Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"The Dark Knight Rises" First Impressions

It started in 2005 with “Batman Begins”, and now six years later, Christopher Nolan’s Batman films have achieved an almost legendary status. “Batman Begins” was the Batman film that Bat-fans had craved for years: an honest-to-God origin story set in a realistic tone. In 2008 with “The Dark Knight”, we got a sequel that took Nolan’s realistic approach to the iconic character to new heights…but that’s something that we all know.

Now, here we are in 2011, and we’ve had our first official glimpse at “The Dark Knight Rises”, the third and final Batman film to be directed by Nolan, and if the tagline of the teaser trailer promises anything, it’s that this is indeed the end (hell, I swear that “The End” by The Doors played in my head throughout the teaser, but I digress). After seeing the teaser trailer, there are plenty of questions that have risen (no pun intended) so let’s just make a rundown here of what we know from seeing the trailer so far…

We catch scenes from both “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” as we hear a voiceover from Ra’s Al Ghul (Liam Neeson) from the first film, followed by a shots of Gordon (Gary Oldman) lying on a hospital bed having a conversation with Batman/Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) about how bad Gotham needs Batman back. This is followed by glimpses of Bane (Tom Hardy), the roided-up super villain that broke Batman’s back in the comics…all of which concluding with a quick glimpse of Bane getting ready to take on what appears to be an injured or winded Batman (and just who the hell is that standing in the background?) There are no glimpses of Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) to be found, or of any of the new characters and additions to the cast (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard). With all that being said, it’s time to make some half-assed (possibly) predictions about what “The Dark Knight Rises” has to offer…

First off, like I said before, Bane breaks Batman’s back like a twig in the comics. His comic book form is that of a hulking brute that uses a drug called “venom” to get enhance his size and strength, along with the fact that he’s also a criminal genius. In his introductory storyarc in the comics, Bane figured out that Batman is Bruce Wayne, and proceeded to tire him out and wear him down by breaking the inmates out of Arkham Asylum, and then putting the Bat-bitch-slap on Batman when he was at his weakest. Could that be what happens in the film? There have already been reports that this is going to sort of be what happens, and that in Batman’s absence Catwoman and others attempt to take up the reigns of saving Gotham City, leading to Batman’s return, as he rises above and saves the day (maybe that why it’s titled “The Dark Knight Rises” perhaps)

Something else that is known thus far is that actor Josh Pence is playing a younger version of Ra’s Al Ghul, and has some sort of tie to Bane in the film. At the end of “Batman Begins”, Ra’s was burned up into a crispy critter, but it was also reported that Liam Neeson filmed some sort of role for the new film. Is it a flashback then perhaps? More than likely, even though Ra’s Al Ghul is an immortal villain in the comics, Nolan’s films have steered far away from supernatural elements and only focused on making things as realistic and believable as possible, so the Liam Neeson take on Ra’s is probably a flashback, unless Nolan is playing some kind of big time trump card. Speaking of trump cards, Marion Cotillard is playing a woman named Miranda Tate, with all rumors saying that the name is really an alias for Talia Al Ghul, the vengeful daughter of Ra’s. Maybe this is going to end up tying everything together somehow? I have no idea honestly, but it’s fun to theorize nevertheless.

With all this in mind, I haven’t even really gotten around to talking about what role Catwoman is going to play in all this. Will she be an out and out villain, or an unlikely ally? Or maybe a little of both? Since “Batman Begins”, Nolan has made a habit of only revealing as little or as much as he wants to in terms of making the audience want more, and with the film a year away from hitting the big screen, there’s still plenty more to be revealed and dissected over. Hell, it doesn’t even finish filming until later this year, but I for one am dying to see what gets revealed next, leading up to what’s going to be the last Batman film to feature Nolan, Bale, and the rest of the principle cast and crew.

Next summer can’t fucking come soon enough.

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