The first movie I ever saw in North Pointe Cinemas was Mars Attacks! in December of 1996. It was also opening night of North Pointe Cinemas, which was a 6-screen theater. Prior to that, we’d had the Lake Theater in downtown Warsaw, as well as the two-screen Center Cinema. The Lake Theater and Center Cinema were the theaters I saw movies on as a kid, as well as the Warsaw Drive-In and short-lived two-screen Lincolndale Drive In in the summer. I saw Star Wars in 1978 at The Lake Theater(it had an extended run in theaters the following summer.)
The Lake was a classic single screen cinema with the old school colored lights and curtain that opened when the movie would start. There was a stage as well. I saw a magic show when I was 8 or 9 there. The Center Cinema was a smaller two-screen theater. I didn’t really have a preference as a kid, though each had their own advantages. Until the Lake Theater turned their beautiful single screen into two smaller screens seeing movies there was always kind of magical. Whereas the Center Cinema may have had smaller screens, it was only a few short steps from the Fun center, an old school arcade where you could find both the best video games out and a good heap of trouble if that was your thing. It wasn’t mine, but it was a great spot to hang out pre and post movie experience. First place I ever played Dragon’s Lair.
My point is that the cinema experience has been an important part of my life from its very beginning; from seeing Superman and The Food Of The Gods at the Warsaw Drive-In as a 4-year old to seeing Star Wars, Halloween IV, and Punchdrunk Love at the Lake Theater to Krull, Silence Of The Lambs, and The Rock at the Center Cinema, these cinematic experiences have molded my brain.
In the mid-90s the Center Cinema closed, and then in December of 1996 North Pointe Cinemas opened. It was a 6-screen theater, a huge step for our small town. The Lake Theater hung on until the early 2000s when it was bought by an orthopedic company and turned into a hotel for their wealthy visiting doctors. The Warsaw Drive-In was demolished in 2000, so North Pointe Cinemas has been our only source of the cinematic experience in town for the past 20 years.
As I stated at the beginning, the first movie I saw in North Pointe was Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! on opening night. I liked the movie, but what I loved was having that kind of variety in our hometown. Once we started having kids those movie moments took on new meaning for me. Taking my oldest to see her first film, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie in 2004, to Over The Hedge with both my daughters a couple years later, to all of us going to see The Fantastic Mr Fox in 2009, seeing a film together was a special kind of event. Especially when you factor in the cost of tickets and snacks for five people. It’s an investment.
But once my son was old enough to get into comic books and action figures, it was the superhero movies that were the special events. And thanks to Marvel there was a special event to look forward to about every year from 2008 on. The first comic book movie my son and I went to was The Avengers. From that point on we were both locked in. We saw Thor : The Dark World the following year. My daughters started to enjoy them as well, so it became a family event. I’d pick the kids up after school on the Friday a Marvel flick would open and we’d wait outside to see the first showing. Captain America : The Winter Soldier, Avengers : Age Of Ultron, Captain America : Civil War were all seen early on a Friday afternoon.
As the girls got older it’d sometimes just be my son and wife and I. Or sometimes just my son and I. I didn’t care who came along. I just knew my son and I would be there, opening day or opening weekend. It was important to get to the theater so as not to hear about any spoilers.
Batman has been a favorite of my son and I’s for years now. I think personally I’m more of a DC fan that Marvel, but my son has love for both. But Batman has been a character we’ve both been huge fans of. Miller, Loeb, Pope, Snyder, and King have written incredible Batman stories and I can’t really say I’m more of a fan of one or another. While Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice was flawed, I still loved certain aspects of the film. We saw it on opening night March of 2016 and left the theater feeling a little perplexed, but still loved Snyder’s take on Batman. I wasn’t that big of a fan of Justice League. While the “Snyder Cut” had some great stuff in it and fleshed out Cyborg and The Flash, it still was not the best interpretation of those characters.
Today my son, wife, and I saw Matt Reeves’ The Batman. I thought it was amazing. Everyone in it knocked it out of the park. Reeves’ gave us a Batman film that felt gritty, dark, and fleshed out a Gotham that you could feel. While I love Christopher Nolan’s run, and The Dark Knight was one of the best comic book films made(albeit somewhat flawed in certain aspects), his takes at times almost felt too grounded in reality. Reeves gave us something that felt as if it was pulled straight from the pages of a comic book. He locks into the Scott Snyder/Tom King run of Batman Geoff Johns’ Earth One thrown in for good measure. Bruce is still new to the vigilante game. He’s a recluse as Bruce Wayne, not the playboy by day. He’s awkward, introverted, and not trying to fit in. I love that.
Anyways, the film is great. I feel fortunate that we could see it in the theater. After 2020 I was worried the North Pointe, as well as most movie theaters, would shutter their doors. Before re-opening the North Pointe would sell popcorn and cotton candy on the weekends to the public to just try to keep the bills paid. Thankfully they’ve made a turnaround and are once again filling seats on the weekends.
I’m thrilled that after a decade we still enjoy going to the theater together. It’s the little things that make the biggest impact. Comic book movies, a bucket of popcorn, and the anticipation of waiting for the film to start. And being with others to enjoy it all with.