Future Tense: The Dark Knight Rises

We love to wax nostalgic at PoP!, but sometimes it’s what’s yet to come that most quickens our nerd pulses. For better or for worse, let’s start the speculation over what’s making us Future Tense.

It goes without question that the two most anticipated comics-to-film blockbusters set for release next year are the big-budget Marvel Studios team-up, The Avengers, and the third and final film in Christopher Nolan‘s Batman series, The Dark Knight RisesAvengers, for the most part, despite not closing their sets and a few minor slip-ups by the cast here and there, has stayed relatively enshrouded in secrecy, and at press time, we still don’t know 100% who or what will be the antagonist (outside of Loki, of course).  The Dark Knight Rises on the other hand, seems to be spoiled more and more, as the sets were a sieve for unauthorized photos, and more details about the plot and characters are revealed in headlines on a daily basis.  PoP! Contributor Thacher E. Cleveland has joked on occasion that one of these days, Christopher Nolan is going to just come out and tell us the ending of his Batman story.  With just a little over six months until Dark Knight Rises hits theaters (July 20th, 2012), will there be anything left for us to be surprised by?

My Joker fan-dom has never been kept secret on PanelsOnPages.com, and leading up to the release of The Dark Knight in 2008, I instituted a self-imposed media blackout for all things Dark Knight.  When Dark Knight trailers played before other movies that year, I escaped from the theater with ninja-like agility.  If a commercial came on television, I would change the channel.  And I didn’t even THINK of clicking a link that promised set photos, character designs, story synopses or other spoilery details of the film.  It worked like a charm, and I was able to sit in that IMAX theater on opening day as fresh as a daisy to view the film featuring what would be Heath Ledger‘s Oscar-winning turn as the Clown Prince of Crime.

It’s already become impossible for me to duplicate this experience when it comes to The Dark Knight Rises.  Firstly, when The Dark Knight was released, while PoP! was in it’s planning stages, I was not actively working for the site, providing news and commentary on anything and everything fans could be interested in.  While I would prefer to go in with a clean slate, I feel like I would be neglecting my duties as an internet professional if I wasn’t actively seeking out news regarding one of the most high-profile films in comic history.  But seriously, other sites, that doesn’t mean that you should spoil plot details in news headlines.  That’s poor form.  I know more than I should about The Dark Knight Rises without ever clicking on one of those articles.

Also in regards to my responsibility as a contributor for PanelsOnPages.com, against my better judgement, I already have tickets purchased to view the 6-minute Dark Knight Rises prologue TONIGHT before an IMAX showing of Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol.  I had no interest in the Dark Knight prologue which ran with I Am Legend back in the winter of 2007, and was able to steer clear of details, but we’ve already seen bootlegs of the DKR prologue pop up online, full descriptions of the sequence, and I’d assume it would be only a matter of time before I stumbled upon it accidentally or clicked the play button in a moment of weakness.

This is surely a larger topic for another time, but in this culture of instant gratification, we scratch and claw for as many details and as much screen-time as possible before finally plunking down hard-earned money to see a film in theaters, and in some cases, leave the theater nonplussed because we’ve already spoiled the best parts for ourselves.  Considering Christopher Nolan has taken the Bat-franchise to the mountain-top after wallowing in the muck of Schumacher, pioneered techniques with the IMAX cameras and presented the first ever feature-film sequences filmed in the format, and has done it again with Dark Knight Rises, why would you cheapen the experience for yourself by watching a terrible bootleg online?  I think if any filmmaker, any film series deserves the type of reverence which would encourage audiences to see the film in the format intended, it would be Christopher Nolan and his Bat-films.

I’m sure what has more fans puckered in their seat than internet spoilers is the nagging question whether or not Dark Knight Rises will be able to measure up to the legacy of The Dark Knight.  Christopher Nolan is a smart man, and he would be doing himself a disservice if he tried to make The Dark Knight 2.  Surely, The Joker was in original plans for a third film, but following Ledger’s death and Nolan’s assurance that Joker would not reappear, plans had to change.  Replacing Ledger, or filling the spot with another villain cut from the same cloth would have only warranted comparisons.

Hopefully, with Nolan’s introduction of Bane, we will see an new type of villain for the Caped Crusader to do battle with, and throwing in Catwoman as the wildcard will surely up the drama and give fans a taste of the Bruce/Selina relationship which has been a cornerstone of Batman comics for decades.  Bane has a notorious reputation in the bat-books, and considering this is the final film in Nolan’s series, could Hardy’s Bane actually break the bat?  But is Tom Hardy too small to play Bane?  Maybe.  Is Anne Hathway‘s Catwoman cowl kinda stupid looking?  Definitely.  Then again, this is Nolan we’re talking about.  No number of crappy set photos of actors with bad posture are going to turn me away from seeing the film on opening night.

Here’s hoping that after I check out the 6-minute prologue for The Dark Knight Rises tonight in IMAX, as well as the first long-form trailer which will accompany both Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol and Sherlock Holmes 2: Game of Shadows this weekend, I can finally stop spoiling myself until opening day.  I mean, seriously, we’re all going to see this movie.  No amount of trailers, commercials, posters, and marketing could convince me to see what could end being Christopher Nolan’s Return of the King any more than I already will be.



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Who ARE these people!?

Jason Knize, K-Nice if you're nasty, is a co-founder of PanelsOnPages.com, resident News Editor, and one-half of the World Tag Team Champions, The 11th Hour. You can usually find him in the most wretched hive of scum and villainy...The PoP!ulation Forums.


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