Few films in 2012 are more highly anticipated that Christopher Nolan’s next Batman adventure and, to get the hype machine well and truly running, Warner Bros, in a similar marketing move utilised for The Dark Knight, have released the opening six minutes of The Dark Knight Rises before IMAX screenings for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. It will be difficult to talk about the prologue without divulging specifics so for those who wish to go into the film blind, stop reading here. For everyone else, here’s our take…

Having now seen this opening salvo we on the farm can confirm a couple of things:

  • It sets up the suitably ominous tone promised by the film makers
  • It introduces Nolan’s Bane as a nasty and dangerously intelligent piece of work

Batman The Dark Knight Rises

After seeing a brief clip at Harvey Dent’s funeral in which Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) reiterates ‘I believed in Harvey Dent’, we quickly cut to a van being driven at speed by the CIA to a waiting plane with a number of hooded figures in tow, along with another man named Dr. Pavel. As they’re herded onto said plane, one agent reveals that their captives have knowledge on the criminal known to the CIA only as Bane. Once in the air, the main agent declares to the captives; ‘The flight plan I just filed with the agency lists me, my men, Dr. Pavel but only one of you’ at which point the plane’s hatch is opened and the CIA dude takes the first hooded man and dangles him at gun-point out of the plane.

A number of questions ensue including ‘why does he wear the mask?’, indicating the authorities know little about the film’s chief antagonist. When no answers are forthcoming, the CIA man screams ‘a lot of loyalty for a hired gun!’ to which another of the hooded captives replies; ‘perhaps he is wondering why you would shoot a man before throwing him out of a plane’.

CIA Agent: ‘At least you can talk. Who are you?’

Captive: ‘It doesn’t matter who we are, what matters is our plan. But no one cared who I was until I put on the mask’.

The captive’s hood is lifted, revealing him to be Bane, wheezing yet immediately intimidating. Referring to the mask, the agent asks ‘if I pull that off, will you die?’ ‘It will be extremely painful’ replies Bane.

CIA Agent: ‘Well congratulations. You got yourself caught. Now what’s the next step in your master plan?’

Bane: ‘Crashing this plane. With no survivors.’

At which point all hell breaks loose. Without going into the finer details, Bane, along with his men, hijack the plane and capture Dr. Pavel. As the Doctor screams, Bane says coolly; ‘calm down doctor. Now’s not the time for fear. That comes later.’

Then BAM, the scene ends with a brief glimpse from the rest of the film to the tune of Hans Zimmer’s brooding score. The IMAX photography is stunning and immerses the audience more successfully than any cheap 3D trickery. It’s exciting to hear that a good fifty minutes of the film has been shot in IMAX, reiterating Nolan’s preference for sharper visuals over 3D. A number of the shots are present in the recent trailer with one major exception (SPOILER ALERT!): a shot of Bane dropping Batman’s broken cowl to the floor with chilling indifference.

What can this taster tell us? Not a lot and, in fact, it raises more questions than answers. The broken cowl is an ominous sign that things are going to get very bad for the Caped Crusader. Could this follow the Nightfall story where Bane breaks Batman’s back? Is the eight year gap since The Dark Knight a recuperation period from severe injuries? Is Bane attempting to finish what Ra’s al Ghul started in Batman Begins?

We’ll have to wait till July 20th to find out. In the interim, head to IMAX screenings of Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol to see the prologue in full.

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