Dark Knight of the soul…

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.

I need a hero!

Tonite I took myself out to the movies. As a single person, I learned to go to the movies by myself a number of years ago. It’s easy to miss the good big-screen movies if you are trying to find someone else to go with. I love going to the movies on my own. It’s a treat.

The Avengers is one of the most-anticipated movies of the summer season. Even though it is early in the season and I am sure there will be other must-see-on-the-big-screen films to check out. I wouldn’t say that this is one that I was anticipating (unlike The Dark Knight Rises for which I am super-duper stoked!). So I may have missed it all together, since I don’t go to the movies that often. But then I heard that Joss Whedon wrote and directed it, and my interest spiked. I’ve been a fan of Whedon’s since back in the early days of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I love the way he forms characters and he has a knack for witty banter that is unparallelled.

I have to say, The Avengers did not disappoint. But what struck me as I enjoyed this crazy, funny, explosive, popcorn-fest of a movie, is how much we love heroes. The villain in the movie is Loki, and he likes to pontificate about the fact that humans love to be ruled, that we have tendency towards being subjugated. But I think we have a tendency towards hero worship. We love to come up with stories where someone must save the day. We love to come up with characters who have the powers to save the day.

I admit – I love hero stories, too. But as much fun as Iron Man and Thor and Captain America are – and as cheesy as it might sound to some for me to say this – they cannot hold a candle to Jesus Christ. Sure, he didn’t have a hammer or magic shield or a rocket-suit. But Jesus had wisdom, and courage and most of all, a depth of love that is unsurpassed. Jesus isn’t my homeboy, he’s my super-hero. He’s my saviour. And I wouldn’t want to face a world without him.