“Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.”

It is this moment in The Dark Knight which gives me goose bumps. You realize that the world is full of paradoxes. Goodness might be dark; evil might be light. The police, in Gotham, seemed to be the great protectors of the people yet they were in fact corrupt. In the gospels, you read of the Pharisees and the scribes who were good teachers of the law, yet they did not genuinely help peo- ple.

The Gospel is more than just a text; it is more than just something you hear in church. The story of Christ has eternal value and this becomes apparent when you watch Batman: The Dark Knight. After he sacrificed himself, his name be- came the name above all names. The divine crucifixion and resurrection is the life-giving event the people of the world need, just as the people of Gotham need Batman’s sacrifice.

Christ’s power is clear. Christ, not only in his physical presence but also in the mere speaking of his name has immense power. Darkness could not consume the light; Christ could not be overpowered. He died and therefore just mention of His name instills fear into those who instill fear into others. The cross is the symbol that reminds us of the hope that we should live with every day. The Spirit goes where it wants to and enlivens people with the hope of the crucified Saviour of the world (Jn 3 and 14). Batman goes where and whenever. He is the villainized hero, darker and more feared than any of Gotham’s villains. He does not even need to be physically present in the city; his name is enough to frighten people who even think of terrorizing the city. The Bat signal is a light that breeds a resilient hope in the lives of Gotham’s people. He, similar to God through the Spirit, freely inspires, protects, guides, and saves the city.

Saviors and heroes have always fascinated people. Figures such as Superman and Spiderman inspire people. Comics and films about heroes show how we as humans are trying to be great while dealing with the insignificance of daily life. Heroes show us that there is a way out of our misery and darkness. There is a light in every one of us. We can follow them to a place of victory as they have a glorious image and reputation. Batman reflects the kind of heroism that you would not expect. He is particularly intriguing because he is in fact a villain or

is at least viewed as such. Batman is the guardian of Gotham, yet he is not the Knight in shining armor. He is the terror that besieges anyone who tries to hurt people in Gotham. The Dark Knight is not the hero that you would expect. He is the villain, saving the city not from above but from below, going into the slums, the gutters, and the dark corners of the city to help the helpless. Batman is even blamed for a murder that the so-called White Knight of the city was in fact responsible for. So this hero gives us a different perspective on what it means to be a hero. He is the ultimate hero because he knows how to be weak and strong, darkness and light, feared and inspiring.

Batman, the dark knight sacrificed himself although the people of Gotham did not deserve it. He did not save us by ruling from the highest of political ranks; he served us from the lowest of depths and the darkest of darknesses. He became death and darkness itself, taking the keys of heaven and hell, sharing with us the love of God and unburdening us. He took all the guilt, the shame, the hurt, all the evil on him because he could take it so that we don’t need to take it. Jesus Christ died for us although we did not deserve it.

The depth and impact of the story of Jesus Christ should never be understated or underestimated. The Dark Knight affirms this. It portrays salvation and protection as a gift from the one who takes all the blame on him.

Batman: The Dark Knight shows the great message that the Bible gives us, namely that blame and burdens are taken off us as Christ takes it all on him. Batman mirrors the heroic acts that Jesus made, serving from below, sacrificing his reputation, and being the authentic hero although people do not know him truly. People did not know immediately who they were dealing with when they met Batman or Jesus. They were in fact from above, they were the kings and saviors of their people. Jesus

Christ is our savior, not because he lived but because he died (and lived again). He went down to the lowest parts of our world and saved us from below. He both challenged and inspired, was unjustly blamed, and led us out of our meaninglessness. HE was and is the unexpected hero.

Tristan Kruger