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In what is possibly the pinnacle of horror films, The Dark Knight has won critical acclaim and made its mark as one of the best action movies of all time. While it's a visually stunning film, that doesn't mean that it doesn't have any important and relevant points about the politics of race in our society. It shows how our society is founded on racism and how we should not be allowing it to continue to run rampant in society, or in our business world.
The movie takes place in Gotham City, where one Batman is fighting another Batman for control of the city. A not so subtle message is sent to us all that we need to always remember what truly matters in life. However, this movie also has some very telling moments regarding race relations in America. Let's examine some of them.
The first scene in the film is where we meet our protagonist, Batman. He is caught up in a fight between two vigilantes, The Joker and Two-Face. It's obvious that he doesn't really give a crap about anyone but himself, but that does not mean that he doesn't care about anyone else. He comes into a bar, which also happens to be owned by a Jew. The scene in this movie is actually one of the most politically and socially aware of all of the Dark Knight scenes.
We see the infamous scene of Two-Face drinking and displaying his dark side with a pack of walking talking Jews who drink and get drunk. The Dark Knight also takes care to tell us that Two-Face is not necessarily evil; rather, he is out to take over Gotham and therefore he will do whatever he can to achieve that goal. In other words, Two-Face is playing a game of chess, and we all know that in real life there are no good guys and only the best and worst of people.
After seeing the actual scene, we see that Two-Face's associate isgetting fed up with him, so he decides to make a statement and stabs the Jew. The punch line of the movie is that Batman has no choice but to put Two-Face in Arkham Asylum, and then it's time for Two-Face to show his true face, and we all know what that means. He doesn't care what anyone thinks. The real message is about how Batman's decision to put Two-Face in Arkham leads to the two vigilantes fighting each other for ultimate control of Gotham.
The next scene in the movie is when Gordon (Gary Oldman) confronts Bruce (Christian Bale). Although there is an underlying racial conflict at play here, it's not exactly a post-racial scene. Batman tells Gordon that he killed Two-Face and it was him who was the innocent victim, and Gordon just doesn't believe him.
Batman's real argument is that he has a system in place in Gotham and Gordon needs to adapt to that, or be replaced by someone who will. Gordon tells Batman that he can either conform or fight, but Batman tells him that he can't simply say he knows what's best. Batman's message is that the people in Gotham must understand that the system he has put in place is a battle of wills between the man who believes in order and the man who believe chaos is the solution.
One thing that I thought was interesting was that while the characters of Batman and Gordon had certain political messages, they were mostly portrayed as the good guys. Even Two-Face, the main villain, seems to be given more of a sympathetic side. I think the movie made a strong political statement, but it could have been done better.