Christian Bale stars in 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Remember when movies used to be fun? Now they require homework.

The Hollywood Reporter published a story this morning that it subtitled “How to Prepare for the Batman Saga’s End.” It presents a list of six things a moviegoer must do in order to get ready to view The Dark Knight Rises this weekend.

The list starts with the obvious: See the previous two movies.

It used to be that seeing an earlier movie would help a viewer to better enjoy a sequel. It’s pretty much mandatory these days. And seeing Batman Begins and The Dark Knight two years ago probably won’t cut it. That’s because Christopher Nolan conceived them as a unit – they weren’t meant to stand alone. If you don’t remember Ra’s al Ghul from the first movie or can’t recall what happened to Harvey Dent in the second, you’ll be at a disadvantage whiling watching the new movie.

The Reporter doesn’t stop there. It also advises that you read three Batman comic book anthologies.

Nolan’s conception of Batman draws heavily from that of Frank Miller, so it’s no surprise that Miller’s 1986 graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, the story of an older, retired Batman who must once again don the costume to save Gotham City, is at the top of the list.

Then there is Knightfall, a 1993 series that recently came out in a new edition. The first volume features Batman’s confrontation with Bane, the fearsome villain played by Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises.

In the comic book series, Batman has pushed his body to the limit battling his greatest enemies, who have all simultaneously descended upon Gotham City. Then, with Batman at the breaking point, Bane appears, and breaks Batman’s back.

The third recommended volume is No Man’s Land, a massive collection that covers a year’s worth of comic books published in 1999. There also is a hardcover and paperback novelization.

That seems like more than enough homework, even for a movie that’s two hours and forty five minutes long, as The Dark Knight Rises is. But the Reporter recommends more, lots more. I’ll let you read the suggestions for yourself.


Batman: Knightfall, vol. 1, new edition cover art


Categories: Movie News, Superheroes

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    Eric Harrison reviewed movies and covered film for a decade for the Los Angeles Times and Houston Chronicle. His movie coverage continues here on You also can read Eric's movie coverage geared to Houston, the nation's fourth largest city, on Find out more at
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