THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Critics Respond To Tragic Colorado Massacre

As expected, various film critics have issued their standings on the tragic events that took place at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Hit the jump see what they had to say.

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By WesleyGibson - 7/24/2012

On Friday July 20th, during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, a bloody shooting took place in the theater room which tragically claimed the lives of 12 people and critically wounded 58 others who attended the showing. The shooter is now behind bars and his fate is yet to be decided. Cast members of The Dark Knight Rises have issued their own statements on the matter, as well as director Christopher Nolan, and numerous others. Now, film critics have responded to the incident, and you can read what they had to say about the tragic event below.

Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times

It is impossible to be surrounded by the 21st century's blood-soaked cinematic culture and not wonder what effect it's having on us. This problem is so big and so pervasive that everyone, including the movie business, has to shoulder a part of the blame if there is to be even a hope of getting it under control. If we do have to have violence in popular culture, we have to stop pretending there are no consequences to having it be so easily available. More specifically, we have to stop our ratings system from being criminally lenient in how it treats disturbing material on-screen, especially where major studio films are concerned.

Anthony lane of The New Yorker

We have been here before, many times; once, very specifically, when John Hinckley, Jr., became fixated on 'Taxi Driver,' which came out five years before Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan. What holds true then remains the case today: no film makes you kill.

Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times

I'm not sure there is an easy link between movies and gun violence. I think the link is between the violence and the publicity. I don't know if James Holmes cared deeply about Batman. I suspect he cared deeply about seeing himself on the news.

Dana Stevens of Slate Magazine

They're right, of course. I can't stop asking … why there? I can't get away from the fact that this act of violence took place — with, from the look of it, considerable advance planning — at an opening-night midnight showing of 'The Dark Knight Rises,' a movie that (like the rest of the trilogy it concludes) envisions modernity as a lawless dystopia where just such a thing might happen.

Andrew O' Hehir of Salon

Does Batman, broadly speaking, have blood on his hands for what happened in Aurora? I'm a film critic and a hardcore civil libertarian who has spent much of my career defending free expression even in its nastiest and most disturbing forms. I do not believe that symbolic or fictional violence leads to real violence in any direct or causative manner …. So it may surprise you to learn that I think the question is a legitimate one and that, considered properly, it lacks a clear yes-or-no answer.

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian

Violence is a part of life, and the movies are entitled to reflect it and address it. by the same token, the movies are a part of life, and society is entitled to regulate them – and so it does. The killings in Colorado on Friday are a heartrending tragedy, and for me the debate must always come down on the issue of gun control. This issue is not just about the movies.

Source: LA Times
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Goliath93 - 7/24/2012, 8:24 PM
Why do people make it seem like its Warner bros fault?
I don't understand why WB felt that they needed to donate money also.
Supes17 - 7/24/2012, 8:35 PM
I hope they don't start cracking down on CBMs now...
lunesta - 7/24/2012, 8:42 PM
oh no the church is going to be next there going to make it worser
Luminus - 7/24/2012, 8:43 PM
Why do people keep trying to blame violent movies for the violent actions of others? Did people not commit mass murder, before movie theaters were invented? Did Hitler learn to kill, because he watched a violent silent movie? How about the KKK; did those guys watched something violent before they decided on mass killings? Someone shot up a McDonalds a while back. Should we blame McBLTs for that tragedy? People do evil things. That's just the way it is.
xXkryptoniteXx - 7/24/2012, 8:49 PM
America stop with your guns being owned easily, by these phsycotic people. These people can't tell what's real and what's not when there playing these games and movies.
samsupes - 7/24/2012, 8:50 PM
We have to stop trying to link these crimes to movies, tv, guns...etc. These sickening incidents will occur regardless.
StormLoganSummers - 7/24/2012, 8:51 PM
One would have to be an incredibly simple-minded dolt to even suggest that movies should have any blame. That Turan fellow is a moron.
samsupes - 7/24/2012, 8:52 PM

This guy had no criminal record. Only had a traffic ticket in his name. He was in medical school. Nothing as of yet has come out that shows he had issues beforehand.
Tony93 - 7/24/2012, 8:53 PM
there are plenty of pics now on the web that show Bale carrying a bouquet of flowers at a memorial in Aurora..
he's also with his wife..
really touching..
Tainted87 - 7/24/2012, 8:56 PM
Wow, I actually agree with Roger Ebert for the first time in forever.
dnno1 - 7/24/2012, 8:57 PM
Goliath93 it might not matter so much what you or I think, but Warner Brothers sure feels that they had some impact that they are considering compensating the survivors and their families for what happened.
Nemeres - 7/24/2012, 9:00 PM
I think Ebert's from the Chicago Sun Times.
goatmilk - 7/24/2012, 9:03 PM
James Holmes was an individual who lost the ability to seperate reality and the sickness in his head. Thats why he did what he did, not because of a movie. People like this exist and if they want to they will always be able to find something to fixate on that they believe is synonmous with their own violent world-views.

Its way too easy of an answer and a definite cop-out to point fingers at specific cultural examples every time something like this happens. Its just as lazy as when theres a school shooting and the cops find out the gunmen listened to metal and metal has a violent aesthetic so therefore it must have been music that made the shooter violent. Guess what, these criminals also went to our public schools and churches their entire lives, and were raised in our completely [frick]ed-up society. That, and our gun laws is what we should be examining.

I also think that a lot of the popularity of the Dark Knight movies stems from the fact that they feature characters who are making desperate decisions under the constant threat of imminent isaster. I don't want to speak for my whole generation but I feel strongly that this is something that is forced upon us on a 24-hour basis by the framework we are conditioned to view the world in by the media. Mix that with the fact that we are also daily stripped of our indiviuality and identity by manipulative advertsing mechanisms and I'd say it was only a matter of time before people with these sort of horrible and violent anti-social tendencies emerged. Now is the time more than ever to examine the world we live in, and if movies are going to be a part of that then I think thats fine but there are many, many other aspects of our society that need to be included in the discussion.

My heart goes out to the victims and their families.
Tainted87 - 7/24/2012, 9:03 PM
You have to link guns to guns. It's pretty simple. And the man is psychotic, otherwise this article wouldn't exist.

I think it's crazy that after this tragedy, gun purchases in Colorado have gone up 40%. Do people really think carrying concealed weapons is going to cause LESS bloodshed?

Suppose this psycho had opened up on a theater full of gun-carrying movie-goers. More people could have been accidentally killed in the crossfire.
goatmilk - 7/24/2012, 9:04 PM
Also I commend Christian Bale and WB for the way that theyve handled this entire thing. Good on both of them.
citrafreak - 7/24/2012, 9:10 PM
Wow I can't believe that they are trying to blame The Dark Knight Rises for this unsettling horror scene that happened in Aurora, CO. First off blaming movies and film is absurd. If someone wants to kill people they will regardless of an outlet. A serial killer has a trigger, some kind of event that pushes them from thinking about killing to actually killing people. This guy was after one thing only to be remembered, to be infamous, because in todays society everyone wants to be famous. There could have been anything to drive him to this point, but he latched on to a fictional character, who was around for a long time before the new batman franchise. He has been killing in comics for a long time, but that's beside the point. And just to be clear I'm not trying to make light of this horrific dead in the slightest.
samsupes - 7/24/2012, 9:10 PM
Link guns to guns. So forget the fact that you have people who own guns that never use them, use them for hunting only or for sport like going to the range.

This guy also had his whole apartment boobytrapped with homemade bombs. Why isn't anyone talking about how easy it easy to build one? How you can go online and find instructions on how to build them with simple household ingredients.

Guns are not the cause of these incidents.....crazy people are. Instead we should be focusing on what leads a person to commit a crime such as this.
UrbanKnight - 7/24/2012, 9:13 PM
So some critics think Heath's legendary performance should be censored!?

How about better mental health evaluations. Also, better screening for people wanting to get guns would help.
OdinsBeard - 7/24/2012, 9:14 PM
All those people in the theatre grew up with same culture more or less. And they were all horrified. Don't blame pop culture. Blame the individual.
CaptainAmerica31 - 7/24/2012, 9:20 PM
Tainted- well think about it, if you see someone go on a rampage in your state or city and your scared, what do you do? Buy a gun and defend yourself, people are scared of copycats and don't want to get killed. The right to bear arms actually prevents a lot of theft in people's homes becasue the Theives don't wanna get shot. Criminals will get guns no matter what, like they will get drugs no matter what especially when Mexico is right under us. So when the criminals have guns and the public is left without guns becasue people think that just cause people are allowed to have guns means everyone's gonna murder each other,we'll be left defenseless. Restricting guns won't stop murder, people still have to get their licenses and have back round checks.
Darkhaven - 7/24/2012, 9:35 PM
@Goliath93 - 7/24/2012, 8:24 PM

"Why do people make it seem like its Warner bros fault?
I don't understand why WB felt that they needed to donate money also."

If I may answer both of your questions separately here. For one, when something traumatic goes down, humans do what they've always done: find something or someone to blame. The bigger the event, the more needs to be at fault. The shooter was caught immediately, but just as immediately people wanted to pinpoint his motivation. Hence, the media calling this tragedy "The Batman Massacre".

And two, it's not as if WB said that they NEEDED to give the families money. Granted, they could have been motivated to give money because narrow minded groups would target them due to my first reason above. However, they could also be doing it out of the want to console the families. People were literally murdered by a real life psycho calling himself 'the Joker' while they were out enjoying their film. That reality is a mind[frick] on so many levels, for everyone. Money doesn't fill the hole a life used to inhabit, but it makes their passing easier, at least financially. Best to take it as it is.
BIGBMH - 7/24/2012, 9:47 PM
"This problem is so big and so pervasive that everyone, including the movie business, has to shoulder a part of the blame if there is to be even a hope of getting it under control. If we do have to have violence in popular culture, we have to stop pretending there are no consequences to having it be so easily available. More specifically, we have to stop our ratings system from being criminally lenient in how it treats disturbing material on-screen, especially where major studio films are concerned."

What a load of crap. I get tired of seeing people looking for something to blame when stuff like this happens. If it happened the night a Call of Duty game went on sale, people would be talking about how violent games are responsible for this. If it happened at a rap concert, they'd blame hip-hop culture. Some people are just violent and dangerous.
AsianVersionOfET - 7/24/2012, 9:47 PM
Guns are good. Movies are good. There will always be crazy people in the world who want to do bad things. These three things are facts.
sbdc1939 - 7/24/2012, 9:50 PM
people have been killing eachother before movies were ever invented, Jack the ripper didnt need cinema to gut prostitues.
The nazi party didnt watch movies and then decide to kill 6 million people during the holocaust.Some people are just bad or they snap because they cant handle life.
Ed Gein or Jeffery Dahmer didnt watch movies and decide to start eating people. Some idolize the character Scarface but no blames Al Pacino for any of the drug trafficing in America.
People need to stop pointing fingers at everything from Heath Ledger to Movies and point the finger at the kid that blew away 59 people.
Roscoe182 - 7/24/2012, 9:51 PM
you cant blame this on the film industry. its not there fault in anyway. they guy had this planned out.

i don't think anyone is to blame really other than they guy himself. ppl will look for blame that's understandable.
Roscoe182 - 7/24/2012, 9:52 PM
@sbdc1939 very very good point
KnobGoblin - 7/24/2012, 9:56 PM
Sadly, just like the old myths of good versus evil the message of this one too has now been misunderstood and co-opted by one unbalanced individual as an easy scape goat for his own personal demons and attention seeking. How many times have we heard the words "The Devil made me do it" after someone commits a horrific act? It's just easier to blame something abstract like a demon or a clown than to own up to ones own shortcomings I suppose, and the really disheartening thing is most seem more than willing to accept that as an explanation. That's why it infuriates me that this series will forever have this dark cloud associated with it by someone who doesn't truly understand it, because at it's core the themes are about everything we value and should aspire to in our own lives. Though right now the usual suspects, full of self righteous ignorance are standing high up on their soap boxes with all the fuel needed to keep stoking this fire. Preaching the same old "life imitates art" gospels so they can keep trying to convince the simple minded rubes that the reason such evil exists in the world is all because of Rock & Roll, Hollywood and Video Games.
Tainted87 - 7/24/2012, 10:03 PM
Background checks obviously aren't going to stop these kinds of isolated incidents. While I do not own a gun, I can imagine the tests are not taken seriously enough. The courses I had to take to become a manager at my store had these questionnaires asking pretty much the same questions over and over again, worded differently. Anyone can lie, and on paper it is even easier.

Not meaning to infer that THAT is THE ONLY kind of evaluation, but I don't have to imagine that it doesn't stop the psychos from getting their guns.

To even think that there will be some kind of anti-gun law that prohibits Americans from owning their favorite now-legal weapons is ridiculous. I imagine there would be another civil war. I just think it is obvious that guns have been manufactured to kill people, and with ease, and should not be anywhere near as accessible as they are now.
MtnMan - 7/24/2012, 10:07 PM
Like Alfred said: Some people just want to watch the world burn... :-/
It doesn't have to make sense, because it doesn't. Just stop trying and call it like it is. A bad man did a bad thing as most bad men tend to do. This time, just like other times in the past, there is no rhyme or reason (motive). When there is no motive, and this many people are killed at once in one of the only places people have left to go and leave the world's just a tragedy. And if you misread the context of how I used the word "just" then you can go to hell with your semantics in tow.
Tainted87 - 7/24/2012, 10:11 PM
Films are influenced by the mind.
DonBeastly - 7/24/2012, 10:17 PM
Ive only posted once or twice in the last few years Ive been a member but I felt it necessary to do so now. What's with this "you Americans need to change ur gun laws" bullshit. Do u think a criminal or someone who is going to harm someone else gives a flying [frick] about the law? Answer, they don't. All gun control laws do, granted some are necessary to insure felons or passed criminals don't get them as easy, is make it harder for the good guys to protect their loved ones. Again, a criminal like this guy didn't give shit about the law and will hurt people no matter what. It is in our 2nd amendment that we have the right to bear arms. At the theatre in Colorado, there was a sign posted saying "weapons are prohibited...blah blah blah" Ya. He really gave a shit about that sign didn't he. The fact is if one of those people had been armed a few lives might have been saved, granted its still speculation but I'd like to think positive. It's a horrible thing what happened, it truly is, but don't come on here and say we need to change our gun laws. I'm an American. Tough titties if u don't like it. I work at a theatre, and I would feel a helluva lot better knowing people could carry a concealed handgun in there. It's a deterrent. Having a sign up saying "no guns allowed" is like saying "please, come rob me, there's nobody with guns to stop you, I insist"
Oh, and The Dark Knight Rises was pretty good
GodzillaKart - 7/24/2012, 10:19 PM
Everybody, EVERYBODY has been exposed to violence in film, news and TV. Almost everybody has seen Nolan's Batman series.

Movies, video-games, TV, do NOT make anyone kill anyone.

This was a deeply disturbed individual.

Yes, maybe he should not have been able to get such weapons, but don't pretend that "the movies made him do it".

We have all seen the movies, and not only do "WE" not go a shooting rampage, we cannot understand the one he went on.
micvalpro - 7/24/2012, 10:21 PM
You know what, i love this site. Within the last year this site has become my number one, but honestly, you guys have been pushing this tragedy on everyone all eek. I get its tragic and i get its batman related but for phucks sake, leave it alone already. its like picking at a scab thats trying to heal. Your not helping anyone by reminding everyone every single day. We get it! This site has all of a sudden turned into tmz.
Tainted87 - 7/24/2012, 10:26 PM
It would be against the law for me to drive my car if I had epilepsy, but would that stop me? Suppose I had a tonic clonic seizure while driving a semi-truck on a main road, and killed a LOT of people.

You can't rely on good faith.
SymbioteSpidey1 - 7/24/2012, 10:27 PM
*sigh* its so sad that the movie industry is getting attacked for this and the blame is being spread. It was one man who spent too much time on his neuropsychology phd and finally became what he wanted to stop.
DonBeastly - 7/24/2012, 10:28 PM
I agree man, I love this site, but I hear enough of this at work and on the news, i want to come on here and find a teaser for Man of Steel or info bout new Green Lantern movie, not to hash over the same stuff. Not saying it should b forgotten, but damn.
GodzillaKart - 7/24/2012, 10:31 PM
@micvalpro: Glad this site is your #1, but don't be a dumbass.

We are not TMZ, we are a very specialized site that nobody outside of it cares about. Our "picking" is not going to keep the scab from healing.

It is important, for the people on this site, that we talk about and debate the movie and its issues. If you don't like it, go watch CNN or FOX, where they talk about it endlessly, but with less insight.
DonBeastly - 7/24/2012, 10:32 PM
Point I'm trying to make is criminals are going to get weapons no matter what. Stricter gun laws will only make it more difficult for people who obey the law and want to do good and protect others.
Tainted87 - 7/24/2012, 10:33 PM
Neuropsychology is not the study of behavioral disorders. It is actually quite boring - sounds more interesting than it actually is.
MarkV - 7/24/2012, 10:37 PM
Just STOP these posts....just STOP them. So sick of all the link bait and front page whoring. STOP IT!!!!!
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