This week, Batman fans were treated to six minutes of unadulterated Dark Knight bliss. Below is a step by step report of what they saw and a little reaction to it. If you’re hoping to stay completely SPOILER free for the film, then look away now.
Still reading? Then pop on your Batman logo T-Shirt, whack on some Hans Zimmer and let’s get Rising.
The 400 people that joined me at the screening were fervent, nay, demented Batmanphiles. This became fairly clear for a myriad of reasons, namely: the cinema was full an hour before the screening started, every fifth person wore the aforementioned Batman t-shirt, every third person yelled out “Batman!!!!” once every thirty seconds and ten minutes before the preview started a rousing rendition of Seal’s ‘Kiss From A Rose’ spontaneously burst forth from the lips of all in attendance.
Okay, that last thing didn’t happen, but such were the high spirits it easily could have. As the whooping and cheering died down with the opening logos, the newly promoted Commisioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) filled the screen paying homage to the fallen Harvey Dent. It quickly becomes clear that Jim and pals are keeping schtum about the late D.A.’s fall from grace. His final epitaph: “I believed in Harvey Dent”.
We cut to a new face. That of Aidan Gillen (one time Mayor of Baltimore and proud owner of the greatest IMDb profile picture). Offering another decent US accent Carcetti – as he will have to be known as I didn’t catch his character’s name – is a CIA man picking up the mysterious Dr. Leonid Pavel from a remote location. Pavel, if the marketing campaign is to be believed, may play a very important role in proceedings and Carcetti seems very pleased to have his man in custody.
He’s not quite so pleased, however, to have some extra passengers about to board his plane, until he learns that they might help him find “the masked man”. Using interrogation techniques from the GitMo Bay handbook, Carcetti threatens to shoot the men and throw them off the aircraft, unless they offer up, drumroll please, Bane. One by one the men refuse to give up their leader until the final man reveals himself with a guttural inflection. Bane is on the plane.
Face to face with the film’s chief villain, Carcetti asks him if it would hurt to remove his mask. His no-shit reply, “for you”. It soon becomes abundantly evident that Bane is pulling a Joker. He wanted to be caught and things haven’t looked so bad for Carcetti since he learned the Baltimore school system was running a hefty million dollar deficit.
Within no time at all a rival aircraft takes to the sky behind the CIA plane, rips it apart and Bane is on his way with the good / bad Dr. Pavel. It’s a beautiful stunt and in real 70mm IMAX it looks simply terrific. Before he exits, rear end first, Bane orders a henchman to go down with the ship. The henchman follows the order without a moment’s thought. Bane lets him know “the fire rises”.
And like that, the prologue is over. Except we’re also treated to a few trailer-esque glimpses of Joseph Gordon Levitt in a cop uniform, Anne Hathaway with and without her Cat ears on and Batman rocking a gun the size of a Buick. We also get to see a hint of the army Bane has assembled. It looks pretty likely that war is coming to Gotham. The final image? We’ll leave that as a surprise, but we will say the most recent poster gives more than a clue as to how bad things with get for Master Wayne.
Unsurprisingly – as these were people happy to be paying 20 bucks for a glorified trailer – the reaction was firmly in the positive. If there was one issue it was the voice of Bane. At times indecipherable, much of what he said was lost to the bass of the IMAX. For those that aren’t fans of Batman’s raspy twang, in the words of Al Jolson, they ain’t heard nothing yet. The only other negative? Seven sodding months until the film is actually released.
But this should just about get us addicts through until New Year.