Jul 20 2012
The Long, Dark Knight of the Soul

I wrote this "review" upon release of the last Batman movie.  it's less a critique of a movie than one of a culture that, in its death throes, will attempt to find high-mindedness in nihilistic violence.  

I'm not "blaming Batman" for what happened last night.  That'd be naive, wouldn't it?  And what would also be naive is to pretend that our entire culture isn't a matter of sowing-and-reaping.  That's why it's called a "culture".

We grow it.

And we harvest it.

 

The Long, Dark Knight of the Soul

At one level, this movie is a bunch of violent, purposeless noise.

But there is a second deeper level.  At that level, "The Dark Knight" is a discourse on the nature of evil.

And then... there is a third, still deeper, final level. 

At that final level, this movie is a bunch of violent, purposeless noise.

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People are buying scalped tickets this weekend for $100 apiece.  The critics say it's brilliant.  You've likely heard them, speaking in uniform voice, extolling the profundity of this very, very important movie.  The hype has been unmatched.  It's the best of its genre -- ever.  Thoroughly engrossing, thoroughly entertaining, thoroughly -- you know -- important. 

So it's interesting to watch people emerge into the light of day in the hot Florida sun, looking for their cars in the crowded lots.  They look kinda...bored.  Like they did when they walked in.  Almost like they didn't just see 2.5 hours of non-stop explosions, ear-crushing destruction, screams, bleeding, shotgun blasts, and brutal torture scenes. 

Let the record show that in the waning days of western civilization, when we were artistically spent, the going rate for 2.5 hours of defibrillation was $9.  Anything -- anything! -- to get our hearts pumping again, if for a short time, before exiting to find where we put the Accord.

This movie is well-made, of course.  To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, "People who enjoy that sort of thing will certainly enjoy that sort of thing." 

"The Dark Knight" is that sort of thing.  Death, mayhem, horrifying chaos -- wrapped in ooh-that's-deep philosophizing that will prompt many an essay from high school sophomores.  Too bad it, ultimately, means nothing.

Granted, my experience was colored somewhat.  Carolyn and I were sitting next to a three-year-old, who was treated to a happy-time-with-dad buffet of burnt flesh, maniacal laughing, and corpses.  It's only PG-13, you know, which just means parents need show guidance, as they guide those they are to protect into their seats in dark, stranger-filled blood shows.  Where would we be without parental guidance?

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Focus on the Family gives this movie 2-and-a-half stars for "family friendliness".  For what family, the Mansons? 

Will kids say they liked it, though?  Will the junior high boys like it?  Here's an experiement: Ask a group of junior high boys for movies they saw that were NOT awesome.  I've done it.  There follows a long silence.  This is because they are fools. 

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"The Dark Knight" is cultural rigormortis.  It's what happens when we are done, and we are done.  Jacques Barzun had it right, when he wrote a history of western culture up through the 1990s, and said, certainly, that our age is defined by boredom.  We are excited by nothing, really, but maybe for a moment here, or a moment there, we can try to be turned on.  Sex can do it (or fake sex, much more likely) but brutal violence can work, too, if for a short time. 

Our culture is lying on the table, and "The Dark Knight" is just another jolt before the flatline resumes.

At least give us this:  Our mass-market (which included me, yesterday) is willing to pay for it, but also demands some sense that it was all, ultimately, high-minded, that it was making some statement, that it was horrific, yes, but redemptive, blah blah blah.  Expect many hip Christian types to write as much, because 1) That's the essence of being hip, and 2) Who doesn't like Batman? 

But it's not redemptive...unless...

Unless we can emerge in the sunlight, after ALL THAT HYPE for this masterwork, this ultimate expression, this marvel-ous creation, saying, "Really?  That's as good as it gets?" 

Then we walk out into the sun, and decide it's infinitely more interesting than what we just paid to see.

 

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Comments (58) -

7/20/2012 11:31:54 AM
W United States
W
A big amen. Exactly what I've wanted to say but couldn't find the words. I grew up on the campy, fun Batman TV series--that's how I choose to remember this character.
7/20/2012 11:35:07 AM
Charles Tripp United States
Charles Tripp
Outstanding. Thank you.
7/20/2012 11:43:34 AM
Dusty Crabtree United States
Dusty Crabtree
Wow!  I love the way this is written!  Well said!!!  I haven't seen it yet, but I've been hesitant to because the last one was pretty dark for me.  I can't handle torture scenes and tons of mindless violence.  Honestly, I don't know how other people can.  It being PG-13 gave me hope, but that term doesn't really mean much anymore, does it?  

It makes me sad as well to see the culture the way it is these days.  It seems like we constantly need more to feed our need for adrenaline and action, to stimulate our lifeless, drained souls.  It reminds me of the futuristic Fahrenheit 451 (I actually teach that book in 9th grade English), which makes me wonder what the world of movies and TV will look like in our future.  Will we never get enough?  Will we start watching actual people be tortured because fake torture isn't enough?  Will we start playing soft porn on billboards on the street because seeing sex has become so common?  

Morality in the media is one thing that is truly dear to my heart.  It's a passion God has given me.  I don't know what all I'm going to do with it yet except write, but I'm open to his calling.  Thanks for your honesty!
7/20/2012 11:56:14 AM
Benjamin Crandell United States
Benjamin Crandell
I thought that I would say that this an amazing Video. Because I am person with Asperger Syndrome in the High Function part of the spectrum. I also have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and He has been amazing in what he has brought me through in my life. I have to say that I have been finding my self in areas of ministry where those that are so called normal that go church wind up sitting there collecting dust like the bibles they own sitting on their shelves at home.
7/20/2012 12:23:48 PM
Groovyoldlady United States
Groovyoldlady
Thank you for speaking the truth in Love, Brother.  Like "W", I prefer the hokey, funny Batman character to this dark, tortured soul they've twisted him into.  Our family will not waste any money trying get in to see this movie.  In fact, we rarely see movies at all and when we do they've been well vetted.  Our big question is, why does Focus on the Family (and other ministries) subject their own people to all the cultural trash out there?  I'm not thinking God is pleased that they are sucking in garbage for our benefit...
7/20/2012 12:52:24 PM
marcus mora United States
marcus mora
very well written.  Gore and violence should be categorized the same as pornography.  You would shield your kids eyes from any instance of violence, gore or just blood.  That is our job but we make exceptions when its not real.  We need to wake up and stop being bored!
7/20/2012 1:34:15 PM
Laura S. United States
Laura S.
I've never cared for Batman, I saw the last one and didn't really care for it. but i don't think i wanna see this one...Looks to violent for my 16 year old mind and I would rather spend my time doing something worth the 2.5 hours. You did a good job on this Brant. I hope that all those people ihnvolved know that God is with them through this hard and scarey time.
7/20/2012 1:36:00 PM
Joshua United States
Joshua
I think you should make an argument that the violence in TDK is gratuitous (i.e. does not contribute to the overall theme), rather than just assert it. Interact with the arguments from people who see redemptive themes in it, rather than dismiss them (I think the essence of being hip is dismissiveness). Sure, much of our bored, senseless culture will go to these films for the reasons you describe, but not everyone is like that.

For the moralists who object to any depictions of violence: Do you not realize that the most meaningful, poignant book ever written, the Bible, contains many extremely violent passages? Where does the crucifixion fit into your worldview?
7/20/2012 1:52:01 PM
Dannie United States
Dannie
Having seen parts of the second (before walking out) all I have to say is that written violence is a lot easier to take than visual. I can read the Bible and cry over the crucifiction but I couldn't even watch a cleaned up version of The Passion of the Christ. It is one thing to talk about something that really happened, but to make up violence for the sake of exploring the darker side of evil? Isn't our world dark enough already?
7/20/2012 1:56:30 PM
Brant Hansen United States
Brant Hansen
Joshua, you're exactly right on the violence in the Bible.  

I think, too, that the blog would benefit from "Here's why I don't think TDK really has a point."  

Honestly, though, I really wanted to comment more on culture, itself, than the details of the movie.  And trying to prove a negative, in this case, is going to get pretty wordy, to try to defeat arguments advancing certain views, etc.

Anyway, I get what you're saying.  I just wanted to comment more on culture.  And I'm not commenting on violence, per se, but our culture's sustained attempts to use whatever it can, including pointless violence, to drive it from its coma.
7/20/2012 2:10:24 PM
Luke United States
Luke
Hey Brant,

I see your point, but it also confuses me a bit. Your commentary is meant to make a statement on getting away from our problems as a culture by getting our heart beating for a couple hours. How is this any different than Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or anything else? Aren't movies an escape from the real world for a while and for entertainment purposes? I guess I just don't get why the commentary on Batman, but LOTR is different because it's not as violent.
7/20/2012 2:15:17 PM
Brant Hansen United States
Brant Hansen
Hey Luke...

I think there's something about the nihilism in our stories.  I see it here, and don't in LotR.

In fact, we would read our kids stories of good vs. evil, when they're little, precisely BECAUSE we want them to know there is evil in the world, and good will triumph.  There is a point.

From my perspective, this movie was a full-color example of purposelessness.  Others might reasonably disagree, but they also, too, might find my over-arching point to be valid.

...or not.  Smile  Anyway, thanks.
7/20/2012 2:23:42 PM
John United States
John
Brant,

I appreciate the thoughts but I disagree with you.  As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about the cultural and spiritual impact of media, I think the Dark Knight series is one of the best things to happen to the movies.

Unlike truly meaningless action flicks like Transformers, Dark Knight has some profound spiritual implications, which you dismissed in your post as "ooh-that's-deep philosophizing."  But that philosophizing is exactly where the meaning is found! If you toss it aside as merely theatrics, then that misses the point.  For example, here's one of my favorite lines from the movie, - every great story points back to the greatest story told in Jesus, and this one is no exception - the one where Catwoman tells Batman to abandon Gotham because she believes he's given "everything."  To which Batman replies, "Not everything, not yet," implying he has yet to give his life.  Stark parallel to Jesus right there.

You may not understand the philosophy in this movie, but you have to realize there are a lot of people to do.  True, our culture is "bored," but you don't snap out of that boredom and into a changed life by just pretending everything is OK and non-violent.  Sometimes, it takes a deep, perhaps even disturbing film like this to portray depravity in a powerful, visual manner to "shock" people back to reality.  To make them realize that it's a metaphor for the world they live in - that only when they realize the hurt and the pain that's out there will they realize they need a Savior in Jesus.  

As a side note, having seen the prequels, as well as the trailer for Dark Knight Rises, I don't think I would bring my 3-year old to see it.

I hope I don't come across as contentious at all here.  If anything, I'm just trying to discuss the points you brought up.  I just want to point out that while it's absolutely your prerogative to avoid this movie if you so choose, there are many out there who are impacted by it on a deep and powerful level, and who certainly don't see this movie as meaningless.
7/20/2012 2:28:08 PM
Chris Pinkard United States
Chris Pinkard
Let me start by saying I am a strongly pacifistic person. I don't support violence in any way. Now, let's make sure we all understand what violence is. Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.

Now, I am also a comic book junkie, gamer and sci-fi fanatic. People often say these things hold strong themes of violence, and perhaps if one does not understand violence, this would be true.

Here's the thing, violence is real. It's not fiction. It affects people, real people. It's wives who have been abused by their husbands. It's kids who have been bullied for any of a thousand reasons. It's pointless wars where thousands upon thousands of innocent people die. And it's a shooting in a theater full of people. This list goes on and on.

But what it isn't is a movie or a book or a video game. You see, these things aren't real. They don't actually exist. They can not be violent.

I would also remind you all that Batman wasn't a movie first, he was a comic book character created by a man named Bob Kane. Kane wanted to create a hero that was more of a detective, but because of things that had happened to the character he's a little dark. He represents fear for the bad guys and hope for the good guys. From conception Batman was created to be intimidating.

Now what I'm going to say next may sound a little rude, but it needs to be said. When Christians do things like this, this boycotting of everything, this is what makes us look crazy to everyone else. And despite the fact that I don't agree with you I get lumped in with the crazy anyhow.

It's not the 50's any more. Things change. The world around us changes. But we adapt. We move forward. We DO NOT continue to wish things were the way they used to be. If you like Adam West and Burt Ward better because you're not really a comic book fan and these characters are very nostalgic for you, great. But don't try to act like that's what Batman is supposed to be. Let the rest of us enjoy Batman for what he is.

Lastly, I would like to ask how many of you who are so opposed to "violence" in movies are also opposed to the war this country is currently fighting? Because that is real violence. It's innocent lives being lost. Homes being destroyed. Resources being expended at an alarming rate. If you want to speak out against violence, awesome...I'm with you, but let's make sure it's actually violence and not a make believe pretend land.

7/20/2012 2:28:45 PM
Kelly United States
Kelly
I agree with Brant's perspective and have been thinking along these lines for several years now (becoming a parent will do that to you!) I did a brief study at that time on the Culture of the New Testament church.  What was one of the sources of entertainment during that Culture? The Games of the Arenas. Where Christians, criminals, slaves, debtors and the "low of the low" in society were brutally killed.  Tortured. Torn apart. Ripped to shreds. Fought to the death. Not a pretty sight. In reading the descriptions of the arenas, my first thought was, "How could people just sit there and watch someone murdered and call it entertainment? How barbaric!"  Yet as I stepped away, it hit me like a load of bricks.  Their entertainment...our entertainment...not much distance between the Cultures.  The first response will be theirs was "real" and ours is fake.  But go a step further. For the average person attending the games in Rome, they watched from afar, out in the scorching sun, engrossed in the enthusiasm of the crowd.  Today? We watch up close and personal. From the comfort of our home.  In 3-d if we prefer. Over and over with the touch of a button.  Oh, but we are affected, because it's "fake."  
7/20/2012 2:30:00 PM
Dennis United States
Dennis
Well said brother, as we sit idly by and watch a decaying society what more can we expect. We have become complaisent and tolerant of all that happens in our world. We need to live in this world but we don't need to be of this world we as Christians need to make a stand fr what is morally right. Thanks for your more than moving concern for what we see every day in our fallen world.   Have a Blessed day
7/20/2012 2:30:53 PM
Brant Hansen United States
Brant Hansen
John -  Thanks tons for your take.

I don't think the Jesus analogy works at all in this movie.  I understand the connection with the quote there, but by the end, I think it's all a mish-mash.  

THAT SAID... that's merely my take on it.  I've yet to encounter an argument for that movie that I think works, but I've read many an attempt.  This may be evidence of a bad attitude on my part, but I'm honestly one who's prone to find spiritual themes and truth in myriad contexts.

I don't blast violence, per se.  I wouldn't do that.  Not where I'm coming from.  I'm aware the Bible, for one thing, is full of violence.  It's unsettling in an ultimately redeeming way.

I respect disagreement on this movie.  But maybe I'm saying that the culture begetting the movie, itself, is better evidence of our need for Jesus than any storyline within it.
7/20/2012 2:39:33 PM
John United States
John
Brant,

Thanks for the reply.  I absolutely agree with the fact that the culture begetting the movie is a sign we need Jesus.  I think from my perspective, I would say that every culture is capable of coming up with a similar story or movie, and that it's more of a reflection of the depravity of the human condition, even more so than it is of our specific cultures.  Everyone's different, but from my end, I like movies like these because it can serve as a reminder to wake up and carry the cross of Christ, so to speak.

As for the Jesus comparison being vague, I agree with that as well to the extent that, ultimately, Batman's sacrifice doesn't cleanse everyone's sins.  
7/20/2012 2:44:53 PM
Chris United States
Chris
I definitely see your point, but disagree a little bit. To say that the consumption of violent media signals the downfall of our civilization is a bit much. I've noticed other commenters express a feeling of disgust towards anything with violence and want to compare it with things like pornography. I understand the sentiment, but we must becareful when we say that, afterall, the Bible itself has a lot of material that if shown on a movie screen would be rated R or Mature and considered extremely gruesome. But yet God found it important enough to be explicit about that in order to teach us a lesson of some sort. I mean, the story in Judges 3:16 is a story of assasination that is prob just as violent if not more than any scene in the recent Batman films. Even the coming of our savior is filled with tons of blood and violence (i.e. Revelation 14:20). Don't get me wrong, I am not saying is ok to show violence or saying violence is ok in any way. Is never ever ok to hurt someone (unless is maybe self defense) and even the most hardcore batman fans are not ok with the violence that happened today in Colorado. I don't really have an answer of how we are supposed to approach violent media, but to say that because we have violent media means that our society is doomed is being quite pessimist. And to disregard any themes of redemption or "good winning against evil" that people find in stories like this is to concentrate only on the negative which is doing the opposite of what we should be doing when confronted with material this. I always found it interesting how the secular world still tells stories of saviors and heroes, of people that conquer evil. It shows they still yearn for things like that, and to me that means that there is still hope, we aren't doomed yet.It means they can still be introduced to our savior!
7/20/2012 2:50:32 PM
Brant Hansen United States
Brant Hansen
Rotten Tomatoes had to shut down comments because of the vitriol toward any critic who didn't like the new Batman movie.

And this is before anyone else had seen it.  You... just... can't... question... Batman stuff.

It's simplistic, I think, to just boycott everything violent.  Yes.  Got it.

Let's also consider that it's POSSIBLE that The Dark Knight is not a transcendent work of philosophical genius.  It might be - might be - deliberately pointless.  And if that's in the eye of the beholder, well, my view is valid, too, and isn't the result of moralism or myopia.  
7/20/2012 2:57:48 PM
Gary West United States
Gary West
Listening to you on the radio, speaking on your assessment of the "Dark Knight" film (I haven't seen the last one), I have say that violence itself can't really be labeled good or bad. It's like a hammer; you can use it to build or to destroy. Water runs along the ground and cuts away at dirt and rock. Does not the rock find this to be violent? Or if we make a fire to cook, doesn't the wood we use suffer violence? Violence is not divine or evil. It just is. The trouble comes in defining what is necessary or acceptable violence. To kill an animal for food is acceptable. To kill an animal for sport is wrong. To kill a person (given that cannibalism is wrong) is wrong unless it is to save the life of an innocent. Of course, this is only my opinion, so I suppose this is all open to debate. In the end, I guess the real decider is, would God see the violence that is done as being acceptable and right? Or would He see it as abhorrent and evil? Be wary of the violence you do. It can, it WILL, come back to you in the end.
7/20/2012 3:08:39 PM
Dorci United States
Dorci
I think your point is made by the comments on Rotten Tomatoes.  When a negative review of a movie, a MOVIE!, brings people to seethe and leave death threats, something is wrong.  Something is desperately, desperately wrong.  

We are taking our entertainment way too seriously.  Entertainment has become our lives.  There is no more growing up, no more leaving behind childish ways. There is no more passing into responsible adulthood to provide for our families and consciously train up our children.  There is only TV, video games, sports and movies.  

And yes, I know there are still plenty of responsible adults and kids who don't fit into that category, and I love a good movie or tv show as much as anybody, but I'm talking about our society as a whole. When you take an overview, that's the picture you get.  And I think it's sad and detrimental.

But it does my heart good to read that there are some who are still for virtue and goodness and craning to find a higher way of living.  
7/20/2012 3:16:33 PM
Miranda United States
Miranda
Interesting thoughts to read. I agree the last movie was extremely violent not just physically but mentally.
When it first came out I wouldnt see it because of what had happened with Heath Ledger. It felt weird and my heart was grieved to think that he might not have known Jesus.
I finally watched it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was very well done and the Joker was sickly good. I understand the concern about the unnecessary violence, but then you think about it and how much Unnecessary violence happens all the time all over the world. What's Scary is that what we watch is Real in our world today. I will see the new movie Hopeing for some redeeming qualities but who knows it might take me years to watch this one again.
Why parents would bring their kids to movies like this, I don't know. That makes me upset.
I totally agree that what our culture has become is the result of what we have planted.
Good Thoughts Brant!
7/20/2012 3:21:33 PM
Brant Hansen United States
Brant Hansen
Chris -

I *am* a pessimist about western culture.  

This is a MUCH larger discussion than Batman, or the entertainment complex.  There are many, many indicators of societal decline.

It's not shocking, because it's happened to many in the past, there's a course to things.  Civilizations are ascendant, they come to full flower, and they decline.

I'm not blaming the decline of the west on Batman.  I'm saying chronic boredom is a symptom of where we are.
7/20/2012 3:27:29 PM
Brant Hansen United States
Brant Hansen
BTW, THANKS for all your takes on this.  

Fascinating to read.  I appreciate the agreement and the disagreement, too.  
7/20/2012 3:44:17 PM
Cameron United States
Cameron
I understand what you're saying Brant. These movies are dark and ultimately have no purpose if you really think about it, as entertaining as they might be. I do enjoy the movies, but I recognize that they don't have a spiritual meaning.

One thing they do show, however, is how ruthless some people can be. In The Dark Knight, Alfred tells Bruce Wayne, "Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. Some men just want to watch the world burn." which is precisely what the Joker wants. If you look at what happened last night in Colorado, it seems that the man who shot those people had no reason (although I may be wrong; they haven't said publicly announced his reason). I mean, he was going for a Ph.D. and had everything to lose when all of a sudden he drops out and goes crazy. I think The Dark Knight really showed that there are people like that in our world (maybe in a more extreme way), but the point still stands.

I also like the idea of batman being the "superhero Gotham needs, not the one he wants." It's cool to see him do what seems best for the people, although he does lie and go about that in ways that are wrong.
7/20/2012 4:21:20 PM
Dusty Crabtree United States
Dusty Crabtree
Kelly - Love your take on distinguishing our violent movie culture from the arena entertainment back then.  We're similar, but different.  Their "entertainment" was more the crazy crowd and high stakes excitement of the fact that someone was going to die.  Life and death - you can't get much more intense than that.  I wonder how they would view us watching long and drawn-out violence and torture scenes up close.  
7/20/2012 4:32:38 PM
Kyle United States
Kyle
For those of us that grew up reading DC and Marvel Comics as kids, I have to honestly say that the Batman character Christopher Nolan (Director) introduces us to is more reminiscent of the comic book character than the one many of us grew up watching Adam West portray all those many years ago.  That being said, I was recently treated to a rework of a '60s classic.  Barry McQuire's original hit Eve of Destruction, with it's updated lyrical content (Eve 2012) is as relevant today as it was then.  Western society sits on the precipice of destruction even as we enjoy our 2 1/2 hour hiatus from reality.  That is not to say that media is the culprit.  That is not to say that violent television is the root, or that graphic music is the root.  And the list goes on and on and on and...well, you get the idea.  Just like ancient Rome, the root is the lack of a righteous moral compass.  There are many symptoms of this root, but the responsibility lies at the feet of the Church.  We, as believers, and I do not mean to point at individuals but rather the corporate body, we have failed in our duty to "go into "ALL" the world and make disciples of all nations.  Or to do the even simpler "go into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, unto the utter ends of the earth..." we have come up short.  I am reminded of Nehemiah and the prayer he prayed before he returned to Jerusalem.  He, much the way Christ did for us, bore the responsibility for the sin of an entire nation.  And as such, God used him to restore the city, but not without a cost.  In the end, Jerusalem was restored.  In this, our nation's darkest hour, what will we as the body of Christ do?  Will we shrink further into the background, or will we step forward and share the light of the Gospel to a dark and hurting world or maybe just your neighbor?
7/20/2012 5:57:45 PM
chaz United States
chaz
Wait...you live in florida? I thought you were in california.
7/20/2012 6:11:31 PM
Jesse United States
Jesse
I think we need to be careful here. The Batman movie franchise is to me an very well-written and well-themed story. Granted, it is very dark, it is very violent, and, at times, hopeless, but not in an excessive or glamorized nature. These movies not made for children, nor would I recommend it for some adults, but I don't think it should be said that this new Batman saga is "mindless". Throughout the movies there are strong themes of justice, morality, and my favorite, sacrifice. Christopher Nolan's trilogy has redefined the definition of "superhero" for me. Superheroes have been often portrayed as fantastical people who seemingly cannot fail. Throughout much, if not most, of the new Dark Knight movies, Batman is caught in a web of failure and hopelessness and several times he is tempted to abandon the people of Gotham, but time after time he chooses not to. Despite the bleak outlook, Batman continues to give "everything", as Catwoman says. This is admirable to me. This is something I don't see in many movies. Also with these movies there is a shocking lack of sexually explicit content as well as needless profanity. Something I think we are all vastly taking for granted. That a wildly popular film franchise has so little vulgar sexual content is, to me, enormously encouraging that we as a people are not completely lost and depraved. That alone gives me some hope for the modern media.

Now let me say this. In no way am I saying that Batman should be considered a Jesus figure, nor even am I suggesting that the Dark Knight movies are strongly "Christian" in theme. What I am saying is that these movies are more than "cultural rigor mortis". These movies, while violent, display themes absent in most movies today. I am not recommending these movies if you are morally opposed to seeing them, but please don't give anyone else cause to feel bad for enjoying them. While some of us may not see past the violence (because yes, these movies are violent), some of us may see something beautiful. What we look for we will find. That's why I am challenging all of us to try to find hope even (or especially) where it seems to be lacking.

Take my words with a grain of salt. These are merely my musings and I don't pretend to be any sort of authority on such things. All I have are my convictions and that's all this is. I hope I didn't offend anyone. That was not my intention.

Lastly, my heart goes out to all those affected by the shooting of last night. It breaks my heart. I have no words that can even scratch the surface of what I feel. My thoughts and my prayers are with you! May God bring peace in this time and comfort for those hurting.
7/20/2012 6:40:24 PM
Miranda United States
Miranda
Jesse-

Well Said.
7/20/2012 6:54:56 PM
Michele United States
Michele
I agree 100% with what you wrote here, and with what you said on your show today.
7/20/2012 8:49:24 PM
christy United States
christy
When one is starving the body must have food.  Without food the body will eventually die. Ramen noodles will not sustain one for long. But the body will use that for as long as it can to survive. Even if what the body needs is a well balanced healthy diet to LIVE. So too, when ones heart and soul are "starving" for salvation through Jesus Christ. We want to LIVE not survive. If we elect to use other outlets such as movies, drinking, drugs, sex, violence, etc... They can sustain that need for a temporary fix, but the need has not been met. Thus continues an on going cycle to fill that need until it has been met. In other words we can pretend all we want but the true fix IS salvation through our savior Jesus Christ. This is the point I am understanding that Brant is trying to make.  Please. The real topic isn't about the movie or violence, it is what we are choosing  to fill that need for our heart, soul, and spirit. What have you done to fill that need? What has society done to feel that need?
7/20/2012 10:18:34 PM
Joshua United States
Joshua
Thanks Brant for your reply. I pretty much agree with your assessment of our culture. However, I think societies in previous centuries had their sicknesses as well -- just different ones. I respect your view on the movie, b/c I respect you and you say you have studied the matter. For me at least, watching TDK did inspire interesting thoughts about evil, nihilism, sacrifice, and heroism.

Jesse -- well said, and I agree with you. I love the "sacrifice" theme as well. By sacrificing his own reputation and taking the blame for Harvey's crimes, Batman DEFEATS nihilism (as symbolized by the Joker).
7/20/2012 11:58:45 PM
Jonathan United States
Jonathan
My dad was a pastor for many years and I am now a youth pastor at my local church and he always used to draw comparisons during his sermon to the declining Roman Empire and its culture to American culture. I am a history major as well and if  you look back in history at nearly all of the "greatest civilizations", you will see a common trend of moral and cultural degredation before the final fall of that civilization.

The last gladiator battles one day just stopped because a follower of Christ felt called to minister at the arena and while doing so was swept into the arena with the crowd where he witnessed a gladiator match. He couldn't believe people were cheering for their deaths so stood up and yelled, "In the name of Jesus stop!" He started to walk down the steps to the edge of the wall continuing to yell, "In the name of Jesus stop!" One bystander in the crowed thought it was funny and pushed him over the side and into the arena with the gladiators and he began to run yelling, "In the name of Jesus stop!" Now the crowd was starting to quite down and listen to what he was really saying as he got between the two gladiators still yelling, "In the name of Jesus STOP!" It was then that one gladiator thrust his sword into the little man as he fell to the ground. With his last breath he continued to say, "In the name of Jesus stop..." The two gladiators dropped their swords and the crowd shocked simply began to file out of the arena and that was the last gladiator fight to take place in the Coliseum.

Unfortunately, I do not believe this shooting was enough to wake us to up as a culture as a whole to the degredation of human beings, morals and ideals as a bad thing and something that has to change. I can only imagine what it will take to get our culture back to the family fun batman kind of intertainment. The kind of intertainment that involved wholesome fun and activity or game nights. Now, family game nights have turned into family movie nights. Look at Walmart! They are no longer pushing new and improved board games, but are financing family movies because our culture has turned away from the real and craves the sur-real.

Perhaps if we filled that need, that craving with the one and only sur-real God to ever walk our planet in love and compassion, perhaps we wouldn't need to defibrillate ourselves with such...pointlessness.  
7/21/2012 7:59:40 AM
Al United States
Al
Wow, pointlessness is kind of harsh that's not what I got at all. Maybe the movie was excessive but there were moments where Nolan at least tried to express hope. A lot of people liked the movie and signified with it Christians and Non-christians alike. Which means there must be something there right? I don't know I really liked it and now I feel really guilty about it.    
7/21/2012 12:14:49 PM
Cameron United States
Cameron
Al

I don't mean to say pointlessness in a harsh way. It does nothing to glorify God or help others, so in that sense it is pointless, but I did enjoy all of the movies. The Dark Knight is one of my all-time favorites.

I think what Brant is getting at is what our society does to try to fill that emptiness and boredom with something besides God. Some of the things I've read on here are a bit harsh towards the movie, which isn't the main focus of the blog. You shouldn't feel guilty about it. In the end, it's just a movie and none of it is real. Like I said, I love the movies, so you're not alone.
7/21/2012 1:05:13 PM
brant United States
brant
Yeah, I'm not trying to make people feel guilty for liking the movie.

It's really well-done, for what it is.

I do think a society is marked and shaped by its stories.  I find TDK (the last one - I haven't seen the new one) to have raised lots of issues, but really to have little to say about them.

This said, I, as always, reserve the right to be wrong!  I appreciate all the responses.

As I say, there are many reasons why I believe our culture it's decline.  It's a long discussion, and I'd highlight our now incoherent ideas on art itself, the ascendancy of decontructionism, our nostalgic obsessions, and - perhaps especially - birth rates in the west.  Just for starters.

This presents real opportunities for believers, who can offer hope, when we abandon our power-plays and attempts to control, I think.  The same thing happened during the decline of Rome.  Hopelessness, hedonism, nihilism, de-population... and an emerging Jesus-movement founded on personal obedience and love of others.  Here's hoping we stick to those things and forgo the power-mechanisms of the world.
7/21/2012 7:33:47 PM
Corey United States
Corey

I haven't seen this 3rd Christian Bale batman but saw the first 2 with him and enjoyed them so much more than all the other ones, though the others were "fun"; Bale gave more genuine-ness to what i believe the original idea for the character was and the version of the character i've always been appealed to, which is a human (not superhero) with genuine torture inside his heart, and has found a way to release what i continue to feel is "righteous" rage.

Bear with me for a sec;  that last line is exactly what appeals to me about such a character, and is also what i *think* is probably one of my main 2 continuing sins to this day, and i'm nearly 50.  Please keep in mind everyone batman beats up is infact a disgusting vile "bad guy",  not 2 different sides of armies with some good guys in each and mostly 2 idiot leaders creating war, but instead a real human punishing the dogcrap out of real human badguys.   imo, this is good, and i've always felt this way.   The part in the Gospel where Jesus is being arrested and one man with him takes his sword to the guards arresting Him?   that would be me.  and though it doesn't say it, i am convinced that man wasn't aiming for any ear, he had full intent to split right down the middle of that skull.  again:  me.

"Vengeance is God's",   this is the thing i have great difficulty doing.  The Texas father who found his 4yr old child being molested and beat the pedo to death?   me.  i am that Dad.  

i know it's wrong based on "Vengeance is God's",  but it's something i cannot live up to.  i have all my life wondered, "do we have to willing give ourselves to what we know will be torture, as Jesus did?" ,  because if the answer is yes, then my soul is in severe trouble; i can not.

i can easily die, for something good.  i've faced death on more than one occaision, including one incident manking sure the man waving the gun shot me and not any of the bystanders behind me.  i can accept death, probably too easily, because i don't find this place worth being in honestly.  and i'd rather die for something good than just keel over from a heart attack.  i'm happy to be a human shield in a bank robber hostage situation.

but give myself peacefully over to torture?  i am not brave enough, or strong enough.   instead i have every intention of fighting evil to death - its or mine i truly do not care because either is a "good" outcome imho.

i -don't- think i am right per what i read in the Bible; again,  "vengeance is God's".  but living up to that standard is simply too high for me, i can not.  all i can do is pray to be forgiven.  if this still sends me to hell, then i was born with no chance in the first place, because sincerely - the first words out of my mouth on what i wanted to do for a living was at age 3, watching Perry Mason, and telling my Dad with utter seriousness on my 3yr old face "i want to be a lawyer",  the reason had nothing to do with making money, it had everything to do with stamping some fairness, some justice, some truth, on this awful world.  at age 3 i hated lies, i hated liars, and i wanted the truth to be exposed in front of everyone.

i hate.  i don't hate "gays", i couldn't care less what consenting adults do.   i hate violence.  i hate liars.  i hate barney frank for lying that he was against homosexuality for many years while he built his career, then once he had that secure he finally admitted to being gay.  i have much more respect for David Bowie for acknowledging gay affairs in the early 70s when it could have cost his whole method of income.  i dislike the fact anyone's gay but i still respect any of them that are open about it, and i despise those in the closet.  but i don't have desires to punish any of them, closet or out,

nope the people i want punished, are any who are wrongly violent.  i have no intent to "hunt" them, but if one crosses my path - i have every intention of handling them the only correct way i believe violent human evil should be handled.  

--that's my take on batman--

--as for culture--,
i agree the mainstream culture is sick.  grand theft auto having the player carjack people, shoot cops, pick up hookers - this is sick, and i wouldn't let my kid own it period.  i have been disgusted with popular culture in america since the late 1980's, and i've had nothing to do with it and been a social outcast since that time and still today, and am all the more happy with myself for it.  

Black Sabbath - few even have any inkling all their lyrics were penned by Catholic bassist Geezer Butler with intentionally spiritual themes.  their lyrics are one of the biggest reasons i have been a fan of their music since 1970; i dislike the "horror" genre, Sabbath's lyrics were not about that; their lyrics show hatred for evil.   Again note that day when i was 3 and decided my goal in life --  another very memorable moment i did that same week, it may have even been that same night, i can see the livingroom and everything in the room as clear as it were here now - was after someone just told me of satan's existence i literally yelled at the floor saying "i hate you devil!  i hate you, stupid devil".   My Dad laughed, but i meant it.  i hated satan then, and i hate him now, and i'm almost 50.  It wasn't until my early 20's studying the Bible that i'd read "Vengeance is God's" that i learned this is not my fight,  

and i haven't been able to fix that within me yet.  i still want, to kill satan.  and anyone who's doing his work.  i hope i can be forgiven.  

I don't believe "kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out",
instead i believe kill evil, they have already sorted themselves.
and despite all i just wrote it's actually less about punishment than it is about allowing the rest of us to just live our darn lives without harm.

signed:  fed up crime victim, potential batman: just add badguy.

Smile

p.s., 2 persons at the Gabriel Giffords shooting were armed and helped stop the badguy early; noone at the bar Dimebag Darrel was killed were armed because of our laws which obviously the killer did not obey - then an off duty cop stopped the killer, using a gun; was anyone at the Colorado theatre armed?  i am.
7/21/2012 8:31:16 PM
Alex United States
Alex
I'm not going deep here or anything close to what anyone else has said thus far, but as a 16 year old male, I have to consciously filter what I watch. I love BB, TDK, and will definitely go see TDKR.

MY problem, however is not with Batman, Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, Warner, the psychopathic maniac in Aurora, or even society AT THIS MOMENT. At this moment, my problem is with Brant.
Brant! I love you man! I've defended you before! But you have one problem. I'm not point a speck when I have a plank - I've been guilty of this too! But you like to, how we say in Kentucky, "stir the pot." You intentionally pick topics which are volatile and write a "not a complaint" (aka a large complaining post) to highlight the volatility of the topic. The tweet you sent that brought me here, in paraphrased form is "Hey look at this post that is still causing controversy!" And I'm not exaggerating with that paraphrase!

We have too many Christian critics and too few Christian reaching out to the lost. Why not use a common love of shoot-em-up movies and witness while you're there? "Hey, this movie makes you think about life and death. What do you suppose is after death? "
And I know someone will say "Well Jesus never talked to a prostitute in her bedroom!", but he never avoided them. I'm not comparing a movie theater to a harem, but I'm saying the movies are a place the lost and dying will be, where we are all on common ground.

I'm just saying: I will be seeing TDKR, I am disappointed in Brant, and I feel we can use these current events and the idea of good v.s. evil to lead people to Christ in a way chiding other Christians in a passive aggressive way won't reach them.

Sorry. Just the way I feel right now!
7/21/2012 11:46:59 PM
Teesha United States
Teesha
I love your blog and the radio show when I get the chance to hear it. I get what you are saying here but I only partially agree and usually I wholeheartedly agree with anything you write/say. I have worked with convictions in my life to quit or slow down on tv and movie watching as my whole life I have been addicted to both. I have slowed down quite a bit. But I realized something while reading this and especially other people's comments. I have watched violent movies my whole life and I have never even been in as much as a physical fight with someone. I don't even like real violence at all. Fake violence never bothered me as much as I always knew it was not real and the actors go on living after the filming. However, what does bother me would be the news and the way now everything that happens can be easily videotaped with a cell phone. I am disturbed that someone filmed some part of the theater massacre. I think it was the aftermath but still. I refuse to watch stuff like that. I did not and will not watch the video released online of the poor man having his face ate off by the other man in Florida. To me, this makes us like the Romans and not fake movie/tv violence. I agree our culture can be dark and depressing but violence and bloodlust is part of human nature since the beginning of time. Just read the Bible. It does not make it right but history only repeats itself. If you read Revelation, then you can see this world is only headed for more violence. I think the important thing is to pray for our culture and understand God's will for this world through reading the Bible.
7/22/2012 8:22:20 AM
mahala United States
mahala
Obviously, violence is a fact of life. There is a big difference between violence in reality that you can't control and violence on the screen that you choose to view for entertainment value. I recall when 'the Passion' was in theaters that people noted they didn't see anyone eating popcorn or drinking Cokes. The violence on the screen bothered people who were not typically bothered by violent movies. Because it was real. I bet you will find people staring wide eyed at the screen at Batman and other violent films, with one hand in the popcorn bucket and the other wrapped around a soda.


7/22/2012 8:48:04 AM
Liese United States
Liese
Being here in Colorado we are just in shock. Being about 35 minutes from the place where it happened I am in shock. We sometimes go to midnight movies but not for brand name movies - for The Maltese Falcon and The Wizard of Oz. But, not anymore. More than just fear, it's just the fact that it's not a good move. I guess it could happen any time or anywhere, but still....

7/22/2012 5:28:53 PM
Steve United States
Steve
I'm amazed by the criticism of this movie. I can show you all kinds of movies with pointless violence and movies with glamorized over the top violence. Neither exists in this movie. The violence serves a purpose: it is used to show the evil of the characters portrayed.

The movies, at their heart, are a morality play. Without showing the violence, we would not understand the true extent of the villains' evil. Now, the villains are entertaining at times and always interesting but that does not take away from the fact that the film believes they are bad and does not condone their ways. If anyone gets a different impression and uses this violence to condone their own, it is because they are already incredibly depraved and are looking for it.

And the Gospel symbolisms are littered throughout this movie. I told my wife that millions of people are going to see the story of the Gospel because of this movie.

At the end of the day, we live in a violent world. My fear is that too many Christians are living in a bubble and are too sensitive to the violent world that we live in. This movie did not glamorize it, did not endorse it and did not condone it. It portrayed it as evil that needed to be defeated by something bigger than society and the typical man. Something that did not seek out violence and made every attempt not to kill. Something that loved people and believed they could be different (Selina Kyle). This is not "philosophizing"; this is the story that Nolan was telling.
7/22/2012 7:19:40 PM
Elizabeth United States
Elizabeth
I'm not a comic book fan, not a fantasy aficionado or Batman enthusiast.  But the point of view of this blog is a very old story; It's called "shooting the messenger." The Dark Knight isn't the problem, or even a symptom of it.  It's a story about evil and humanity, and redemption.
The Batman series says:  This is what evil is.  This is humanity at it's worst.  And yet, this human, hurt, bent and crippled by the evil that's been done to him, still finds something in himself that allows him to rise above it, to sacrifice himself with honor for others, to not allow evil to triumph in himself, or the world around him.
A sociopathic gunman who chooses to ignore the story's message, but uses its popularity to ensure a large field of victims, or dimwitted parents who bring toddlers to such films, none of these impact the main point.  This post is well written and argued, but is nevertheless off-target.  
7/22/2012 10:51:46 PM
Deb United States
Deb
Well I can't say I read through every response on this blog, and I can't say I've even seen either of the movies, but the fact that they are "dark" doesn't seem to be disputed here. And to that a few scriptures come to mind that I wanted to interject:

Philippians 4:8 For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

And Colossians 3: 1-2 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

I doubt I'll see the films for the same reason I refuse to watch horror flicks. I don't want to put those type of images in my mind. Not for denial that horrific things happen in the real world but for the sake of guarding my heart. Nothing good can come from having that sort of subject matter stored in my mind.

As for the argument of this movie having a purpose or not, I think perceptions are relative to each person; one may be moved by something that doesn't move the next person, and I don't discount God's ability to use absolutely anything to reach us. That's His nature, to even take what Satan intended for harm and make something good and beautiful from it.
7/23/2012 12:46:14 AM
Gladys United States
Gladys
Hey, Brant! To be honest, I have not seen the dark knight. I've seen the first movie, but I haven't seen the 2nd film. I have only seen trailers, and small videos. From what I've seen in the trailers, I completely agree with what you're saying about this movie! My mom has seen it, and she described the movie like you did! Nothing but explosions, numerous curse words, and several people dying! What I'm getting from this film, is that the creators were just pleasing the crowd. They filed up the film with what people in society see today in other films and daily life. Drama and cursing! I love Batman and long to see the 3rd film, but TDK is a definite NO! I thank God that He has given you eyes of wisdom to notice things that oter people in society don't! Smile God bless! Laughing
7/23/2012 5:39:23 AM
Ryan United States
Ryan
Wow!  I am usually a fan of Brant, but wow!  I don't know what to think of this blog.  You just sound depressed.  Don't think so deeply into Americans and the movie.  People love entertainment, of all kinds.  You may not have approved of the movie, or any kind of message from the movie, but it is just a movie. Our age is not defined by boredom, nor are we flatlining on a table.  Maybe our age is defined by people blogging and tweeting about topics trying to be philosophical to gain a following.  Shame on you naive followers clinging so willingly to a loud voice.  IT'S JUST A MOVIE!
7/23/2012 5:40:06 AM
Cameron United States
Cameron
Gladys-

There is a very minimal amount of cursing and no sexual content in The Dark Knight, which is rare these days for a good PG-13 action movie. There is killing and violence, but it's not gore (except maybe two-face because he has only half of his face). Anyway, I think Batman Begins and The Dark Knight rises are no worse than The Dark Knight. They just use a different story and characters.
7/23/2012 5:44:03 AM
Luke United States
Luke
Re-watched The Dark Knight last night with a bunch of church friends, and yes, it surprised me to see that it was a lot darker than I remembered. Is it worth it? I guess it depends on what you take away from it. If you're sure it was worth it, then it probably wasn't.
7/23/2012 7:46:52 AM
Ryan United States
Ryan
Wow!  I am usually a fan of Brant, but wow!  I don't know what to think of this blog.  You just sound depressed.  Don't think so deeply into Americans and the movie.  People love entertainment, of all kinds.  You may not have approved of the movie, or any kind of message from the movie, but it is just a movie. Our age is not defined by boredom, nor are we flatlining on a table.  Maybe our age is defined by people blogging and tweeting about topics trying to be philosophical to gain a following.  Shame on you naive followers clinging so willingly to a loud voice.  IT'S JUST A MOVIE!
7/23/2012 9:33:58 AM
Raul United States
Raul
I've been thinking about this for a while, and something that isn't really being dicussed in this thread is what is the Christian's role in interacting with our culture?  Jesus called His people His church, His bride, and he clearly told us that we are to be a peculiar people, a people of in this world but not really of it. Jesus said the Christian is called to be salt and light to the world.. So what does that mean to the Christian, really, regarding how we relate to our society, specifically in this context to Hollywood.. I fear that the volume of violence, sex and immorality that we as Christians consume for the sake of entertainment is dulling our senses to the reality of a world that is desperately in need of Jesus. I pray that the corporate church would continue to answer the call of Jesus, to be the light on a stand that shines brightly into the darkness.
7/23/2012 2:04:56 PM
rabidhunter United States
rabidhunter
I think one of the biggest problems with movies like this is quality and content.  Is it possible to make a good entertaining movie without including pointless violence?  Could the screenwriters and director of TDK have made an entertaining quality movie that extols the virtues of Batman and conveys a redeeming message(that so many Christian Batman apologists use to defend the movie) without including the graphic violence?

Can a movie be driven by story alone?  I believe that a good quality movie should be driven by its story without any fillers.

Can a truly horrible situation be portrayed as truly horrible without actually showing the gorey details?

I believe it's entirely possible.  For example, one of the best movies within the last couple of years, "The Help" does tackles the evils of racism and domestic abuse without going into the gorey details.  Rather than showing extreme events of racism like the assinations, they show people watching the news and listening to the radio, we even hear personal anecdotes the help.  We can see from the actor's expressions that the events are horrific.  We didn't need to see a Rodney King style beating to know how evil racisim is.

On the domestic abuse situation, Minnie's husband is never seen in the movie, yet we know that he is abusive.  They could have shown him beating Minnie to a pulp, blow after blow.  But they didn't, they chose to depict a very violent situation without showing it.  The message that domestic violence is evil was portrayed tastefully.

To add pointless and graphic violence, sex, language, or all of the above into a movie just for entertainment's sake just shows a lack of imagination.

I'm not saying Batman is bad or evil.  No, Batman is a good character, he has flaws, but tries to do the right thing.  It's just the case that the goodness of Batman was ruined by the poison of graphic violence.
7/23/2012 4:53:35 PM
Cameron United States
Cameron
rabidhunter-

I wouldn't call what's in the Batman movies "graphic." Seeing half of Harvey Dent's face burned off is the most graphic it gets, which is nothing compared to movies like Rambo, Saw, and others that show serious gore and blood. If you didn't notice, there is no blood when people are shot in the Batman movies. They simply fall over.

As for including violence in a movie without showing it, The Help does that very well; however, that is a different situation. Think about it: a superhero movie without fighting/action scenes? It's not going to be a very good movie. Even kids' cartoons show fighting. My point is, this movie had minimal amounts of language, no sexual content, and it wasn't very gory. They were very creative when it came to not showing explicit details. When the Joker told his stories of his scars, he would drag the stories out and tell us what happened (not showing it on screen, like The Help did), then when he would kill somebody, the camera would switch angles at that intense moment and not show it, yet the movie was still incredibly good.
7/23/2012 11:28:42 PM
Daryl United States
Daryl
"I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber." - Blaise Pascal

"Nothing is so insufferable to man as to be completely at rest, without passions, without business, without diversion, without study. He then feels his nothingness, his forlornness, his insufficiency, his dependence, his weakness, his emptiness. There will immediately arise from the depth of his heart weariness, gloom, sadness, fretfulness, vexation, despair. " - Blaise Pascal
7/25/2012 3:51:11 PM
Corey United States
Corey
"Raul
I've been thinking about this for a while, and something that isn't really being dicussed in this thread is what is the Christian's role in interacting with our culture?  Jesus called His people His church, His bride, and he clearly told us that we are to be a peculiar people, a people of in this world but not really of it. Jesus said the Christian is called to be salt and light to the world.. So what does that mean to the Christian, really, regarding how we relate to our society, "

jmho but radio stations like air1, klove, (if there are others please post them! tks), and ALL the bands making the music on these stations, is literally a Godsend to me.  i love hard rock, but i was fed up with the vile lyrics of mainstream hardrock, as well as the vile commercials.  i've told everyone i know about the good music on air1.  2 years ago i didn't even know this existed.  

i think air1 and all the bands on here are out there doing exactly what you're mentioning; i hope it continues to grow.  i've seen now of a number of movies made by Christian people and/or spiritually oriented; i never saw that in the 90s; i hope it continues to grow.  i think things like this are helping good people connect, and spread encouragement.  

8/10/2012 10:38:58 PM
jim poole United States
jim poole
I immensely disliked The Dark Knight Rises. Structure and theme were all a mish-mash, to borrow Brant's phrase. Catwoman's performance was the best thing in it.
I think it's a huge stretch to wedge any Christian theme into it beyond any coincidental surface label.
However, I loved The Dark Knight. I suppose I was even was one of those Christian hipster-wanna-be's who wrote about that film.

How's that for dichotomy, eh? What are you gonna do with me now, Brant?

Also, what did you think of No Country For Old Men? Was that pointless? Huh?

Btw, I think you are brilliant and totally awesome!
8/22/2012 11:50:44 AM
Isaac United States
Isaac
I first just wanted to say: Brant I love you man you are the best, I crack up like non stop when I hear you on the radio!  

I love what you have to say about our culture in light of this movie and how it has been received, but I do have to disagree on at least one portion of your argument:  The violence part.  The violence in TDK exists for multiple reasons, on multiple levels.  Mostly it is there to foil the virtue of Batman vs the madness and evil of the bad guys (most notably the Joker).  And, if you notice, the violence in the movie is not over the top gory or bloody- in fact, the scenes with the most potential to be such are cut off camera.  The point is not showing the violence, the violence is a device the exists to show the pointless madness of the bad guys.  I believe the story of TDK is extremely relevant today- there is a battle over each of our souls and each of us has to chose what side we are on.  When we say yes to God and tell the devil to shut up, he has to go.  If the people of gotham were to have said no the the Joker earlier, he would have left.  Just like the devil, he plays off our fear.  And just like in TDK, he is fighting with everything he has to keep us captive.  He is there to kill, steal, and destroy.  And Batman is there to protect the people- indeed, he "carries" their sins and their mistakes on his own reputation so they can live victorious lives.  There are many more parallels, but it is around this point where the likeness breaks down.  Indeed, the movie is not a total picture of salvation or the gospel, but it provides a glimpse of the reality of the battle over our souls and an enemy who hates us with a passion- who loves to kill, steal, and destroy.  It provides a piece of the picture, and I believe that is well worth noting.  If we can see the violence and darkness not as means within themselves (I dont think that is what Noland intended anyways), then we can see the whole picture- a stark representation of a facet of the gospel story.  Im not saying the movie is perfect, or for whole audiences, but I do see it as a tool.  I see that it has truth in it that should not be thrown away over the fact that there is violence in it.  The violence is there for a reason.

Alas, I have said way too much- sorry for the long post, but I just figured I would add my $.02 to the pile.
Comments are closed