I’ve never been to a midnight, opening night showing of a movie. I’ve gone to premieres, though, and I do know what cinematic anticipation feels like. There’s just something about seeing something before almost anyone else that provides an unusual sense of satisfaction. Your view of the film is not colored by what everyone else says.

If I were to have gone to a recent midnight showing, The Dark Knight Rises would not have been it. While I’ve seen Batman movies starring Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and even Adam West, I passed on the George Clooney iteration, Batman and Robin, and I just haven’t seen any of the Christian Bale films, Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), or, obviously, the new one.

Of course, the shootings at the opening of TDKR in Aurora, Colorado were awful. I watched a bunch of news shows, trying, and failing, to make sense of it all. That often happens for me with tragedies, from the JFK assassination to 9/11. At some point, I find that I just had to stop. Not incidentally, read what Ken Levine wrote, especially about a movie trailer showing before the film; yikes.

Ideally, this would be an opportunity for people to come together in their common grief. Instead, and all you need to read is a half dozen comments on just about any news site, that devolve into a debate about something divisive and snarky; Thom Wade addresses this. So we need to ban guns. No, everyone should have been packing heat, and they would have stopped this guy, in a darkened room, after a gas canister had been set off; maybe they would have, if they were Navy SEALS, or something. The shootings are the President’s fault because the alleged shooter was apparently on the dole, and the Obama welfare state encourages crazy behavior; no, I couldn’t follow that one either. It’s a continuation of the attack on Judeo-Christian beliefs; what?

(And don’t get me started on the pre-tragedy Rush Limbaugh’s “connection” between the movie villain Bane, created in 1993, and Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, as some sort of liberal political plot; well, maybe retroactively.)

I think, though, that inappropriate fan response to negative reviews, which forced the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to disable user commentary for the film, is a form of the same maddening mindset I find so disturbing in this country. Some so-called fans threatened violence against movie critics who did not think the movie was a perfect 10, threatening to crash critics’ websites.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims, their community, and indeed, all of us.

6 Responses to “It was a very Dark Knight”

  • I almost posted on this gun control issue. It won’t stop people getting their hands on weapons or causing mayhem, but it would make it a lot harder, certainly to get their hands on the sort of heavy weaponry used on Friday.

    A radio presenter made the argument that universal gun ownership if precisely so that people can react when they are attacked, as they were in the cinema. The problem with that logic is that it just doesn’t work. I’d be interested to learn when was the last time that an ordinary US citizen prevented a madman intent on mass murder because they were carrying a gun themselves.

  • Uthaclena says:

    I think that the same mindset that is tearing the U.S. apart politically and socially is responsible for the repeated massacres we’ve seen here over the last several decades; immaturity and self-righteousness result in road rage writ large. Every man for himself.

  • This was really horrifying and I agree that the way people are blaming everything under the sun is disturbing. “Look, this gives you yet another reason to hate or fear [___].” Guns, not having guns, Obama, the mentally ill, video games, movies, media violence, media coverage…

    I’ve studied killers a lot and what I can come to is: it happens. It just happens. If he had it in his head, he would have found a way. It’s like an earthquake or a tsunami.

    What’s so heartening is all the stories of heroism during the event.

  • I’ve avoided posting anything at all on this subject, and partly because of the bizarre reactions you pointed to. When I see irrational, paranoid and delusional blame being thrown around, I worry about the very future of the United States. How can a country endure with such deep and unbridgeable chasms—no longer just about political and religious divisions, but now also sanity itself?

  • Lisa says:

    There is no “making sense of it all” because it was a senseless act. A deeply disturbed person acted in a horrid way and has caused devastation to many families. Blame whatever you like, but the truth is that there are these people out there…always has been and always will be.

  • steve says:

    I really don’t understand putting blame on anyone other than the shooter. It’s obvious he had some sort of mental break and/or sick fantasies that he decided to live out. The sad fact is people like this do and always have existed, and I don’t find it one particular thing you can point a finger at as the cause. It’s more complex than that.

    Also…I highly recommend Nolan’s Batman movies. They’re outstanding, though I still need to see the newest one.

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