Dark Knight Hysteria
The Dark Knight doesn't open for another week, but the reviews are starting to come in. The trades--Variety and The Hollywood Reporter--basically came all over each other.
Having memorably explored the Caped Crusader’s origins in “Batman Begins,” director Christopher Nolan puts all of Gotham City under a microscope in “The Dark Knight,” the enthralling second installment of his bold, bracing and altogether heroic reinvention of the iconic franchise. An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation raised by its hit predecessor and then some.
"The Dark Knight" is pure adrenaline. Returning director Christopher Nolan, having dispensed with his introspective, moody origin story, now puts the Caped Crusader through a decathlon of explosions, vehicle flips, hand-to-hand combat, midair rescues and pulse-pounding suspense.
Nolan is one of our smarter directors. He builds movies around ideas and characters, and "Dark Knight" is no exception. The ideas here are not new to the movie world of cops and criminal, but in the context of a comic book movie, they ring out with startling clarity. In other words, you expect moralistic underpinnings in a Martin Scorsese movie; in a Batman movie, they hit home with renewed vigor.
None of this artistic achievement denies the re-energized Warner Bros./DC Comics franchise its commercial muscle. Those bags of money in the movie's opening bank heist are nothing compared with the worldwide boxoffice haul "Dark Knight" will take from theaters. Repeat viewings are a certainty.
Repeat viewings might also be a necessity. That adrenaline rush comes at a cost: With the film's race-car pace, noise levels, throbbing music and density of stratagems, no one will follow all the plot points at first glance. Not that the story with its double crosses and ingenious plans isn't clear, but to enjoy the full glory of these urban battlefield strategies, multiple viewings are required.
"Enthralling... bold... bracing... ambitious... moral complexity..." Favorable comparisons to Scorsese... "Satisfies every expectation and then some." Bear in mind, this is not USA Today, or some random website. This is from the trades. I've never seen such orgasmic endorsements of a superhero flick from the trades. It'll be interesting to see what the NYTimes has to say.
Speaking of the Times, just when I was starting to think, "better order my tickets," I came across this article: Many Movie Theaters Decide to Leave the Bat Signal on Till Dawn.
Apparently, the now-traditional midnight screenings the night before a tent-pole picture opens were selling out across the country leading many theaters to add 3AM showings... which were also selling out. Apparently, there will now be *6AM* screenings, too.
Now, I bow to no one in my geektasticness--obviously--and I love Batman as much as any thirtysomething comic book nerd, but 6AM??? That's just ridiculous. I would *never* do that. (...as far as you know.)
What I *did* do was go immediately to Fandango to check whether the Lincoln Center IMAX was sold out on Friday the 18th. There were only *two* screenings left: 10AM and 3PM. My company closes at noon on Summer Fridays, so I quickly sent an email to my friends. In the half hour it took them to get back to me, the 3PM had sold out. :(
We ended up with tickets to a 3:45 screening at Union Square. Meh. But at least we'll get to see it on the 18th. Round 2 can be at the IMAX.
Anyway, all this hysteria -- after Batman Begins failed to meet expectations at the box office, no less -- is starting to remind me of the lead up to Tim Burton's Batman in 1989. Feels like this will be *the* monster hit of the summer... And if the reviews are to be believed, it will actually *deserve* to be. How cool would that be?