Chris Clow is a comic book expert, retailer and contributor to Batman-On-Film.com and Dark Knight Rises Countdown column here at Movies.com every other Thursday, and his comic book reviews for various monthly titles and his participated podcasts at BOF and MMM. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
This week, The Dark Knight Rises Countdown feels a little more open and free. I think this is primarily because, finally, I can talk more openly about one of the most mind-blowing moments of my life: going to the set of a major Batman film, directed by Christopher Nolan, no less! Now that the air is clear, it’ll be nice to focus on the new bits of news that spring up in context of what I know from visiting the production last year.
Even beyond the fallout from the set visit, it seems that there’s plenty of other news that we can focus on this time, so why don’t we hop to it?
The week of May 21st has probably been one of the most active in terms of news surrounding the forthcoming Nolan Batman finale, and the first bit of news we got that week came in the form of the film’s new theatrical poster. It takes the template of the film’s original teaser poster, but changes the colors and gives us a pretty awesome look at the Dark Knight in the process.
Some fans seemed critical of the design when it was first released, with some of the complaints I heard ranging from “unimaginative” to “dull.” Yeah, if I had to choose which poster I’d like to hang over my head, it’d probably be the one released last December. In the scheme of things, though, I’d hardly call this poster dull. That wouldn’t be the end of it though, as the very next day, three more posters with a character-specific focus turned up on the internet as well! These feature the film’s three main characters. Batman, Bane, and Catwoman.
I like these a lot. The emphasis of dark storm clouds and cold rain adds to the feeling of dread present in the trailers for the film. Batman and Catwoman look fantastic, and Bane looks very much at home in a harsh environment given his wardrobe and menacing demeanor. You can check out fuller versions of these pieces by navigating to BOF’s initial story on their release over the internet. As if that wasn’t enough, that same day we received three more character specific posters in slightly more dynamic poses, via Esmas.com.
Looking good! Batman looks appropriately monolithic in this piece, and Catwoman’s position on the Batpod I’m sure will just remind people to ask themselves who’s side she’s really on. Bane looks like he’s ready for war, because as we’ve seen, he definitely seems ready to fight one if the released trailers and TV spots are any indication. And if that wasn’t enough, back on May 25th, we got a new look at a Catwoman-centric poster that doesn’t seem to bode too well for our favorite hero.
What more could you want, besides the actual film? Footage? Well, I think you’re in luck in that regard, as we definitely got a great look at some new, previously unreleased footage from the forthcoming film that serves only to whet the appetite even further.
TV Spots Premiere
Over the period of about a week, fans were treated to four new TV spots for the film, some featuring tiny snippets of new footage not seen before. The first spot shows the impending threat of Bane on Gotham, and Bruce Wayne’s realization that he needs to, “get back in the game.” The second spot focuses on Selina Kyle, with Bane getting a bit more focus as a man taking Gotham to war. In the closing seconds of the spot, a valet informs Bruce that his wife took the car, and that he’d be taking a cab home. Whaa…?
The third spot gives a little more grounding to Bruce Wayne’s status at the beginning of the film, with Lucius Fox wanting to show Bruce something “for old time’s sake.” The final spot released is a quick montage of footage emphasizing the chaos and conflict throughout the film with a warning from Alfred telling Bruce, “You’re not Batman anymore.”
Check out the first spot below, and see the others at the links for the full effect!
The Set Visit: Thank Yous and Fallout
I’ve gotta tell you, I found it a little difficult not to go blabbing that last summer I went to the set of The Dark Knight Rises. The very experience, taking place now over nine months ago, is still very, very fresh in my mind. Being at Heinz Field the day that it was taken over by Bane and seeing the thousands of extras trying to run for their lives after his onslaught began was a very surreal experience that I won’t soon forget. This completely bars the fact that I got to speak with the man who personifies Bane, Tom Hardy, minutes before he would have to strap on his giant winter coat on a hot and humid Pittsburgh day and address the 11,000 assembled extras as if he was their “liberation” asking them to take control of their city.
Having the opportunity to speak with a talented actress like Anne Hathaway as well as the Batman himself, Christian Bale, are experiences I won’t soon forget, and this experience was exemplified and enhanced through the efforts of some very good people. People, first and foremost, like Bill Ramey, founder of Batman-On-Film, who is the most responsible for recommending me to write for Movies.com, and by extension, getting me to take the opportunity to visit the set.
Anne of Warner Bros. Publicity was also very, very understanding of this as an overwhelming experience for a Batman fanboy, and made me feel like part of the club the minute I went down to meet everyone. Claudia, the film’s publicist, also made the actual visit on the set very memorable and helped to show me the ropes as well as answer some burning questions this Bat-fan’s had about Christopher Nolan’s entire tenure on the franchise. Last but certainly not least, Movies.com’s esteemed Erik Davis, who asked me if I would like to take on this assignment for the site. To all of these people, I have to extend a heartfelt “Thank You.” A kid from the Pacific Northwest was allowed to experience a day he’ll never ever forget, facilitated and made even more special by all of these efforts. I truly appreciate having the opportunity to make this visit and report on it as an extremely rare personal and professional pleasure.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our full coverage of the visit to The Dark Knight Rises set in the reports below. I’m sure you’ll find them interesting reads, especially if you’re at all looking forward to Mr. Nolan’s finale on the Batman character!
New Rises Footage to Debut at MTV Movie Awards
BOF reported back on May 26th that Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the legendary Gary Oldman will be on hand at MTV’s Movie Awards this Sunday to introduce brand new footage from The Dark Knight Rises. You can see the awards this Sunday night at 9pm EST/6pm PST on, you guessed it, MTV.
David Goyer Teases Emotional Ending to Rises
On May 30th, BOF reported some awesome tidbits from David Goyer, the man who has helped devise the story to all three of Nolan’s Batman films (writing the screenplay for Batman Begins) as well as the forthcoming Superman vehicle Man of Steel. Jett said a few words about Mr. Goyer that I think bear repeat here:
“For some reason, David Goyer seems to get a lot of you-know-what from a small segment of fans when it comes to his work on BATMAN BEGINS, THE DARK KNIGHT, and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. You know what? Goyer is the unsung hero of these films quite frankly. Without him, I don't know if we'd have gotten BATMAN BEGINS much less two sequels.”
I couldn’t agree more. One of the reasons the Nolan Batman films have had such a high level of fidelity to the mythology of Batman is because of Mr. Goyer. Nolan is a hell of a filmmaker with a fantastic eye for bringing these stories to life. Goyer, on the other hand, is a comic book fan with the knowledge and expertise that I believe all comic book films should have. Before Joss Whedon on The Avengers and before Jon Favreau on Iron Man, it was Christopher Nolan and David Goyer melding the best of both their respective worlds in Batman Begins.
So with all of that in mind, I thought I’d pass along a little bit of info that came from Goyer when it comes to the end of The Dark Knight Rises, and by extension, the final moments of Christopher Nolan’s turn with the Batman franchise. Goyer had these words to say to Empire about the ending:
“The final scene of The Dark Knight Rises is exactly [the] scene we talked about [when Christopher Nolan and I started discussing a third film]. It remained completely unchanged. We both knew in our hearts that we were onto something special. I have to tell you, having finally seen everything strung together a little while ago and seeing that scene, I got a complete lump in my throat.”
I take Goyer’s words very seriously, as the endings for both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight felt pretty emotional in their own right. I imagine that this will be quite the emotional roller coaster if the taglines are to be believed, and this is truly where “The Legend Ends.”
That does it for news surrounding the film. Let’s check in on another area of Gotham we haven’t touched upon in awhile, and head away from the ruins of the field of the Gotham Rogues, hop the fence, and descend one last time into the bowels of Arkham City…
Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC Pack Available for Batman: Arkham City
If it’s been awhile since you played the greatest adventure game to hit consoles in a good long while, you may have found a new reason to pick up your controller and equip your utility belt one last time. Released this last Tuesday on both Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network was Harley Quinn’s Revenge, a downloadable level for Arkham City taking place a couple of weeks after the conclusion to the main game’s story. After the end of that story, there’s only one supervillain that’s left holed up within the walls of the city district-turned-prison: Joker’s main squeeze, Harley Quinn. In response to the shocking end of the main game, Harley has abducted several police officers, attracting the attention of Batman. The Dark Knight enters the Steel Mill, Joker’s former sanctuary, when his allies lose contact with him. He has been missing for two days with not a word heard from or about him.
Enter Robin, the Boy Wonder. Harley Quinn’s Revenge gives you the first opportunity to play as the bo-staff wielding teen hero in a story mission when Oracle dispatches Robin to go into the Steel Mill looking for the boss. What he finds there is rather disturbing, and definitely has to be stopped if the abducted police officers, and Batman, want to stay alive for the remainder of the night. Released the same day is the Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition, which packs in all of the previously released downloadable content including the new Quinn’s Revenge level. If you’ve never taken the plunge into Arkham City, that would probably be your best opportunity. I’ve played the level. It runs just about two hours if you take your time with it, and is available for 800 Microsoft Points on XBL or for $9.99 on PlayStation Network. The GOTY edition of the full game runs about $50, available at your local video game store.
Now, to round out the column, we travel out of the depths of Arkham City and into the four-color world of Batman in comics!
This Week in Bat-Comics: Batman Annual #1 and Death by Design
This week sees the first annual of the new, ongoing Batman series as well as the last issue of the sprawling Night of the Owls crossover event. The Annual, written by both regular scribe Scott Snyder and co-writer James Tynion IV with artwork by Jason Fabok, delves into the reimagined origin story of infamous Batman villain Mr. Freeze. If you have any notions about that Schwarzenegger incarnation, banish them from your minds. Now.
This Freeze is a cold bastard in more ways than one. The Annual decides to revisit the motivations behind Freeze’s criminal career revolving around his wife Nora, that was famously started by writer Paul Dini’s exquisite Batman: The Animated Series episode “Heart of Ice” from 1992. It was there that we learned of Freeze’s cryogenically preserved wife Nora, who was dying of a condition that was incurable at the time and frozen in hopes of being revived to find a cure later. This issue keeps some of those elements intact, but then twists it into showing the new machinations of Freeze’s psyche, and exactly what drives him. It’s a little unsettling, but definitely worth reading.
BOF should have a review for this issue later this week by the great Gentleman John Bierly at the BOF Batman review page. Give it a look-see and if you like what you hear, head out to your local comic shop and pick it up!
Also releasing this week is a Batman original graphic novel entitled Death by Design. Written by Chip Kidd with absolutely stunning pencils-only artwork by Dave Taylor, Death by Design takes place in the year 1939, involving an elaborate plot geared around Depression-era architecture and the legacy of the Wayne name on Gotham City. A lot of care obviously went into the construction of the story, with Chip Kidd noting in the volume’s backmatter the painstaking level of research that was involved in creating a credible story surrounding his topic of choice. Dave Taylor’s pencils are astonishing, really making the entire piece feel authentic to the period it takes place in, with a lot of great design elements informing some traditional characters as well as Gotham City itself.
BOF posted a review of the OGN written by founder Bill “Jett” Ramey. Bill wasn’t too taken with the story, but thought the artwork was definitely of a very high caliber. I tend to agree at first glance, although I’ll probably give it another read through before I make any final determinations. Bill’s pretty spot-on in my opinion, though he and I definitely agree that the artwork may be worth the price of admission on its own.
That about does it for this edition of The Dark Knight Rises Countdown. Be sure to check out all of the other great Countdown pieces at Movies.com, I hope you enjoyed our set visit pieces, and if you have any questions, concerns, or general emotional outbursts then please comment!
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again in a fortnight.
The Legend Ends in 49 Days when The Dark Knight Rises