If there’s one thing I can’t stand more than lies, it’s the justification for lies by once honest men. I hated hearing Batman speak the following line at the end of The Dark Knight: ”Sometimes… truth isn’t good enough…”
It wasn’t heroic at all and an unnecessary admission of defeat. Gordon’s and Batman’s jobs are to protect the citizens of Gotham from crime, not from the truth — in this case, the truth about Harvey Dent. By the end of the film, Gotham’s once heroic district attorney wasn’t a hero any longer, but instead a murderer. How condescending is it to the people of Gotham that Batman and Gordon feel only they can handle that truth.
It brings to mind the Big Lie about Islam that our government pushed on us right after 9/11 and continues to this day — that “Islam means peace.” As for Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, good men don’t become evil unless they already had it in them, and I suppose The Joker saw something in Harvey that he knew he could bring out of him with a simple push.
Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered and he suffered the same loss that Harvey experienced when The Joker murdered Rachel Dawes; but Batman doesn’t become the bad guy, he continues to fight evil.
And The Joker didn’t win at the end of The Dark Knight, as Gordon said, and as Batman seemed to accept with his words, “The Joker cannot win.” But in their lie, in their both agreeing to allow Batman to take the rap for the murders committed by Harvey Dent, they lost, and they became Two-Face/d.
As Ayn Rand puts it in Atlas Shrugged, “Nobody stays here by faking reality in any manner whatever.” Fortunately, Christopher Nolan explores the consequences of that ending in The Dark Knight Rises. As Alfred J. Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler/surrogate father, tells Bruce in one important scene in the new film, “Maybe it’s time we stop trying to outsmart the truth, and let it have its day.” I recently discussed this during a podcast review of The Dark Knight Rises. Listen here.
Next: What’s Bane saying?