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Previewing 2012 : The Dark Knight Rises

Directed By Christopher Nolan

Starring Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Sunjata, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson (rumoured)

Released July 19, 2012 (AU); July 20, 2012 (US)

Every hero has a journey. Every journey has an end. Christopher Nolan returns to complete the epic Gotham trilogy that launched with Batman Begins and reached the stratosphere with the billion-dollar blockbuster The Dark Knight.

Batman is now hunted by the law led by his friend Commisioner Gordon for taking the blame of Harvey Dent’s murders and protecting his reputation. He must quickly deal with the arrival of new villain Bane who is bent on the destruction and chaos of Gotham City, face old wounds and get a handle on the enigmatic Selina Kyle before his city is lost for good.

Oscar Winner Christian Bale reprises his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman for the third time along with stars Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commisioner Gordon and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox. Inception stars Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt join the cast as WayneEnterprise board member Miranda Tate and Gotham Cop John Blake. Rounding out the cast are Anne Hathaway as the sleek Selina Kyle and Tom Hardy as the powerful villain Bane.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Syncopy Production, a Christopher Nolan film, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Nolan directed the film from a screenplay written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. Charles Roven, Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan are the producers, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull serving as executive producers. “The Dark Knight Rises” is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by Bob Kane..

One of 2012′s hottest movie is undoubtedly ”The Dark Knight Rises”, Director Christopher Nolan’s final instalment of the chain-smoking Caped Crusader trilogy that Warner signed off on after Joel Schumacher worked the Batman series into a ground – with 1997′s ”Batman & Robin” – like a cheap solar-powered garden light.

Most know that the film, besides being traditionally dark and brimming with context you don’t usually find in a superhero movie (unless it’s named Condorman), sees Batman (Christian Bale, swearing he’ll never wear the Cowl again after this installment) going head-to-head with leather-clad goggle-adorned feline, Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and back-breaking human bulldozer Bane (Tom Hardy). Most also know that, in addition to returning cast members Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and, there’s a few new additions; Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Matthew Modine and Daniel Sunjata, to name but a few. You might also be aware that the plan was for The Joker, the villain of ”The Dark Knight”, to cameo in the film (sort of in a ‘Hannibal Lecter’-esque role, that is, he’d be advising Batman from his prison cell) but with the late, great Heath Ledger now stuck in an eternal sleep, the malicious jester has been benched.

But don’t fret, Bane looks to be one cool-ass villain and Catwoman’s going to be just as purrfectly confused as she was when Michelle Pfeiffer wore her duds in 1992’s “Batman Returns”. Also, there’s rumoured to be a couple of other surprise villains in the movie.

Drew at HitFix was the first to report that “Batman Begins” villain ra’s Al Ghul may be back for the Bat in the film. Seems both Ra’s and daughter Talia (the character Marion Cotillard is playing is rumoured to be a cover) want a Caped Crusader’s head on-a-stick.

“According to sources, none other than Liam Neeson was on the set of “The Dark Knight Rises” on Monday, shooting a scene as Ra’s al Ghul. Wait… what?! Right now, I can’t confirm if the scene was meant to be a flashback or if it takes place in the current timeline of the films, but Neeson was there, and he was in front of the cameras. By Tuesday night, he was already in New York where he showed up for the premiere of the revamped “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.” I have no idea if he’s going to return to London for more “The Dark Knight Rises” shooting or not, but at the very least, we know he’s stepped in front of the camera. What does this mean for the film’s storyline? We’ve been hearing for a while that Josh Pence had a role in the film as a young Ra’s al Ghul, and I think many people assumed that was for a flashback. It’s also widely believed that his daughter Talia, a major part of Bruce Wayne’s life in the comics, may show up in the film. But to actually have Neeson play the role again, especially if he’s playing a resurrected Ghul, is exciting news indeed, and suggests that Nolan may be playing around with the strange and the supernatural to some extent. It’s something that fans of the series have been speculating about for a while now, and more and more evidence seems to indicate that at the very least, Nolan’s going to play with the idea of resurrection. Whether it’s real or not is something I suspect we’ll have to see the film to discover.”

And Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cop character, John Blake, might also carry a fake I.D.

It’s long been suggested that Blake is Albert Falcone, the son of gangster Carmine Falcone, the chap (Tom Wilkinson played) Batman helped put down in ”Batman Begins”. Whatever the case, Gordon-Levitt’s character does seem to be hiding… something (some are even suggesting he’s the future ‘Robin’).

So what’s this “conclusion” about, anyway?

Nolan told Empire it’s set eight years after “The Dark Knight” and, “It’s really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne’s story. We left him in a very precarious place. Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after The Dark Knight. So he’s an older Bruce Wayne; he’s not in a great state.”

Why the jump-forward in time? Rumour has it Nolan does something to, er, the character in this final part of his trilogy that obviously didn’t sit so well with some of the brass at Warner Bros. A meet-in-the-middle was reached where Nolan would leap forward in time, thus enabling Warner Bros to make as many movies or a TV show as they wanted about what and who Batman faced between “Dark Knight” and “Dark Knight Rises”. Needless to say, Nolan likely won’t be involved in these further Batman movies, nor will star Christian Bale, but the studio is still keen to keep the character in the Nolan Batverse since this incarnation has been the best received of the Caped Crusader series.

The film opens with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), picking up where the late Harvey Dent left off, cleaning up Gotham City. The Mayor (Nestor Carbonell) is still around. When Bane turns up (someone who may know the truth about the not so moral Dent), and starts messing up the town, Bruce Wayne is forced to pull the Batsuit out of mothballs.

Nolan says Bane will be Batman’s toughest adversary, essentially confirming widespread belief that the hero will get body-slammed to a hospital bed this time around.

“With Bane, we’re looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn’t had before. With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we’re testing Batman both physically as well as mentally.”

“He’s a big dude who’s incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style,” Tom Hardy added. “It’s not about fighting. It’s about carnage. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it’s nasty. Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. He is a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action.”

In the film, Bane carries around an anesthetic, not an apparatus containing a steroid, to numb his pain. Again, this suggests more of a real-world approach to the character but Nolan also probably wants the audience to sympathize, somewhat, with Bane’s plight.

There’s a bit of controversy brewing about Bane’s voice, which you can read about here.

Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman isn’t going to be an -out-and-out villain. Unable to no longer deny her feelings for Bruce Wayne/Batman, the sexy superhero becomes somewhat of an ally to the caped crusader in his plight to take down Bane and Talia Al Ghul and her league of shadows.


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