do the police and criminals have a pack to perpetuate each other’s existence, in order to survive?
Joker had the answer, but he says this to Batman, who he considers an ‘unstoppable force”, and he himself, an “immovable object”.
“You won’t kill me because of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because … you’re just too much fun! I think you and I are destined to do this forever”.