Beware, the Bat is back
Barry C Chung
The Dark Knight Rises is one of those films that make you feel love and loathing in equal measures. The Harry Potter films and the forthcoming Twilight release are similarly placed: we eagerly anticipate the conclusion to the story arc, yet also dread the fact that it will be the grand finale.
Eight years have passed since the events of The Dark Knight. Batman (Christian Bale, also as Bruce Wayne) has been branded a criminal and has taken the blame for the rampage through the city by District Attorney Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face.
The plan, supported by Batman and Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), was to sacrifice the truth for the greater good. As a result Batman is vilified by the public and exiled by the police. His presence is not needed and he simply disappears.
'He [Bruce Wayne] is traumatised by what happened and doesn't know how to move on from being the figure of Batman,' says Christopher Nolan, co-producer, co-writer and director of the latest film. 'The Dark Knight Rises very much deals with the consequences of his, and other, characters' actions in the previous films.'
The arrival of cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway, also Catwoman) sets off a series of events that's destined to doom Gotham City forever. And at the centre of it all is the masked vigilante, Bane (Tom Hardy), which leads to the return of the Caped Crusader.
Nolan made extensive use of Imax large-format cameras, while shooting, but also made sure to not lose sight of character and story. 'I'm most interested in what it [IMAX] can give me as a storytelling tool,' says Nolan. 'How can it help me pull the audience deeper into this world? IMAX provides the broadest possible canvas, creating the most immersive experience.'
Batman has always been a gadget-loving superhero; he has no natural superpowers, using his wealth, instincts and brains to combat evil. Yet The Dark Knight Rises takes the iconic vehicles and gadgets to a whole new level.
The two-wheeled Bat-Pod and the Tumbler four-wheel vehicle get makeovers, but this time Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Batman's high-tech gadget guy, has moved beyond the confines of land. He created an airborne vehicle - half-prop jet, half-helicopter - called The Bat, sporting the same design aesthetics as the original Batmobile.
Special-effects supervisor Chris Corbould wanted to keep The Bat as realistic as possible before the computer generated wizardry was unleashed. The team supported The Bat on wires, suspended it from cranes and used hydraulics to mimic its flight. But, of course, off-camera there are limitations.
'To get something like that off the ground was beyond our capabilities,' says Corbould. 'I'd be a very rich man if I could build something that could actually fly.'
Opens on Thursday