This will sound like part movie review and part polemic. Yesterday, I saw The Dark Knight Rises at a movie theatre. I sat in the middle, with people on either side, and just looked over at the exits once. I sat back in a lovely movie seat to lose myself in Christopher Nolan‘s final chapter of his Batman trilogy. I remembered watching The Dark Knight enthralled by Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker yet squirming a little in my seat. This time around I didn’t squirm with the movie’s twists and turns, not getting annoyed at Batman’s growl perhaps since it doesn’t make that much of appearance. Oh, yes, Christian Bale can do funny in a dead-pan sort of way.
Anne Hathaway was a pleasant surprise in the film. When I heard about her casting as Cat Woman, I admit to feeling skeptical. She could do light and funny, but could she step into the steel heels of DC’s famous femme fatale? Yes, she could and she smartly played it natural rather than try really hard to slink around in the suit. Hathaway sounded world-weary, tough, and her sense of humour played to a perfect snark. Tom Hardy takes on the other major part in the film as Bane. Here’s a guy who had his face covered by a mask, and faced criticism over his voice. I heard Bane loud and clear, while Hardy pulled every actor’s trick with the eyes to make Bane a little more than cartoon muscle. (I am looking at you Joel Schumacher!)
What about Gary Oldman? Oh come on! I have seen Gary Oldman in some awful, awful, movies yet he can hit a character right out of the park. Commissioner Gordon is a man who made a deal with the devil and he knows it. While Bale’s character arc involves making peace with his past to carve out a life, Oldman’s Gordon made a deal with the devil in lionizing Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhardt) and he knows it. Viewers see Gordon kick some ass and team up with young detective John Blake (Joseph Gordon Levitt) to bring down Bane’s rule over Gotham.
Now for the polemic part…
Let me rewind a little. In 1989 I was a first-year student at the University of Winnipeg. In December of that year, Marc Lepine burst into classrooms at Ecole Polytechnique to shoot female engineering students. He wanted to get back at the ‘feminists’ ruining his life. In the days that followed, students walked around stunned while gatherings tried to make sense of what happened. I walked around campus scared of everything. I scrutinized every student, made a plan to survive in case a gun man walked in to copy Lepine’s act, and tried to do my school work despite the fear. In the years since we had Columbine, Dawson Collegiate, Virgina Tech, and now Aurora. When Aurora happened, this time I didn’t feel fear. This time I felt angry. Going to a movie theatre symbolized my act of rebellion. I got tired of living in fear and decided nobody will prevent me from going out to enjoy a summer blockbuster.
Sadly, a number of reports surfaced about people taking weapons to TDKR. It seems a number of people feeling disappointed in their lives decided to make everyone else feel miserable. We go to movies to escape out lives for a few hours and now someone has tried to take that away. In the movie, Bruce Wayne talks about Batman as a symbol more than about the person in the suit. Batman blends into the darkness, but he does not become it. It’s the fear Alfred expresses in the film, the fear darkness will swallow Bruce up and deny him the chance of a happy life.
Things don’t look happy right now. We have a recession with its fears losing their jobs and homes, and now people fear walking into a movie theatre or a mall. Remember, movie theatres gave audiences in The Great Depression a little bit of escape. I don’t have a bat cave, but I understood what Alfred tried to say to Bruce. We have only so much life given to us, like a talent in one of Jesus’ parables. Will we invest a into this life, risk a little, or do we risk nothing and simply bury it?
I went to a movie and I plan to see another one. Yes, I will see the high-octane action flicks with lots of bullets. I only hope and pray for a plot. I have a little left on my birthday gift card saved to see The Bourne Legacy. As I said to my brother and his nephew if I can’t have Jeremy Renner gift wrapped for my birthday, I will see his new flick. You’ll see me mid row, in the middle, and reclined in my seat watching the pre-show.