I hate the tendency to pseudo-intellectualise popular entertainment and stand guilty as charged on multiple counts. If anything has come to exemplify highbrow vacuity it's the guff surrounding Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight series, perpetuated both by the makers and the feature writers.
I attended the multimedia preview of The Dark Knight Rises last night and found the film to be overblown, confusing, disjointed, often inaudible and with too many subplots shoehorned into it for its own good (someone please explain to me the Matthew Modine business). I may stand in a minority here but, for me, Christian Bale — good in other things — simply lacks the requisite charisma.
It is of note that the current cinematic wave of superheroes surfed in on the back of 911. Where the first Spider-man film had the Twin Towers sensitively airbrushed from the movie, ten years on and the likes of The Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man and now this film are trashing Manhattan with gay abandon.
In the case of the The Dark Knight Rises there is something sinister about its destructiveness, a devil's advocate suggestion that there are times when it is acceptable to mass-slaughter civilians — I mean, they brought it on themselves, right?
It seems an unimaginative word to use to describe the film but, moreover, I simply found The Dark Knight Rises nasty, the unpleasant aftertaste compounded by knowledge of Bale's real-life abusive tendencies and the tragic death of Heath Ledger, whose ghost still seems to haunt this picture.
I'm not against violence in a movie at all, but this seemed — in its cod-French Revolutionary tone — a wilful exercise in amorality. The online venom unleashed on sceptical film critics is shocking but weirdly in sync. And now I just hear on the radio about the thing in Denver...
Of course one can't hold the film or its makers responsible for such a terrible crime. They made a film. No more, no less. But $250m is a lot of money for a very bad vibe.