Last Thursday, I settled down in the Malco in Tupelo, ready to spend the next nine hours in one dark theater

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Last Thursday, I settled down in the Malco in Tupelo, ready to spend the next nine hours in one dark theater.
My friends and I were there to see all three of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies: “Batman Begins” at 6 p.m., “The Dark Knight” at 8:30, and finally, “The Dark Knight Rises” at midnight.
Before the movie started, my friends and I talked “Watchmen,” since we’d just watched the four-hour long ultimate cut the night before. Above us in the top rows, a host of Batman fans, many wearing Batman shirts, talked comics and canon, just like we were doing.
I didn’t know them and I’m not sure if they knew each other; they weren’t sitting together the way my friends and I were. They were just a bunch of Batman fans, scattered about the theater, shooting the breeze before the films began. It was a fun conversation to eavesdrop on.
Just before “Batman Begins” graced the screen, a Malco worker told us we were welcome to stay in that theater for all three films. Our particular theater was the only one showing the first two, but we were welcomed to move to any theater for the last one.
“You’ll be with these people all night,” he said, and we all half-heartedly clapped and cheered for each other. If we were about to spend nine hours together, might as well get along, right?
And that’s exactly what we did: We spent hours together watching Batman get the girl, lose the girl, look suave, kill bad guys and look suave killing bad guys.
Even as the theater filled for “The Dark Knight Rises,” more of our kind of folks came in: most people wearing Batman shirts, most folks talking about comic books or other Batman movies.
I didn’t know too many other people who were at the midnight showings, but it felt like I did. After all, we all had common ground in our love for the dark knight.
And that’s my favorite thing about entertainment, the arts, pop culture: It brings people together.
We probably didn’t have anything else in common, or maybe we did. But it doesn’t matter when we can so easily talk at length with strangers about the important things in life: Love and loss, loyalty, justice.
Even if we’re talking about those things in relation to fictional characters and superheroes, it’s important.
It’s real, but it’s not. It’s a way to talk about the world without actually talking about the world.
And isn’t that degree of escapism the reason we go to movies, pick up a comic book, turn on the TV or turn up the radio?
As we see in movies like “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Dark Knight” and “Batman Begins,” sometimes horrible things happen to good people, or at good occasions.
But that’s not going to stop me from getting together with fellow fans, whether they’re my best friend or a total stranger, and escaping, just for a minute.
Like Batman, we can’t let the bad guys win.
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com