Across the last 47 years, we’ve seen many Batman movies, but as you all know, none of the movies received a similar success as The Dark Knight Trilogy did. Why? It’s because the DK trilogy got the one ultimate superhero idea out of the picture, and focused more on other essential stuff that were put aside in the earlier movies. Instead of focusing on the fighting scenes and kicking the villain’s ass, the DK trilogy focused on the wrongs of modern society, and offered discussion about subjects such as fear and hope. So, we can say that these movies weren’t just superhero movies, they weren’t that shallow, having a philosophical concept across all three movies.
Warning: Minor spoilers may be mentioned in what comes next.
To start with, anyone who has watched Batman Begins should know that the corruption in Gotham City was a main subject in the movie. That was the main reason why Bruce Wayne decided to become Batman right? It’s because he wanted to put an end to the corruption that lead to his parents’ death. In addition, the significant idea about Batman himself was why he put on the mask. Unlike Superman, Spider-Man, and other superheroes, he didn’t become a masked crime fighter just to protect his loved ones, he did it to become more than a man, he did it to become an idea. The power of symbolism is in fact useful when you want to change a certain flaw about society, because unlike men, ideas never die.
Not to forget that Batman wasn’t the only one fighting for a better society, but we see Rachel as an ordinary attorney who wants justice and order. By giving Rachel that role, Christopher Nolan is giving us a message that even normal citizens want a better and safer society. Similar to Rachel’s example, we have Gordon, Harvey Dent, and Blake. All those represented ordinary citizens at a certain point, who wanted to fight corruption even without being a superhero. The attorney, the cop, the Chief of police, and the DA, were all a part of Gotham’s judiciary system. The message here was that even in an unjust society like Gotham’s, we will always find agents of justice, who will fight for the greater good.
Catwoman on the other hand wasn’t the perfect fighter of justice, but she did represent the poor majority. She was a modern day Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to assist the poor. She was given this role to show us that most criminals become what they are because poverty drives them to be, and not because they wanted this path. You see, Nolan highlighted the consequences of poverty in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, because it is one of the most important flaws of modern society.
So we basically have the superhero and his allies fighting to change a corrupted society, but what were the villains fighting for? Not money, not power, and now that we think of it, they didn’t want anything for their personal gain. Which is why the villains in this trilogy are considered as a few of the best, or technically worse, super villains found in movies, because like Batman, they fought for an idea as well. Ra’s Al Ghul wanted to destroy Gotham because it was a lost hope, another city drowned in corruption, poverty, and crime. Bane came here to fulfill Ra’s Al Ghul’s destiny, and destroy a city too corrupted to be fixed. And while the last two had a reasonable goal, the Joker did not. He wanted to bring the worse out of the best, he wanted to corrupt Batman, Harvey, and every single Gothamite he could. His whole goal was to show the world that corruption is found in every man, even the purest and noblest of them.
Bottom line is, The Dark Knight Trilogy isn’t just about Batman. It’s not shallow like some superhero movies who only deliver us fights and explosions. It’s not just about enjoying a good movie, it’s about something more.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.” – The Joker