Let’s Put a Smile on That Face

Since the conclusion of Batman Begins there has been one title atop my anticipated films list, The Dark Knight. In less than a week from now (Thursday night to be exact) Ricky, Steve and I will be trekking to the theater at midnight to see the highest anticipated film of 2008. For those of you thinking Mamma Mia!, you are incorrect. No, instead we will be amongst a full crowd of people also eagerly awaiting what critics are calling the best comic book film of all time. Oh, I think I’ve heard a few others call it the best film of the year. That’s right, The Dark Knight.

So one of the big questions is, “Is all this hype going to ruin my experience?” My girlfriend has pretty much had it with my incessant glee over the TV spots and I can’t say I blame her. I myself continuously try to figure out what it is about this film that has been beside myself with excitement. Steve and Ricky are excited, but they also don’t want to have unrealistic expectations. I respect that, but I also can’t help myself, and I know I’m not alone. Especially on the internet, it’s incredibly easy to find the armies of people getting their engines going for this movie. And who could blame them? As of now, TDK has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes with rave reviews, and with the unfortunate death of Heath Ledger there is even more pressure for this film to be something that transcends the average movie-going experience. Despite all the hype, I have faith that it will deliver. Whether it does or doesn’t though, I’ll be sure to write a review and post it here.

It’s hard to believe that there is a single reason this movie could be generating all this excitement. I’ve been thinking about what it is that is making this film such a hype machine. These are a few of the things I’ve come up with:

  • People love heroes. The Spider-Man franchise has been unbelievably huge for a similar reason, and more recently, Iron Man. The one flaw in this theory is that not every superhero flick is successful. The Incredible Hulk, for example, didn’t come nearly as close as the others in terms of revenue. I believe this is because audiences feel a closer attraction to heroes that they feel represent humanity. As cool as Bruce Banner is, he doesn’t generally represent the ideals of redemption, justice, and nobility that the previously mentioned characters do, and these are the themes people like to see.
  • It has a solid director, great actors, and writers who care about the characters. This goes back to Batman Begins. They represent vision and commitment in bringing the character to life, and people appreciate that in a time where every studio is looking to make a quick buck on the next big comic book hero. This is not to mention the fact that nearly every early review says Ledger would be robbed to not get at least an Oscar nomination for his role. When it was announced that Heath Ledger would play one of the most recognizable villains of all time, who saw that coming?
  • It has great characters. Batman alone is 70 years old, and The Joker is nearly as old. They have stood the test of time. They have been reincarnated again and again. And most importantly, people love them. They are the penultimate archenemies and Nolan and Co. are bringing them to life once again on the big screen. People want to see good against evil, and Batman and the Joker are the archetypes.
  • It’s a sequel. Batman Begins was already a great film. Anyone that enjoyed the film, and there were many, already knew that Nolan and Co. know exactly what they are doing. And with that ending, you know any hardcore Batman fan left that theater with a smile waiting for the day TDK would be released.
  • And finally, the marketing campaign for TDK has been nothing short of brutal. It is literally everywhere, and they’ve redefined viral marketing. Whereas Batman Begins kinda hovered in under the radar and became successful due to good reviews and word-of-mouth, Warner Brothers has been shoving Batman down our throats for the past year. Has it been annoying? A little. But after all that, people want to see what the hype is all about.

Okay, it’s 4:00 am. I believe I’ve worked off some of my excitement in my musings about a film that (hopefully) goes down as a huge success. Leave some comments and let me know how you feel. Time for sleep…and one day closer to July 18th.

– Alex S.

~ by Alex Stone on July 14, 2008.

One Response to “Let’s Put a Smile on That Face”

  1. I like the Jackson Browne photo… ALEX

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