“The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming. ...” — Harvey Dent, “The Dark Knight”
“... No, really, the movie starts in like a half hour. Stop complaining, we’re so close. Uncomfortable as they may be, YOU’RE the one who decided these costumes were a good idea.” — Overheard in the line for the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises”
So, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s another Batman movie coming out this weekend. And a few people are excited about it. I can’t say whether the movie will be one worth watching (although I suspect it will), I can, with near certainty, say one thing:
The ravenous anticipation for “The Dark Knight Rises” will make tonight’s midnight showing the most remarkable midnight showing of the year.
All of the pieces add up: the final movie of a massively popular trilogy, plot intrigue and mystery, a genre with fans prone to not only attending midnight showings but also dressing up for midnight showings. It’s a perfect storm of cinematic fervor.
People go to midnight showings for different reasons: Many just. can’t. wait. any longer to see the movie; still more want to make sure nobody spoils it for them; others didn’t have anything better to do; oh, and of course the “I love costumes” contingent. As all these people stir in the theater atrium, there’s a palpable energy, partly from excitement, partly because everyone buys a bucket of soda, because there’s nothing else to do in the hourlong interim between ticket purchase and film showing.
I’ve attended my fair share of midnight shows; it’s been a summer tradition since I was old enough to drive. Kid brother in tow, I’d motor the Carpenter minivan through the warm twilight, juiced to see whatever buzzworthy flick had captured my attention. At the theater we would marvel at the crowd, people-watching as we repeated variations of the sentence “I can’t wait.” That frenzy was part of the ticket price, our reward for depriving ourselves of sleep.
And you know what? More times than not, the movie was disappointing. Maybe they added five or six too many new X-Men, or those two Transformers were kinda racist, or Austin Powers shouldn’t have attempted a Dutch accent. But that didn’t make the midnight showing any less of an experience. I kept going and kept loving it.
Tonight, many midnight attendees will leave “Rises” satisfied, their Batman a hero and genius who used his pure human skill for justice, honor and Morgan Freeman. Others will be disappointed, wondering what happened and why no one gave a throat lozenge to the raspy vigilante billionaire.
But as they walk out of the theater, both will register a memory of the excitement the evening held. That is, after they get out of the line for the bathroom — not only has everyone just drank a jug of cola, but since there’s only one movie playing, they all get out at the same time, too.
Batman, Andy has plenty of Halls if you need them.