Batman: The Dark Knight Rises Is Hollywood, but the Hero’s Journey of Change Is Universal

*CAUTION: Potential Batman The Dark Knight Rises spoilers*

I went to see The Dark Knight Rises today.  A friend actually got me to get up and get out of the house to catch a morning showing.  It was really a great movie.  I really enjoyed it, and I’m glad I went.

And, it got me thinking about what we like here at Nobody’s View.  There’s a line from Batman right before the movie’s climax that says, essentially, a hero can be anybody.  (I’m paraphrasing.  Hollywood writers said it better than me.)  Heroes aren’t just the rich and powerful, but those who give a little bit of hope.

Now, I know Batman is a comic book hero and a creation of Hollywood.  I’m not naive!  But then again, the reason we like movies like this is because of what the heroes represent.  The hero’s journey, as it were.  You know that journey.  The call to adventure.  The initial resistance.  The ultimate decision to move ahead.  The help of friends and wise men.  The triumphant return.  It’s not just Batman.  It’s not just Superman.  It’s not just Spiderman.

It’s all of us.

At any moment, any of us has the opportunity to accept a call to action.  In that way of thinking, each morning represents the call to action.  Does this sound grandiose?  Well, it’s not.  As I left the theater, thinking about the movie and that scene, I had an opportunity to do something.  Something good.  And I did it.  I won’t share what it was, but suffice it to say it connected two very different people and gave both the opportunity to feel good, even if for a second.

And there it is, folks.  We’re not all going to be able to save Gotham from terror.  We’re not all going to be able to pull someone back from the brink in an ER.  We’re not all going to be able to save an innocent person from the death penalty.

But we can do small things.  Now, here’s the key.  It’s not doing small things that others expect us to do or want us to do.  There’s always going to be someone who thinks we owe them in particular, or thinks the things we do aren’t right.  But again, the key is to do what feels right on the inside.  What feels right for you on the inside.

Here’s an example.  You see someone on a street corner.  They look like they’re having a rough time.  You don’t know their story.  You don’t know anything about their life.  Drugs?  Alcohol?  Economy?  Random bad break?  We never really know how someone gets where they are.  But you see their hand is out.  You have an extra buck left from lunch.  Your eyes meet.  Do they think you owe them?  Do they think the world owes them?  Are they scared?  Humble?  Aggressive?  Do you have other plans for that dollar?  Will they spend it in a way in which you don’t approve?  So many thoughts.  So many doubts.  So many questions.  What do you do?

You don’t have to tell me.  It’s a thought experiment.

The point is, this is a moment.  An intersection.  No, we can’t give to everyone who asks.  No, we don’t owe something to everyone who expects.  But in this moment.  This person. This street corner.  No fancy car.  No Bat cave.  No grand adventure.  No newspaper headlines.  No fame.

Just a decision.

See, when Batman spoke that line in The Dark Knight Rises, it wasn’t a self-aggrandizement.  It was a statement about a moment.  About a possibility.  About a chance for all of us to do something we feel we must, simply because we must.

I know, I know.  It’s a movie.  You already said that.  But again, the theme is universal.  Listen, Nobody Nation.  Cut me some slack.  I get all crazy and sentimental about the possibilities we all have.  And, when I see it on the screen, or in other places where we all have access, then I just can’t help myself (America’s Got Talent anyone?).

So, look.  I’m not asking you for the moon and the stars.  I’m not asking for the world and the planets beyond.  I’m not asking you to go along with me on this or think this is the greatest blog post ever.  I’m not asking you to agree with everything I say.

Just think about this one thing: The reason we love America’s Got Talent, The Secret Millionaire, and The Dark Knight Rises is not because they are an escape from the everyday, but because they show us the potential of our every day.  Do what you can, even when it’s not expected.  Do what you must even if someone else expects different.


As my comic book-loving friend says, “You gotta do what feels right on the inside.”

Even if you’re not a billionaire with a special suit and a cave full of bats.


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