Denver Movie Theater Shooting: Why The Dark Knight Rises Is Ruined

Categories: Crime
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If you somehow haven't heard, 12 people were killed last night at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, just outside of Denver. Forty other people are estimated to have been wounded, and nobody knows why. Much will be written about the victims, though probably less than will be written about the accused killer, 24-year-old James Holmes.

One thing, however, is clear: The Dark Knight Rises, the capstone to the most talked-about trilogy since the original Star Wars franchise, was ruined on its very first night in theaters.

It's the worst mass shooting since 32 people were killed in April 2007 on the Virginia Tech campus. Almost exactly three years after the shooting, I got a chance to speak with the man in charge of Virginia Tech freshman orientation -- he said administrators were concerned, going into fall 2007, about how enrollment would be affected by the tragedy. Plenty of students offered spots in the freshman class choose to attend other colleges, but that year, the school didn't know how many people would.

VT ended up being absolutely inundated with matriculating high school graduates -- of those accepted, he told me, 99 percent showed up. That's one of the most beautiful stories I know.

But there's no defiant way to watch a movie. There's no way to say "fuck the haters" and enjoy something out of spite. There's no way to get to that first shootout scene and not imagine that shooter, walking up the aisle in a gas mask, executing people.

There's not much that's inherently interesting about Batman -- he's a rich orphan with great gadgets and laryngitis. The Dark Knight movies are so compelling because of their villains. Health Ledger's portrayal of the Joker included him saying that Gotham deserved "a better class of criminal," which is exactly what the Nolan brothers gave us: For the first time in the modern comic-book movie craze, we had villains whose motivations were absolutely captivating. "I'm just a bad, bad dude" was no longer good enough -- and if it takes almost three hours to explain that to viewers, so be it.

The Dark Knight was thrilling because its villains were so bad. Our worst nightmares, wreaking havoc without any special powers, any special gadgets. The Joker was a human -- but when the credits roll, we know he's fictional. The people in Aurora's theater nine didn't get to see the credits roll on their third Dark Knight film, because that evil is real, and it's got guns. And who could see a movie after that?




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11 comments
bombstalf
bombstalf

Agreed.  I was on the fence about the movie.  Still upset over the removal of Katie Holmes in Batman 2.  Now after this bastard murdering 12 people, I don't want to see to movie and think about what happened.  I just want to forget it for a while.  Even though it is not possible. I want to try.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

More American Gun MADNESS -- from the most Violent Culture in the World!

Badpremise
Badpremise

"But there's no defiant way to watch a movie. There's no way to say 'fuck the haters' and enjoy something out of spite. There's no way to get to that first shootout scene and not imagine that shooter, walking up the aisle in a gas mask, executing people."

 

Sure there is. I'm watching it tonight, potential risk or attendant emotional trauma be damned.

 

The entire premise of this commentary is off. Arguing not to watch "The Dark Knight Rises" out of spite is like arguing there's no way to watch "United 93" and not imagine where you were on September 11. In either case, you'd feel equally inadequate about preventing a horrible tragedy, and equally frightened that it may happen again. And yet we watched this movie nonetheless.

 

The movie isn't "ruined" because of one gun-toting, nutbag extremist. Except, perhaps, for you.

MindofConflict
MindofConflict

what? why would i not want to see batman?? this is the weirdest report about this yet. 

StefanKamph
StefanKamph

Today WLRN followed an update on the shooting with an underwriting plug for the Batman movie. So many awkward things.

underlab
underlab

caught some major grammar errors. - "Plenty of students offered spots in the freshman class choose to go other college, but that year, the didn't know how many people would." - ummm should be more like - "Plenty of students offered spots in the freshman class chose to go to other colleges, but that year, they didn't know how many people would."

Vin Jo
Vin Jo

caught some major grammar errors. - "Plenty of students offered spots in the freshman class choose to go other college, but that year, the didn't know how many people would." - ummm should be more like - "Plenty of students offered spots in the freshman class chose to go to other colleges, but that year, they didn't know how many people would."

ChazStevensGenius
ChazStevensGenius

Rich;

 

You neglected to mention the obligatory blame on Obama. This is obviously some Socialist Marxism Pinko Commie ploy to take money out of a corporation's pocket.

 

- This mesage approved by Mittens Romney

AvengingAngel
AvengingAngel

 @underlab Who made you the Grammar Nazi? Most of us are more concerned about the senseless tragedy; we're not nitpicking over grammar. BTW: "Caught," starts with an uppercase C. Additionally, you should have put a colon after errors, instead of a period. Criticize cretin, and be prepared to be criticized back.

underlab
underlab

 @AvengingAngel Isn't this a professional publication? I know it isn't TIME magazine but it isn't a high school paper either. Also thanks for catching one more for me. You really are an avenging angel. cheers. 

AvengingAngel
AvengingAngel

 @underlab  @AvengingAngel It is a professional publication but people make mistakes, including myself. I'm a freelance writer, and my editor points out mine. Cheers.

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