Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rising on the Dark Knight

Recently I re-watched The Dark Knight Rises—it wasn't that I set out to do so; it merely was on HBO when I was looking for something to watch—and I must admit I thought it held up in being an entertaining film.

At least that was my perception at this juncture. I'm not here to argue whether it was by some empirical standard good or not; I'm here to identify that's better than what I thought before.

I recall seeing it in the theater on its opening weekend last year—with specific effort and intent—and being slightly disappointed with it after it was over. It wasn't bad, but it did not impress me in the same way its predecessor did. I know some did not care for The Dark Knight, but I really enjoyed it. Perhaps because of that the expectations for the closer in the trilogy were unrealistically high when we went into the theater. Maybe at the point where a big movie is released the discussion amongst the fans and the critics is at such a fever pitch that opinions inevitably get polarized, but when time passes and all of that external conversation subsides it can be viewed more fairly. I don't say objectively, because I don't think I was analyzing in any manner when re-watching it, but more on its own terms. It's not as much about what people think it is supposed to be but more about what is it (for better or for worse).

It is not that the movie's heavy-handedness or plot flaws disappeared, but somehow they weren't as prevalent, or at least didn't overshadow the rest of it. Upon first viewing there almost certainly was a level of gauntlet thrown down to Nolan to try to outdo the previous movie that was no longer in effect when watching it in our living room with the foreknowledge of the plot and the characters and the overall execution that allowed for seeing it somewhat differently.

Whether that suggests I was being too soft on it is another question, but this is not a discussion about if the movie holds up better or not in some larger context. It's merely an admission that when I gave it another shot without the same subconscious agenda I undoubtedly held the first time, I did find my takeaway was different. It wasn't merely a reminder of what I liked or didn't like the first time.

And being only a year removed it's not like re-watching something I liked as a child and catching something I didn't notice before. I'm pretty much the same, and the movie was the same; the only difference the circumstances surrounding the experience.

The cultural zeitgeist of any given moment is good for argument and good for business, but it may not be best for the art. That may all be putting us in a less-than-ideal mindset for experiencing it in a way that should form an opinion.

If you think all of this makes me look stupid, I won't try to convince you otherwise. However, I would ask that you come back and re-read this in a year to see if you still think that.

(Oh. You are re-reading it and still think that? Okay. Fair enough.)


I suppose the above is most noteworthy out of that element that it seems to represent something that didn't simply get worse the more time spent with it.


Artwork used above can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. And now they're going to kill the Batman franchise by applying Ben Affleck's "Gigli" genius to it. I can't wait. Will it bomb as badly as Matt Damon's "Elysium" or "The Green Zone"? Stay tuned.


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