Don’t expect to hear Robin spouting any “Holy Armadillo” in the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. Don’t expect to see any comic book onomatopoeic action words like “POW!” or “BAM!” accentuating every punch and kick. Don’t expect to watch villains that are characters, like The Riddler, The Penguin, or Mr. Freeze. Instead, expect lots of violence, lots of new techno-toys, and eviler than ever bad guys determined to destroy Gotham entirely.
I grew up watching the Batman television series and remember loving it. The campy costumes, dialogue and plots of each episode provided pure entertainment. And yes, while there was some fighting, it seemed Batman used more brains than brawn to apprehend the no-goodniks, who in themselves were clever and amusing.
Not so the last movie in the trilogy produced by Christopher Nolan. Admittedly, I was already a bit uncomfortable watching a movie that inspired a real life madman to take innocent lives. When the ticket taker appeared before the movie began and asked anyone if they had any concerns or questions, I squirmed. This isn’t how a movie going experience should begin.
Then there’s Batman. Disabled in body and crushed in spirit, he’s a shadow of his former self. I wondered if he’d actually be able to get himself together. But Christian Bale is, well, Christian Bale.
I loved seeing Michael Caine, providing a sentimental yet reassuring presence as Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth. And Morgan Freeman as the financial and technological brains behind Wayne Enterprises. And Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Anne Hathaway, sultry and slinky as Catwoman, who turns from foe to ally, from abetting criminals to aiding Batman.
What’s really disturbing is our unquenchable thirst for violence. The Dark Knight Rises topped box office sales for the second straight weekend, grossing just more than $64 million, news reports said. With each remake of a comic book classic, the destruction becomes more rabid, the villains more vile, the weapons more powerful, the deaths more numerous, and the sense of hope less apparent.