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I drove 500 miles to see "The Dark Knight"

I drove five hundred miles to see The Dark Knight.

No kidding, really.

One of the main objectives of our family vacation to visit relatives and friends in the suburbs of Buffalo was to see the Dark Knight, survive the relatives, weather a class reunion, and pack as much kid friendly play into the week as possible. While we barely made it through the eight days, we managed to drag ourselves to a matinée of The DK and over the course of nearly three hours were run through the paces of an intense summer roller coaster.

Where we live piggybacking movies and other entertainment is second nature, we think nothing of cramming a film between hours of shopping because if we want to see a first run movie we have to trek sixty miles.

There’s no casual movie-going for us, every picture is a calculated experience. Because of this our tolerance for watching drek has decreased, for why drive sixty miles to see a B movie? If we lived in the ‘burbs going to see a B film wouldn’t be such a big deal. It’s there, you’re there. A happy marriage.

But for us a typical movie experience is logistical minefield, are babysitter’s involved, how far away is the picture, how long is it, and finally is it worth the hassle to watch some Hollywood jerk pretend he is Bruce Banner?

No way.

My wife wanted to see the film ASAP, and I must admit I wasn’t nearly as adamant about seeing it as she was, but I ended up enjoying it more.

I’ll skip a formal review, my wife was hoping for more psycho drama and less action (action movies make her glaze over like a supermarket pie) and I was happy just to watch the Two-Face plot unfold. The Joker was true to his roots, slippery, unpredictable and in-love with the Batman. One thing I loved about the film was the simple fact that Bruce Wayne’s apartment and “Bat Cave” were wide open industrial spaces, further centering Batman as an urban hero. Gone was the idea that the caped crusader lurked in the hills beyond town, he was under the city and above it and in the middle of it’s snaky concrete heart whether running complex ballistic tests to lift the Joker’s fingerprint, or seeping up from underneath the city to turn himself in; he is like the city’s vermin, at home in the wasteland of Gotham.

It would be easy for Bruce Wayne to remain the other, running his operation from the safe confines of Wayne Manor. There is something safe about that Batman, something pre-9-11, if you will. Luckily for us Nolan and his writers invaded that space and burned it to the ground in Batman Begins creating the Batman who dwells in the city; a different animal altogether. Not to say that if this Batman were a cave dweller would I have enjoyed the film less, but because the film envisioned a Joker who corrupted everyone by making them conspirators in his exercises in anarchy then it’s especially crucial that Batman be as invested as the citizens are in the city. It’s his home too.

The Dark Knight affirms that summer movies don’t have to be dumb or slapped together, but you probably knew that, I hope the suits are paying attention.

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