Here’s a movie that can’t win. We’ve already had the definitive Batman. Unforgettable scenes are already in our heads. Heath Ledger won an Oscar for his immortal turn as the ultimate villain. There is no way to top The Dark Knight. No reason, ever, to want to go back; unless, of course, you count money. And it’s fair to say, the one thing new movie doesn’t lack is adequate funds. Bruce Wayne goes bankrupt in this film, in what could be read as an in-joke about exorbitant costs. The Dark Knight Rises is bigger in every way than its predecessor. But you can’t buy lightning in a bottle. No paycheque will bring Heath Ledger back. As Bane, the muscle-bound new villain has to learn, there are limits to bulk.
Every third episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation was about dreams. It fit right in with the egocentric, touchy-feely, “End of History” haze that was the 90s. Bad TV (like Star Trek) fed on a lack of world-changing events, so that even a show set in outer-space turned inward, with whole episodes where people slept. In an episode called “The Inner Light”, one character lives out an entire lifetime in a dream; marrying, raising children, growing old…only to wake. This plotline is dreamt-up again in Leonardo Dicaprio’s new movie, Inception. In both cases, dreams offer me-time. It’s just that – in Inception – Leo’s job is breaking into heads.