While we've had our fair share of superhero flicks in 2011, next year is when the big boys are coming out to play, with Joss Whedon's "Avengers" and Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" hitting theaters in the summer of 2012. After the credits of "Captain America: The First Avenger," fans got an official sneak peek at "The Avengers," and now we have our first clear look at "The Dark Knight Rises" (following an obscure first trailer), via a series of photos from the set in Pittsburgh over the weekend.
While seeing Christian Bale all suited up and ready for action isn't quite as exciting as it was the first or second time around, he's looking as hard and utterly badass as ever. Though the suit looks a little different in the clear white light of day opposed to Nolan's stylized cinematography, it's practically the same as the one used in "The Dark Knight." The real attraction in these photos, however, is the guy Batman's fighting: Tom Hardy's Bane.
When Hardy was first cast in the role, there were some mixed feelings in the fan community. While he's a fantastic actor and proved that he can be terrifyingly menacing in "Bronson," even when the British thespian's all muscled up, he doesn't exactly resemble a humongous Latino man. And in the previously released photo of Bane, we only saw his hulking form from behind.
Those concerns should be put to rest with these photos, however, because while Bale's Batman clearly has the height advantage on Hardy's Bane, there's also a fantastic shot of the shorter, stockier actor overpowering the Dark Knight himself as snow flurries around them. We're a little disappointed that the character is lacking Bane's singlet and lucha mask, but the more military-influenced attire fits perfectly into Nolan's Batman universe.
The photos also give us a clear look at Marion Cotillard's Miranda Tate. While she's been described as a "Wayne Enterprises board member," it looks like her character will also see some action, prowling the streets with heavily armed men and even climbing on top of the "Tumbler" Batmobile. Batman's ride has received a makeover, eschewing the classic black for a paint job that looks a lot like desert camouflage, which raises questions about how it will fit into the fake snow-covered landscape of Gotham City (or Pittsburgh, for that matter).
Take a look at the photos yourself and make sure to tell us about anything significant we might have missed in the comments below!
Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."