OK, so I've been waiting for Christopher Nolan's third Batman movie since, oh, August 2008. But this week it finally comes to the big screen, and we can all see just how The Dark Knight Rises will polish off this powerful, resonant and geekishly hip trilogy.
The big question folks are asking is whether Batman will even survive to the credits. We've seen plenty of hints suggesting he might not, and this 13-minute behind-the-scenes short doesn't give me a lot of peace of mind on the matter.
I hope Batman doesn't die. But if, heaven forbid, he does, there's a certain spiritual poignance to the movie's title. A hero falling, yet rising. For Christians, that has a familiar ring to it.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends," we read in the book of John, and even if Batman doesn't wind up sacrificing everything for the people of Gotham City, we see in the film above he's more than willing to do so. And we see, held out to Batman, the possibility of redemption: "Sometimes, a man rises from the darkness," we hear Alfred tell Bruce Wayne. To me, there's a lot of hope in that sentence. If Batman is, as I suggest in God on the Streets of Gotham, really a flawed hero--not as much a Messiah figure as he is more like one of us, but nevertheless called by God for His purposes--there's a suggestion that there's a light in the darkness, hope when all hope seems gone. That's a powerful message.
"What we’re constructing here is a very elemental conflict between good and evil," Nolan tells us. We'll find out soon just what this conflict looks like, and whether I should start penciling out notes for a little God on the Street of Gotham addendum.