Tragedy at the Theater: Heroes Arise, Just Not the Ones We Expected

credit: CBS

I sent my tween girl and my teen boy off to see a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises last night. They were excited, giddy at the long-anticipated movie and a late night adventure.

She dressed like Catwoman. He wore a shirt that said “Gotham State Prison.”

A pop culture moment. A rite of summer.

We awoke to the news this morning that in Colorado, some similarly excited movie goers never came back.

It’s like a punch to the national gut.

We at the Movie Channel of Patheos are praying for and mourning with those affected by the senseless shooting.

We go to the movies, in part, because it gives us a chance to explore danger and violence vicariously. We see great deeds and are inspired by them. We see evil and are inspired to fight it.

The Dark Knight Rises, like the other movies in the series, is one of the best I’ve ever seen at exploring the themes of evil, of what happens when a madman goes unchallenged. And also how to fight it self-sacrificially.

Real evil interjected itself in the theater. Batman would know how to respond.

I’m not talking about cool weapons or fighting skills. I’m talking about recognizing evil, acknowledging that it needs to be stopped, and being willing to put yourself on the line to stop it.

The kind of thing our military, firefighters, and police do. The kind of thing the bomb squad is doing, live on TV, as I watch them clear the suspect’s apartment.

The movie itself celebrates the heroism of police in the character of Gary Oldman’s Commissioner James Gordon and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s police rookie John Blake. It features a heroic battle between the forces of anarchy and the representatives of order and justice, the police.

We’ve been reminded. Evil is real.

But so is heroism.

Batman rises. Every day.

Slideshow: Summer’s Biggest Movies

Our slideshow breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly from summer 2012′s most anticipated flicks. You’re welcome.