I follow no formal code, creed, religion, or dogma. I try to live my life by being a good person for the sake of being a good person. I try my best to treat others with respect. I also demand justice. You may ask, Joe, what is your guiding light? Who taught you how to demand justice and do right by those you were sworn to protect? How did you become such a ridiculously handsome, charming billionaire philanthropist? And to that, I say, that’s easy: Batman.
The Dark Knight movies are akin to a religious experience for me. They are as close as I get to feeling spiritually connected to the universe and my fellow man. The feeling I get while experiencing these movies is hard to articulate, quantify, or to even understand. It transcends any feeble human experience and proceeds to blow my feakin’ mind every time I watch. I saw the second installment, The Dark Knight, four times in theatres in the span of two weeks. I secretly have an altar hidden in my attic dedicated to the greatest director of all time, Christopher Nolan. Yeah I said it. I dare you to look at his IMDB resume and tell me you don’t like one of his movies. I DARE YOU!
Because of this connection, nay obsession, the four year long wait for the final chapter of the Caped Crusader’s escapades has been excruciatingly painful for me. Luckily, Christopher Nolan came out with the greatest movie of all time, Inception*, in between The Dark Knight and The Dark Night Rises. But I could not wait to sink my teeth into another juicy chapter of Bruce Wayne’s struggle to either die the hero or live long enough to become the villain. I won’t go into the details of what makes Batman, particularly Nolan and Bale’s interpretation of him, the best, most conflicted, and interesting superhero of all time. But if you are not excited for this movie, you are either dead or a Nazi.
*Inception being number one, and The Dark Knight being number two.
So when my college roommate, and one of my best friends since kindergarten, suggested that we go see the marathon showing on Thursday (where they play the first and second movies back to back with the finale being the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises), I could barely contain my jubilation. It recalled me back to the time I lost my virginity and the excitement I felt leading up to that moment. The difference is, The Dark Knight Rises will actually deliver and won’t be a resounding disappointment to everyone involved. My friend planned his whole entire vacation around us seeing this movie together. I planned my compressed work schedule, where I get to take every other Friday off, around this event. And guess what? HE BAILED ON ME TWO DAYS BEFORE HAND AND IS GOING TO FUCKING GERMANY. So, today, I learned that my best friend is in fact, a Nazi.
But as they say in show business, the show must go on. Problem is, because he bailed so late and lives in Georgia, there is no way I can get his ticket and give it to a lucky female who then would accompany me. So the plan is to go to the marathon alone. Yes I realize how pathetic it sounds that a grown man is going to go sit in a movie theater without any of his friends for nine hours to watch a man in a bat suit fly around screen. But people have done crazier things for their religion. Without further ado, here is my review/diary of The Dark Knight Marathon.
Let me say how underrated this movie is. I never saw it in theaters when it came out* and was blown away by how awesome the experience was on the big screen. Just the sound, cinematography, and landscape alone make it worthwhile to see in theaters. I don’t think I will be breaking any new ground here by talking about a movie that is seven years old, but it really does an excellent job of laying the ground work for the rest of the series. Nolan and Bale did such an great work setting up Bruce Wayne as a flawed, tragic character that you immediately feel sympathy for him. You can feel his anger, his rage, his resentment over his parents death; it emanates throughout the rest of the series. The lessons that he learns carry over into the next two films; you must be a symbol of hope, you can no longer be an individual. You must protect your loved ones by masking yourself. What separates you from your enemies is what makes you human. And you must be willing to sacrifice everything to save what you hold most dear. Batman literally watches his parents house burn to the ground, destroys the rail system that his father built to help the city, and pushes away the woman he loves the most. I don’t think this movie gets enough love. Because of The Dark Knight’s success, Batman Begins gets overlooked, but it really is an amazing film and completely redefined our expectations of comic book movies.
*I didn’t give Nolan or Batman the respect they deserved in 2005. I was sleeping on it harder than McCannon on Eli’s sister-in-law
I use this as an opportunity to go fetch some candy and get some water at the concession stand. Also to troll the mall for ass. There are always some fine looking woman at the mall, and they were in no short supply at the premiere of the biggest movie of the summer. But god damn there are a lot of hipsters in the D.C. Metro area. I saw people rocking the most ridiculous outfit/haircut/glasses combos. Can we all just declare now that if you are hipster at this point, it is no longer hipster, because its main stream? Also, I am all for dressing up when coming to an event like this. But why are you wearing a Batman cape, shirt, and have your face painted like the Joker? Is it really that hard to just pick one? You look ridiculous.
*Or does that make you even more of a hipster because you are aware of that fact that it’s not actually cool to be a hipster anymore? I don’t know, but I hope you all crawl up in a hole and die.
The Dark Knight
Let me use this time to point out that going to the marathon was absolutely the way to go. I had an open seat in front of me to allow me to spread my legs out, an open seat the the right of me so I could move around, and I got to sit in my favorite section of the theater. I guess I over-hyped how many people would be willing to do the marathon. Your loss, suckers.
Anyway, I have an absolute ridiculous amount of love for this movie. And I forgot how amazing it is to see in theaters. Not enough can be said about how incredible of a job Hans Zimmer did with the soundtrack to these movies. His scores really get the adrenaline going and the blood pumping at the exact right moments. This movie starts of with a bang, with the Joker bank scene, and never really lets up. There honestly isn’t a scene in this movie that I don’t absolutely love. Around every corner there is a chase, a fist fight, or some important dialogue between the characters. As I was sitting in the theater, every scene that came up I thought to myself, “holy shit I forgot about how awesome this scene is. They just never end.” Heath obviously kills it as the Joker with his transcendent performance of Batman’s arch villain. This movie is all about chaos, anarchy, and corruption. And Nolan tackles these topics with a serious tone and with style; I really can’t compliment him enough. Again, the landscaping, sound, and action just jump out at you on the screen and it really is something that needs to be experienced in theaters.
I feel compelled to mention the one real flaw with this movie. I can’t decide if Maggie Gyllenhaal is just a terrible actress or the worst actress of all time. Now I am basing this off just this performance because I have never seen her in anything else, but the only scene that I buy her in is the scene where she is talking to Two-Face before she gets blown to pieces. Go back and watch that movie again and tell me you don’t just cringe every time she opens her big stupid mouth. I would have honestly preferred Jake Gyllenhaal dressed up as a chick. It would have been more believable.
*…which could have something to do with the fact that she is the worst actress ever…
I see a slew of cute Asian girls with unattractive boyfriends. I proceed to juxtapose myself against them one by one, and then realize I am watching a nine hour long trilogy by myself so I should just shut up. I then tweet my sorrows.
The Dark Knight Rises (No Spoilers, don’t worry)
This is the moment you have all been waiting for. So, did the movie live up to its hype and its predecessors? Well, yes and no. Let me start by saying that this movie is fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. It does not seem like it is 2 hours and 45 minutes long; it goes by much faster. The pacing of the film is excellent, as it starts off slow but builds upon itself to a resounding crescendo. The last hour of this movie you will be on the edge of your seat the entire time. The action is tight, the story holds up pretty well, and the acting is very good all around. I think that Christian Bale doesn’t get enough credit for his turn as Batman. He does a fantastic job of not only playing the Dark Knight, but also Bruce Wayne. He really sells it in this movie, and not for a second do you not think he isn’t really Bruce Wayne/Batman, so bravo to him.
As much as The Dark Knight was about chaos, The Dark Knight Rises is about pain, suffering, and the price of our sins. Bane’s mission is to destroy Gotham as punishment for living so outlandishly in the face of such poverty within its own city limits. Although you are never rooting for the bad guys, you do feel a sense of empathy for them; this movie is very timely in the 99% vs. the 1% battle. Yes Bruce Wayne and company are the 1% and yes Bane and his thugs are the 99%. But Nolan gets you to feel for both sides. It helps that the 1% have Batman and morality on their side, so it really isn’t a perfect analogy, but the undertones are there.
People may try to tell you that Tom Hardy’s Bane is on par with Heath’s Joker. But they are lying to you and you should defriend them immediately. I did enjoy Bane as a character, and his presence on screen was always menacing and terrifying, but it is hard to fully understand and grasp a character when you don’t get full facial expressions from him due to this mask being in the way and his voice serving as a distraction. As much as Nolan wanted Bane to be a version of Darth Vadar, he just wasn’t as compelling. Hardy did a great job and Bane is definitely one of the better villains in recent film, but he was just not on the Joker’s level. My other issue with the film was with the character development. I didn’t think you got enough background for Miranda Tate and to a lesser extent Selina Kyle and John Blake. I would have liked to have seen a little more back story and development for these characters to really see them shine. But honestly, can you complain? You get Anne Hathaway in leather spandex for half the movie.
This movie is definitely on par with Batman Begins, but doesn’t quite reach the heights of The Dark Knight. It still is one of the better movies of the last 10 years, a top 3 comic book movie of all time, and definitely worth multiple viewings. I want to experience the movie in true IMAX, which I think I will this weekend. If you were a fan of any of the movies, or really just good cinema in general, you will love what The Dark Knight Rises has to offer. And I learned that going to three movies by yourself really isn’t that terrible of an experience. Just be prepared to be the one getting stares, even though the guy next to you has his face painted like a psycho killer clown.