The much anticipated third film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises is going to feature a much heavier emphasis on pratfalls, pie fights and people being boinked on the noggin with planks, it has emerged.
The film is set to premier a six minute prologue attached to imax showings of the new Mission Impossible film and fans that have sought out these prologue showings have reported a markedly different tone to what they have seen of the first two acclaimed films.
The prologue establishes new villain Bane (Tom Hardy), a super-strong criminal mastermind who is notorious for breaking Batman’s back in the comics. In the six minute look into his character however, we learn little about the villain’s plan for the fate of Gotham or Bruce Wayne’s spine as he is mostly seen trying to move a long ladder down a narrow alley with the help of two dim-witted cohorts with hilarious results. After the ladder scene Bane, whose origin story involve him trying to set up a furniture moving company with his two incompetent friends, attempts to move a piano up a flight of stairs while his companions get distracted with bickering and eye-poking, leaving him to shoulder the burden. Then an owl attacks his face, which is thought to be how he gains his signature mask.
Director Christopher Nolan told Empire: “I’ve been setting up a theme of escalation throughout all of these films; escalating slapstick. In the first I had two men, swordfighting on ice, slipping around the place, falling in, getting wet, having madcap mustaches, I thought that was hilarious. Then there was the bit where that one from Dawson’s Creek tazered the face of a man on a horse. Man that film was a laff riot.”
“In the second one we really upped the ante. Remember when we had batman tie a bunch of SWAT together and kick them out of the window and they all tumble out? We even have batman strap a chinaman to his chest and fly on a balloon that gets caught on a plane that pulls him out of a skyscraper- I was going for a modern day Harold Lloyd kinda stunt there. Then we had Christian Bale toss a clown off a roof then catch him with his lasso gun and dangle him upside down after he threw his dogs down an elevator shaft.”
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Nolan does, however acknowledge that his previous films have not been viewed primarily as old-school comic romps: “Jeez we had a guy dressed as a clown doing tricks with pencils and making people fight with pool cues. What’s a guy gotta do to get a few yuks? Maybe it’s down to that Hans Zimmer guy. Every single time I ask that dude for jaunty ragtime piano and he gives me majestic scores with trumpets and bassoons and whatnot. This time I’ve just given him slide whistles and tubas.”
“Okay, I admit that i did pad the story out last time with this theme of corruption on both the personal and systemic level, but that was really just connective tissue. I never thought people would get hung up on that. That’s like watching Airplane! and worrying if they’re going to land safely.Well this time I’ve pared all that right back. It’s a simple story about a supervillain building the world’s biggest custard pie and one man’s quest to stop him even though there are lots of rakes and empty buckets littering the batcave to impede his progress.”
Nolan has said that after Rises he hopes his filmography will be re-evaluated, particularly his film about a fella who can’t remember things trying to solve a crime, which was intended to be a ‘real gut-buster’.
The Dark Knight Rises is released in July 2012
Senior Features editor