"I love to tell the story..." I am paid to tell the story of NASA Science, but I feel most fully alive when I tell God's story. I believe that "threads of glory" from that larger Story weave their way through all the other stories we tell. My writing is a quest to discover those threads and expose them. I live in Waldorf, MD, with my wife Laurie (a United Methodist pastor), son Brady (10) and daughter Becca (8).
Beyond the honest portrayal that the line between good and evil is at blurred at best and difficult to straddle, the villains in Christopher
Nolan’s Batman trilogy are worthy foes for the Dark Knight.These aren’t the bumbling, incompetent “bad
guys” that we so often see portrayed on many TV shows that seem more like
comic relief than credible foes. I particularly notice this on the cartoons that my children watch. The
“good guys” are always a step ahead of them and never seriously threatened.In fact, in many cases, the “bad guys” become
“good guys” by the end of the episode!
While I realize these are shows aimed at children and not adults, I’m always a little troubled by this, because I
think it gives children a somewhat skewed view of the reality of evil in our
For example, take Captain Hook as depicted on Jake and the Neverland Pirates.We are supposed believe he is an “evil pirate”, but the problem is that
he comes across more like a circus clown. His henchmen often seem more competent and self-aware than he is!I dare say any resemblance between Hook and a real pirate would be coincidental.Real pirates are nasty individuals that you probably don’t want to
tangle with—cunning, smart, evil.If
they seek to do you harm, a wooden sword and magical pixie dust won’t solve your problem.
Captain Hook Jake & the Neverland Pirates
At the risk of saying
something obvious:Real life isn’t like children’s television.Evil usually isn’t bumbling and incompetent;
it’s competent and dangerous. I think Nolan’s Batman trilogy does a good job
depicting evil as it really is.
In each of these three movies, intricately layered
evil schemes unfold. The “good guys” foil one plot only to realize the “real”
evil was far more insidious than they realized.They stop one villain only to find out that villain works for another more
Far from being
incompetent buffoons who chase after the “good guys” in vain, Batman's opponents are very
good at being bad, and extremely smart—and that combination makes them
extremely dangerous.It takes every
ounce of strength and courage the heroes can muster to defeat these foes. The
victories don’t come without sacrifice on the part of the heroes.
Ra's al Ghul Batman Begins
Ra’s al Ghul
(featured in Batman Begins) is
evil—but he’s also brilliant and cunning!His acts of evil aren’t random; they are painstakingly planned and
executed with precision. In fact, the purpose
behind his plots might, at first glance, seem noble—restoring ecological balance.He’s just willing to use any means necessary
to achieve that purpose—even if it means destroying a city and harming millions
The Joker Dark Knight
The Joker (in Dark Knight)
is different kind of evil; he’s a psychopath.But just because he’s crazy, doesn’t mean he’s not smart.Smart and insane is a really dangerous
Dark Knight Rises
Bane (in Dark Knight Rises)
relies a bit more on brute force, fear, and intimidation than the other two
villains, but still possesses intelligence, having been trained by the same
organization that trained Batman. Strong, smart, and evil is also quite lethal!