'The Dark Knight Rises': Who cares what critics think?

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Image Credit: Ron Phillips

To be clear: I care what critics think, because I am one. And I am one because I believe that critical insights, analyses, and context, expressed with clarity and style, enhance the understanding and enjoyment of movies, regardless of whether the reader agrees with the opinion expressed by Critic X or Critic Y. Then again, whether you care what critics think is your own business — as is why you tend to like (or dislike) one critic over another. Is it a matter of trust and shared sensibilities? Is it a function of sentence structure and vocabulary? You tell me.

That said, seriously, who cares what critics think? I mean, enough to take the time to disparage Critic X or Critic Y (in this case, Critic L, other times Critic O) for her opinion, in remarks posted on Internet comment boards? Following this morning’s news of death-threat-level outrage at certain critics who have posted negative reviews of The Dark Knight Rises, I checked out the comments that followed on my own review and learned: 1) I am the wrong critic to review DKR because I’m a chick; 2) I’m the wrong critic to review DKR because of my previous reviews of Twilight, Fight Club, or [your choice here]; 3) I’m the wrong critic to review DKR because I use big words/didn’t write enough about Christian Bale/only like Oscar movies/only like foreign movies/only like chick movies/only like the Lord of the Rings trilogy — Oh, never mind, that’s why I am the right critic to review DKR. The fact that 99.9 percent of commenters haven’t yet seen DKR is no hindrance in the free venting of opinions/arguments/counter-arguments/insults.

I don’t often read the comment boards because many of the comments are personally hurtful, which is weird because 99.9 percent of commenters don’t know me personally and besides, I haven’t said anything mean about them. About you. Also, I think the comment boards are places for readers to talk to (or, well, at) each other, not to me. But I’m glad I checked in here, because I think I’ve figured out what the problem is, aside from the fact that anonymous comment boards are destroying civilization as effectively as anything the villainous Bane might have in mind for Gotham City. The problem is that for 24, or 48, or 72 hours, I (and by “I,” I mean all of us in the media elite) have seen The Dark Knight Rises and you (readers, partisans, haters, scholars, masses, people of Gotham City) haven’t.

This is not fair, I know, it just isn’t. The good news is, beginning Thursday night, July 19, 2012, round about midnight, we’ll be all equal again. That’s the American ideal. And I think — I hope — that beginning on Friday, the conversation will turn to a discussion of the Dark Knight himself, and his place in superhero literature, and Christopher Nolan’s use of him as a symbol of our times. And Christian Bale’s personification of societal anomie. Also, I’m hoping some enterprising reader will tell me what Bane meant when he said, “Mrrrwheeee vuzzzzshhhh ddddeath!”

Follow Lisa on Twitter: @lisaschwarzbaum

Read more:
EW’s review: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’
Does Batman’s Bane = Mitt Romney’s Bain?


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