IMAX cameras. Bat pods. Anne Hathaway in a tight leather outfit. Where does Christopher Nolan get those wonderful toys?
Nolan was behind Warner Bros.' hugely successful relaunch of the DC Comics icon, "Batman Begins," which proved a revelation after the cinematic devastation of "Batman & Robin." After the triumph of 2008's super-sequel "The Dark Knight" -- which garnered buckets of praise, a posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger, and north of a billion Bat Bucks -- a third and final chapter was inevitable. With all the key players back, it's about damn time "The Dark Knight Rises."
Release Date: July 20, 2012
Star Power: Returning for a final bow as Bruce Wayne/the Caped Crusader is Christian Bale; this is his fourth go-around in Nolan country after two previous Bat-flicks and "The Prestige." Also returning to protect Gotham City are series stalwarts Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), kick-butt butler Alfred (Michael Caine), weapons expert Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and quite possibly Liam Neeson as baddie Ra's al Ghul, who (presumably) died in "Batman Begins." A muscle-bound Tom Hardy will give your ears a workout as the vocally challenged Bane, while Anne Hathaway vamps it up as Catwoman/Selena Kyle. Nolan has also recruited two "Inception" vets Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, a cop ally of Batman who may or may not be Dick Grayson (aka Robin); and Marion Cotillard as Wayne Enterprises employee Miranda Tate ... or is she Neeson's daughter Talia al Ghul?
Also Check Out: "The Dark Knight Rises" IMAX Showings Already Selling Out
Next Factor: Juno Temple, the pixie-ish up-and-comer from "Atonement" and "Dirty Girl," beat out Chloë Moretz and Jennifer Lawrence for the role of Holly Robinson, Catwoman's ally and sidekick. Nolan's answer to a Lazarus Pit is handsome Josh Pence, who will hopefully not have his head replaced with Armie Hammer's (like he did in "The Social Network") when he does his best Neeson impression as a young Ra's Al Ghul.
Behind the Camera: Closing out his superhero trilogy is Christopher Nolan, hell-bent on making this the final chapter of a realism-infused take on Batman that's always been more Michael Mann than Joel Schumacher. Why would he not continue to cash in on this gravy train? The "Memento" filmmaker had it tattooed on his body from the beginning that this was intended as a trilogy with very definite bookends. Also, his success with original mindbender "Inception" proved that his name alone is enough to sell a picture, even sans pointy-eared do-gooders.
Movie Math: "The Dark Knight" + Steroids ÷ "Die Hard With a Vengeance" = "The Dark Knight Rises"
Backstory: Capitalizing on threads that have been woven by scriptwriters Nolan and David S. Goyer since the early stages of "Batman Begins," "Rises" seeks to put a cap on what has become the definitive comic book trilogy. The tragic loss of Heath Ledger meant that a suitable substitute for The Joker had to be chosen, thus making way for the Venom-using, back-breaking Bane. Principal photography lasted over six months in locations as scattered as Pennsylvania, New York, England, Scotland, Romania, and India for the $250 million blockbuster, which will boast roughly 50 minutes of IMAX footage. "We were trying to craft an epic so the physicality of the film became very important," says Nolan. After a six-minute prologue to the movie featuring a midair plane hijack was shown in front of "Mission: Impossible," a media kerfuffle ensued over the incomprehensibility of the masked Bane's dialogue, which sounds mostly like he's saying "kerfuffle."
In a Nutshell: Even though plot details are scarce, we know the film takes place a full eight years after the events of Part 2, in which Gotham City is experiencing peace and prosperity that is interrupted by The League of Shadows' return. Led by the brilliant and deadly Bane, the League unleashes a wave of terror that immobilizes the police force and forces Batman to come out from the shadows to once again let justice reign.
viral videos from the shoot hit the web showing massive car chases, street battles, and flying Bat jets, the anticipation levels have gone from red-hot to boiling. This franchise is a proven commodity at this point; but the last film was one of the most beloved fanboy movies ever, which makes it hard to top, especially without Ledger. Does Bane's voice or the "too many bad guys" syndrome make it impossible for Nolan to stick the landing, or will he rise to the occasion?The Buzz: Ever since
Why We're Psyched: Um, DUH, it's frickin' Batman. The most badass of all superheroes is getting a royal sendoff before he's inevitably rebooted again for the 50th time, and Chris Nolan is working at the peak of his powers to deliver the rocking epic the world wants to see. An amazing trailer proves this will be the biggest stick out there this summer, and though we hate to see this team go, we're finally ready for closure. Extreme closure.