- Batman: Dark Knight Rises. Written/directed by Christopher Nolan. Starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway.
GIRLS, do not go and see Batman: Dark Knight Rises with your boyfriend this weekend. He will ignore you, shush you, or quite possibly ask you sit in a separate row if you start with the "who's that guy?" stuff.
Sure, there are females out there who are just as obsessed with DC Comics' most famous billionaire as the fanboys are. But let's face it: most of the fans salivating all over their laptops are male. (Case in point: a whopping 93 per cent of "New 52" DC Comic readers are male, according to a February Nielsen report.)
And there was outrage last year when it was revealed that only one per cent of DC Comics creators were female, resulting in last week's very timely announcement that Ann Nocenti would take over duties as Catwoman comics' writer.
It's all about Batman on the net right now, from the claim that the film might be a liberal attack on U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, to how Batman, not Barbie, is helping to save Mattel's bottom line.
There has been speculation about Catwoman's ears and the villain's creepy mask; online Batman quizzes are being passed around; I have overheard discussions about who really came up with the Batman concept and DaVinci-inspired bat drawings. I even have bats in my attic at the moment (this is true, and anyone with good aim and a large tennis racquet is welcome at my house). Batman hysteria has reached apoplectic proportions.
Thank God it will all be over soon. Director/ producer/writer Christopher Nolan has bowed out of any future Batman sequels after this conclusion to his trilogy, which started with 2005's Batman Begins, progressed through 2008's Dark Knight (tinged forever by the passing of Heath Ledger) and ends here, with a 165-minute-long magnum opus. His batsong, as it were.
Dark Knight Rises follows that well-worn superhero story arc, wherein our hero (played again by Christian Bale) is vilified by his public and must go underground to lick his wounds. Everyone from Spider-Man (oh-solast-month) to the Incredibles has done so.
Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) has maintained the lie that Batman is responsible for the death of Harvey Dent (aka Two-Face) for years. Thanks to tough anti-crime legislation, Gotham City has been cleaned up and Batman's super services have been made redundant. That leads to much introspection on the part of Bruce Wayne: who am I, if not Batman? Thus the trilogy can be summed up by: boy looks for purpose, boy finds purpose, boy loses purpose and kind of misses it.
But the arrival of a brutal villain named Bane (Tom Hardy) changes all. His masked visage makes him look a bit like something out of "Doomsday Preppers" crossed with a little Fifty Shades of Grey, and he means business.
"The Batman has to come back," pleads commissioner Gordon.
"What if he doesn't exist anymore?" muses Bruce.
So our new Batman is a little more angst-y, with a traumatized Bruce Wayne unable to get a life, despite the pleasant distraction of new women in his life (Anne Hathaway's cat burglar and Marion Cotillard as a pretty philanthropist). Wayne's butler/moral conscience Alfred (Michael Caine) has been hand-wringing for Master Wayne for years, while Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) is just happy to keep building the billionaire cool new toys.
Batman has no special powers, remember - no spider bite, no Kryptonite - other than the fancy gadgetry his wealth allows him.
The Batman movie franchise has raked in some $3,482,233,000 since 1989's Batman (when Michael Keaton was the caped crusader).
Dark Knight alone raked in just over a billion dollars. With a production budget of $250,000,000, this is the costliest Batman yet. Let's hope that Nolan's almost supernatural touch with the hero genre continues when he produces next year's Superman outing, Man of Steel.
But your girlfriend and I agree: after this weekend please, enough with the comics craziness. It's making us batshoot crazy.