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Posted at 03:02 PM ET, 07/17/2012

‘The Dark Knight Rises’: An instant reaction

Celebritology readers, Christopher Nolan fans, excitable moviegoers and Internet trolls: I have an announcement to make. I have just come from a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

And having seen the film, I can tell you for a fact that Batman is ...

RYAN GOSLING.

Kidding, kidding. Sheesh. I know we’re all excited about the climactic, massive, significant epic that is the final chapter in this iteration of the Bruce Wayne story. But let’s all take a breath. Actually, after all the nonsense that ensued yesterday on Rotten Tomatoes over negative reviews — see here for more information — let’s take two.

Better? Good.

Really, there is no need to fret or fly off the handle about “The Dark Knight Rises” because it is the most compelling film of the summer. Yes, it’s better than “The Avengers.” In my view it will not disappoint even those who, one year ago, marked the July 20 release date on their Microsoft Outlook calendars, then blocked out all of July 21 with an appointment entitled: “Stop Living, as Life’s Purpose Will Have Been Fulfilled.”

Post film critic Ann Hornaday is in the process of filing a review that will be published online later this afternoon.(Update: You can read Hornaday’s review, which gives the film three-and-a-half stars, now.) In the meantime, here are a few initial thoughts and impressions about “The Dark Knight Rises,” provided to you spoiler-free.

1. Remember when everyone freaked out online about Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman ears?

If you didn’t find that ridiculous last September during the Internet “controversy” that ensued, you definitely will realize what a waste of time it was once you see “Dark Knight Rises.” A) The ears could not be more minor in the wide spectrum — and with its 165-minute running time, it is a very wide spectrum— of this film. B) I thought the ears — which are really goggles that resemble cat ears in what is practically the only blatant Catwoman reference in the movie — are pretty cool.

2. Some advice: Watch, or at least revisit plot summaries for, “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” before seeing “The Dark Knight Rises.”

As a matter of fact, a refresher on the story told in “Batman Begins” — particularly the Ra’s al Ghul portion of the program — may be even more crucial than a re-watch of “Dark Knight.” (Need some help in this department? Here are the Post reviews of “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” as a starting point.)


(Ron Phillips - AP)

3. Bane: His words, for the most part, can be understood!

As the blockbuster’s all-brawn villain with the mouth-obscuring mask, there was valid concern among fans — especially after initial footage of “Dark Knight Rises” was shown last year — that his dialogue would be unintelligible. With a couple of exceptions — including a fight in which there is no conceivable way that Batman and Bane could have heard what each other was saying — it’s not an issue. Thomas Hardy’s Bane does, however, kind of sound like Sean Connery with an asthma problem. Batten down the hatches, because there will be many memes inspired by this.


When Batman met Catwoman... (Ron Phillips - AP)

4. Batman’s relationships with women in “The Dark Knight Rises” make absolutely no sense.

There are some false notes in “The Dark Knight Rises,” ones that are all the more glaring because the film is otherwise so well-executed. The one that bugged me the most: Bruce Wayne’s connection to Hathaway’s Selina Kyle and Marion Cottillard’s Miranda Tate. Christy Lemire, the Associated Press film critic who has been firehosed with unnecessary vitriol for her semi-negative review of Nolan’s latest, was right about this: While the relationships are key to the plot, the way they develop does not feel organic at all.

5. Just in case this wasn’t clear: “The Dark Knight Rises” is epic.

It’s long. With its allusions to the economic crash and 9/11, it is relevant. It contains many jaw-dropping explosions of massive structures that send tremors throughout the theater.But just in case the epic nature of this film wasn’t clear despite the fact that the first trailer for the movie called it the “epic conclusion” to Nolan’s Batman franchise, the movie makes the ultimate “this is an epic work of fiction move” declaration (minor spoiler ahead): It mentions the work of Charles Dickens.

6. There will be tears.

I expected to feel certain things while seeing “The Dark Knight Rises”: Awe; An attraction to Christian Bale; Anxiety; An urgent need to go to the bathroom. (Repeat: it is 165 minutes long. Prepare accordingly. I cannot stress this enough.) I did not, however, expect to get kind of weepy. But I did. I suspect that when everyone goes to see it, they will, too.

Yes, I said everyone. It’s my understanding that all the individuals in this nation are required to see “The Dark Knight Rises” this weekend, and that anyone who doesn’t comply will be deported. Not sure if that’s official U.S. policy, or just Warner Bros. policy.

Either way, whether it’s required or not, do it. And before the movie begins, say these four words:

By  |  03:02 PM ET, 07/17/2012

Categories:  Movies | Tags:  The Dark Knight Rises

 
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