Hokey it may be, but yours truly's Batman obsession is a lifelong labour of love. Brought up on the character courtesy of the hammy and camp 60s show as a pre-nursery school toddler, the fondness was augmented by the Tim Burton films. The first - Batman - was released a year after my birth, and a year later I was (unwisely?) allowed to watch a 15-certificate film, having built up such adulation for what Gotham City had to offer.
Cesar Romero's Joker was scary enough (how silly I felt re-watching him 10 years later), let alone Jack Nicholson's arty psychotic. But although the side-effect of a Batman upbringing was coulrophobia, those pre-primary school days of watching re-runs of a 20+ year show at my grandparents sit atop of the nostalgia table, let alone Burton's gothic cityscape.
The side-effect for my parents was the demand for merchandise. Batman toys, including a model Batcave, a Bat-suit (with a cape from an aunty's skirt), a Batmobile, Bat-clothing and more were all owned and worn until they were worn out. Even a tent, bearing the Dark Knight's insignia, was erected in the garden as my own Bat-cave.
Anticipating The Dark Knight Rises, the giddy restlessness experienced on nights before Christmas of my youth had returned. The bonus was I got to saw it before the majority of others, having the privilege of attending my first ever press screening at the BFI IMAX last Wednesday. I rose at 4am.
Being pessimistic, I could not truly relax until my name was definitely on the list.
"Samuel... Samuel Luckhurst."
"Okay, production notes are at the bottom of the stairs."
I felt like dancing in through the entrance like Nicholson's Joker in the museum. The presence of a Batpod in the foyer only intensified the excitement as I ascended the steps, handed my phone in outside the doors to the screening room and gazed up at Britain's biggest screen.
Hans Zimmer's Why So Serious?, the anarchic and grungey theme to Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight, welcomed the entrants. I was one of the first half-a-dozen to nestle into their seat at 9.50am, with the screening not set to start until 10.30, having joined the queue outside of the IMAX at 8.57.
With no mobile to tweet or text my ecstasy, one could only flick through the production notes as others filtered through the entrance until every seat was occupied. Then a spotlight beamed onto a member of Warner Bros. publicity, who offered a brief introduction. Unfortunately she wasn't illuminated by a Bat-signal.
And then, with the assurance of no advertisements or trailers, the Bat-ambience of the Warner Bros. logo appeared, accompanied by Zimmer's atmospheric music, to end a four-year wait.
One-hundred-and-sixty-four minutes later I emerged smiling. A tense and poignant spectacle of cerebral blockbuster cinema, The Dark Knight Rises is the finale to complement the trilogy The Batman deserves. I have since seen it twice more at the BFI's gargantuan screen and the tension, excitement and emotion remain effective, while two more viewings are planned at standard cinemas.
Surprised at how choked up I became on a couple of occasions, it in fact reminded me how important your upbringing is. Batman is fictional, but he has been with me from childhood to adulthood. And that geek streak shall forever remain.
Follow Samuel Luckhurst on Twitter: www.twitter.com/samuelluckhurst