Yeah, so it looks like Jared's Mjölnir wasn't forged from Uru metal after all.

Pity about that.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Theater Hopper can't end on August 6 like I originally anticipated. That's okay. You're probably okay with it, too. At least, I assume you're okay with it?

Maybe I shouldn't assume...

The point being that I have a handful of comics I need to produce to get Tom, Cami and Jared out of the theater before I do the final coda and there's no way I can get there before August 6.

Incidentally, WHY HASN'T TOM AND JARED'S COSTUMES CAUGHT ON FIRE YET?

Movie magic, folks!

Switching gears, I (like many of you) saw The Dark Knight Rises over the weekend. Actually, I took Friday afternoon off from work so I could avoid the crowds and catch it in IMAX - something I rarely ever do.

I was talking to someone about the urgency I felt to see The Dark Knight Rises. For example, it didn't bother me that I saw The Amazing Spider-Man a week after it came out. But I was gonna be damned if anyone was going to spoil The Dark Knight Rises for me!

Of course it's nearly impossible to talk about The Dark Knight Rises at this point without mentioning the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. Pundits have been crawling all over the aftermath of the senseless violence committed by James Holmes.

What upsets me most about it is that - to me - a movie theater is a sacred place. Quite honestly, it's as close as I get to religion. It's a safe place. An ensconce from the horrors of the real world. Like a lot of people, I go to the movies to get out of my head for a few hours, to put the rest of the world behind me. The victims of Aurora were punished for this. For watching a movie. It's senseless and cruel under any circumstance. But it hits especially close to home for me.

I had a few people express concern about me going to see the movie in light of the tragedy. They feared copycat crimes. It's a reasonable concern, I suppose. But I also felt determined not to let one lunatic with a gun dictate the terms of my life. So I went.

I'm glad I did. The Dark Knight Rises is a fantastic movie, richly layered, dense and rewarding. It doesn't feel as long as its 165 minute run time would lead you to believe. It moves along at a solid clip.

At times I almost felt like the movie could have been split into two chapters to help flesh out some of the plot contrivances. Without getting into spoilers, characters show up at the most serendipitous times for the most implausible reasons. I can suspend disbelief, but leaning too heavily on "Because he's Batman!" doesn't always ring true - especially within the down-to-Earth environment Christopher Nolan has established in his films.

In the aggregate, however, I think Nolan's three films work beautifully together. There are callbacks to the previous two films inside The Dark Knight Rises that reward those who have paid attention without winking or clubbing the audience over the head with "Hey, remember this? You liked this in the last movie, didn't you?"

Long story short - if you've invested any time or thought in the previous two Batman films, you owe it to yourself to check out The Dark Knight Rises. Ultimately I think it's one of the great movie trilogies. These films, their independent themes and the overarching themes are going to be discussed and dissected for years to come.

The Dark Knight Rises is a movie that sticks with you. I'm still thinking about it five days later - the hallmark of any good film. Having seen it in IMAX, I'm eager to see it again on a regular movie screen. As impressive as the movie was in that format, I think seeing it a second time will give me an opportunity to pick up on more of the nuances. And - call me optimistic - but I think it'll play better the second time around, too.

That's all I have for now. Stay tuned as the next few comics detail the final escape from the burning theater!

See you soon!