There are a particular group of movies that evoke a strong sense of anticipation within an audience, and 2012 sees the release of a whole plethora of them in fact. It’s difficult to explain, but this aspect of universal yearning is becoming more apparent in today’s cinema. It’s not hyperbole to label The Dark Knight Rises as perhaps the biggest movie of the decade.
It was January 2008 when the world learned of the tragically young death of Australian movie star, Heath Ledger. Untimely as it was, his final role as the Joker in The Dark Knight sent audiences into something of a daze; diabolically clever, charismatically insane, it was a performance that will remain fresh in the mind for years to come. The marketing for that movie was superb, perhaps Disney could learn a thing or two (poor John Carter), and for the first six months of 2008, many agreed that there was only one film worth seeing that summer; it didn’t disappoint.
From that moment on, all eyes were cast on Chris Nolan and Warner Bros., ears pricked, waiting for any sign, any slight trembling about the third installment in Nolan’s dazzling Batman franchise. Sadly, it was not to come; Nolan announced his intention to create his own story, the grandiose sci-fi/thriller Inception. The subsequent success of the mind-bending puzzle film was undoubtedly fuelled by the impact of The Dark Knight, which had truly boosted Chris Nolan’s name into the mainstream flow of Hollywood. It was a damn good film too.
Then it came.
First it was a title: The Dark Knight Rises – the Internet exploded into a tizzy of fan theories, faux announcements, and what a certain selection of the online community like to refer to as a ‘nerd-gasm’.
The release of the movie’s official title was quickly followed up by the high-profile castings of Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway, playing the villains Bane and Catwoman respectively. Though Hardy’s appointment as the physically imposing Bane was a no-brainer to all who had witnessed his fantastic turn in Bronson, the decision to cast Anne Hathaway was met with something slightly north of intense dismay.
Yet slowly, Warner Brothers began to market the movie in a similar vein to its predecessor, including the return of viral marketing. In December, the movie marketing team decided to release the first scene of the movie, introducing the audience to the primary villain, Bane. Initial reaction was overwhelmingly positive, despite Bane’s apparent inability to speak coherently. In February, Empire magazine predicted the movie to finish the year as the highest earner; considering this year also sees a number of massive blockbuster releases including Joss Whedon’s The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble if you live on the wrong side of the pond), and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, Empire’s prediction displays the film world’s strong sense of anticipation for the final installment in Nolan’s saga.
For those wishing to remain spoiler-free, I won’t divulge any plot details or character tidbits that have been released via announcements or set photos, but what has been released so far has been promising, and audiences will be hoping that the movie keeps to the formula that worked so well for Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight.
So what can we expect?
Nolan has a penchant for non-linear storylines and vast, complex tales which overlap with pretty, creative bows on top. Whilst Batman Begins was a fantastical comic-book film, resembling Burton’s effort in more than one way, The Dark Knight jumped away from its comic-book origins, and Nolan succeeded in transcending genre, turning Gotham City into a present day metropolis, generating a more realistic world for fans to embrace, and become part of. Once more, if the trailer and promos released are anything to go by, Nolan has gone all out in terms of action and locale. As the 0’s in Nolan’s budgets increase, his ambitious scope extends further, giving us all incentive to part with our well earned cash, drop whatever we are doing and head to the cinema for the third and final outing of the caped crusader.
I know I will.
The Dark Knight Rises is released July 20, 2012.