I remember a few years ago Frank Miller was featured in some post 9/11 documentary. At the time of the terrorist attacks Miller was living in Hell’s Kitchen, just a few miles away from the World Trade Center. Miller starts talking about what he was doing when the towers were hit. He was working on The Dark Knight Strikes Again, the sequel to what many claim to be one of the greatest and most important pieces of media in the last few decades. And suddenly he stops. He gets choked up. You see in the second issue of his three-part mini-series, Batman uses his flying batmobile as a missile, crashing it into a building to take out a bunch of bad guys. After composing himself, a teary eyed Miller says he felt like a huge asshole. At 8:45 a.m., Batman going kamikaze to takeout some bad guys is cool comic book fun. At 8:47, you’re an asshole.
Flash forward over a decade later and the world is anticipating one of the largest movies of all time and of course I’m one of those people.
Here’s the beginning of a review I started to write last night when I got home:
“I remember sitting in a crowded theater four years ago eagerly awaiting the midnight screening of The Dark Knight to start. I’d been keeping up with early reviews and the consensus was that Nolan and Bale and particularly Heath Ledger had knocked it out of the park. “This is it,” I thought to myself. “As a lifelong geek, this is what I’ve been waiting for. A geek movie that transcends geekiness. Something that everyone could love just as much as me.”
Then suddenly it occurred to me. What if for some weird reason I didn’t like the movie? A movie that everyone else adored, but for whatever reason I couldn’t. I should like it. I should love it. But I couldn’t. After all, there are people out there that hate cheesecake and cheesecake is the most loveable of pastry desserts. What if I hated the cheesecake?
And this fear sat in my stomach for the next few minutes. Fortunately, within the first 12 seconds of the film, the fear subsided. I was instantly sucked in to the amazing opening bank heist scene and there was no looking back. Flash forward to July 19, 2012 at about 11:30 p.m. I’m sitting in a theater having just finished up my much beloved Dark Knight and a familiar feeling pops into my stomach: fear.”
Fear. I was afraid that I would not like a movie.
From the second the credits started rolling last night, to wading through the traffic as I tried to escape the parking structure, to walking through the front door of my apartment I was very eager to put my reactions to the film down into words. But I was also pretty damn tired. I attempted to jot down some ideas and more or less the excerpt above is the beginning of what I came up with. However, seeing how I’d been up for about 23 hours, I just called it a night. After liking a few statuses on Facebook and checking out the tomato meter one last time, I went to bed. I did see something out of the corner of my eye about a shooting or something, but just kind of glanced at the headline and shut off my laptop.
I’m awoken this morning by a text message. My friend asks me how I liked the movie. “I’ll tell you after you see it. Don’t want to influence.” And then I see the headlines on NPR and CNN and Yahoo. I had expected information on how much money DKR brought in at midnight. Instead I see the shooting.
I was afraid that I would not like a movie.
A few hundred people sat down in a theater last night to watch a movie. Probably a handful were thinking about work the next day. Some kids might’ve been thinking about how summer was almost over. There may have even been a few who were afraid they wouldn’t like the movie. But no one thought something like this could happen. And they shouldn’t have to think that something like this could happen. And then it happened.
You learn at a pretty young age that the world is unfair. That tragedies and bad stuff in general happen all of the time. I mean that’s a big reason why people go to the movies in the first place. To escape the world to a place where there are happy endings and things make sense. Things like what happened last night will never make sense.
Like most people, right now I am sad and angry and confused and angry some more, and I honestly don’t know where to go from here. Not with this article. Not with the rest of my day.
Hopefully tomorrow, I’ll wake up and feel a little bit better. Hopefully the rest of the country will be able to do the same. But obviously there are people who won’t, who can’t, and I hope everyone’s thoughts and prayers continue to go out to them. Not to point out something trivial and obvious, but the Batman is not real; we are.
We will never be able to take back last night nor prevent all the bad people from doing bad things in the future. But we can do our small part both individually and together to make the world something better. Love on each other. Be there. Pray. Hope. Think. Do the best you can do to be the best you can be. A little cliché? Certainly. Definitely. And of course much easier said than done. But we have to try, right? Then maybe one day we can go back to the movies and just think about the movies.