“NO GUNS, NO KILLING!”
This is the phrase that Batman proclaims in the final episode of Chris Nolan‘s brilliant and complex “Dark Knight Trilogy”. He says this to Selina Kyle, the cat burglar. She is super anti-hero suffering from issues of moral turpitude and the postmodern “Every man for himself” rule.
The line, “No Guns, No Killing” has reverberated all weekend with people around the world coping with the shooting tragedy that occurred at a midnight screening of the movie in Aurora, Colorado.
Lest we forget, Batman’s own parents, according to Bob Kane‘s canon, were killed outside the Monarch movie theatre, their own young son, Bruce Wayne watching in horror at their murders. In fact, the senseless murder of Bruce’s parents is the inciting incident for Bruce’s own legendary transformation.As a result of the tragedy at the Monarch theatre, Bruce, the boy, embarks on his journey of becoming Bruce, the Batman.
Out of tragedy, heroes are called to something higher, beyond themselves. At the center of their quest is the probable sacrafice of their own lives for an ideal larger than themselves. This is the classic myth of the hero’s journey as outlined by mythologist, Joseph Campbell. Jesus himself declares of this world, “There will always be trouble.” (John 16:33)
For Batman, the ideal that he must protect and serve is the people of Gotham whose lives are threatened.
Fifteen-year old Jerry Siegal‘s own father, an owner of a convenience store, was killed in a robbery at his store, inciting Jerry to return home and write about a man of steel who could not die by bullets, who would come from another planet and whom he would name
“Superman” . This would be a man, from Jerry Siegal’s grieving heart, who could render justice in a world so savage that it would allow the senseless death of his own father.
The fatherless theme that comes from the Batman and Superman canons is at the heart of the very tragedy of Aurora Colorado. It is our culture’s folly.
THE WAILING WALL OF CIRCUMSTANCE
The final episode of Nolan’s saga, illustrates the vast and haunting issues that have given rise to our own distrust in wall street, political figures, the economy, even ourselves , duplicitous in our own flesh. The movie creates a wailing wall of circumstance that only God or a Superhero could overcome.
Chris Nolan, the director of the movie, says in a statement: “Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community.”
“A JOYFUL PASTIME”
In his statement, Nolan, also notes his passion for the theater-going experience, saying: “I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theater is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.”
I do beleive that violence in general in all media is glamourized and accentuated too much, including in “Dark Knight Rises”. But we must be careful about attacking movies as the root of this, or guns, for that matter. Movies or movies theatres are not the problem here, just as books or schools are not the problem with Columbine.
Our cultural issues are much more profound. As the horrifying villian in Dark Knight proclaims, we have turned our eyes to “false gods” — greed, money, status — and have left our very behind in the process.
A TIME OF SILENCE
Saturday and Sunday mornings usually means big box office stories, especially when a movie as huge as “The Dark Knight Rises” is opening. This weekend, however, the studios are taking a moment of silence after the tragic shooting. This seems to be the absolute right thing to do.
Warner Brothers, the producer and distributor of “The Dark Knight Rises,” issued this statement:
“Out of respect for the victims and their families, Warner Bros. Pictures will not be reporting box office numbers for “The Dark Knight Rises throughout the weekend. Box office numbers will be released on Monday.”
The other Hollywood studios have followed suit and are refraining from releasing box office numbers for any of their films as well. Box Offiice Mojo has gone dark over the weekend as well out of respect for the victims, their loved ones and families.
At such a time as this we should remember Batman’s words, “No Guns, No Killing.”