Dark Knight Continues Rising
Christopher Nolan and Tom Hardy reveal the latest Batman will be older, Banewill be absolutely monstrous
In their latest issue, Empire Magazine has revealed some interesting information regarding Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Along with a few new images, the accompanying article contains choice quotes from the film’s lead villain, Bane (played by Tom Hardy), and the film’s director, Christopher Nolan, that sheds new light on potential plot points and character development.
One tidbit that stands out is Nolan’s revelation that the film takes place eight years after the trilogy’s second film, The Dark Knight. Says the director: “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.”
This raises more questions about what some have speculated—or more accurately, fantasized—about since Nolan announced this would be his last Batman film: will the plot or character have any relation to artist Frank Miller’s 90s-era portrayal of the caped crusader? Miller’s comic classic centers around an aging Batman; a slower, angrier, less combative hero who struggles both physically and psychologically with his ability to fight crime. In the comic, Batman is viewed by Gotham’s people as more of a burden than ever and, when the hero causes clumsy destruction, it becomes something he begins to believes. This notion that Gotham doesn’t need Batman is a motif that Nolan highlighted in The Dark Knight, so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to expect him to further explore that idea through an older Bruce Wayne.
Additionally, Nolan confirmed that the prologue set to play before Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in IMAX “is basically the first six, seven minutes of the film. It's an introduction to Bane, and a taste of the rest of the film."
Nolan went on to say: “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." It seems Nolan is referring to two events in the Batman canon: one from the comics and one from his previous film.
In The Dark Knight, Batman fails to save politician Harvey Dent from one of The Joker’s twisted schemes, a misstep The World’s Greatest Detective is blamed for. And in one of the photos released by Empire, Bane is standing on the steps of a Gotham building holding up a picture of Harvey Dent. Is he inciting the citizens of Gotham to rebel against the hero they never needed? This would coincide nicely with the theme that Batman is no longer needed to protect the city, and in his older age feels compelled to hang up the batsuit.
Nolan could also be referring to Batman #497, "The Man Who Broke The Bat," when he says Batman will be tested physically. In this issue, Bane attacks an exhausted Bruce Wayne in the batcave, delivering a back-breaking final blow that leaves the hero paralyzed. Further evidence for this premise comes in a Tom Hardy quote from the same Empire article: “[Bane’s] brutal. He's a big dude who's incredibly clinical... 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.” Okay, so the Dark Knight probably won’t have his spine ripped out, but Nolan is notorious for making his Batman films dismally bleak; and what better way to achieve that mood than by making one of the world’s most iconic super heroes paraplegic?
This movie will end arguably the definitive Batman film series. One gives serious depth to what was once confined to the realm of popcorn action flick.
Thanks to Empire, we now have more to speculate about before The Dark Knight Rises' release. And whether or not Nolan’s film will incorporate any of the ideas mentioned is really beside the point; what matters is that this movie will end what's arguably become the definitive Batman film series. One that has been masterfully crafted as a cohesive whole over a period of seven years, paying careful attention to the nuances of a masked crime fighter protecting a city filled with people that aren’t sure if they want him there and one that gives serious depth to what was once confined to the realm of popcorn action flick." Nolan’s Batman may not retire come July 20, 2012, but it’s comforting knowing he will bow out gracefully, before the audience begins to share some of the disdain Gotham citizens have felt for years.
The Dark Knight Risesopens July 20th, 2012; the full Empire article can be read here,