I remember back in 2004/05 when the Batman Begins trailers started surfacing, and a general indifference circulated amongst casual moviegoers (such as myself) who were either unready for a Batman reboot, stomachs still churning from the aftertaste of George Clooney’s nipply batsuit, or simply perplexed as to what this New Age-y Ra’s al Ghul-ish Batman was about.
So by the time the film opened and word disseminated that “Hey, you know that new Batman flick — well, it’s pretty good,” dubious moviegoers (not unlike myself) and a curious public surely fell for this Christian Bale “Bats.” It was an unexpected, pleasant, surprise. To say the least.
And so then as the commotion started to crackle again for the film’s sequel, The Dark Knight, the doubt and questioning reignited; this time around Christopher Nolan’s casting choice for the purported Joker slot — the late Heath Ledger. How could the angsty Aussie from 10 Things I Hate About You own a role so succinctly captured by Jack Nicholson, perhaps the comic universe’s most revered and feared villain? We all know how this story ends. Ledger wowed, and all were silenced. Once more, like a vintage Christopher Nolan twist conclusion, we were all pleasantly, delightfully surprised.
Perhaps then it isn’t too shocking that the final installment of Nolan’s Batman franchise feels a little flat and vacuous. There were no surprises, nothing unexpected really, all the special effects bangers disclosed redundantly in television trailers and sneak-previewed here, there, and everywhere (I tried really hard to be awed by an imploding football field). I’d throw out Spoiler Alerts, but years of viral buildup and marketing hype around The Dark Knight Rises have already blown it. Even the plot and storyline — and most unfortunately, the conclusion!!! — were nothing inventive or mind-bending (Hey, I think it’s justified to expect something creatively genius from the Inception architect).
It’s not that The Dark Knight Rises was a bad movie. It was actually a very good movie, and I liked it enough. It’s just that it was everything we expected; which is sufficient from any other director or comic book film franchise, but we have grown accustomed to getting much more out of Nolan and his interpretation of the Caped Crusader. “Um, I ordered the Shocking, No Way! with a side of Prove Me Wrong.”
Maintain the mystery. Keep secrets. The less we’d have known or seen of this movie, the better. Just as we were with Batman Begins and just the same with Heath’s Joker. It’s a rule that applies to all areas of life, unexposed, shrouded in clandestine nature, dressed with intrigue, and waiting to ambush with surprise. The best parts of the unforgettable journeys are not only the moments you didn’t see coming, but the ones you never knew could exist.
In any case, Ben and I took the in-house The Hundreds staff to catch the noon showing of The Dark Knight Rises at ArcLight Hollywood on opening day. We had a blast, Carl acted inappropriately, Benjie, Vito and I had a good chuckle in the scene that reminded us of this, Logan took a nap like a certified weirdo, and I got overly excited for the Man of Steel trailer.
And also, The Hundreds would like to offer our condolences, thoughts, and prayers, to all those lost in, and affected by, the Aurora theater shootings.