In late June, I bought tickets to a movie that wouldn’t come out for an entire month. I don’t know why, I just felt like I had to. It seemed like the logical extension of my previous activities. When each new Batman trailer had been released online, I found myself instantly clicking on it, watching it once, then watching again, then reading a hyper-dorky shot-by-shot breakdown of it by a hyper-dorky entertainment news site. Just to make sure I hadn’t missed a single second of what was, you know, a f-cking commercial. I’ve never rushed to watch a Wendy’s commercials online. Then, when I was done, I never breathlessly sent a link to my friends saying “Have You Seen THIS YET?! DOUBLE BACON on a baked POTATO! CRAZZZY! CAN’T WAIT!” But with Batman, I do. And you do it too. And you know what? We might as well all start being disappointed now, because no movie could ever possibly be this good.
You know the early reviews for Dark Knight Rises aren’t going to be that great. They’re going to say “It’s a wonderful movie, but it didn’t really live up to the hype.” Which makes sense, because I don’t think an event has seen this much hype since the invention of losing your virginity. I mean, reports online suggest opening night tickets are going for over $100 a piece. For something you could easily see the next day at a fifth of the price. What would have to be in a movie to justify that price? How about the proof of God? Or maybe an honest interview with Katie Holmes? Other than that, no thanks. And so there will be a letdown, and that’s when the backlash will begin. You’ll have a friend, one of those friends all of us have, who tells you proudly that he always knew it wasn’t going to be good. Then there will be the articles. Entertainment Weekly, Ain’t It Cool News, probably this very site (in list format, of course), wondering how such a sure thing could’ve gone wrong. “It’s really long,” someone will say. “There’s no way Bane could ever live up to the Joker,” another will agree, in a little bit nerdier way than is entirely necessary. And then that will be the thing people say, that Dark Knight Rises was a bit of a letdown, it will be the decidedly cool opinion to have — even though we all know deep-down that really the movie is quite good. So let’s just start now. Let’s get the Batman backlash out of the way, so when it comes out we can actually enjoy it.
“I heard Christopher Nolan was tired of making the series, so he screwed it up on purpose.” That sounds like the sort of goofy thing someone would say, so why don’t we get started with that. “There aren’t any black people in it, and it just got made because everyone involved has a famous dad.” That’s a decent follow up. It doesn’t make any sense, but it worked during the Girls backlash, so it should suit here just as well. How about this…”They forgot what worked in the earlier movies.” That’s usually what gets trotted anytime a sequel underperforms, so let’s all start saying that at parties and see if we can get this bad boy rolling. “A superhero movie, or any movie for that matter, really shouldn’t be two hours and 45 minutes long.” I’ll take that line, because frankly it’s true, and it’s the kind of cranky old guy opinion I’d have, so it’ll work. I promise to try to tone down the smarm. What else? Oh — “It’s too dark.” That’s a nice criticism for the moms out there, as it always leaves the rest of us unsure whether they were complaining about Batman’s tone or their inability to see without lights. That’s fun. But starting a pre-movie backlash is hard, so we’re gonna need something catchy, with a little sex appeal. How about this… “I don’t get why Anne Hathaway has to be naked the whole movie?!” Sure it’s untrue, but it’ll get people talking! I just made it up, and even I’m thinking about.
Alright, so everybody have their assignments? Let’s get to work, so we can actually enjoy the movie for what it is: a fun, cool story about a guy dressed as a bat. Besides, I hear the fourth one is really gonna be crazy!