Every Day Heroes: The Bright Side of “The Dark Knight Rises”

Warning: this post will reveal parts of the plot of The Dark Knight Rises.  I am sorry for that, but there is no way to write this post without doing so.  I hope that this has given you enough warning to get out and move on should you decide that you would rather read this after seeing the movie yourself.

As a wife to a man who loves films that make you think and as a mom to a teenage boy who loves films that make you think, I have joined in the theatre-going attendance of most of the Batman films over the years.  I have come to enjoy them for the thrills and special effects, and I have cried during them when a strong humanitarian point is made.

I have typically found several good messages in the Batman films, but never have I found something so wonderful as the message that I saw in The Dark Knight Rises.

There are several websites devoted to the plotline of this film, so I will not re-hash it here; however, the main idea is – as usual – someone threatens Gotham City, and Batman needs to come to the rescue.  The difference in this film is that Batman has fallen out of favor with the city, and his presence actually adds to the confusion initially.

Imagine – a  super hero falling out of favor with those he protects…

What happens when the one who should protect us becomes someone we fear or hunt?  Complicating this question is what happens when someone assaults us, and we no longer have our super hero to save us?  What must we do?

We must find heroes among those who are not super.  We must find every day heroes.

And that is exactly what happens in The Dark Knight Rises.  Although in the end, Batman comes through with some super hero saving, the majority of the heroics come from two men – ordinary men who step up and do extraordinary acts.

Commissioner Gordon is my first nomination for hero of the movie.  The one issue I have with his character is that he lost his family to the mission of protecting Gotham City, but that seems to happen a lot when characters have to step up their heroics to the height that Gordon has through the past three movies.

Gordon gets my nomination for the following three reasons:

  1. He sticks with the city through a lot of horrible times under the rule of bad-guy-Bane.

  2. He has endured the weight of secrecy about how Harvey Dent truly died.

  3. He is the character who sits next to the nuclear device while trying to disarm it.

The last of these three is the most amazing to me.  While many could argue that Gordon has less to lose than most on his police force, the fact that the police commissioner is doing anything but directing traffic is admirable. I realize that this is a movie, and his character is being elevated…blah blah blah.

The man is a hero.  He puts his own well-being aside for an entire city.  That is heroic.

Detective John Blake is my second nomination for hero of the movie.  Blake is a sympathetic character having grown up in the orphanage funded by Wayne Enterprises.  He “knows” that Wayne is Batman, and that makes for fun conversation between the two.

Blake gets my nomination for one main reason: he is the man who escorts the children from the orphanage in an attempt to escape the city.  Police officials across the bridge from Gotham have been told to kill anyone attempting to escape.  When Blake and the children arrive at this spot, Blake puts himself in harm’s way in attempt to help the children. While many could argue that he has little to lose but his own (as if that is little?), it is admirable.

The man is a hero. He puts his own well-being aside for a crew of children.  That is heroic.

Why does this matter so much to me?  Why do I care that we have every day heroes shown on our screens?  Why does it matter that these men were elevated above Batman himself to a certain?  Why…???

Our world cannot be helped by super heroes who do not exist.  Our homes cannot find peace with the help of Batman.  Our cities cannot find a path to success with a super hero.

Instead, we need ordinary men (and women, by the way…) to do extraordinary acts.  We need them put others first.  We need them to act rather than sit.  We need them protect those who need protection and to conquer those who need conquering.  And while we sit and read our blogs from protected points of view, we need to ask ourselves if there is an every day hero inside of each of us.

Instead of being scared and hiding while chaos took over, Gordon and Blake acted.  They did not have any fancy gadgets or great strength.  What they had was a viewpoint that someone needed to act, and that they were each that someone.

What small (or great) heroic act could we perform today if we just believed that we make the difference? What small (or great) heroic act is needed in our neighborhoods, our cities, our states, our nation,…our world?

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