Toxic: The Dark Knight Trilogy

Penny Mourns the Dead of Aurora, Co.

In writing about We Need to Talk about Kevin (my own pick for Best Film of 2011), I said:

But me, I still believe We Need to Talk about Kevin was not only the best film of 2011, but also the one that most illuminates our current concerns in a post-Columbine, post-9/11, post-‘Housing-Bubble’ world.”

Now, post-Aurora, I’ll say it again: We all know current multiplex films epitomized by The Dark Knight Trilogy are toxic!

We all know these multiplex films are toxic, so when will we demand that they stop? Women succeeded with the “Mothers Against Drunk Driving” campaign. Behavior that was acceptable for generations is not acceptable anymore. (Watch Ang Lee’s film The Ice Storm again for proof.)

We can do this, we just have to decide we’ve had enough: enough watching huge corporations made millions of dollars by flooding young male brains with testosterone! We all know it’s wrong and harmful and damaging to our society. Enough!

The fact that people in the theatre in Aurora were in mortal danger, but couldn’t tell–at first–if any of it was “real” tells us all we need to know. Just like with 9/11, images of mayhem in our movies leapt off the screen and became true horror, and for some families now, the ‘credits’ will never roll.

Today I took myself to see The Dark Knight Rises, because I couldn’t post this rant in good conscience until I had seen it for myself. It was as bad as I had feared: totally tedious with no wit or style, just bloated exposition punctuated by murders, flights, explosions, blood and gore. Rape scenes are casually thrown into the mix, and orphans are shamelessly exploited for added pathos. The dialogue is always pedestrian and sometimes not even intelligible, but the pounding soundtrack is unrelenting.

And yet, the mostly male critics on Rotten Tomatoes give this mess a 86% FRESH score & some of them are already beating the Oscar drums.

And me, I’m left shaking my head in sorrow 🙁

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  1. Reply

    “Dumb Fun”…? Here’s one of my CFCA colleagues calling THE DARK KNIGHT RISES “dumb fun,” & bemoaning the fact that the Aurora shooting spree might have a negative effect on the box office. Obviously, I couldn’t disagree more.

    • Kathy
    • July 29, 2012

    While I understand and agree with your general point, I have to say there were some inaccuracies. I saw “The Dark Knight Rises” as well as the other 2 films in the trilogy and there was no rape scene in Dark Knight Rises; there also wasn’t blood and gore – it was rated PG13. It was certainly the worst of the 3 films but made some very good points about class inequality and the 1%. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in the 2nd film will go down as one of the most brilliant performances in film history.

    1. Reply

      Kathy: You are certainly right that the filmmakers were very strategic about their use of on screen violence. They naturally wanted to retain their PC-13 rating so they could build market share. But even tho some things might not have been shown as explicitly as they would have been in a R rated film, many things were definitely implied.

      Case in point: what rape scene? Well, you tell me: What is happening to “the mother” that is so horrific that “the child” flees from the pit???

      And sorry to say, but I don’t think any “very good points” were made about “class inequality & the 1%,” Kathy. I think the 99% were just used as unindividuated cowering extras.

  2. Reply

    More evidence today on the relevance of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN to the Aurora shooting:

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