I am definitely one of those freaks who marks time by Batman movies. When the first one came out, it was the last summer before I started working. My last summer before I hit the teenaged years. The end of my childhood. Ha ha, just kidding…I am very much still a child.
When the next one came out (with Danny DeVito!) I was starting high school, followed by the next movie, the summer I graduated. I got engaged to Mr. Betty the summer Batman Begins came out, the first movie with Christian Bale. That was the start of a new darker era of Batman movies. Anyway, the point is…I freaking love Batman.
I’ve been looking forward to The Dark Knight Rises for a year. My plan was to go the Saturday night of opening weekend. When the unthinkable happened, the horrific shooting in a Colorado movie theater at the midnight showing of the movie, I was stunned. These poor people, super-fans, who would see a movie almost three hours long starting at midnight, were taken by surprise in what should be the safety of a dark theater. Horrible. I can think of nothing worse.
I lost all enthusiasm for the movie. The shadow cast by the largest mass shooting to ever take place in the US trivialized a superhero movie. The studio cancelled the big premiere in Paris and the movie quietly had its opening weekend. I’m sure many felt as I did, and skipped the movie out of respect for the victims. How sad for them. But it was also sad for everyone involved in the making of the movie, who poured years of work into a film that will always be associated with a tragic event. The whole thing just sucks.
After a week I bucked up and went to see it. And you know what? It was awesome. Better than I’d expected. I know many of you haven’t seen it yet. Just like with all movies I discuss, I will not include any spoilers here.
Christopher Nolan brought significant changes to the franchise. Batman’s story became darker and edgier. Definitely less fun. Bruce Wayne’s story is already dark enough, so I always enjoyed the roguish qualities they gave him. Sure, he was a sad orphan, but he often wore a tuxedo, was a ladies man, and enjoyed spending his billions. Nolan’s Wayne is lonely, tortured, practically a shut-in. The drama is amped up as are the toys.
We’ve gone from this:
The movie picks up eight years after the last one ended. If you recall, Gotham turned on Batman, blaming him for Harvey Dent’s death. So we deal with the aftermath of that in addition to new horrors. New villain, Bane, is the most evil, unlikeable bad guy in all of Batman history. Seriously, this dude is straight up terrifying.
We get some levity in the form of Catwoman. Her naughty antics provided a little humor, although I question the casting of Anne Hathaway. She famously slimmed down to a toothpick for the role, and while she rocked that catsuit, it was hardly believable that this 10-pound weakling would be kicking so much ass. I prefer Michelle Pfeiffer’s feline fighting style.
My favorite new character is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cop with a heart of gold. He was the true star of this movie and will surely hold a key to future installments. JGL has proven himself to be a top-notch actor and steals the show every time. I love him.
For me, this was the best of the trilogy. If you are wavering, just go. It boasts the strongest writing, a few great surprises, and was riveting from beginning to end. Christian Bale’s final turn as the Dark Knight was excellent. I can’t wait to see who takes on the story next. Because Batman is forever.