Film News: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Prologue Revealed at Chicago’s Navy Pier IMAX

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CHICAGO – For just a few minutes and to just a petite sampling of Chicago uber fans, Bane has risen. And if it were solely up to Nolan, he’d do it this way 20 more times.

“The Dark Knight Rises” mastermind would lure fanboys and girls everywhere into theatres to see another six minutes only… and another six… and another six – until he’s done it two-dozen times. Then when they’re drooling like rabid dogs, he’d present it in epic aggregate. But because it’s not just up to Nolan, only a thousand or so lucky Batman fans won free tickets to the Chicago reveal of the six-minute “The Dark Knight Rises” prologue.

Tom Hardy as the villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises
Tom Hardy as the villain Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises”.
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Fans got access to threequel’s first clip by solving an enigmatic riddle at the end of a new viral marketing campaign. saw the full six minutes (as we wrote in Oct. 2011 would happen now) and brings you this exclusive report out of Chicago now. The prologue (which can be thought of as an extended trailer) appeared after a break following the advance Chicago screening of Tom Cruise’s new “Mission: Impossible – The Ghost Protocol”.

Two prologue showings happened in Chicago on Dec. 13, 2011 – both at Navy Pier IMAX – the first of which started at 10 p.m. and the second at 10:30 p.m. Fans felt honored to brave spiraling lines before both showings to be among the first in the U.S. to see the prologue before it’s attached publicly this Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 to IMAX cuts of “Mission: Impossible – The Ghost Protocol”.

Spoiler alert! The prologue opens with Gary Oldman’s reprise as Jim Gordon. Gordon is mourning the fact that Aaron Eckhart wasn’t invited back in Nolan’s final Batman film because his Harvey Dent turns into a dead white knight. Gordon says: “I believed in Harvey Dent.” The line hits home with fans who fondly remember the “I Believe in Harvey Dent” campaign in the film that took to Chicago’s streets and across the country in what seemed like a real political election.

The Oldman scene, which appears in wide-screen mode rather than in the IMAX format with which Nolan is so fixated, then cuts to full IMAX glory in an unknown third-world country where a CIA outfit is extricating people. All the while, new cast members are conducting a familiar exercise: trying to figure out the film’s new villain just as fans are anxious to glimpse him in action.

The conversation immediately reminds us of “The Dark Knight” opening where bank robbers discuss The Joker and then he’s unearthed in genuine terror. The same story arc happens here. Instead of a man removing a mask to reveal a lunatic with a spectacularly terrible make-up job, Tom Hardy’s distorted, Darth Vader-like voice is first heard and then his black face bag is flung off.

The first official teaser poster for The Dark Knight Rises released on July 11, 2011
The first official teaser poster for “The Dark Knight Rises” appeared on July 11, 2011. See a high-resolution version.
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Bane’s garbled voice and exactly what he says is already a hot topic on the interwebs and will continue to be, but this much we heard clearly: Bane indeed says “the fire rises”. The line is again familiar for fans. It was revealed in a viral marketing campaign in May 2011 that established those words with the prize of seeing Bane’s first image. If your complaint is that Bane’s voice is hard to understand, don’t whine about that. We know by now that Nolan is a calculated man, and if it’s done that way, it’s intentional and comes with purpose.

The facehugger creature in Alien reminds us of Bane's mask
The “facehugger” creature in “Alien” reminds us of Bane’s “The Dark Knight Rises” mask.
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

So, the film’s new antagonist is exposed. While what we’re seeing here certainly isn’t a final print and much can change before its opening on July 12, 2012, Bane’s black and copper face contraption reminds us of a “facehugger” creature in the movie “Alien”. Like the “Alien” facehugger, Bane’s mask looks like a parasitic creature attached to its host, but Bane’s is pumping him full of mysterious fluids.

The prologue scene, which takes place in an airplane, sets up Bane as Batman’s nemesis and gives you a teaser into his psychosomatic agony and physical brawn. And after Bane summons his henchmen just like The Joker would to seize control of the situation, the prologue spends a minute cutting through various trailer-like scenes.

We see Anne Hathaway as a particularly pissed-off Catwoman and then again in orange prison garb as Selina Kyle. We watch citizen panic with police in a busy street like scenes shot on Chicago’s LaSalle Street in “The Dark Knight”. We witness a fleeting flirtation with Christian Bale as Batman squaring off against Bane – not yet breaking the bat’s back – as well as the Batpod thundering away on a Gotham City street (that’s no longer shot in Chicago). Leading his minions into battle, we also see Bane sporting what looks like reinforced chainmail.

The prologue is meant to be foreplay until the film’s next buzz-building event. And tease it does. Scores of questions remain unanswered, but just remember this: “In Nolan we trust.”

“The Dark Knight Rises” stars Tom Hardy, Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Juno Temple, Matthew Modine, Daniel Sunjata, Josh Pence and Joey King from writer and director Christopher Nolan along with writer Jonathan Nolan. The film is scheduled for release on July 20, 2012.

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When you see this prologue, comment below:
What did you think? Thumbs up or down and why? publisher Adam Fendelman


© 2011 Adam Fendelman, LLC

Anonymous's picture

toomuch sarcasm dude. the

toomuch sarcasm dude. the shit was awesome's picture


Anonymous wrote:
the shit was awesome

Curious… Why’d you think so?

Jerry Vasilatos's picture

I was pretty impressed, but

I was pretty impressed, but I expected that. Bane’s voice sounded like a Darth Vader modulated Sean Connery giving him the sinister elegance of a deadly and menacing Bond villain. I also liked how they mirrored the Joker’s entrance in TDK by having Bane and his henchmen masked and then revealed as they carried out their plan on the airplane.

And the finale… shades of Operation “Skyhook” on steroids. Lots of foreshadowing setups in “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” that I see paying off in this from the return of the League of Shadows and the aforementioned Operation “Skyhook” CIA extraction, to that passing comment about how Batman’s new suit should do fine against cats (with the introduction of Selina Kyle).

I suspect the Nolan brothers had a good more of this mapped out in their heads when they were doing TDK than they let on to the public. It’s just a shame we’ll never know how they planned to utilize the Joker in the conclusion but I think the physically intimidating threat and diabolical brilliance of Tom Hardy’s Bane will distract people enough from Ledger’s absence.

Jerry Vasilatos's picture

Who inspires us? Bane? Batman? Dent?

Also thought I’d add this:

A forum member at IMDB wrote this about why Gordon is in the prologue:

“No one will inspire us like Dent for a long time…” Cut to Bane. Bane will inspire Gotham. He clearly has inspired his henchmen to the point of being alright with killing themselves for him. ”

I think he’s halfway there but I’ll go one better.

Bane may inspire his men, but eight years later (a long time…) it will be Batman who inspires the rest of Gotham to rise up against Bane’s army, surpassing how Harvey inspired the city and being the type of hero Gotham truly “needs” at the conclusion of this trilogy with the threat Bane’s plan poses.

I think the rumor that floated around this summer about the production sourcing secondary market Batman costumes for extras may play into the ending beyond the battle between the GPD and Bane’s mercenaries, as Batman’s army rises, borrowing some from “The Dark Knight Returns” graphic novel where Batman won over the mutant army. After all, Hardy’s Bane seems an amalgam of Bane, KG Beast, and the Mutant Leader in “Dark Knight Returns”.

The Nolan brothers have distilled the best highlights of Batman’s long history into this trilogy, and I think they’ll be borrowing some story elements from “The Dark Knight Returns” given the 8 year jump in time that Nolan has confirmed and that represents the throughline of Gordon’s eulogy in the beginning and where it will lead.

Would be kind of kickass too if the rumors that Batman dies ARE true, but with Bruce actually surviving and guiding a new army of Batmen and “inspiring” them the same way he did at the end of “Dark Knight Returns”. Could be the clever twist ending none of us would expect with all the Batman death rumors floating around.

I love how Nolan decided to use Bane for the trilogy finale and how he’s been interpreted. Was also musing how when “Batman and Robin” was made, what the hell was Shitmaker thinking hiring a no name actor to play Bane instead of casting Schwarzenegger instead of for Freeze since he was the right physical type? Oh well. Thank God Nolan had the brains to adapt Batman properly for contemporary audiences.

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