Hello dear reader. Come with me if you will and journey back a few years to June 2005. I was frolicking around with my high school pals enjoying the summertime fun and one of my friends wanted to see the new Batman movie. I had always been a Batman fan, and had recently delved deeper into his various comic book iterations, but I considered Batman movies merely as a superficial popcorn machine with a revolving door for the latest big name actor. After seeing Batman Begins however I remember being taken aback with what I just witnessed. Here was the first Batman movie that took itself seriously and felt more story-driven than gimmick-driven. It had a competent Jim Gordon who wasn’t a fat bumbling fool, an Alfred who had a personality beyond being slightly rambunctious for a geriatric mothball and even frickin Ra’s al Ghul! Christian Bale was the first actor that evenly played both halves of the Bruce Wayne/Batman identity, with a separate menacing voice for Batman to boot. The city itself was dirty and real; a far cry from the cartoony Gotham city with giant statues that Batmobiles and Ice Cream trucks could drive off of. The word I found myself repeating was “Epic.”
Whereas Batman Begins was a sleeper hit, The Dark Knight was a much-hyped, highly anticipated summer blockbuster in 2008; and man oh man did it deliver. It was a painful painting of what it really means to be Batman: a job with no reward and everything to lose. Gotham continued to prove itself as a cruel mother that shows how ugly its children can be when they are pushed to the limit. Because of its relatively high body count for main characters (both on and off screen) The Dark Knight also worked extremely well as a standalone Batman tale. The trio of Batman, Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent was almost a perfect recreation from Jeph Loeb’s comic The Long Halloween. And what can I say about Heath Ledger’s Joker that you don’t already know? He was fabulous. He was elusive and left you leaving the theater wanting more; fully knowing that was tragically impossible. Christopher Nolan proved what comic book fans had known for decades: a Batman story can be amazing, and a really painful gut-shot of a story at that. The one word I associated with The Dark Knight was “beautiful.”
So here we are, two days before the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. The film is even more-hyped and more anticipated than The Dark Knight. Expectations are high, and fanboys are attacking any early negative review of the film. Regardless of all of that, I am looking forward to it. We live in a world of remakes and reboots; and as I mentioned in my review of The Amazing Spider-Man, I’m ok with that. Different takes on characters can be refreshing if done right. If it weren’t for the abysmal failure of Batman & Robin, Warner Brothers might never have given Christopher Nolan a chance to tell his story. With that in mind, I am confident that he will bring his tale of the Dark Knight Detective full circle and give it a very unified feel. Undoubtedly Warner Brothers will make another Batman movie someday. Nolan is aware of this, and I believe he will do what no one has done before: Kill Batman. I love Batman, I love everything about him. But I think that his death is the only logical conclusion to this very serious take on a man who only wants to do good, but in turn inspires so much chaos and turmoil. I’m going to see The Dark Knight Rises at midnight. I don’t care if it’s “better” or “worse” than its preceding films. This film is the end of an era; a farewell letter to a man, a myth and a city. I want to thank Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale for making Batman cool again for people who don’t go to comic shops. I also want to thank Joel Schumacher for destroying Batman so he could be resurrected in a more perfect form. I wonder, what will my one word review for The Dark Knight Rises be? TO BE CONTINUED !