Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

So I saw The Dark Knight Rises

I don't really know how to talk about this. I don't want to talk about--I don't have words for what this guy is, or what he did, to children. As a writer, I'm fascinated by the psychology of crime and why people do things--and how other people respond to that. However, I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to feed this guy's fire. As far as I'm concerned, his name is July 20-2012 and he deserves nothing. Nothing but due process, and then a dark hole somewhere, whether that hole is a hospital or a prison--the darkness of being forgotten by history. If you want to know about it, as I want to know about it and try to not want to know about it, there's Wikipedia and and pretty much every other news source in the world.

If this were almost any other movie, I would just quietly not talk about the film itself at all, I guess. I mean, I see movies now and then that I like well enough, but get too busy to ever really comment on or post a discussion entry for. But I hate that this had to be the movie haunted by this awfulness. This is a movie where the hero explicitly says "NO GUNS," takes guns away from people and takes them apart and throws the pieces away. These are movies about fighting crime and corruption, about believing in the good in people, about fighting fear, about hoping to set an example for others and then inspire them to continue that example, about hope itself. I don't say that as a starry-eyed fangirl; you could actually criticize the movies for being a little too on-the-nose about that, with all the Significant Thematic Dialogue that gets repeated over and over, if you wanted to. Sitting here today, I'm kind of glad now that the movies are so explicit with those themes. This is not "edgy" controversial cinema trying to glamorize nihilism. If you came out of any of these movies thinking that the villains are the way forward, you were not paying attention. Whether you think the movies do these themes well or not, they are pretty much about the EXACT OPPOSITE of what happened early Friday morning, and I hate that pundits are on the "news" sitting around talking about the Curse of the Dark Knight Movies and whether they're part of a CULTURE OF GRIMDARKNESS OMG that is bringing down American society. Because The Dark Knight Rises is pretty much the direct opposite of that.

The movie itself, viewed out of context, is okay--pretty good, I would say. It draws most on the events of Batman Begins, and while it's obviously about the fallout after Harvey Dent's death in The Dark Knight, most of the flashbacks and backwards glances are to the first movie. (Apparently Christopher Nolan said that he did not want to mention the Joker at all, even if that meant missing opportunities in the story, out of respect for Heath Ledger--he didn't want to have that moment of trying to explain where the Joker was or what happened to him because of a real-life death. And you do regret the storytelling opportunity missed there. But I personally can't find it in my heart to argue with it.) If you only rewatch one of the previous movies, make it the first one. Because there was a moment in this third movie where I thought, "Are we really reusing that idea, we're going to back to th...OHHHHHH." If you step back and view the three movies as a single story arc, not just "and then here is another villain we came up with for Batman to chase around," the way you view Lord of the Rings as a single story, they suddenly become something kind of amazing. Which is why I want to see it again--also, because not one but two of the characters' true motives are revealed near the end, and I want to rewatch it through that lens. I don't know how people feel about the ending; I loved it, because it's another one of Christopher Nolan's sleight-of-hand tricks, and it made the movie something I would be willing to watch again, rather than something I would have to emotionally trudge through. And that ending, the surprise of it, is another reason I hate the pall that's been cast over the whole thing. (It's the least of the reasons, obviously.) You should walk out of this movie feeling good, feeling hope, even though--maybe even because--we all expected something different to happen. And then--this.

As uncomfortable as some of the scenes might be now, I recommend it anyway, if you go in thinking about everything I just told you--both the overall themes and the hints that won't make sense until it's over. If you don't want to see The Dark Knight Rises because, as superhero movies go, it's too realistic or too grim (you might be surprised by the time you leave), go see The Avengers again or The Amazing Spider-Man or any of the many, many movies about anything else out there. Don't go if you don't feel safe, of course. But July 20 is probably in a holding cell somewhere gloating that he's got the entire country's attention and he's got their fear and that makes him ~powerful,~ this ignominious waste of oxygen who apparently was so smart, and had so many gifts, and yet couldn't think of anything better in the world to do with them than this. If I can work it out with our collective schedule this weekend, since I can't drive, I'm going to see the movie again tomorrow. Police are watching various movie theaters across the country, and I hear that we've got them at Birmingham theaters, too. I wanted to see the movie twice anyway, but I'll be damned if I'll let this absolute stain think he's achieved anything as far as I have anything to say about it. There is an achievement here, the achievement of people who used their gifts and worked hard to create a story that could mean something good to people, and it's not his.

I know that people who did see the movie want to discuss it and maybe don't have anywhere else to--if you're up to it, you can here, and there will be spoilers running wild and free in the comments.

If there is the LEAST WHIFF of anyone being awful, either regarding what happened Friday or the fanboy ridiculousness earlier this week, I will freeze and/or ban whoever I have to and we will move on with discussion like you never even existed. My longtimers will tell you, I am extremely tolerant of good-faith critical discussion and I do not trifle with anything else. This time, you get one "everyone play nice" warning. If you raise my blood pressure in any way, you get a one-week cool-your-heels ban. If you talk shit like you think you're a big bad flame warrior, I will send you straight to the cornfield. As y'all have recently seen, my patience is substantial but not infinite, and we are not having that Rotten Tomatoes bullshit here. Not this weekend.

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Tags: batman, movie discussion, movies, the dark knight, this is going to end well

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