Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight has Risen

Karen: It's out -let's hear your non-spoiler thoughts on the Dark Knight Rises! We'll lift the spoiler embargo on Sunday, if you want to wait.


david_b said...

First off, I'm saddened with the news of the events of the midnight showing in Colorado. My prayers are with them.

As for the movie, it's too dark from what I've heard, and what I've seen from the franchise. I really have no interest in seeing it. I'm sure fine filmmaking went into it, but personally not my cup of tea.

ChrisPV said...

I'm actually from Denver, so the Colorado thing has seriously killed my enthusiasm for the movie. We're going on Sunday, and hopefully by then we'll be able to enjoy it.

Karen said...

Heard the news about Colorado first thing this morning. It's so terrible, so senseless. Chris, I understand completely why you may have lost your enthusiasm for this. I'm sure many will be thinking about this tragedy as they go to the movie. But I hope people don't blame the film. This will likely prove to be the act of a lone maniac, who would have found another outlet for his sickness if not this movie.

humanbelly said...

Honestly, there's nothing I've seen in any of the previews that makes me want to see this film. I recognize the enormous talent both in front of and behind the cameras. . . but the last film had me leaving the theater feeling worse than when I came in. . . and that's not why I go to see movies. And this film looks (from the previews) like it spends most of its time in pretty much the same place, regardless of how well it's been put together.

And this shooting is just the most unfortunate, tragic horror that could ever be tossed into the already-churning media-frenzy mix surrounding the opening. It boggles the mind. I'm cynical enough to believe that a horrible connected event like this will actually boost sales, as it forges an unbreakable link of association between the two. It will also supercharge two hot-button political topics: gun control (naturally) and the harmful effects of uber-violence in our popular media and culture. Looking at the web, I'm seeing that enraged finger-pointing is already well underway. . .

Very sad morning-


david_b said...


Agreed, they all start jumping on the gun-control bandwagon, like any other knee-jerk reaction. I agree with Karen on individuals finding another venue to lash out.., but it sure was an easy and dastardly/grissly way to execute his warped plan, with everyone dressed in dark costumes already, dark theater, loud effects and violence on the big screen and loud speakers.., etc.

Given a choice, I'd prefer to just watch the Avengers again. I find nothing fun or entertaining about this franchise, just doesnt' seem to be going in a good direction. I'm not saying movies have to be 'uplifting' per se (I like Tarantino films..) but this comic franchise in particular isn't for me...

Karen said...

HB, David, I agree, these films -particularly Dark Knight -have left me cold. HB, when my husband and I left the theater after seeing DK, he turned to me and said, "Well?" and I said, "I feel like I've been punched in the gut for two hours." We both felt sort of mentally/emotionally exhausted, much as you said.

I much prefer the Marvel flicks -call me unsophisticated, but I'd rather come out of a theater feeling excited and pleased than drained.

That said, I will go to see this new one, just to finish off the series. This was never really Batman to me. I'll probably have to watch some 'Batman:The Animated Series' afterwards.

david_b said...

Karen, I distinctly remember you saying that.. I've spent some good thought over Batman recently, and discovered that except for Batman:TAS and the old Infantino look and 60s series, I'm really not a fan. Granted I'm still entertained by the Haney B&B columns and have perhaps a handfull of issues, I'm still a diehard Marvellite.

Ah, as mentioned to HB, here's some finger-pointing..:

Doug said...

The news is indeed shocking, and sickening. It's strange, isn't it, that those of us who retain our civilization are still "shocked" when these sorts of things happen. I hope I never become desensitized enough to the news that I am not moved by such events.

As to the franchise Chris Nolan has wrought, I am also not highly motivated to see this film. I'll echo the comments above by my partner on Dark Knight; Schindler's List, Deliverance, Dead Man Walking... all fine films in their own right, perhaps accomplishing in the viewer what the creators set out to imagine - the last Batman installment worked that way for me as well.

However, to inject just a bit of levity into this heavy conversation, my boys went to see the film last night and both raved about it. Keep in mind, though, that those two knuckleheads hated ASM when most of you loved it!

I sent Karen the review from the Chicago Tribune, panned by a writer who usually loves comics-based films. Last night on WGN-TV, however, their film critic gave it four stars.


ChrisPV said...

I have really enjoyed the Nolan Batman movies, but the more you look at them and really think about them there's almost a self-consciousness there that isn't in something like the Avengers. Basically, you could take Batman and replace him with an FBI agent and take off Joker's makeup, and really the movie wouldn't change much. Hell, you might not even have to change most of the dialog. By contrast, the Hulk's scenes in Avengers only works because it's the Hulk there. You sub in any other character and the scenes don't hit right.

So basically it depends on where you stand on "realism-ing" up your superheroes. I've enjoyed these films for their craft, but I am becoming more and more concerned that DC will use these films as their template for other characters. And, let's be honest, the DCU is on the whole WAY goofier than the MU.

Ask yourself: can you bear the thought of, say, a realistic Mr. Mxyzptlk?


humanbelly said...

Yikes, david_b, the Washington Examiner-! I wasn't sure they were still even publishing (haven't seen a print version around in months. . . ). Man, the commentary after that article requires one to visit the doctor for a rabies booster shot, or something. . .

The Post reviewer (Ann Hornaday) gave the film 3.5 starts out of 4. Feels it should be a solid Best Picture contender. Liked the new Spiderman, didn't particularly go for The Avengers. She's really all over the map and unreliable-- she tends to think that she's able to find unplumbed depths of artistry in really shallow, lame films, as a rule.

But again, I'm one of two people in America that liked Green Lantern just fine (HBGirl being the other. . . and there will be HECK TO PAY if they don't somehow manage to do a sequel to deal with Sinestro-!)


david_b said...

Slightly OT, and perhaps I'm just getting old, but per reports from the theater that 6yr old kids injured were at the midnight showing..

"Just what are 6yr olds doing at midnight movies, anyways..?"

( David_B scratches his head..)

Edo Bosnar said...

The news of the shooting is saddening and sickening. I don't have much to say, except that my heart goes out to the survivors and those who lost loved ones...

ChrisPV said...

Six year old kid is nothing. There was a three month old baby treated (and released, thank God) for some kind of injury at the scene.

Just...just why?

Karen said...

I know, I read some reports and wondered the same thing. What are these little children doing out at midnight? When you figure the movie is three hours long (nearly), that means they won't get out til 3 in the morning. I'm assuming parents couldn't get a babysitter. I know it may sound petty considering the shooting, but that's the kind of irresponsibility that just drives me nuts.

Inkstained Wretch said...

Hi guys, its been a little while.

Might as well out myself. I am the author of the Washington Examiner post david_b referenced. It was my knowledge of comics that enabled me to find the connection in the first place.

The point was not to blame The Dark Knight Returns or Frank Miller for this horrible tragedy. In these kind of cases I believe that responsibility begins and ends with the one who actually pulls the trigger.

I will conceded I should have made this point clearer in the blog post. But I don't believe I was scapegoating the comic or film merely by noting the passage and wondering if the shooter had also read it.

Doug said...

Inkstained --

1) Welcome back!

2) You are exactly right in stating that copycats or not, we are all responsible for our own actions. I personally never buy the "inspired by" or "was led to" defense. This is a crime with no explanation, and to attempt to do so brings no solace to the victims.

3) I'd left you a message in the post of last summer where you said you wanted to have coffee sometime. Unfortunately, I'm just recently back from 11 days in the District! So maybe next time...

Again, welcome back,


Inkstained Wretch said...

Crap, sorry I missed you Doug. I should have been checking out the site more often. My new job required some extra effort to get up to speed and as a result I haven't had the time to chat with my fellow Bronze Age Babies in a while.

Sorry for that. I do love this web site.

Doug said...

Inkstained --

I'm back out there as November becomes December (for just a couple of days), and then I know I've gotten the same assignment I've had the past two summers for 2013 (week and a half, after the 4th of July). Who knows -- maybe we can get together at some point in the future.

And by the way, Saturday July 7th was one hot day!!! I went to the King memorial at 8 am and then looked at the AIDS quilt on the Mall -- but not for long! Spent the rest of the day in museums.


PS: To those above, I wholeheartedly agree with the comments on children at a midnight showing of any film, but particularly of one as supposedly grim as this one. Sheesh...

Redartz said...

Karen and Inkstained- I agree completely that the blame for last night's tragedy lies squarely upon the shooter. It is sadly ironic, that this film should be darkened by real-life events, as the last one was following Heath Ledger's demise. I hope,though, that the film does well and stands firmly upon it's own merits. Any extra attention or notoriety the movie recieves as a result of the shootings plays directly into the killer's desires for attention. Let's not hive him what he so pathetically craves.

On a lighter note, I do hope to see the film. My wife and grandson saw it today and loved it. Like Inkstained, my time has been devoured lately ( had to pick up a second job nights to make ends meet, and to keep my slim comics purchases going!). Always brightens my day to check out the conversations here. Incidentally, anyone out there considering hitting Wizard World Chicago?

Doug said...

Redartz --

My oldest son and I are heading to Rosemont on Sunday the 12th -- we always like to find those afternoon bargains as the vendors start to pack up!


vancouver mark said...

I agree obviously that (sane) individuals are fully responsible for their criminal action, but I also believe very strongly that our populace has been/is being conditioned towards exactly the type of furious alienation and/or infantile zeal for brutal violence that saw a full expression last night.

And I wouldn't call it a total coincidence that it occured at the Dark Knight premiere. Miller and Moore did some truly majestic work in the mid-80's, but we all know the wretched excesses their books helped lead toward.
How many of us Bronze Age devotees gave up buying new stuff in the late 80s/early 90s because of a growing sense of brutality/ dysfunction/ misogyny/ facism/ darkness/ rage/ worldly cynicism/ nihilism/ despair/ EVIL/ please tell me when to stop.

And of course this has coincided with HORRIBLE role modelling in every other popular culture, the pervasive brutality of too many video games and too much porn, and each new generation has become more thoroughly conditioned and deeply disturbed than the last.

It's all going to get much worse before it gets better.
But then it will get better.

I heard when last night's shooter was arrested he said "I am the Joker."
I restrain myself from talking about chickens coming home to roost...

And let me guess, asked for comment, Frank Miller will speak of the need for capital punishment and explosive bullets for the police?

Fred W. Hill said...

Just got back from seeing the film tonight, and I liked it but I can entirely understand Karen's statement about feeling "punched in the gut for two hours". Actually felt the same about another film I saw last weekend, Oliver Stone's "Savages", which was rather horrid. "Dark Knight Rises" itself was unrelentingly dark and intense until the coda. And although some of the standard tropes are there, including several last second rescues and coincidences, there's very little typical cinematic superheroics. I hadn't read any of the comics featuring Bane and about all I knew about the character was that he broke Batman's back in one story and somehow Bats eventually got better so I wasn't surprised the movied incorporated that story.
I likewise heard about the Aurora tragedy as I turned on the radio while getting ready for work this morning. I can't comprehend what makes anyone twisted enough to do something so horrible. And it keeps happening again and again and again. Too depressing to dwell on, but my heart goes out to the victims and their families. Now this particular Batman franchise will be forever associated with genuine horror -- the self-destruction of Heath Ledger and this senseless carnage.
Ok, now time to think of something more cheerful before I crawl off to bed.

Fantastic Four Fan 4ever said...

I was going to see the movie at an early matinee yesterday.

However after the news, I'll wait for the DVD.

It makes me not want to go to the theater anymore. After David Letterman revealed the ending on his show, it kind of spoiled the whole thing for me. I waited since 2008 for this film. I'll have to wait a few months to be in the right frame of mind to see this film. I don't think I can watch it now in light of the events that happened.

William said...

First of all, I'd like to echo everyone else's disgust and sadness over yesterday's horrible actions by an obvious madman. I can think of no other explanation as to why someone would do something so brutal and senseless other than the possibility that he is very likely suffering from schizophrenia. It is a disease that usually manifests itself in the early 20's. So it wouldn't surprise me if this is not the case here. Even if it is, It still does not lessen the blow however. I find it incredible that every couple of years some psycho pops up and goes on a shooting rampage. The last time I can remember was in Arizona involving Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords. It's just incomprehensible to rational people how someone could do something like that. We can't understand it because we are not crazy.

As for the movie itself (which will now forever be associated with this tragic event), I have not seen it, and I am not particularly in any real hurry to either. I completely agree with Karen in her opinion of DK. It was just too much darkness and pretty much zero fun. That is not what I am looking for in a comic book superhero movie. I will undoubtedly eventually go see it, but as I said, I'm not in any real big hurry.

I also very much agree ChrisPV. He pretty much hit the nail on the head when he said that the Nolan Batman movies don't seem like superhero movies at all. I've always felt that myself. You really could take Batman out of these movies and replace him with any standard Willis or Stallone type action hero and you would barely have to change anything in the script. Too much realism in superhero movies (or comics for that matter) basically defeats the whole purpose of it being a superhero fantasy piece in the first place. If you are a director and you want to make a super realistic hardcore action flick, go make a Jason Bourne film or something and leave Batman and Superman, etc. to the directors who actually LIKE comics and superheroes (like Joss Whedon for example). I almost wish these latest Batman movies hadn't been so successful, because now (as ChrisPV also noted) they will think that is all that people want to see is dark and moody, "realistic" superhero films. You can already tell that they are going in that direction with the next Superman franchise. The photos I've seen from that one look absolutely terrible, and I am not looking forward to it all either.

ChrisPV said...

I think, at the end of the day, we're gonna be spared overly realistic superheroes flicks because there is no way, especially with this tragedy, that DKR is going to outperform the Avengers at the box office. Just not gonna happen. And if more movies follow Joss's lead, I think we could get some great movies out of the deal.

david_b said...

If we all step back on this, it's the age-old argument between Escapism vs. Realism.. I may sound hypocritical when I love the escapism of the Avengers but enjoy that they're based in NY and not 'Central City' or something, but it's the level of how one meets the other that captivates our imagination most.

To me, the comic fans who like more realism can have it. I'd prefer the escapism with less gore and more classic intrique. You can tell me about dark intentions, you just don't have to show me.

Fred W. Hill said...

Amusingly, I have two really good friends I regularly see movies with but never with both at the same time, mainly because their tastes in films are diametrically opposed -- one loves fantasy but isn't too much into grim & gritty realism, while the other loves utter realism but pretty much despises fantasy films, with the peculiar exception of those with a rather gloomy outlook, such as Melancholia or Blade Runner. These friends, btw, are in their late 50s, 57 and 59, respectively. Me, I can get into either pure fantasy or realism, gritty or otherwise, as long as the story and acting are good.

Karen said...

We saw it this morning and I am pleased to say I liked it. Not nearly as emotionally draining as the previous film, thank goodness. I didn't find Bane all that engaging, but the story of Batman's 'rebirth' was worth the time and money.

Karen said...

We're past our spoiler deadline so I thought I would jot down my pros and cons for the film. This will contain spoilers!!! You have been warned.


I enjoyed the journey Bruce/Batman takes to rebuild himself, both physically and mentally. I thought that was handled well, and the scene at the doctor's really hammered home the type of punishment he has taken.

I thought Catwoman came off very well. Her internal struggle is obvious but not over-played. Anne Hathaway did a nice job.But why can't she be called Catwoman??

I liked the Robin 'surprise'. Although I would have loved to see a hint of Nightwing at the end...John Blake was a nice addition (could he have been called Tim Drake??)

Batman's chase with Bane and the cops was really fun.


The surprise reveal of Talia as the mastermind of the whole affair has little impact, and only detracts from Bane (who I thought was fairly uninteresting to begin with). If Bruce had been shown to have fallen in love with her (finally getting over Rachel), the impact could have been devastating. But instead, she was more of a one night stand. It didn't mean much.

Bane, as I said, was not much of a villain. Very one dimensional, and I still had problems understanding him. That weird Patrick Stewart-as-Dracula voice didn't help.

They needed to do more to explain how John Blake figured out Bruce was Batman; the story about the 'mask' isn't enough. if he explained that he started investigating Wayne and put it all together, it would have made more sense AND make Blake look like a good detective.

Not enough Alfred, and when we see him, he's always about to cry or crying. He has one little note to play in this song and that's it.

I have no idea why Matthew Modine's character is given as much screen time as he is. A waste of time as far as I'm concerned.

I won't complain about Batman somehow surviving or outrunning a 6 mile nuclear blast, because he's Batman!!

J.A. Morris said...

I didn't care for it, just a mess.

Karen wrote:
" That weird Patrick Stewart-as-Dracula voice didn't help."

I thought Bane's voice sounded too similar to Darrell Hammond's imitation of Sean Connery on SNL. I had to suppress laughter several times. I kept expecting Bane to say "I'll get you, Trebek!"

What worked for me:
Oldman was fine as Gordon, Joseph Gordon Levitt was okay too. But I thought it was too long, I thought the film spent way too much time in the underground prison.

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