Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

Words to Weigh: From Batman Begins

In know Batman Begins isn’t new,  but when I watched it again recently, I was struck by words uttered first by Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) and then mirrored by Batman/Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). (Photo: Katie Holmes as Rachel, talking with Bruce Wayne in a hotel.)
Here’s the context: Rachel and Bruce were in love with each other when they were younger, but then Bruce disappeared, only to return years later. He had not contacted Rachel since his return. In order to cover his identity as Batman, Bruce is trying to act the part of the “millionaire playboy.” One night he’s cavorting in a hotel fountain with a couple of young women. While leaving the hotel, soaking wet in his suit and tie, Bruce runs into Rachel. In this awkward moment, he tries to explain to Rachel that he’s not what he appears to be. “Inside I am more,” he says. Rachel responds:


“Bruce, deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it’s not who you are underneath. It’s what you do that defines you.”

You can watch the clip here. Much later in the movie, when Batman has saved Rachel’s lives and is fighting to save others, she asks him who is really is. Batman responds, tellingly:

“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”

Those are some words to weigh.

  • Thomas Buck

    It’s both.
    “It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. ”
    “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
    If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
    Regarding Batman Begins, it is a great movie, in my opinion. I still cringe when Bruce mistreats his guests in order to save them. Also, Rachel’s uninformed, whiny comment to Bruce, “Some of us have work to do,” has become a household joke for us.
    Very enjoyable!

  • Wickle

    It’s an excellent point, really … I might believe in helping the poor, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, spreading love, and preaching the Gospel … but if all I ever do is sit on the couch and think about how good it is that someone else is doing it, then I’m not really doing anything.
    I think Jesus’ brother James said something about that … show me your faith without works and I’ll show you my faith through my works.

  • Carl Franzon

    I also thought of Jesus’ parable of the two sons in Matthew 21:28ff.
    But, the other thing that occurred to me is this: Isn’t the point that James is making that we can’t separate the inside from the outside? Can we say I’m a good person underneath, but I do bad things. In other words, I think Bruce/Batman has got it wrong here. Who are you underneath is revealed in the things that you do. What you do defines you in the sense that it defines you other people – this is what they see, but those actions are merely a reflection of what is underneath.

  • LUKE1732

    Matthew 7:20-23:
    Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
    The teaching against salvation by works has gotten so extreme and simplistic that it violates Jesus’ clear teaching and common sense.
    Love for God and our neighbor must be incarnate or it doesn’t really exist in any meaningful way. Sinful acts destroy our relationship with God. Works matter.

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