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Moving On after The Dark Knight Saga
November 28, 2012
Okay, I now can't watch a TV or film series finale without mentally humming "Moving On." But even I couldn't have predicted that "moving on" would be the theme of The Dark Knight Rises - to the point where the hero's love interest (a long-haired brunette fugitive, of course) literally seeks a macguffin called "Clean Slate." To the point where mobility is frequently mentioned and the hero must first overcome a leg injury, and then a crippling spinal injury!
Many sagas end with the hero sacrificing himself, but this movie began with the hero already open to dying, leaving his eventual decision to choose life a satisfying twist. Few stories go this path - but Lost kind of did too, with Jack attempting suicide two weeks before his eventual death. This was one reason Jack's death originally disappointed me; he seemed to simply give in to the death he'd been seeking.
But the difference lies in the motive for dying. Bruce opens himself to defeat because he has nothing worth living for, and he later regains his appreciation of life. Jack too sees nothing worth living for, but specifically because he correctly imagines that he's turned his back on his destiny. He eventually sacrifices himself because he has discovered the calling he'd previously lacked, and when he died, there's a (tearful) smile on his face.