SPOILER-ALERT: While I do not intend on discussing specifics about The Dark Knight, please be aware that this post is in direct reference to the movie.
My husband loves super heroes. He appreciates the genre, and our movie collection and book shelves reflect that. His favorite character is Superman, and he likes to wear Superman T-shirts to prove it. It was my opinion that Superman was, in fact, the best of the super heroes. He has so many cool super-powers! To me, the more cool super-powers, the more of a super hero.
But now I take it all back.
Because now, I see that the opposite is true. Spiderman, Superman, The Hulk, X-Men, etc all received their power from something external like an insect bite, or being an alien. They don't choose to have their power. Yes, they have to choose to use it wisely, and that's what differentiates them from the bad guys in their stories.
Batman is altogether different. He doesn't have any super-powers at all. He wasn't born with a supernatural gift, and it wasn't instilled on him through some fluke of nature. He went out and made himself a hero. He believed in this thing called "greater good" and this is his power. I used to think of him as somebody who is merely avenging his parent's death by running around with fancy technology. What a joke, I'd say.
He is clearly something more. He is a true hero.
Because I was not on a strange planet, nor was I born with a mutant gene. I am just an average person who also believes in good. And according to Batman's story, that's all it takes to rid this world of evil (and a little martial arts training and expensive gadgets), and that's something I can root for.
I still like Superman, et al, but they are mere comics to me. Batman is somebody I can believe in, because Batman is somebody I can be. No I don't mean I'm going to run around Gotham City with a cape (we see how well that works out for those who tried in the opening scene). I mean, I am going to choose to live with compassion and integrity. I am not going to let what I'm born with or not born with stop me from being great. I am going to sacrifice what people think of me for the sake of helping others. I am going to believe in something greater than myself. I am not going to let evil reign in this world.
I am going to be a hero to those around me.
10 months ago