Monthly Archives: July 2012

Liam Neeson Can’t Win

Something that struck me after watching The Dark Knight Rises.



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Am I the Only One Worried that “The Dark Knight Rises” Might Be Terrible?

Well, maybe not terrible, but not very good?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be at the midnight showing, wearing my Batman t-shirt, and cheering with anticipation like the fanboy I am. But I’ll also be bracing myself for disappointment.

The problem is that I’ve been burned before.  The first X-Men movie told a solid, entertaining story that reestablished our favorite mutant superteam for the big screen. The second built on the successes of the first, and set those characters loose in the world the prior film had built. The end result was an engaging, well-regarded film that provided fans with the best entry in the series. Then, the third movie collapsed under the weight of too many unwieldy storylines, too many characters to reasonably develop, and too many extras jammed into an already bloated film. It was an unwieldy, schizophrenic failure of a movie.

The most recent Spider-Man trilogy followed a similar trajectory. The first movie retold Spider-Man’s origin story and set up the rationale behind his heroic struggle. The second explored that raison d’être, harvested many of the seeds that had been planted in the prior film, resulting in one of the most acclaimed superhero films of the decade. The third, however, was an unmitigated disaster. Again, it suffered from too many storylines, too little development, and an attempt to do too much in a movie that already felt overstuffed by the end of the first act.

So you’ll forgive my concern when I look at the current Batman franchise and see an initial entry that reenvisioned the caped crusader on the silver screen and managed to wash the taste of the Schumacher films out of the movie-going public’s collective mouths. I see a sequel that took both the character of Batman and the setting of Gotham City that had been established by the prior film, and mined them for all they were worth. The Dark Knight is not just one of the greatest, if not the greatest, superhero films ever made; it’s a movie that helped prompt the Academy to expand the Best Picture category to account for films that transcend their genres and set a new standard for what a superhero movie could be. Now, I see a third movie on the horizon, trying to live up to that standard, and I worry it’s headed down the same path as those other franchises.


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