Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Comic Book Nerd Rises

Yes, I've seen The Dark Knight Rises. I know you were wondering. It's what my friends have been asking me for weeks. "Have you seen the new Batman movie? What did you think?"

This is not the kind of conversation I particularly enjoy having with them. You see, I'm blessed to have many enthusiastic comic book fans in my life. When they ask what I think of the new Batman movie, they're really asking, "Would you like to know what I think of the new Batman movie?"

And so after I share my analysis of The Dark Knight Rises -- "I liked it" -- they helpfully fill me in on which graphic novels it's based on, why they believe it was/wasn't as good as The Dark Knight, and what Christopher Nolan could/shouldn't have done to improve the final Batman movie in his trilogy.

I tune them out and picture Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman costume to pass the time.

The Dark Knight Rises
talk is only the latest in a series of comic book movie lectures I've heard from friends this summer. There were others on The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man, plus bonus lectures on the 2013 Superman movie, the rumored Justice League flick, and the 23 Marvel sequels that will be released over the next two years. I'm checking with my local colleges to see if they'll accept any of these for credit.

The Avengers was the first of the summer superhero movies to hit theaters. I did not see it during its opening weekend, much to the dismay of my friends. "You didn't see The Avengers? Why not? It brings together six of the greatest superheroes, in one story!"

I tuned them out and pictured Scarlett Johansson in her Black Widow costume to pass the time.

I rarely, if ever, feel that anticipation of seeing a major blockbuster like The Avengers right away. I prefer to wait a few weeks. Actually, I prefer to wait until it's available on DVD. The real anticipation is holding out a few months for the DVD release, then waiting an additional four weeks for Redbox to carry it, then waiting on line for 15 minutes at the Redbox machine inside my local Walgreens to rent it.

I did see The Dark Knight Rises during its opening weekend, if for no other reason than to avoid more disappointment from my friends. And I did like it; I really enjoyed the villain Bane. He's just a fun character to imitate. If you haven't cupped your hands over your mouth and spoken in a deep voice with a touch of a British accent at least once, something's wrong with you.

Each film in the trilogy had that one character I wanted to impersonate over and over again: Batman in Batman Begins, The Joker in The Dark Knight, and Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. All of my favorite movies share this quality. I quote Biff Tannen, in the Biff Tannen voice, more than any other person, fictional or real. "Shut up, you old bag" still resonates more than 25 years after Back to the Future was released in theaters. (It helped that Seinfeld used this line, too.)

That's what The Avengers was missing; a character I wanted to imitate for weeks on end. Iron Man is cool and everything, but he doesn't have an over-the-top voice. He's just smarmy. He's like a male Juno.

I can't comment yet on The Amazing Spider-Man, since I haven't seen it. I'm still waiting for the DVD to become available on Redbox. From what I recall of the trailers, Spidey doesn't have a memorable voice, either. But I'm holding out hope that Emma Stone wears a leather costume in the movie.