The Dark Knight – the Hero’s Journey stages

Ordinary world

The Batman has impacted on crime in Gotham, the Mob can’t do business like they used to and they don’t like it.

Call to Adventure

The Joker arrives on the crime scene in Gotham.

Refusal of the call

Batman ignores the Joker and focuses his attention on stopping the Mob “One man or the entire Mob. He can wait.”

Supernatural Aid

Lucious Fox is his mentor and supplies him with his equipment. Alfred also serves a role as a mentor but an emotional one.

Crossing the First Threshold

Batman agrees to help Harvey Dent and sets out to capture Lau.

Belly of the whale

Sometimes the Belly of the whale is about travelling a long way away. Bruce travels to Hong Kong and retrieves Lau.

The Road of the trials

Trying to catch the Joker and always being one step behind. The Joker wants Batman to reveal himself and public opinion is turning on Batman.

Meeting with the Goddess

The Goddess is Harvey Dent, he’s a good man who inspires Batman to be true hero. Batman supports him and embraces his values to bring justice to the city.

Woman as Temptress

Rachel makes a promise to Bruce that they would be together when he hangs up the mantle of Batman. In Batman Begins she was the Goddess but in this film she is the Temptress. She offers him a better life if he gives up his quest of being Batman.

But there is also a second temptress; Joker offers temptations and choice to Batman throughout the film. He tries to get Batman to violate his code of not killing. He tries to bring Batman down to his level and instead he succeeds by doing that to Harvey Dent.

Atonement with the Father

Alfred tells Bruce some men can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn. Eventually Bruce understands that this is what he’s dealing with, with the Joker.


He becomes all seeing (like a God) when he harnesses the cell phone sonar technology to spy on all of Gotham

Death of the mentor

Lucious Fox wants no more part in Batman’s activities and resigns from Wayne Enterprises as he believes no one should have the power he has when he uses the surveillance equipment

Ultimate Boon

He learns where the Joker is and able to face him, armed with the knowledge he’s incredibly clever dangerous lunatic. He knows the clown guards are really the hostages so he takes out the SWAT team so they don’t fall into Joker’s trap and kill the hostages thinking they’re taking out the guards. He’s worked out how the Joker operates and isn’t at the disadvantage of  being two steps behind the Joker’s plan like he has been up to this point.

The Magic flight

The final fight between Joker and Batman. Joker looks to have defeated Batman and is about to blow up the ferries but Batman nails him with a hidden weapon and saves the Joker from falling to his death. The Joker has lost but he has a victory of sorts because he proved he could corrupt Harvey Dent

Rescue from without

The passengers on both ferries don’t kill each other. This distracts Joker so Batman can fire his dart at him.

The crossing of the return Threshold

Batman goes to help save Gordon and his family from Harvey Two Face Dent having endured the trials of Joker and proved that he can live by his code. He must now break it in order to save Gordon.

Master of two worlds

Batman has defeated the Joker and sacrifices his own reputation instead of letting Dent lose his.

Freedom to live

He disappears into the night. Gotham has the hero it deserves not the hero it needs.


The Dark Knight is easily one of the best superhero movies of all time. Whilst this breakdown contains all the elements of the hero’s journey there are a number of key story beats from The Dark Knight missing from this list.  Rachel’s death for example, although it does lead to the Ultimate Boon for Batman.

You may also like to compare with:

Batman Begins 



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