The Awesome Anne Hathaway


I went to see Christopher Nolan's conclusion to the trilogy again a few days ago. I wanted to see it in IMAX, and having now seen it twice I don't want to watch it again for another ten years. I would like to forget it, in fact, forget most of what it made me feel, and then in watch it again. Films you love can be endlessly consumed over and over again with a velocity that books just can't. I want some time off. Besides, leaving the theater I found myself really, really sad, and I'm not sure why.

(Oh, please don't read any further if you plan to see the movie and haven't yet. I'd hate to ruin anything.)

I think part of is the notion of getting old and having to learn new ways to fight. At one point Bane tells Batman, "Victory has defeated you." Bruce Wayne goes to fight Bane, as Alfred tells him, hoping to die. He's depressed and wants to brawl it out in the way that males in their teens and 20s enjoy. "You fight like a young man," Bane tells him, half-mocking and half-amazed.

Young men fight on sheer emotion and passion. But you get some grey and you find that people keep schedules for a reason, that attaining and maintaining are two different things. People don't talk to me about potential anymore. They talk to me about management.

Forgive that little aside. What I really wanted to tell you was how much I enjoyed Anne Hathaway's Catwoman on second viewing. She did not simply give what I consider the best Catwoman, or simply the best rendition of super-heroine (not much competition there, regrettably), but she gave one of the best renditions of a superhero that I've seen. There's a moment when she's attempting to beat a sniveling executive into undoing the double-cross he's pulled on her, only to discover that fists won't do the job. And for a moment you see this beautiful transition from utter bad-assery to total panic and then a second later back to bad-assery again.
All my favorite action stars are scared shitless. That's the part that allows me to relate. I love Harrision Ford in The Fugitive, just before he leaps off the dam. No one could survive that jump. But that doesn't bother me, as long as I know that he knows that he should not survive the jump. Perhaps I should say all my favorite action stars are vulnerable--Boromir's temptation, the evil in him, is what makes him my favorite character in the first LOTR film, and his death the hardest to take.

Hathaway's Catwoman is panicked. She is scared of Bane, scared of getting caught, scared of poverty, and this helps me connect because I would be scared, too. And yet in the end, she actually saves Batman. I'm having a hard time remembering the last time the love interest saved the hero in movie like this. I'm sure it's happened before, but it was amazing to see it here.

I kinda wanna marry this movie. Maybe in another ten years.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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