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Batman, Spiderman and the Real Superhero 08/08/2008

Heath Ledgers as The Joker

Heath Ledger personifies evil as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

 

Hollywood and the entertainment community are not known for promoting positive morals, but the growing niche of comic book films has delivered some strong messages. The Dark Knight has broken numerous records, many of which were set by the Spiderman movies. Both series depict ordinary men who transform into extraordinary heroes in order to battle evil.

Two of my grandchildren wanted me to go see the latest Batman movie with them, so I did. (I realize that some readers may object to this type of film, so I am not endorsing any movie, but commenting on positive aspects of the storylines.) Heath Ledger, who died several months ago from an apparent drug overdose, played Batman’s nemesis in his final role. His portrayal of the Joker is, in my opinion, the personification of evil. His character reveals the intent of the enemy of freedom today, brilliantly illustrating evil’s destructive and deadly intentions. Batman, however, is totally committed to stopping and preventing his horrendous acts. Even when the world mocks, slanders and rejects him, Batman stands on principle and does what is right.

Like Spiderman and Superman, the result is the classic story of good versus evil. It seems that within the soul of every person there is a deep-seated desire to defeat evil. Though these stories are fictional and fantastical, they are rooted in a real scheme of the enemy to bring down the free world.

When I was a boy, we cheered when the good guys finally eliminated the bad guys. We all applauded when the evildoers were subdued. Yet over the years it seems Hollywood has often glorified evil, reveling in the success of greedy, manipulative mafia members or glorifying Bonnie and Clyde figures. Still, deep inside, there is something that seems to shout, “Good must prevail!”

Frankly, I am glad to see this. I would like to see Hollywood present more positive messages as in The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia and Schindler’s List. This is why I continue to pray for those in the entertainment industry, that they would be more inclined to move in a better direction.

But as we cheer these fictional heroes in their efforts to thwart evil, we should keep in mind that the battle between light and darkness, truth and deception, hate and love, good and evil is clearly revealed in the message of the Old Testament prophets, the New Testament letters and the life of Christ. Jesus came not only to protect the innocent ones from evil, but also to set captives free, even enabling evildoers to overcome and escape their personal prisons. Spiderman 3 dealt with this as the hero battled his enemies, as well as his own dark side. Even some of the villains in that film recognized their own entrapments and found some hope in the end that they could turn from evil and do good. The same is true in another summer blockbuster, Hancock.

These truths can be translated from fictional tales into our real lives. The media reported that Heath Ledger’s untimely death was partly the result of his battle with personal demons. Sadly, he could not overcome his own dark side and, like the character he portrayed, it destroyed him. I wish he had known that Jesus Christ came to give each of us the ability to fearlessly face the evil of this world even that which lurks in our own heart.

We may not see this spiritual influence in the realm of darkness as destructive as the fictional Joker or Green Goblin, but we must understand that evil destroys our peace of mind, sense of comfort, clear direction and genuine expressions of unconditional love. Evil often comes subtly to defeat and torment us. The outcome may or may not be explosive, but it is always damaging.

God offers us the opportunity and supernatural ability to overcome everything that seeks to deceive and destroy our lives and relationships. And like the Spiderman character Venom, who dressed up in a dark Spiderman costume, evil can even mask itself in religious entrapments. Blaise Pascal said, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.” It is important to remember that some of the most dangerous expressions of evil have come through those who hold to some religious belief system.

The only hope we have to see evil defeated and good prevail is to look to the one real hero, Jesus Christ. He has overcome true evil, even in the form of religiosity, through His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. There is no greater victory in this world than when he defeats evil once and for all. He is the ultimate superhero, far greater than Superman, Spiderman, Batman or any other conjured-up character. He is real and He wields the most powerful liberating truth.


Author: James Robison

Word Count: 836

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.