07/18/08 — 'The Dark Knight' lands in Wayne County

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'The Dark Knight' lands in Wayne County

By Winkie Lee
Published in News on July 18, 2008 1:39 PM

Batman fans have been waiting a long time for "The Dark Knight" and, when he arrived in Goldsboro this morning for a special midnight debut, the caped crusader drew an audience of more than 600 to Premiere Theatres.

Prior to the movie's start, fans described how they liked the darker version of the character portrayed in the 2005 film "Batman Begins," a precursor to this summer's highly anticipated movie. The character more closely resembles the original comic book character, they said.

"The first one was so good," said Josh Parker, 24, of Goldsboro. "They really did it justice."

Jake Garris, 19, of Goldsboro agreed, saying "Batman Begins" had been different from other Batman films he had seen.

"It was more exciting, and had more action and deeper meaning," he said.

It wasn't just the way the story was expected to be presented that excited filmgoers -- it was the character himself.

Michael Gass, 22, decided to take his wife, Anna, also 22, to the midnight showing because she has long been a Batman fan.

He is more believable than most superheroes, she said. With no real super powers, he relies instead on his own intellect and technology.

Fans pouring through the ticket lines got a feel for the film before they entered one of the four theaters in which it was being shown. Once they purchased their tickets, they were met by theater employee Trey Brown, who was made up to look like The Joker.

One of the theaters was made to resemble the Batcave, with the audience passing through long black streamers and under suspended bats. Spray-painted paper bags made to look like rocks were attached to the walls, and outside were small models of Gotham City.

Christian Bale starred as Batman, with the late Heath Ledger as The Joker. The movie contained plenty of action, some surprising moments and, in at least one of the theaters, applause at the end.

“I thought it was good,” Kelly Wright, 28, of Goldsboro said as he left the theater. He praised Bale and Ledger’s acting and the film’s serious tone.

The movie is a true drama, said Brandon Robbins, 25, of Goldsboro. He said he was pleased with the darker tone the movie took. Hopefully, he said, it will help give other superhero films more respect.

He and a friend agreed that, by placing a heavier emphasis on what was happening in the city than on Batman, the film was more effective.

Gary Saulmon, 29, and Kristen Audrey, 25, said portraying Batman as an anti-hero worked. “He does what he has to do to keep the city safe,” Miss Audrey said.

Michael Gorman, 19, of Goldsboro, praised the film’s villains and its action sequences. Christina Wright, 27, of Goldsboro found it “phenomenal” how the movie fit with the comic books.

A fan of comic book movies, Robbins said “it’s a great time to be a geek, because of all the comic book movies coming out that are genuinely good.”

“Now if they could only do the same thing with video game-based movies, that would be awesome,” he added.