By the time "The Dark Knight Rises" finally comes out, on July 20, 2012, the London Olympics will be a week away, we'll know who the Republican nominee for President will be and the NBA lockout will be close to actually ending. And we will probably feel like we saw the film months earlier.
When you're filming the "final chapter of a trilogy," and the second film happens to be one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and your main character is Batman, you can expect a lot of interest in your movie. But this is all becoming a bit much. "The Dark Knight Rises" has only been filming for a few weeks, and already we're inundated with set photos. First it was a man jumping out of a window, then Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle (that is, Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway) chatting before hopping in a cab and now, for the first time, we have a clear look at Tom Hardy as Bane, the film's primary villain. There are some serious shutterbugs in Pittsburgh, where the movie's being currently filmed.
We have gathered a brief glimpse of Hardy -- who you may remember from "Inception," or perhaps as the star of "Bronson" and the upcoming "Warrior" -- as Bane already, from the teaser trailer. But this is a much clearer shot. Also -- and here comes a SPOILER WARNING, in case you don't want to find any plot details about a film that doesn't come out until a year from now, a quite reasonable stance, we'd think -- we see Bane standing on top of the Batmobile, ripping up a photo of Harvey Dent. So that's news. But that's not all: If you don't know what Batman looks like, he's in here too: Look, here's a shot of him punching poor Bane in the face. (Again, SPOILER DO NOT LOOK IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE TO LIVE IN IGNORANCE.)
That looked like it hurt.
By the way, that thing on Bane's face? No one involved with the film has said for certain, but it's likely a delivery system for "venom," an enhanced steroid that gives Bane his power. In case you aren't a Batman fanatic, this isn't the first time Hardy's Bane has been in a Batman film, though his appearance was far less memorable. In 1997's much-mocked "Batman & Robin," Bane was played by the late wrestler Jeep Swenson. In that film, he was Poison Ivy's bodyguard, but did little more than grunt and flex. The DC Comics version of Bane is far more layered. There, Bane is another Batman character who was doomed from birth. He was born and raised in a South American prison -- the law there required his father's life sentence for murder to be served by his son, which hardly seems fair -- he becomes a body-building strongman, along with a superior intelligence wrought in the prison library, simply to survive behind bars. He ended up running the prison's inmates, which led the threatened warden to force him to become a test subject on an experiment with the substance called "Venom." The venom makes him supernaturally strong, but he's required to take it every 12 hours, or he'll die. Eventually he escapes prison and wreaks doomed havoc on the streets of Gotham.
It's not known whether or not the Bane of "The Dark Knight Rises" will follow the comics' story; certainly Christopher Nolan hasn't always had the fiercest loyalty to the comics, much to the film's benefit. But we do know that Bane looks scary. And that no one in Pittsburgh should be allowed within two miles of the film's set with a digital camera.