Like so many movie fans, I have been waiting for The Dark Knight Rises for months and months. And like so many of us, I was shocked and horrified by the shootings at the midnight screening in Aurora, Colorado. I first caught wind of the incident from the posting of friends on Facebook, and then read of it on the Toronto Star App on my phone.
Suddenly a movie that had caused excitement and anticipation was now tinged with much darker emotions. My stomach clenched as I read details of what happened in that movie theatre. I wondered if I should go see the movie at all.
But then I thought about how many terrible things happen all the time in this world, and I realized that one of the worst things any of us can do in the face of tragedy is allow it to keep us from living. So today I went to the theatre alone (my Dad not being a fan of Nolan’s interpretation of Batman and my Mom being ambivalent towards action movies in general) to watch as the dark knight rose.
The movie isn’t perfect – criticisms are that it is too long, a little clunky in the telling of this final chapter of Nolan’s trilogy – but it was good. Good enough that I expect I will see it again. The theme of wearing a mask throbs at the centre of this film…every character wears a mask here, whether literal or emotional. The theme of fear – how we experience it and how we allow it to drive us – is also central.
The sad coincidence of how well these ideas fit into discussions of the Aurora, CO shootings was not lost on me as I watched the movie. The shootings were never far from my mind even as the movie drew me in. And I will readily admit that I was nervously aware of every single person who reentered the theatre after a bathroom break (at a running time of 2hrs40min, you can bet there were quite a few who took time for a bathroom break).
In the second installment of Nolan’s trilogy, Alfred explain’s the Joker’s unquenchable thirst for violence with these words “some men just want to watch the world burn.” I do not claim to understand such men – in fact, I hope to stand for all that is opposite to their worldview – but I do believe they exist. I do believe that the perpetrator of these shootings is such a one.
And my heart breaks for all who have lost a loved one, been injured, been terrified or been displaced by this tragedy. My heart breaks.
But despite all this, I stand on hope. I hope for a world that gets better, not worse. I hope for future generations to find a peace we have not yet achieved. I hope for a day when a night at the movies may just be a night at the movies. I hope for a world redeemed.
Jesus said, “Behold! I am making all things new!” and it is to this promise that my hope clings.