I believe it was Ridley Scott who said that movies and films are two separate things. I forgot why and since this isn’t a formal review, I am too lazy to check my sources. But trust me, I’m in line to inherit the Ebert throne. At least in my head I am and that’s all that really matters. So if this were a formal review, it would be mind blowing.
But I think I get what Mr. Scott is getting at. There is a fundamental difference. Movies are entertainment. Their sole purpose is gratuitous escape from the monotony of life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I love my blockbuster films. I’m picky with them but I love big action movies. I love the anticipation of midnight showings. I love the crowds because they are the best. I wouldn’t dress up but I love that they do because these super fans truly are not giving one fuck. And I love it cause I give too many when I shouldn’t.
Ever since I saw the first trailer for The Dark Knight rises my anticipation would not cease. I followed links to find the easter eggs in the trailer, “Nolan is dropping hints at Robin!” “Nolan said no Robin” “Batman dies in the comics!” “This is Nolan’s world not comic Batman world.” At the irritation of some of my less excited friends, this is MY movie. This is my Harry Potter. This is my Twilight. This is my Star Wars. I didn’t grow up on the comics and it would take a brave die hard comic book Batman fan to guide me through that extensive collection. I would gladly take a tour. I grew up on the 90s cartoon Batman. That’s MY Batman. That is probably one of my favorite childhood memories: Channel 11 at 4 pm sitting in front of the tv watching Batman. I’m lucky I didn’t have childhood diabetes because when the Batman toys were available at McDonald’s, I swear I was there like every day. But thats my parents fault!
Anyway, enough about my Batman credentials. Which I know are slim compared to a lot of others but whatever man. I am the Bat.
Getting back to what Scott said (or may have said along those lines) I would not consider The Dark Knight a movie. The Amazing Spiderman was a movie. The Avengers was a movie. The Dark Knight trilogy were films. This is why I consider them films. For me, the biggest criteria for a film is the directors ability to create an alternate reality where I not only suspend my disbelief but I can become immersed in it. Of course, it is easier to do that with a city like Gotham but in the 90s, Gotham was this silly out of this world place. We knew it couldnt exist and that’s why we were happily entertained by those movies. But let’s not include Batman and Robin, let’s try to forget that one.
Christopher Nolan’s Gotham is a major metropolitan city that I can find myself in. It’s New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. It has characters that are relatable. It has good that real people strive for. It has unfiltered evil that people are capable of. We don’t have A Batman but with ever evolving social media, anonymous individuals have taken a vigilante like approach. Around the world, the anonymous people of regimes have toppled their oppressive governments.
The Dark Knight Rises is a film. I found myself being more than just entertained. I don’t know if it has anything to do with our election coming up but I did sense a lot of political undertones. This could just be me since I know all my friends are annoyed of my over analyzing skills but that’s just how my brain works. There were multiple scenes that gave me chills. I started to think of Bane as this symbol of anarchy. I get him, I really do. He is Gotham’s “reckoning” and he truly believes that the only way to achieve change is to destroy everything ala French Revolution style. I want to believe that can work too. But anarchy is inherently selfish. It is a facade. It doesn’t give people power back. It gives them the excess not of money but corruption and evil. And I’m thinking this as Bane storms Wall Street. This was chilling.
One of the minor themes that I noticed was the desire to be off the grid, the map. Remove all trace of yourself. This is a desire that I have often expressed. In the film, it’s in the form of criminal activities. I am not a criminal nor do I intend to be but I’m a social media criminal. I’ve had dozens of blogs over the years and the memory of some them still haunt me in the sense of “why did I write that?!” A lot of them have been deleted over the years. However, it wasn’t until recently that I had an existential crisis over the revelation that everything uploaded onto the Internet stays in some encrypted ethereal haunting cloud. Of course, it would only haunt me if I were some threat to some incredibly powerful organization that had it out for girls that wrote really terrible poetry. Still, the thought of deleting myself and reconstructing myself on the Internet makes me feel like a social media criminal. All these usernames throughout the years, all those deleted myspaces under my belt, all those photos and blogs and words. I suffer from a bit of paranoia and anxiety, obviously. This theme in the film, this desire to erase yourself, leave and start fresh is a common theme in our real world. And like Selina Kyle expressed, it gets harder since everything is tracked. It is harder to start fresh when we willingly sell ourselves out. That fact makes me feel like I am not in control of my own existence. Before I had a God overlooking everything and now I have something or someone just as omniscient but a little more tangible.
This is why the Dark Knight Rises is a film to me. I mean, it is totally awesome and everyone should watch it cause it’s Batman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a stone fox. I just have a tendency to work my brain over time, at the annoyance of most of my friends. But then I think, I should wear my invisible batman suit and not give one single fuck about my critical mind. This is how I work and this is how I am able to enjoy films. Films take you deeper. Anyone can watch a movie and walk away with the single thought of whether they liked it or not. And don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of movies that are solely for that purpose and I indulge in them too. I’m just talking about that one film that comes along and has the ability to take you on another level. That’s the beauty of film. That’s the beauty of narratives. That’s the beauty of photography. That’s art.