The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises is an epic and ambitious movie that is wildly rewarding and admirable for it’s scale and scope. The conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is satisfying, yet disappointing for the mere fact that it is now over. Nolan was able to humanize Bruce Wayne and Batman and ground him in a real place. His talents as a filmmaker are only matched by his writing partners and producers who have managed to deliver not just three of the best super hero movies of all time, but three films that will be talked for many years to come for their style, tone and resonance.

I won’t go much further than to say that the action is amazing (proof that CGI is not the answer to every stunt), the acting is great (can Bane’s eyes win an Oscar?) and the plot is fantastical, yet plausible. If you’re looking for better film criticism, there are plenty others who do it quite well. [For my money I’d still rank The Dark Knight ahead of Rises, with Batman Begins in third.]

But I really didn’t enjoy the experience of seeing the movie.

Still heavy on my mind were the victims of the attack in Aurora, CO. The lobby of the theatre was empty this afternoon. The theatre itself only had a handful of people in the massive IMAX space. The atmosphere was very surreal and eerie. A film of great anticipation and excitement was now reduced to a footnote on a headline. I felt almost guilty for being there and trying to enjoy myself.

Irrational thoughts kept popping up in my head as I never got comfortable or engrossed in the story. As I watched: Is this the scene when it happened? What’s that person over there getting up for? Where’s the closest exit? My guess is that I am not the only one with these feelings as Batman and Bane battled each other.

James Holmes shattered our illusion of safety. Someday it might return. But as the film’s final scenes played out, the weight of the drama and past few days effected me more than I expected. I was and still am a little shook. There are no easy answers.

We go to the movies to be taken away and get lost in adventures. And that’s what I was hoping to do. But today, it was hardly an escape.

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