An unexpected weight was put on Christopher Nolan’s shoulders after the mega success of 2008, The Dark Knight, when Heath Ledger,one of the main stars, died unexpectedly. The decision to cast Ledger as the iconic villain, The Joker, raised a lot of eyebrows in advance but proved to be a great decision, but eventually turned out to be a curse – how to top Ledger’s unforgettable performance and continue the story without one of its most significant characters?
Nolan proved to have made the right choice regarding Ledger by previewing The Dark Knight’s Heat-esque bank heist in Imax theatres as the preview treat for I Am Legend. Now Nolan is trying the same by previewing the first seven minutes of The Dark Knight Rises to a selected group of journalists in London. Based on the preview the yet again eyebrow-raising decision to cast Tom Hardy as Bane proves to have hit the nail right on the head.
Bane introduced himself for the first time to European audiences in December in London’s BFI Imax theatre, first to invited guests and introduced by the movie’s producer Emma Thomas and later in the evening as the preview for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
The first seven minutes of the film are in true Nolan fashion genuinely breathtaking. From the eulogy of Harvey Dent, who died in The Dark Knight, we jump straight into action. In the footsteps of The Dark Knight, the movie’s opening introduces the movie’s arch nemesis to the audience via an elaborate heist. In this case, Bane captures a CIA rendition flight with his own crew while the plane is in the air.
The scene is comparable to The Dark Knight’s corresponding scene, but instead of a bank the heist takes place in air. The sequence looks astonishing on an Imax screen, which in the BFI theatre is the biggest in the UK and helps understand Nolan’s fondness for this slightly unusual, yet all the more popular format.
Hardy looks menacing in his role as Bane, and he has been seen as a towering hulk in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson, which would seem to be the closest comparison to his role as Bane. Despite the fact, Nolan has denied seeing the film before casting Hardy for the role, which seems baffling if one compares Bane to his role in Inception, for example.
Despite his menace and dreadfulness, Hardy’s vocal output was not very comprehensible due to the mask he is seen wearing and raised some pique among others who saw the preview. Nolan has commented on the voice being final, and the only thing being tinkered with anymore is the audio balance.
After the opening scene there is a collage of scenes from here and there later in the movie. Along with the viral marketing and the newest trailer for the movie, it gives food for thought and inspires speculation on the events of the final film. Noland and screenwriter David S. Goyer have earlier stated that the comics Knightfall, The Dark Knight Returns and No Man’s Land have influenced their story a lot, so it could be expected for Bane to cause permanent damage to Batman.
The most prominent example of this is the new poster featuring a broken cowl on the foreground. This along with the fact that Nolan has stated in interviews that Bane is to test Batman both physically and mentally connects alarmingly with the Knightfall saga of the comics. In Knightfall, which introduced Bane to the Batman Rogue’s gallery, has Bane push Batman and exhaust him physically and mentally by releasing the inmates of Arkham Asylum on Gotham. Eventually Bane confronts Batman in the Batcave and at the end of the fight breaks Batman’s back, leaving him a paraplegic.
While the preview focuses on establishing Bane as the main antagonist, Nolan will also introduce Catwoman, a.k.a. Selina Kyle, portrayed by Anne Hathaway, to his Batman-saga. Since it is as of yet unclear what her eventual siding will be, it would seem Nolan has gone with the traditional cat burglar angle rather than Tim Burton’s supernatural approach. The most keen-eyed viewers of the new trailer noticed ms Kyle wearing a pearl necklace that looks exactly like Martha Wayne’s, Bruce’s deceased mother, necklace. Yet the internet is ripe with speculation over whether she will eventually side with Batman after assisting Bane.
Regardless, it is typical for Nolan to lead his viewers astray deliberately, so nothing can be confirmed before the movie’s premiere in July.