Fresh off of seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I race to my 8-year old self to tell him that I liked it, that he was right, and that I was worried for no reason. When I get to that place in my psyche, though, I find that my 8-year old self is not very happy.
NOW: Hey, pal. I just saw— Are you okay?
NOW: Wanna tell me what’s the matter?
THEN: Mom wouldn’t let me see Batman Returns. She said it was too scary.
NOW: Oh yeah. Well, it is surprisingly dark. I bet you wouldn’t like it.
THEN: How scary can it be? They made McDonalds toys from it. See?
NOW: Oh yeah; the Penguin is riding a big yellow duck. Huh.
THEN: It’s such a stupid toy and I’m so excited to see the movie. Now I can’t.
NOW: I know it’s hard, but play with the toys and watch the cartoon and you’ll forget all about it.
THEN: I do get to see it eventually, right?
NOW: I think you see it once on TV and then not again until college. It’s actually pretty dumb. The script is awful.
THEN: How old am I?
NOW: Uh… 8?
THEN: Right. I’m 8 years old; do you think I care how good the script is?
NOW: No, I suppose not.
THEN: I’m really not looking forward to getting so picky about movies.
NOW: Yeah… It is kind of annoying.
THEN: I bet you went and saw your Batman movie.
NOW: I did.
NOW: It was pretty great. I really liked it. A lot of fantastic performances and action.
THEN: And I guess the script is really good?
NOW: Well, there’s some disagreement about that one…
THEN: Was it the best movie you’ve ever seen?!?!
NOW: Certainly not, but it was a very good movie.
THEN: Better than that Avengers movie you won’t shut up about?
NOW: I don’t know, actually. I think The Avengers might still have the edge. It’s a close match though. They both had things I thought were excellent. Perhaps, Nolan’s film sacrificed a bit of story for the sake of scope, but all the performances were excellent and the internal struggle of Bruce Wayne was a lot clearer than in the last film. However, Avengers did have more—
THEN: I’m leaving.
NOW: What? Why?
THEN: I’m asking you about a Batman movie and you’re saying all this stuff about internal struggle and character development. It’s BATMAN!
NOW: Yes, but I was just going to say that what I most liked about The Avengers is that each of the heroes had their own distinct and compelling arc which is rare for such a big, ensemble—
THEN: K, bye.
NOW: What? I think that’s a valid point.
THEN: It’s a superhero movie! Does Hulk smash stuff?
NOW: Yeah, he smashes all sorts of stuff.
THEN: Is it awesome?
NOW: Oh, yeah, it’s super awesome.
THEN: There. THAT is your favorite part when I ask you.
THEN: And, for the record, NOTHING is better than Batman. If you see a Batman movie, you tell me that’s the greatest movie you’ve ever seen, I don’t care who wields what hammer or has what flying armored suit.
NOW: You’re awfully chippy today.
THEN: I’m sorry. I just really wanted to go see Batman and I couldn’t and you got to see your Batman movie and…sorry.
NOW: That’s okay, I completely understand. Listen, though, in three years you’ll get to go see Batman Forever and it’ll be your favorite movie for a good chunk of time. You’ll get the toys and the soundtrack on CD and the novelization which is terrible and you’ll even get a big, huge Riddler poster for your room.
NOW: Yep. And you’ll wear the video tape out but that won’t matter because you’ll have that movie memorized. And you’ll even write your first screenplay about it, a direct sequel which is only about five pages long but I still contend would have been better than Batman & Robin.
THEN: Wow. I can’t wait! That’s a movie I’ll love forever!
NOW: Actually, no, you’ll eventually realize it’s terrible.
THEN: Why? Why do you always do that?
THEN: You can’t let me have even two seconds of enjoyment. You’re such a…
NOW: Jerk? Butthead?
NOW: Sheesh, that cuts deep.
THEN: How can you say things like that about a movie you loved that much?
NOW: Well, I guess we’re just so inundated with comic-book movies now that we can afford to be more critical. We don’t have to just take whatever we’re given. We just got the third in a series of really excellent Batman movies, but in a couple of years they’ll reboot it anyway, so it doesn’t really pay to hang on tightly to any one film.
THEN: Wait, so you’re whining about there being too many superhero movies and that they’re a lot better than they used to be?
NOW: Sort of. I guess. Not really.
THEN: When did there start being so many?
NOW: I guess it would have been around the year 2000 with the first X-Men movie.
NOW: What? What is it?!
THEN: There…are… X-Men movies!?!?!?! What does Wolverine look like? And Cyclops? And Gambit? And do they do Beast? What about Sentinels? Tell me EVERYTHING!
NOW: Oh, jeepers. I think this is a talk for another time.
THEN: But! But! But!
NOW: Talk to you later, pal.