Batman is not Machiavelli

The new Batman movie is excellent. Thomas Hibbs, writing for First Things, provides the most perceptive review I've read yet.

Contrary to Vox Nova's Morning's Minion, I do not think the film is an advertisement for the moral philosophy of consequentialism. Morning's Minion's desire to condemn evil is so great that it blinds him. He expects total perfection from his heroes. Batman is a good man, but like all other men, he is not God; he is not perfect. In his quest for justice, he makes mistakes - just like any other human being would. The director of this great film, Christopher Nolan, excels at portraying the great struggle a good man undergoes in facing off with evil. This does not justify the evil Batman does; rather, it makes Batman more human and more realistic. As a result, we can identify with him. More importantly, we are made aware of the dangers of pursuing justice with passion.

Thomas Hibbs gets it:
The title of the Nolan’s latest Batman film calls to mind medieval chivalry in a postmodern key. The dark knight embraces extraordinary tasks and fights against enormous odds; his quest is to restore what has been corrupted and to recover what has been lost. In so doing, he takes upon himself a suffering and loneliness that isolate him from his fellow citizens and inevitably court their misunderstanding and scorn. He is a dark knight, in part, because the world he inhabits is nearly void of hope and virtue, and, in part, because some of the darkness resides within him, in his internal conflicts between the good he aspires to restore and the means he deploys to fend off evil. Of the many filmmakers designing dark tales of quests for redemption, Christopher Nolan is currently making a serious claim to being the master craftsman.


Dave said...

excellent movie.

want to see it in imax with me?

Zachary said...


Yeah sure. Can't wait until this project is done!


"The only thing I fault you in your posting is that you actually take the time to read a highly uncharitable and cafeteria Catholic blog such as Vox Nova."

Vox Nova is rough sometimes, but I do learn things there. Mostly, mine is a psychological study. I am repeatedly amazed at the quirky opinions that show up there on a daily basis. I find myself wondering how honest Catholics can disagree so profoundly.. it amazes me that two people of the same faith can look out on the same world with mostly the same information and see something totally different.

My primary purpose in reading Vox Nova is attempting to understand why those differences exist. Also, I enjoy a good, spirited conversation.

Ol' Blue said...


Zachary said...

thanks for that link,

it's an awesome review