It was a hot night in June of 2005 when my wife and I slipped into a sparsely-populated movie theater just up the street from our apartment. The only reason my wife was there was to be with me. I was there to witness the cinematic rebirth of my childhood hero: Batman.
I grew up on a fairly steady diet of Detective Comics--for you non-comic book folk, that is a Batman comic book. When I was in my early teens, I was in awe as I read Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One. I was not a fan of Tim Burton's Batman, which was too plastic and comedic (in a twisted way) for my tastes. I won't even talk about the other Batman movies of the 90s, they were all so awful.
When I heard Warner Brothers was working on a new Batman movie, I was a little skeptical. until I read an interview with Christopher Nolan. Nolan's philosophy on Batman lined up right with mine. Instead of being some freak sideshow good for some cheap thrills, as the character had been used by other directors, Nolan saw him as a complex vigilante who seeks what most of us want: true justice.
Needless to say, I walked out of the movie theater after seeing Batman Begins completely satisfied and wanting more. Even more surprising, my wife was totally shocked at how good the movie was, since she was expecting the same cheese as before.
When we saw The Dark Knight, also on opening night, it was a completely different scene. We were in a huge theater in downtown, where almost every screen was playing The Dark Knight. We had to buy tickets weeks in advance and the theater was packed as everyone clamored to see Heath Ledger's final performance. I was blown away with how intense the movie was, and Heath's performance nailed the Joker I always loathed. It was pure cinematic beauty,
As we draw close to the release of The Dark Knight Rises, I hope we are not in for a disappointment. Nolan's track record as a director is phenomenal, so I think it will turn out. It even looks like he might have managed to squeeze a good performance out of Anne Hathaway. I have a really good idea what the movie will involve, but I'm going to keep my mouth shut so I don't ruin it for anyone else. After all, I successfully predicted everything that happened in the second Star Wars movie (among many other movies). But Nolan is good at throwing some incredible curves, and being the final movie this will probably be one hell of a ride.
If you haven't had the chance to see the trailer, watch it here: