Ten Life Lessons from the Batman Trilogy
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 12:09
I won’t lie to you, I love Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy for three reasons: it features a hunky hero, the camera often pans to a butler that is classy as all get out and the movies are packed with action scenes that make my chair shake. Furthermore the combination of all three films provides us with a fresh definition of a hero through the development and decline of the Batman symbol. Through this evolution we are able to pick out life lessons we can apply to our own lives.
Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Go big or go home: Surreptitiously sneaking into Hong Kong would not suffice. No, Wayne spirits the Russian ballet onto his yacht in order to get into Hong Kong without suspicion. When you have the chance, go all out. Life is meant to be lived.
Know your limits: Batman’s scars, both physical and psychological serves as a warning to us. Mistakenly believing you have no limits and/or not respecting them does more harm than good.
The hero is often more complex than the villain: All three of Batman’s nemeses have no qualms in harming civilians, because they believe that ethical standards do not apply to them. In contrast, Batman was created solely for an ethical purpose. Respect for ethics is what separates villains and heroes. Batman’s disgust towards his opponents is topped only by the disgust he has for himself. We see him question whether the good he is doing is enough to stamp out the pain. His only answer is, there really is no answer. I think we all question whether the means meet the ends in some aspect of our lives. Similarly we realize that there is no black or white solution.
Don’t always believe what you’re told: Rachel perishes in an explosion because Batman accepted the Joker’s directions at face value. For most of us, this example is a little extreme, but we can be more vigilant about questioning what we read, see or hear. Why? Appearances are deceiving.
Everyone needs their “Alfred:” No matter who you are, when the chips are down, we yearn for our confidant, best friend and/or parent figure to offer us comfort and counsel. Wayne always feels better after confiding in Alfred; I feel the same with my best friend.
There are a lot of fish in the sea: Wayne is devastated after Rachel’s death, but then he finds Catwoman. Chances are there is someone else out there for you, so don’t sweat the failed relationships or live in the past.
Be honest/forthcoming about your fears: By Wayne making his symbol a bat, he not only faces his fear, he embraces it. This allows Wayne to overcome his fear and become the Batman. Point being, your fears will not vanish until you banish them.
Things are going to get worse before they get better: Harvey Dent declares “the night is always darkest before the dawn.” Deep, I know, for a man who has a lucky coin. What he meant is there is no constant progress, but ebb and flow. The sooner you realize this, the stronger you will be.
Be a leader, not a follower: What do Batman, Rachel and Lieutenant Gordon all have in common? They take initiative to set a positive example for others.
Haters going to hate: At the end of the day, no matter what you do, there will always be those who dislike you. Accept this and do what you set out to do. No one is universally liked.
Not everyone may agree with the lessons I have found, so look for others. See past the magnificent action scenes to notice the similarities between the story arc and our own lives. Realize that we see part of our triumphs and failures in Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Not only will you be able to appreciate the films from another angle, you will be able to say you’re a little like Batman. No bigs.
Claire Ingebretsen is a sophomore political science major and editor of the Opinion section.