The toughest challenge facing Chris Nolan when he finally committed to making The Dark Knight Rises a few years back was trying to outdo himself. In the summer of 2008, almost four years ago now, he released the definitive Batman movie with the definitive Batman villain. A movie bigger on scope than any on screen story previously involving the Caped Crusader and a movie whose imagery became a modern pop culture icon that has been adored by comic book fans and no doubt watched a thousand times.
The Dark Knight became The Godfather II or The Empire Strikes Back of its time, an analogy that is perhaps fitting in this discussion as Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas (who unofficially co-directed and wrote/produced Return of the Jedi) both returned to deliver a second sequel that couldn’t withstand the pressure of the perfection that came before it. In fact, cinematic history tells us the third entry in any franchise is a film too far for both their original directors and the ones who take over the helm; Spider-Man, X-Men, The Matrix (although that dip happened in film 2), Superman, Terminator, Pirates of the Caribbean, Alien and countless others.
In many ways the expectations that Chris Nolan’s name and his prior work brings on The Dark Knight Rises almost makes his third movie doomed to fail from the get-go. And yet the awesome trailers, his ambitious grand-scale scope and brave story-making decisions in setting the movie so far away from the last and trying to give his series a closing chapter has us excited for what might be in store for us on July 20th, 2012.
And the early word from those lucky few who have seen the movie that is still a month away for the rest of us, is extremely positive.
Peter Sciretta, the chief of /film wrote on Twitter last night;
“I’ve now heard from two people who have seen The Dark Knight Rises.”
“Both of them loved it even more than TDK (something i wasn’t expecting to hear)”
I agree, I wasn’t expecting to hear that either. Could The Dark Knight Rises really, REALLY be better than the last movie?
Sciretta goes on to suggest that the reaction he has heard likely comes from industry folk as he responded to questioning from a follower;
“@DeusExCinema they don’t preview the batman films ” hinting that the reaction does not come from the general public.
So Bat-fans, three weeks away now from The Dark Knight Rises. Will it live up to expectations? Could it possibly be better than The Dark Knight?