Even though the new Batman movie came out a week ago, this is really my first chance to talk about it (since I hadn’t yet seen it when I wrote my last column). I went to see it with a good friend of mine who, in general, loves superhero movies much more than I do. After the movie, she tweeted “saw The Dark Knight Rises with
@wordnerdy and, bucking tradition and expectation, she really liked it whilst I fumed for three hours.” (@wordnerdy is me, feel free to follow me for my thoughts on books, comic books and comic book movies, pop culture in general, …and my cat.)
To be fair, Dark Knight Rises is far from a perfect movie –the politics are really weird– it was stridently anti-Communist in my mind, and I’m pretty sure Bane was supposed to be from Afghanistan (all those references to warlords), so presumably there’s some metaphor about the war in there. Plus parts of it were slow and ridiculously scientifically inaccurate.
But I liked it anyway! Of course, a lot of my positive feelings were due to much of the movie being filmed in what was obviously my hometown of Pittsburgh—though I did burst into tears during the Steelers scene and what followed, because it is really weird to see your hometown get blown up by a supervillain (that’s not really a spoiler, it’s in some of the trailers). Side question: the Steelers played the Gotham City football team, but did they even have a name? Or were they just the Gotham City Steelers? [Editor’s Note: They’re the Gotham Rogues. Because of course they are.]
I did also really like Anne Hathaway as Catwoman (and loved that her cat ears weren’t actually some weird cat costume, but were functional goggles) and am pleased to see how much critical acclaim she’s getting for the role (I was particularly amused by this Kate Hudson/Anne Hathaway career trajectory comparison). Christian Bale was perfectly adequate, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are entirely lovable, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a great addition as a young cop who Believes in Stuff, other actors did things, etc. And I really enjoyed all the plot twists, even the ones I saw coming.
So on the whole, I have to recommend it. It’s super long, but most of it goes by quickly. And I think it worked well as a wrap-up for the whole trilogy (honestly, this is a great time to rewatch the first two Nolan Batman movies—I caught Batman Begins on tv the other night and realized just how much of this third one is drawn from that one—the whole trilogy turns out to be pretty solid as one story).
One not-so-highlight for me was watching the trailer for the new Superman movie, which can be seen here. I’ve never really been that into Superman, and this trailer does not make me want to change my mind (even with Kevin Costner playing Pa Kent! He does GREAT in movies involving cornfields!). But seriously, WHY are there seagulls on that farm?? Why is Superman a moody fisherman? Is he going to Find Himself out at sea? And I’m pretty sure I giggled when he blasted off into space with one of those white jet trails behind him. I’m just not sure it’s possible to make Superman moody and interesting.