An evening with the Dark Knight
Last night, Nokia and MTN hosted a screening of the much-anticipated 'Dark Knight Rises' film in Johannesburg.
NOTE: There are no spoilers in this piece
While the international release date of Christopher Nolan's final installment in the Batman series is July 20, South Africa will only get to watch it a week later.
Which is why everyone who was at the Il Grande in Johannesburg's Monte Casino on Thursday night was buzzing: not only was it finally here, but we would get to watch it a week before the rest of the country and a few hours before the American masses.
[There were no life-sized cutboard cutouts of Batman for some of us to Twitpic ourselves next to. Bummer.]
At about 7.30pm we started to convene outside the cinema's doors, like kids in the queue for the school bus: all hoping for the best seat. The air was thick with anticipation.
Heck, there was even a guy in a Batman mask. We're not judging.
Four years after The Dark Knight (that's eight years in Gotham time), where Batman had banished himself from Gotham City after going from hero to hunted, it was time to see how the Caped Crusader would rise if at all.
Dark Knight Rises is, at 2 hours and 45 minutes, the longest of the Nolan series (2005's Batman Begins was 2 hours and 20 minutes, 2008's Dark Knight was 2 hours and 32 minutes). Brevity is not Christopher Nolan's strong point.
Very early on we meet the villain Bane (a very beefed-up Tom Hardy), who is a far-cry from previous baddie, The Joker (Heath Ledger). He is very brawny, very vicious, and for once, a true physical challenge to Christian Bale's Batman. He has none of that humour the Joker had: Bane takes himself and his role as a destroyer very seriously.
He has a mask that obscures the way he speaks, and while he sounded menacing, there were two problems with this: a) it's sometimes difficult to hear what he's saying and b) I was always trying to place his accent because it's not quite anything.
Anne Hathaway joins in as Selena Kyle/ Catwoman - and it was a pleasant surprise to see her not only exude some sex appeal (Hathaway is many things but sexy isn't one of them) but also quite a bit of bite.
Other new characters are Wayne Enterprises board member Miranda Tate (the ever-fantastic Marion Cotillard) and John Blake (the beautiful Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a gutsy and smart rookie cop.
Themes of terrorism, wealth disparity, greed and nuclear energy are present in the film, too.
Nolan and Bale have both stated that if there are more Batman films, they will not be involved. So this is the curtain call. Dark Knight Rises is the chance for not only Batman to seize glory, but for Nolan to finally give us that proverbial multiple orgasm.
You'll have to wait a week to find out.
- The Dark Knight Rises is in South African cinemas on July 27