The Dark Knight Rises IMAX Prologue Impressions

Last night marks the official debut of the IMAX prologue for Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises, which will be attached to Brad Bird‘s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol only at select IMAX theaters. The footage plays out in a similar fashion to The Dark Knight, with the opening minutes being shown followed by a 30 second clip containing all sorts of footage from the featured film.

The biggest reveal of the footage is Tom Hardy‘s Bane. This is the first time viewers get to actually see and hear him on a bigger playing field. In addition to Bane’s introduction we’re also given an extensive look at how important IMAX cameras are to Christopher Nolan this time around to make the scale of the film much larger than previous Batman outings.

The following paragraphs may be a bit spoilery, so view them at your own risk!

*Spoilers Below*

The clip kicks into gear high above the sky. A group of thugs have captured some hostages and are now in a plane. They begin to interrogate the hostages, asking them about the masked villain known as Bane. When they get to one specific person and take off the mask it is revealed to be the much feared villain himself! His voice comes across in a slightly British accent with a robotic like filter over it. He speaks briefly, but he throws out words like the fire rises, so obviously his opening words carry great importance in setting up the tone for the rest of the film.

At that point another larger plane comes hovering over the current one. Bane and his men get in a scuffle with these other men, resulting in at least one getting tossed out the plane and the rest getting thrown towards the back. This particular scene is almost a wink at the epic wall/ceiling scaling scene from Inception. Tons of men get thrown onto the wall as gravity takes a shuffle. Bane grabs one of the men and orders for the smaller plane to be destroyed.

The smaller plane gets torn to pieces and falls towards the ground as Bane and one of the men stay attached to a wire, hanging freely from the larger plane, which houses Bane’s men. It’s all a bit confusing due to the lack of context, but it’s obvious that Bane is acquiring someone for something important and it’s even more obvious that Bane is similar to The Joker in his maniacal plotting.

The prologue then jumps to a 30-45 second compilation clip containing new footage from the rest of the film. This time the footage is mostly focused on Gotham City and its collapse. Tons of soldiers and men are seen rioting in the street and eventually fighting Gotham City Police as well as Batman. Bane is shown extensively both battling Batman and terrorizing the city.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s character is seen for a few seconds in a police uniform while Catwoman is finally given some more detail, both in and out of the suit. Anne Hathaway looks much more promising in the prologue when compared to the pictures posted online. She fits the look of the character very well and the character at one point is seen wearing an orange outfit, which I’d assume is a prison suit. Could she be getting locked up at some point during the film?

One thing that comes across very strong is the character of Batman. His struggle is probably at its highest point in The Dark Knight Rises. He seems to be facing a lot of problems both externally and internally. Bane is seen holding a broken piece of Batman’s mask and if you combine that with the footage of them battling I think it’s safe to say that Bane will be Batman’s most difficult challenge yet and judging by the extreme conditions Gotham is under in the footage it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to speculate if Batman or Bruce Wayne is even going to make it out of this film alive.

The scope of The Dark Knight Rises is looking to be the biggest yet for Nolan as a filmmaker and Batman as a series. The series is looking to come full circle with the final conclusion to The Dark Knight saga and I personally can’t wait to see how it all ends. I’m sure Nolan and the crew will do the characters justice.

Some people might be already starting up the complaints on Bane’s hard to hear voice, but I had no real struggles. Sure, there were a few words I might have missed, but you have to consider the fact that the scene is taking place on a plane with the door open and a loud musical score accompanying it. It’s not meant to be crystal clear and perfectly understood. People are blowing it way out of proportion without seeing much of anything else. Until more footage is revealed featuring Bane speaking I think everyone needs to just chill out.

If you get a chance to see Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol this weekend I’d strongly suggest checking it out at an IMAX theater. Not just for The Dark Knight Rises prologue (which is worth the price of admission), but also because Mission: Impossible benefits strongly from the lager scaled IMAX scenes and the way the IMAX quality adds depth is more impressive than any 3D film released before it. Hopefully filmmakers continue to adapt IMAX use in future projects. It’s truly the best way to experience a film. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and The Dark Knight Rises are proof!

The Dark Knight Rises opens next summer in traditional theaters and IMAX on July 20th, 2012.