2012 Prep Course: The Dark Knight Rises

Did you think you were done hearing jokes about the Rapture? Nope! This is the year we’re all going to die, according to a calendar created by a pre-electricity culture over a few thousand years ago. Either that, or you’ll undergo a massive spiritual transformation, if you listen to the New Age people. Or maybe you’ll finally learn to play the ukelele. Either way, big year!

This is the first in a series of important intelligent slightly informative posts about pop culture things that are happening in 2012. We’ll start off with Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.

The Dark Knight Rises is the last of a trilogy of Batman films directed by Christopher Nolan. The first was Batman Begins, the second was The Dark Knight. Both are very good! None of them are related to the good Batman movies with Michael Keaton, or the horrible Batman movies with Chris O’Donnell and bat nipples. This franchise is a complete reboot.

Here’s what you need to know about Batman.
1. Batman is based in Gotham City.
Gotham City sucks. The weather is awful, there are too many bats, and you’ll probably be shot or robbed or mutilated if you go to see a movie. The architecture is really pretty, but heavy on gargoyles. They use police blimps, which I think is cool.

2. Batman is Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale). His parents are killed in an alley when he’s young. He wants to change Gotham and to take his revenge against evil, so he trains to become awesome at everything. Then a bat hits him in the face or something. The whole “bat” part is still weird to me. He’s rich and has ninja skills and great hair, but is sad, so he becomes Batman.

3. Batman doesn’t use guns because his parents were shot to death. Dropping bad guys from rooftops is totally fine.

4. Batman’s voice is gravely and deep. I guess it could be scary, depending on how you feel about bat ears.

If you’re planning on seeing The Dark Knight Rises without watching the first two, well, that’s dumb. Just watch the first two. Even by higher non-nerd movie standards, they’re good.

A prologue for DKR was shown in IMAX theaters before Mission Impossible last month. I saw the prologue, and I loved it. It’s a six-minute plane-to-plane kidnapping. I still can’t figure out how the hell it was pulled off.

The trailer is nuts.

The casting for these movies has been dead-on perfect, with very few exceptions. Bale, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, and Michael Caine were in the first two and are all coming back for the third. Liam Neeson was great in the first movie. Katie Holmes was also in the first one, but we try to pretend that didn’t happen. Heath Ledger was incredible in the second film, but you probably know that by now. So if the third movie follows the pattern, we know the acting will be really good.

Each of the Nolan Batman movies has at least one appearance by “that guy who was in everything in the ’80s.”

In Batman Begins, it was Rutger Hauer.

You know, THAT guy.

In The Dark Knight, it was Eric Roberts.

That other one guy.

In The Dark Knight Rises, it will be Matthew Modine.

Again with that one guy who is in things.

You don’t have to remember that, I just thought it was worth pointing out.

There are some big additions to the cast for The Dark Knight Rises. Anne Hathaway is playing Catwoman.

Not the actual costume, but look at how sneaky she looks!

In the comics, Catwoman is a cat burglar (get it?) and uses a whip. She has a lot of freaky sex with Batman. In the movie, she rides a big bike and has goggles that flip up into cat ears.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is some guy named John Blake, who (I’m assuming) is a rookie of some kind.

A simple police officer, definitely not a hidden character in disguise.

As always, he’s going to learn some life lessons. He’ll smile shyly, and the bespectacled young women of Gotham will flock to his side.

Marion Cotillard is playing another new character named Miranda Tate. You probably won’t understand what she’s saying most of the time. But she’s very pretty.


There are rumors about the character she’s actually playing (if you want to be spoiled), but either way, you just know she’s evil.

Tom Hardy is Bane, the main bad guy. You definitely won’t understand what he’s saying.

Give me your grrr face, Tom.

In the comics, he dresses like a luchador, pumps himself full of a supervillain steroid serum called Venom, and (spoiler) does this. In the movies, he likes fur coats and has that wicked Silence of the Lambs mask, so we know that movie Bane will be much cooler.

The actual plot of The Dark Knight Rises is still kind of a mystery. Honestly, I want to go into it pretty fresh without too much information ahead of time, so I’ve purposely been avoiding some of the finer plot details. Aren’t you glad you’ve been reading this so far?

But there’s going to be fighting. Bad guys will riot against good guys on the streets. Matthew Modine will shoot a gun, which will look weird. I’m willing to bet that Michael Caine will finally punch someone or shoot an intruder with a shotgun, because he’s overdue. People will be amazed that Anne Hathaway can be in a movie without singing or doing a kooky fall into a puddle. Batman has a big cannon. The action scenes will be incredible. I’m telling you, just that plane scene was breathtaking.

I know a lot of nerds comic fans have been put off that the movie versions of Batman have been so different from the comics. It’s always bugged me a little when directors create brand new crappy stories for comic book movies when a perfectly great story is right there. But the plotlines in the Nolan movies have always worked really well. They call on the Batman comics and apply them to the real world without being stupid and campy.

In any case, when this movie comes out, you’ll hear about it everywhere. So, now you’re prepared. Go ahead and watch that trailer about seven more times and start counting down to Summer.



  1. LeAHHH!!!

    Great post!!! I’d like to add that that’s Hines Ward (wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers) running for the touchdown in the trailer.

    …and when engaged in drinking games where new rules must be created and implemented during play, making people speak only in Batman voice is pretty great.

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