Editor’s Note: Paul Levitz returns to Blog@Newsarama to talk about the release of The Dark Knight this week.
by Paul Levitz
Let’s talk movies, for a moment. I came into the saga of movies based on DC comics at a propitious time…don’t count the warm-ups, like watching Mario Puzo wander through the office doing his research while I sat in my assistant editor’s cubicle, or being introduced to Chris Reeve when he was still a skinny young guy freshly cast for the role of his lifetime…the fun really began standing on New York’s West 57th Street, watching Dick Donner hoist Chris up in a crane to pluck a burglar off the curved wall of one of our neighborhood’s more distinctive office towers. And I’ve been lucky enough to be able to recapture the feeling of wonder I had as a twenty-something, whether it was standing in the rain and mud in front of Thomas and Martha’s gravesites at Wayne Manor, or watching Chris Nolan wrestle a giant IMAX camera set-up with his pal Wally Pfister as they hurtled down a Chicago street, tracking Heath Ledger and his fellow clown-masked menaces. I’m one of the very few to have walked the offices of the Daily Planet in New York and Sydney (and a television version too). I admit my luck is outrageous…
…but in a way, I think yours is too.
The combination of the astounding technology available to bring comics to life on the big screen, and the passion of a generation of directors who grew up respecting both comics and film, have brought us to what can only be described as the first Golden Age of comic book movies. With a well-earned nod to the creative and commercial successes of our competitors in this field, DC has much to be proud of in my professional lifetime, from Donner’s SUPERMAN through Tim Burton’s BATMAN, on to the eclectic mix since we put the DC logo in front of our films, including James McTiegue’s V FOR VENDETTA, Francis Lawrence’s CONTSTANTINE, and Bryan Singer’s SUPERMAN RETURNS. I admit a personal bias towards Nolan’s BATMAN BEGINS, if a prejudiced one because of the warm welcome Chris and his producer-partner wife, Emma Thomas, have always given to me and both my office family and real family (if youngest son Garret ends up being a film director, I think it’ll be because of the time Chris bent over the monitors with Garret, showing him how he was setting up a Batmobile chase through a Chicago parking garage).
…but BATMAN BEGINS just slipped to second place.
I had the fun of watching THE DARK KNIGHT come together, from conversations to script to set visits, to seeing the little pieces that flow through our hands to make tie-in books and merchandise possible, but one of the images I’ll treasure most is the look on the faces of a group of my comic book colleagues last week as the lights came up at the end of an IMAX screening of the film. “This changes everything,” muttered the most coherent of them. The bar is simply set higher.
…but I envy you, seeing it with fresh eyes this week. The cool thing about my job is that I get to be involved in all this, and have memories of how it came to be, as well as friendships with some amazingly talented people. But the cool thing about being you is you get to walk into the movie, ready to be surprised by everything. No spoiler warnings here, and no spoilers. If you’re reading this blog, I know you have your date set to see the film, and I don’t have to sell you. But just for a minute, I wish I were there, watching you, watching this.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of movies, I’m not allowed to talk about some other footage I was looking at last week, but do offer to mortgage your collection to bribe your way into San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H on Friday the 25th at 11:55. And if you can’t, console yourself by going into the exhibit hall and admiring the five-ton…oh, sorry, they’re making me stop now.