I saw the new Batman movie last week and while I'm not going to share any spoilers in this column, I just want to say it was an awesome and fitting ending to the three movie arc created by Chris Nolan who has outdone himself again with a good solid quality film.
Of all my favorite super hero characters growing up, Spiderman and Batman had to be two of my favorites, so this summer when both movies were released within three weeks of each other it was like a little taste of cinematic heaven.
The Amazing Spiderman was a reboot of the successful Tobey Maguire franchise of the early 2000s this time starring Andrew Garfield. The movie also featured Spiderman's classic enemy, the Lizard in a showdown on the streets of New York City that was a fantastic portrayal to say the least.
The movie even has its own built-in cliff hanger that leaves fans wanting and waiting for the sequel. It is an action packed thrill ride and such a contrast to the darker Nolan film.
I was waiting for the Batman movie ever since the closing credits of "The Dark Knight" in 2008. Nolan has taken the Caped Crusader to new levels and has committed to a great story that played out through the three films and tied nicely together in this last entry of the trilogy. When "Batman Begins" was released in 2005, I never dreamed where the story was heading.
It was great to see two villains in that film that had little exposure in past incarnations of the Dark Knight. Ra's Al Ghul, Leader of the League of Shadows and the Scarecrow were working together in the first movie to destroy Gotham City to purge it of its "sins" and corruption. Unlike the comic series, the movie portrays Al Ghul as Bruce Wayne's trainer in martial arts until Wayne betrays his League and burns his fortress.
When Batman defeats the pair of villains and saves Gotham City from destruction in the first movie, it leads directly in to the second movie as Lieutenant Gordon tells the Caped Crusader about a "new" menace who has a unique calling card, "A Joker". "The Dark Knight" picks up the story at that point and explores how anarchy can destroy a society that seems to be strong and functioning.
The Joker wreaks havoc throughout Gotham City on both its criminal element and its citizenry and in the process gets into Batman's head. In a way he becomes a warped reflection of the Caped Crusader displaying what happens when madness goes to the extreme.
Unlike previous movie screenplays, Nolan was very careful to not just kill his antagonists at the end of the film. While Ra's Al Ghul's demise might be an exception and even that is questionable considering his role as an immortal in the DC Universe, the other major villains appear to survive to fight another die in the first two movies. Even the Joker who plummets out of a building is caught and hauled back up to be arrested.
Harvey Dent, "Two Face" is another villain in the second film and while he appears to die and that is carried forward into the third film, one can never be certain. This leaves the doors quite open and makes one wonder what the third film would have been like if Heath Ledger were still alive.
I'm not going to spoil anything in this film which features Bane, a massive mercenary who has designs on Batman and the Catwoman, a high society jewel thief, but it is a thrill ride that does not disappoint. I will leave it to you to explore the film further but here is a little quiz to pass the time in line.
1. Bruce Wayne's parents were killed by a villain in an alley when they were leaving the theater. Can you name the alley and his parents? Bonus points if you can name his father's profession.
2. The Joker has been portrayed on television and the big screen three times since the 1960s. Can you name the actors who portrayed him in these live action entries in Batman's filmography?
3. One famous star was tapped to give the Joker a voice in the animated series. The Force will definitely be with you if you can name this actor as well.
4. Two actors portrayed the Riddler on the 1960s television series. One was famous in his own right as the patriarch of a crazy family while the other was a famous movie star when he accepted the role. Can you name them?
5. In the comic series, Batman's protégé Robin is murdered by one of his arch villains. Can you name the maniac that killed Robin?
6. What famous nightclub performer appeared as the Catwoman in the 1960s series? Can you name the other two actresses as well?
7. Batman made his appearance in one of DC's comic titles for the first time in 1939. What is the name of the series? Bonus points if you know the issue number without looking it up.
8. Several of Batman's arch villains have been locked away thanks to the detective work of the Caped Crusader. Can you name the asylum in which one would find the Joker, The Riddler and the Scarecrow?
9. Speaking of being captured, what is the name of Gotham's prison?
10. On the subject of businesses, one business was responsible for the origin of the Joker. Can you name the chemical factory that unwittingly gave birth to the psychotic clown?
11. What is Harvey "Two Face" Dent's obsessive compulsive trait and how does he act on his decisions?
Good luck and see you at the movies or at the very least in next week's column with the answers to this quiz.