Empire has just unleashed a mountain of "Dark Knight Rises" awesomeness. Beyond the cover photos, we now have plot details, a description of Bane's character (hint: it involves crushing skulls) and a confirmation of the content of the prologue.
You decided, and the votes have been counted. Empire revealed Bane as the first of their two "Dark Knight Rises" covers, and we all got to see Tom Hardy in his evil asthmatic getup straight on for the first time.
It wasn't anything we couldn't have extrapolated from what we've already seen of him, but there is something to be said about looking at an almost unrecognizable Hardy face-to-face. It's like seeing him from his days in "Bronson" (which, if you haven't seen, do so immediately), but even crazier, and that's saying something.
This really is an entirely different look at Bane than we've seen before. If you were like me and gave your computer screen a serious "huh?" when you heard about the casting news, this picture puts to rest any idea that the Bane of the Schumacher Bat-verse is dead and buried.
Hardy and Nolan's Bane is dark, scary and might need some Proactiv Solution Deep Cleansing body wash for whatever is happening on his shoulder. (This edition of The Weekly Rising is brought you to by Proactiv.)
It's difficult not to reminisce about the now-iconic Empire cover with a smirking Heath Ledger as the Joker, one of the best early looks we got at his character. The image of Bane doesn't quite measure up for several reasons — the main being that it's Bane we're talking about here — but seeing "The Dark Knight Rises" promoted in any way like "The Dark Knight" was and is always welcome.
We do have to pause and give the Batman some credit. Bane may have beaten him in the polls, but the reveal of the second-place picture brought more surprise than the Bane image, which we've more or less seen in the deluge of spy photos from the set. The Batman cover shows Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader we all need but don't deserve, and he's packing more heat than we expected.
Mild Spoilers Ahead The big question emerging from these photos will be, "What the hell is that thing Batman's holding?" Any kind of speculation would be completely arbitrary and meaningless at this point, so let's guess what it is. In photos from the set down on Wall Street, we've seen a large timed device that looks like near-future technology, somewhat on par with what we've already seen from the Nolan Batman films. The gun may work to counteract that tech or it could be just a new weapon. Like I said, speculation is meaningless. End Spoilers
Secrets about the film lay inside Empire, and I won't get into them here. The issue hits newsstands on November 24 and details have already begun to trickle out, but I feel the new info means a lot more than just secrets revealed.
What the new issue of Empire does with its set visit and plot details is give us an actual sense that "The Dark Knight Rises" is a film and not just a series of set photos. There is a real story here, and it looks like Nolan is once again doing something unexpected with this story. Every new bit of information inspires excitement beyond what any spy photos or videos could. Nolan and company plan to end their story of Bruce Wayne and the Batman in a way that is final and true to the vision they've explored in two films thus far. This is incredibly exciting stuff.
For the first time, the news about "The Dark Knight Rises" signals what Nolan hopes to do with the film: complete a trilogy. The scraps of news and rumors from the set we've had to chew on so far have trivialized what's really going on here. It is not about Catwoman's ear, Bane's fur coat or the Batwing. The new information from Empire finally gave us an idea of what we can expect from the two hours we'll all spend in the dark this coming July.
Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."