educator, writer, speaker, devoted family man, amateur philosopher, chess enthusiast, basketball junkie, connoisseur of fine hip hop, and purveyor of wit and wisdom
Another item checked off my 40 by 40 list…
On Thursday, I went to the AMC Ontario Mills theater to watch The Dark Knight Rises with Karen (an avid movie fanatic) and Jennifer (the only adult on the planet who has never seen any of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies). The theater was one of many showing Christopher Nolan’s trilogy in its entirety. The first movie (Batman Begins) started at 6pm, the second movie (The Dark Knight) began at 8:45, and the final installment (The Dark Knight Rises) began at just after midnight.
Sitting in a theater seat to watch an entire trilogy is tough, but I had practiced this feat of endurance for the two weeks prior. The Sunday before, I sat in one room and re-watched the Bourne Identity trilogy, and the Sunday before that (after a heavy Saturday of moving into a new house), I re-watched the Matrix trilogy. So by the time The Dark Knight Rises came along, I was ready.
There was a party-like atmosphere and the crowd was fantastic. Fans who purchased tickets to the trilogy received a special trilogy poster and a lanyard commemorating the event.
Let me just say that Christopher Nolan is amazing. Watching the movies back to back to back in this marathon sitting made me appreciate what Nolan attempted to do with his retelling of the Batman story.
The theme of the first movie was fear in all its forms–Bruce Wayne’s need to overcome his childhood fear of bats, his ability to transform this fear into something tangibly productive, Dr. Crane (as the villian Scarecrow) creating a nerve gas to exacerbate feelings of fear in Gotham residents.
The theme of the second movie centered on how we react in the face of pure, unbridled, and inexplicable chaos (personified in amazing form by the late Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker).
The final movie had as its theme the soul’s ability to rise after being seemingly beaten beyond repair. After experiencing 8 years of peace, does Gotham City really need a hero like the Batman anymore? What else can Bruce Wayne do but become a recluse and allow his spirit to deteriorate?
But, alas, a new villian named Bane threatens Gotham City, and Batman rises to meet the challenge…for a few minutes…after which Bane physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually breaks Batman with an effortlessness not seen in other villians. The broken Bruce Wayne is left to die in an inescapable prison located thousands of miles away while Bane effectively unleashes anarchy in Gotham, holding the surrounding government and military forces at bay with the threats of detonating a nuclear bomb. Batman must rise after being summarily crushed, and Gotham itself must rise after being beaten.
From fear to chaos to redemption…what other story about the human condition is there?
The movie theater began emptying around 3:00 in the morning, and as soon as I got into my car, the news radio I was listening to earlier had a broadcaster trying her best to update listeners on the breaking news of a mass shooting at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises film in Colorado. I was stunned. I originally wanted to write this post Friday morning, but I just didn’t know what to say.
After days of updates on this attack, I can only pray that the victims’ families can find their own paths from fear and chaos to healing and redemption.