Josh Butler • 10 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises, the final film of Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy, will finally be released next week. Bringing Nolan’s reboot of the Batman origin story to completion, The Dark Knight Rises is all but guaranteed to be one of the – if not the single – biggest movie of 2012 (whether it will eclipse The Avengers is still a hot topic among film writers).

The third film, set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, has been kept tightly under wraps during its entire filming and production process; which has made marketing campaign of The Dark Knight Rises all the more effective. We’ve had the grainy “leaked” pictures of closed film sets, the online secrets and hints unlocked and unravelled by canny fans, and entire websites (the cringingly tacky Mountain Dew-sponsored DewGothamCity.com, and Batman-News.com) leaving clues – or perhaps red herrings – as to the film’s plot.

However, for all the online secrets and bloggers giving their theories as to the plot, Nolan and co HAVE dropped some official information and vision of the film. Through a number of trailers and teaser videos, we know that it will be Christian Bale’s Batman pitted against Bane, played by Tom Hardy (who played Eames, in Inception). Anne Hathaway pops up as Catwoman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Cain are still ruling as usual, and Gary Oldman is still in the frame as Commissioner Gordon. Nolan has seemingly pilfered the cast of his Inception film, with Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt also cast (even Leonardo DiCaprio was mooted as an original villain for the film, to play The Riddler, before Bane was written into the movie).

What we DO know of the film, can be summed up in an official synopsis released below:

It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.”

Nolan’s previous Batman films have been praised for their sheer scope and immensity, creating a sense of the size of Gotham City and the world it occupies. That immensity will only be compounded in The Dark Knight Rises, with the same press release revealing that “INolan is utilizing IMAX® cameras even more extensively than he did on “The Dark Knight,” which had marked the first time ever that a major feature film was partially shot with IMAX cameras. The locations span three continents and include the American cities of Pittsburgh, New York and Los Angeles, as well as sites in India, England and Scotland.”

Even film previews for critics have been limited. Comicbookmovie.com reports that one small preview received a standing ovation from critics. Critics spoke of “pure geeky uncontrollable happiness” at the movie, the movie being “everything I wanted it to be” and leaving them “quite speechless.”

As stated above, Nolan and his team have been dropping numerous trailer and teaser videos for months. If you can’t wait til next week, check out all the ones that have been released so far – over 20 minutes of Dark Knight Rises footage to tide you over until July 19!