Speculation and dark hints are fuelling excitement as Christopher Nolan's third movie in his Batman trilogy approaches launch day. Is this where the legend ends?
Ben Child at London's Guardian newspaper suggests tracking figures for the movie, based on research into viewing plans of regular cinema users, are predicting a record box office opening weekend, from July 20 in the US and UK.
In a year when other superhero movies have already successfully launched and with the Titanic 3-D relaunch phenomenon, and US box office struggling after the downturn in 2011, it might be premature to suggest that this may outstrip Nolan's 2008 record-breaker, The Dark Knight. But the news is that this movie appeals to a diverse audience including those who look equally for art and sensation from its highly respected director.
The significance of this movie is indicated by the strength and variety of the media coverage weeks ahead of the July 20th opening. A great compliment is paid by Empire magazine, whose July issue includes a daily online countdown linking to interesting features, photos, and videos to please the large and disparate following Nolan's trilogy has.
Indication this is an art movie is the inclusion of the first two in the Batman trilogy, Batman Begins (2005) and the Dark Knight (2008) in the British Film Institute Southbank programme details for July. Britain's art and cinema history institution pays Christopher Nolan the ultimate tribute in this retrospective, showing all his films from his 14 year career. Central to their argument (and presumably their timing), is his effect on the DC Comics Batman movie franchise:
"he's reinvigorated the Batman franchise beyond recognition, so that exhilarating spectacle is now accompanied by gripping drama that is both psychologically and politically astute." the BFI says.
Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway share a dance in The Dark Knight Rises
Even the academics have joined the fray with a published paper examining the physics of the Dark Knight's convertable cape. Four MPhys students at the University of Leicester found that the cape as used in the movies is at least half the size it would need to be to become viable for flying. Hence their title, 'The Dark Knight Rises - and Crashes'.
Crashing cape notwithstanding, Warner's blogger-special preview screening last week has stirred up rumours as to whether Bruce Wayne survives this movie. With hints in the trailer videos that "hope is lost" and "the legend ends", Wayne's demise seems possible.
On the other hand, as trailer video #3 shows, Catwoman seems to have developed a strong sentimental attachment to Wayne, inconvenient for even the most ambiguous femme fatale. Unless of course she is luring him into mortal danger?