Isn’t the Hollywood dream factory grand?
In the future, says the Hollywood Reporter, there will be only three movies: Batman, Superman, and Spider-man. With plenty of roman numerals (but only one hyphen) to go around.
Was Batman Begins before or after Batman Forever? Was Superman Returns before or after Man of Steel? Does any of it even matter or should we simply hide our heads in the sand until Ashton Kutcher tells us what to think in 140-characters or less?
I must say this Dark Knight is the loudest ever! The residents of Gotham must be hard of hearing. So what will it be today, two hours with the Dark Knight or a little eavesdropping on a jet engine at full throttle?
We begin with a daring mid-air hijack where our villain, Bane, exhibits a face mask blocking his ability to do what’s most important at any volume: Speak.
“Mumble mumble mumble mumble ‘liberation’!”
“What did he say?”
“I don’t know, but Hannibal Lechter did this routine already, didn’t he?”
Gotham is celebrating Harvey Dent Day – that’s the day Matthew Modine emerges from his career hole, checks to see whether or not he’s in a blockbuster, then races back into his hole.
Anne Hathaway as a jewel thief, which is something they used to have back in the day when they also had bank robbers and hobos.
Anne can take out any foe with her Catwoman war-cry: ”May the Power of Anorexia Compel You!”
Fueled by a diet of oxygen garnished with hydrogen, she slices through bad guys like paper through rock and scissors. ”My greatest arch-enemy is the evil Appetite!” she says. ”How I despise his relentless seductions thrice daily! O, resolute temptation, with my scarcely-used fork I stab at thee!”
“Fortunately one Tic Tac contains a a day’s-worth of balanced nutrients,” she said. ”Assuming nutrients can balance on the head of a pin.”
“Wilst thou grant me one Tic Tac, O grumbling gut!”
Nevertheless, there’s something about Hathaway that appeals to Bruce Wayne, besides her ability to slide through cracks in doors and her invisibility at certain side-angles.
“I began this series with Katie Holmes,” said Wayne, “and I finish it with Anne Hathaway. According to Tom Cruise that’s a big step up.”
But trouble calls and Batman reappears.
“Just what I’ve been waiting for,” mumbled the evil Bane, “a hero with awkward body armor and zero peripheral vision.”
“I didn’t understand a word you just mumbled,” said Batman. ”But you look like Anthony Hopkins back when his face-mask kept him from chewing the scenery.”
Bane has coopted a nuclear device and all of Gotham is at risk. We know this because he says so during a big football game where the Rapid City Raptors face off against the Gotham Goldfish. But first, a young boy must sing our National Anthem – because kids are always at their cutest when they’re mangling the National Anthem.
“Please, some evil villain put us out of this misery!” screamed tens of thousands of football fans.
On cue, Bane strolls into the stadium:
“Mumble mumble destroy Gotham mumble mumble.”
“Did he just say he will employ Gotham?”
“No, he just said he’ll deploy Mothra.”
“He’ll deploy Mothra?! Everybody run for the exits!”
It is then we discover that William Devane has been re-elected President of the United States for the 40th movie. ”I’ve done more work as President than the guys who are elected for the job,” said Devane. ”And I was on the call sheet for only one day.”
Somewhere along the way, Batman has his back broken. But a few weeks in prison, lots of push-ups, and a smoky stage-whisper do wonders for spinal injuries. So before you know it the Dark Knight is back, protecting Gotham from any trouble not too far to either side.
And so this series does what so few do: It finishes, and it does so in the most satisfying (if not unpredictable) of ways.
The Dark Knight Rises is a welcome relief from the vastly over-hyped crap that was The Avengers. It’s a reminder of what a “comic-book” movie really can be in the hands of true artists who put story first.
Or, as Bane would say, “mumble mumble mumble terrific.”