The Avengers surprised almost everyone with its staggering boxoffice haul (third on the all time list at point of writing). Warner Bros will have been watching Marvel’s pennies pouring in with envious eyes. And whilst the green-eyed monster will have been whispering “Justice League Movie” into Warner executives ears they still have their ace in the hole in The Dark Knight Rises, and realisticly it’s the last big superhero play they have left in them for a while. TDKR then, is WB’s and DC’s last chance for a few years to take a swing at Disney and Marvel before their golden goose takes a movie sabbatical (their hope then turns back to Superman in the form of Man of Steel). So with one month to the day that the last Nolan/Bale Bat movie goes on worldwide release the stakes are high indeed. Below is a quick roundup of everything TDKR to date and whilst this is all non-spoiler info, those of you dedicated to knowing nothing before you see the movie should probably stop right about here.
Plot: Whilst we can pick at the scraps of info fed to use in trailers and TV Spots, the fact of the matter is we know little to nothing of the overriding plot arch of TDKR, let alone the inevitable twists, turns, and revelations. We do know that the film takes place eight years after The Dark Knight and that Bruce Wayne is physically and mentally suffering from the exploits of being the Batman. Not a good time to run into Tom Hardy’s Bane who looks to be igniting class warfare on the streets of Gotham. Bane will provide a physical and intellectual match for Batman, there’ll be no interrogation manhandling of this guy. There will also be big consequences from the fallout of The Dark Knight and the death of Harvey Dent; expect Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordon to feel the brunt of that one. Big questions remain unanswered as to where Anne hathaway’s Catwoman, JGL’s Police Office John Blake, and Marian Cotillard’s Miranda Tate fit into this. Many of us know the widespread online rumours about the latter two, but the fact of the matter is very few people know the answer to these questions, including the much of the cast!
Theme: With the running time confirmed at a whopping 2 hours 45 minutes you can bet your boots that this film is going to have an epic feel to it. It may feel a little like a war movie or old-school epic. Saying that, while brooding melodrama may be on the menu there’ll be no skimping on action. Expect HUGE practical action set-pieces. Warners gave Nolan the keys to Scrooge McDuck’s vault for this one. Nolan is not going to leave anything on the back-burner this time round. It’s an all or nothing kind of movie. He’s going to try his best to get tears out of you.
3D/IMAX: Nolan has a strong dislike for 3D seeing it as a gimmick not an inhancement. Warner Bros have VERY BRAVELY backed their man and will not be post-converting TDKR into 3D (consider that this could lose them up to $3 or more per ticket sale). Instead Nolan has shot over an hour of the final movie on huge IMAX cameras. Meaning if you want to get the best viewing experience be sure to check it out in IMAX.
New Toys: If you thought TDK saw the end of The Tumbler (the Batmobile) think again. It seems there were more than one of these military bridging vehicles made and Bane has a ton of them and a bunch of other military hardware. The Bat-pod (Batman’s bike in TDK) returns although the trailers indicate that Catwoman has procured this for her own needs. Good job then that wily Lucius Fox has been hard at work getting Batman airborne in a what appears to be a flying Tumbler cockpit known as ‘The Bat’.
Is the Joker coming back? No. No CG Heath Ledger. JGL is not secretly The Joker. The Joker hasn’t been recast.
Is Two-Face coming back? No. In fact his death will be a big plot point with Gotham in peace time thanks to The Harvey Dent act, a piece of legislation dedicated to his memory. So absolutely not.
Is Scarecrow coming back? Cillian Murphy says no. I’m not sure given the ‘eight years later’ context that it makes sense to have Scarecrow loose on the streets. That doesn’t say much about Batman’s crime fighting ability does it? Will he be included in a prison break sequence? It could happen. I have one sneaky suspicion form one shot from the MTV Movie Awards footage that he may just have crept in there. But it’s a stretch at best.
Ending: This is without doubt the final Chis Nolan Batman movie, and therein the final Bale Batman film and final Batman movie in this continuity. Keep that in mind. How will Nolan round off his trilogy? Could he actually kill Batman off? I’m not sure but I wouldn’t bet against it. One thing’s for sure, Nolan won’t want WB trying to hash out a Batman 4 continuation of this story with a new creative team. There’s a certain feeling of finality hovering over this movie. Interpret that how you will.
References: If you want to get a background feel for this movie I’d suggest brushing-up on Batman stories The Dark Knight Returns, No Mans Land, and Knightfall. Not that I’m saying that the movie will follow any of these arch’s but it’s my opinion that elements of these texts have been drawn on by Nolan and Co. And be absolutely sure to catch up on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight if you haven’t seen them for a few years, this film is definately going to tie-up some threads from those movies.
One to watch: If there is any trailer or TV Spot to watch it’s the badass one below, a Nokia exclusive released June 19th. Warner’s missed the boat with this puppy. This should have been the official trailer. Let’s hope it makes it onto TV and into theatres over the next month. It doesn’t give away much more than previous trailers, but it does feature new music from Hans Zimmer, which, for the first time gives us a true feel of the movie (plus I dig the new electro sound overlaying the traditional brooding Bat orchestral score).