Once upon a time, when I was still a wee-child in high school, I got a call over winter vacation from a friend asking if I was interested in seeing something called The Dark Knight which I personally had heard very little about. But my friend, and others in the group, were very vocal about their need to see the film, all of them for a second time. Except me – I hadn’t even thought to see it.
Now, the phenomenon has reached its peak with the finale of the Nolan Batman films with The Dark Knight Rises. People are fighting to get tickets opening weekend, it’s on the tip of everyone’s tongues, and no one whose anyone is going to not see this movie “just cause”
But here’s the problem – will the movie experience because of all the fan enthusiasm?
Unless you live in a country or place where a cinema, or the Internet, is not a readily accessible luxury, you know all about the new Batman trilogy. Batman Begins wasn’t mind-blowing but it was entertaining. But it was really The Dark Knight that made everyone stand back and take notice of what promise the films had. There are real discussion of its motifs, metaphors, and even minimum cut and editing details. This wasn’t a movie – this was some sort of horrifyingly awesome movement. Everyone has seen the film at least once, most over twice.
But what does this mean for this big finale? Could the immense spectacle and the ensuing love of The Dark Knight ruin this movie for us all?
I saw a very similar effect with Brave, though it’s downfall was its trailer. The trailer Pixar released was so amazing, but so vague, fans made theories, and expected a big, grand medieval Scottish pseudo-opera, filled with heart, drama, and epic battles. Nothing short of perfection would have satisfied us. Was it a good movie? It was actually pretty nice, but it wasn’t great, so to a lot of us it felt like it was a let down.
Same idea here – if this movie can’t live up to its predecessor, will it make it feel like a worse movie than it actually is?
Thus far the reviews from the professional critics, i.e. the people who get the awesome early passes, are polarized – either people think it’s great, or this think it’s gaudy, billion-dollar shit. But critics are meant to think deeply and critically about movies first, grading it on lots of the little parts and then the whole. For the average fan, some of those little details mean nothing and all they care about the experience. Does that make them bad movie goers? Absolutely not! But it does make the experience with The Dark Knight a big issue, and those could be the dollars that matter.
In the end, we won’t know until after tonight when the people who see the midnight premiere speak out. I hope this movie is just as impressive and is a fitting end to a great trilogy. Me? I’m one of those people seeing it this weekend – wish me luck everyone!