Gimme, Gimme, Gimme a Batman After Midnight

I think the time has come to admit something about myself; our relationship has moved beyond a simple one-column-a-week-type thing, I feel I can tell you things. OK; here goes – I am a massive Batman fan. Phew! I am so glad to finally get that off my chest. To clarify; when I say a ‘massive Batman fan’ I mean an enthusiastic fanatic, not a morbidly obese comic book reader – it’s an easy mistake to make. I’m not sure exactly what it is that attracts me to it but the mere thought of a grown man in a latex bat costume is enough to break a smile out on my face. I suppose I was destined to love either Batman or experimental ballet. I could never get the pumps to fit.
I’ve been a fan as long as I can remember, from the day my parents took me to see Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton battling it out on top of a church spire (that’s a reference to the 1989 film ‘Batman’ and not an Oscars ceremony that got out of hand.) I have spent the last 20 or so years dedicated to Bruce Wayne and his elaborate hobby –even last year I took my girlfriend to see Batman LIVE at the Metro Area. Two hours of grown men and women dressed as bats, cats, penguins and clowns, swinging from the rafters. I was in my element; this is what theatre should be about. You can’t tell me that Blood Brothers couldn’t be improved with a few exploding umbrellas and laughing gas. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, my girlfriend less so. Partly because we were sat quite far back so she couldn’t fully appreciated the true scale of the experience, but equally because the average age of the audience was about six and with their parents. Nevertheless she waved her Batflag like a trooper.

This year, however, has been the culmination of all of my Batfantasies, with the release of The Dark Knight Rises. I have been waiting for this film for three years with the same amount of urgency as some people wait for a kidney donor. I was all for bringing my girlfriend again but she conveniently managed to avoid coming, I think she was still on a high from the live experience and was worried the film couldn’t live up to it, which I can appreciate. The film was released at the height of my Edinburgh Fringe preparations, meaning I never got to camp outside Cineworld – utility belt and chemical toilet at the ready – for the first showing. Eventually after a week or two I managed to find a gap in my schedule. Unfortunately I struggled to find someone free to see the film with me so in the end, like all good Batfans, I went to see it with my parents. You think this would embarrass me beyond repair, but I think it was my step dad who was more ashamed of having to go see it with a 24 year old wearing a Batman T-Shirt – if you’re not going to do it properly then don’t do it at all.

So, we watched the film and it was amazing. You could say it was IMAX-ulate. However there was one thing I hadn’t prepared myself for – my mum’s inability to grasp cinema-going etiquette. It was like going to the cinema with a member of Jerry Springer’s audience. She was whooping, cheering and shouting – at one crucial moment with Catwoman she even shouted ‘You go girl!’ which would have been fine if she wasn’t brutalizing someone, revealing a slightly darker side to my mother. My mother’s extreme feminist views aside, I loved the film nothing could spoil it, not even my stepdad complaining about legroom. As the credits rolled and I wiped the tears from my eyes I suddenly realized how far I had come – no longer were they taking me to see Batman films, I was taking them. And I will take them next time they release a Batman film. Same Bat-time, same Bat-place.

From: 29th August, 2012.

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