by Tony Dayoub
All summer, I had slowly been getting caught up in the Batmania gripping the country this weekend... as I did when I was a five-year old catching episodes of the Adam West series on The Skipper Chuck Show on WTVJ in Miami... as I did in June of 1989, when I went to the midnight screening of Tim Burton's Batman at the General Cinemas' Miracle Center 10... as I had been doing now, trying to convince my wife to find us a babysitter for this weekend so we could go see the movie together. Movie geekouts are so much more fun to share with someone else. And the hype on this movie had built to such a crescendo.
Alas, my wife displayed little interest. Who could blame her? Knowing only the Batman from TV and cinema, she was not far off when she explained that the character always seemed a little stiff, especially compared to the more dynamic Marvel characters she knew from the multiplex. I, of course, knew the seventies-era Darknight Detective interpreted by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams, the one we got a glimpse of in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins (2005)) where he faced Ra's Al Ghul, an O'Neil and Adams creation. Would I be expecting too much in hoping we'd see more of him in The Dark Knight?
I secured tickets for one of the many Thursday midnight screenings blanketing North America, ostensibly an effort to have my review up on Friday, but really caught up in a Batmania relapse. This action may seem unimpressive, but in fact, it is pretty major once you consider that I have a tendency to fall asleep at any movie I start watching after 10pm. This results in me confusing it with hating the movie since the only other movies I fall asleep at are ones that I despise. However, when I am confident that I can have a nap sometime during the day before catching the movie, I can neutralize any ambivalence I have towards seeing it so late.
Yeah, I know... I'm only 36, but I've got one foot in the nursing home already.
I make it to the theater, sit through some astounding trailers for Ridley Scott's Body of Lies, Quantum of Solace, Watchmen, and the teaser for Terminator: Salvation. The film starts, and immediately my attention is riveted by the opening bank heist scene. As the movie rolls past the one hour mark, I continue to grow enthralled. Just after the police funeral march setpiece, many of my fellow theatergoers start running out of the theater and yelling. Suddenly, the movie stops, and the theater management comes in to explain that a reel of the film was spliced out of order. I've had bad luck with this before. Due to the late hour, they aren't able to fix it, or keep the theater open since their staff will be leaving soon for the night. So we are all given two passes to make up for the problem.
Have you ever been at the dead center of an angry mob with no way out? I was seriously fearing for my life about the time that one guy that always instigates these kinds of things starts yelling, "I don't want your stupid passes. I paid to see The Dark Knight tonight, and I'll wait till 3 or 4 a.m. if I have to. And I think everyone here will do the same," with echoes of "Yeah, Dark Knight," heard throughout the mob.
Needless to say, we were unable to see it that night. I lost precious sleep and time for no good reason, and I couldn't get my review up on Friday as I had hoped.
But the good news is that my wife moved heaven and earth to get us a babysitter last night, and slipped out of work on time (which is rare for her line of work on a Friday) allowing us to see the film together in its entirety... which is, funny enough, the way I wanted to see it in the first place. I was happy. I loved the film. She loved it, and all is right in my world, again.
This article is therefore dedicated to her for being so supportive of me, this site, and my sometimes obsessive love of cinema. I love you, Dee.
Gotham Story: The Tragedy of Harvey Dent, or Part Two: The Actual Film Analysis will follow later today.