When is a movie more than just a movie?

“Think you’re smart, huh? The guy that hired youze, he’ll just do the same to you. Oh, criminals in this town used to believe in things. Honor. Respect. Look at you! What do you believe in, huh? What do you believe in!?”

~ Gotham National Bank Manager
in “The Dark Knight”

I rewatched “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” today in anticipation of seeing “Dark Knight Rises” at the theater tomorrow, and I can’t help but view the movies in a new light.

Both of Christopher Nolan’s first “Batman” movies are well-done Hollywood fare, and it’s difficult to see them now – after a madman orchestrated a massacre at the midnight premiere of the third in the “Batman” trilogy — as simply comic bookie or pop culture.

The media have tossed around a lot of comments and suppositions about belief since a deranged man killed six last week in a shooting at the Sikh temple outside Milwaukee. Discussions have revolved around what Sikhs believe, what white supremacists believe, what Americans believe about Muslims, what society believes about veterans.

I find it strange the media are spending so much time talking about belief now, given how this violence is connected to the location – a temple. Theoretically a place where people believe in something.

With the Milwaukee incident coming so close on the heels of the Aurora shooting, I’m left to wonder, isn’t a movie theater a place where people believe ardently in something, too?

The Aurora movie theater was filled with what can only be viewed as disciples – people who were willing to see a movie at midnight on a weeknight. Willing to bring their children. Willing to dress up in, at least, Batman logo-ed clothing if not apparel more theatrical.

I am too far removed from the investigation to know what role popular culture might have played in the shooter’s mindset, and I’m not sure it’s fair to apply religious terms to the actions of a mass murderer or the victims.

Seeing the first two movies again in light of the recent real-life violence reminds that the “Batman” movies aren’t simply about a comic book character, but about  fear and the nature of good and evil.

“What you really fear is inside yourself. You fear your own power. You fear your anger, the drive to do great or terrible things.”

~ Henri Ducard in “Batman Begins”

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3 responses to “When is a movie more than just a movie?

  1. I’ve heard that in a movie before, in Akeelah and the Bee. What you are really afraid of is “me”.
    NOT ME! fear rejection. Period. Wasting time on a relationship that will go nowhere. Or carefully building one and then destroying it in a monent of carelessness. Ar-r-r-r-rgh!!!
    Maybe it’s my power to mess up? 😉

  2. i think we are doomed when we start to look for answers to assaults on our freedom in movies designed primarily to sell toys to under 12’s. My 2c.

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