Well, it's over. "The Dark Knight Rises"—the conclusion of the three-film Batman series by director Christopher Nolan—was arguably the most anticipated summer movie ever. Thousands of Northern Virginians waited for hours in line in the rain Thursday night to be the first to see it as it made its debut just after midnight.
"I haven't ever waited this long in line," said Alexandria resident Tamara Gonzalez, 22, who waited for five hours at the head of the line with four of her friends at the AMC Hoffman.
In Kingstowne, it looked like Lorton's David Bernier, 20, and two of his friends crashed the wrong party. The trio (wands in hand) showed up in wizard outfits. Still, Bernier is a fan of the caped crusader.
"I bought my ticket electronically two weeks ago, and it felt great," he said. "My friends and I are interns at different places, and we don't have much to do, so I pretty much read reviews of the movie all day."
The AMC Tysons theater showed the movie on 13 of its 16 screens, and three of the theaters ran the other two films throughout the day. Lines started forming at 5:30 p.m., and wound into the food court. The trilogy crowd, prepared to watch nearly nine hours of crime-fighting in Gotham City, were given two commemorative posters, lanyards and tags before setting off to join the new lines queueing up at the concessions.
"I totally stayed away from spoilers," said Mihran Erkiletian, 22, of McLean, who spoke to Patch in a full Batman costume at the Tyson's ticket counter. "The end? Batman isn't going to die. He just can't die."
And when the lights dimmed, cheers broke out in the IMAX theater as one fan lit up a Batman flashlight and aimed it at the blackened screen just before the 12:01 a.m. showing.
Did you see the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises"? Tell us what you thought in the comments!