The Dark Knight

“I dont want to kill you.  You complete me.” -Heath Ledger’s the Joker, The Dark Knight

This quote was perhaps my favorite from the movie.  It stuck in my head for hours after I watched the thrilling Dark Knight in July.  Hearing someone say that ‘you complete them,’ you imagine it coming from a lover.  Lovers complement each other in every way, bringing about a continuity of bliss.   Batman and the Joker in the newly released film The Dark Knight  are far from a pair of bright-eyed lovers, and yet the Joker, in all his insanity, speaks an interesting truth.  Batman and the Joker, though not lovers, have a relationship that would not exist without either one of them.

The strong sense of order and chaos is blatant in Christopher Nolan’s latest Batman film.  Batman, our penitent hero, represents the good and orderly in Gotham.   Our caped crusader, despite his own tortured nature, continues to do good and struggles within himself to not stray from that mindset and become the exact opposite of himself, his own personal demon, brought to life through the Joker. 

The Joker, on the other hand, is a sadistic, pleasant and cheerful little bugger.  He has no moral qualms, or any qualms really, about any action that he undertakes.  The chase is most appealling to him, and the chaotic nature of it all (that may in fact make no sense to anyone else) always finds a place in his own demented world.

This is, of course, but a taste of the many philosophical ideas that come from the world of the Batman.   Undoubtedly you’ll want to learn more.  Who wouldn’t?? In that case allow us, your friendly neighborhood library, to point you in the right direction.

First I recommend, for the academic at heart, Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul, which is a wonderful collection of essays written by modern-day philosophers.  The essays center around the world presented through the comics, and not just the movies.

If that doesn’t quench your thirst and you’re dying to know more, I recommend some of my personal favorites:

  • The Essential Batman Encyclopediaprovides an excellent reference for any reader who lacks the time to read the large collection of Batman graphic novels available at CLP.
  • The DC Comics Encyclopedia is also an excellent reference book for those of us whose lives run on the New York minute.
  • Showcase Presents Batmanis a collection of Batman comics, and we have it at CLP in two volumes!  If you don’t have the time or the money to hunt down all the old comics, this is the book for you!
  • Batman: The Killing Joke is a newer graphic novel that I found by chance in the library.  It has some of the best artwork that I’ve seen to date!
  • Batman Cover to Cover This one isn’t a graphic novel, but it is an excellent collection of the best comic covers throughout the ages.

Finally, to truly understand the troubled and tormented relationship between Batman and the Joker, I suggest you check out my personal favorite, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.

On top of all this we have dozens of Batman graphic novels at the library.  Simply search our network, or come on in for a nice cup of joe while you meander our graphic novels section.

In the meantime, enjoy the release of the latest Batman feature in the comfort of your own home with a delicious bowl of popcorn!!!


Marianne, a/k/a MA, is the newest member of the Eleventh Stack blog team.  This is her first post.


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3 responses to “The Dark Knight

  1. Wow. I never looked at the movie that way but you have a point. There are definately some philosophical ideas in the movie.

    I loved Heath Ledger’s impression of the joker. It definately one that many will remember for decades to come.

  2. E Burlan

    I would gladly have a cappuccino (joe, of course) with Batman and Joker themselves. Although I didn’t see the movie yet, I always enjoy the good & evil battles. I willsee this one and later maybe comment on the story.

  3. MA

    Mariannabella, I’m glad that I could get you to look at the movie in a different light. If you are fascinated, do check out the Batman and Philosophy that I have recommended. You will really enjoy it.
    I also loved Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the joker. It was the best in my opinion. And yes, it will be one that will be remembered for ages.
    E, I’m interested in hearing more about your desire to have ‘joe’ with the Batman and Joker. It would make for an intriguing cup of coffee!! And after you see the movie, do comment more, we love to hear from the people :)

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