Christopher Nolan’s final installment in his Batman trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises,” opens on Friday.
And with it comes high expectations. Nolan elevated the comic book movie to new heights with “The Dark Knight,” which many critics thought should have been nominated for a best picture Oscar (and perhaps prompted the academy’s choice to widen the best picture race to 10 nominees the following year).
It did win star Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar for best supporting actor for his deliciously demented portrayal of the Joker. Really? An Oscar for a comic book movie? It was that good.
So fanboy anticipation is epic for “The Dark Knight Rises,” but details have been kept top secret. Here is a look at what we know we can expect.
When we last saw Bruce Wayne/Batman in “The Dark Knight,” he had just killed Harvey Dent/Two-Face, who had kidnapped Commissioner Jim Gordon’s son and was going to kill him. Dent had been on a revenge tirade in the name of his slain sweetie Rachel, and had hunted down and killed several city officials, which was creating chaos in Gotham City.
Batman decided he would take the blame for the murders so that Dent would remain a symbol of hope for the city. Commissioner Gordon agreed. Batman rode off into the night.
A manhunt for him ensued. Gordon destroyed the Bat-signal before delivering a eulogy at Dent’s funeral.
The new story
Eight years have passed since Batman became a fugitive, sacrificing everything for what he and Gordon hoped was for the greater good.
For a while, the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act.
But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda.
Far more dangerous, though, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham City drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile.
But even if he dons the cape again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
• There are four Oscar winners among the cast — Bale, Caine (who won two), Cotillard and Freeman. Hathaway and Oldman have been nominated for Oscars.
• We will be introduced to “The Bat,” Batman’s new airborne vehicle — part helicopter, part jet.
• Key crew members on the film return, including cinematographer Wally Phister, who won an Oscar for lensing Nolan’s “Inception.”
• Much of “The Dark Knight Rises” was shot with large-format IMAX cameras.
• According to IMDB, Jessica Biel, Gemma Arterton, Kate Mara, Charlotte Riley, Keira Knightley and Hathaway all auditioned for the role of Selina Kyle.
• It’s rumored that in key scenes, Nolan fed the actors their lines verbally instead of on a written script, to prevent bootleg copies and story leaks.