Why you should still see “The Dark Knight Rises”

From the July 26, 2012 edition

I’ve already written a full review for “The Dark Knight Rises.” You can hunt it down online if you’d like. But you won’t be able to see quite the same movie that I did when I wrote it.

Last week’s deadly shooting at a midnight showing in Aurora, Colorado, will surely tint perceptions of the film. And how could it not?

In the past week, feverish debates have centered on the usual hot-button subjects of gun-control laws and Hollywood culpability for onscreen violence.

But I’m not here to wade into any of those arguments. I’m here to tell you why I think you should still see the film — as of course many of you already have.

Nowhere does the moviegoing community grow closer than the fervor of an opening night midnight movie. When I hear the stories of Aurora, I recognize these were my people. Movie geeks.

Is it not better, then, to do what movie geeks do best and see movies? Without guilt and without fear? To not, as it were, let the bad man win?

And “The Dark Knight Rises” is the kind of movie we still need to go to the theater for — sweeping in scope, emotional, challenging. It’s the kind of movie that makes an audience applaud for no one in particular at the closing credits.

Even as it pushes toward the three-hour mark, it’s an exhilarating, almost exhausting experience. And it’s one best served in a room full of strangers that are somehow friends.

Also worth noting is the context of “The Dark Knight Rises” — already the heaviest of the trilogy before the added weight of real-life tragedy. I haven’t yet rewatched the film — and my pre-shooting perspective (I saw it last Wednesday) will always be unique — but it feels likely that its themes will cut a bit deeper. Something to prepare for if you haven’t seen it yet.

And above all, don’t let fear take over your life. This incident was a terrifying ordeal, but an isolated one. Let’s not allow that to change what a magical place a movie theater can be.