There are few people I know who love Batman more than my old friend and original Biff Bam Pop writer Jason “Oh Three” Lapidus. In anticipation of The Dark Knight Rises’ release this Friday, today Jason returns to BBP with his advice on how you can get ready for Batman and his return to the big screen!
1. Read The Vengeance of Bane pt. 1, by Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan (no relation to director Christopher Nolan), published by DC Comics in 1993. This single issue chronicles the character’s origin and places Bane as the protagonist. You will be rooting for him when you’ve finished reading. You can find it as a single issue or in a collected volume.
Find out what else you can do after the jump!
2. Read Knightfall pt. 1 and pt. 2 (by various writers and artists), published by DC Comics and available in trade paperback. Although the artwork and narrative are often both fragmented and dated, the power of Batman’s physical defeat at the hands (and fists) of Bane is devastating, memorable, and will likely connect to aspects of the upcoming film.
3. Read The Vengeance of Bane pt 2, from 1995, by Dixon and Nolan, again. Even after all that Bane did to Gotham and Bruce Wayne, Dixon is still able to spin the story so that you connect with, and pity, Bane.
4. Watch Over the Edge from Batman: The Animated Series. Although it does not have the animated version of Bane’s origin, there is a beautifully rendered fight between Batman and Bane that had many viewers in awe, and this episode stands as one of producer Bruce Timm’s favourites. You can, of course, also watch the earlier episode titled ‘Bane’ to see the villain’s first animated appearance.
5. Read the 1986 landmark graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. Set in the future, a full decade after anyone has seen or heard from Batman, Bruce Wayne must endure the long road back to being the savior of Gotham City. From the title to various themes and plot points, you can be sure that (arguably) the greatest superhero comic of all time has substantially influenced the creation of the upcoming Batman film.
6. Watch 2005’s Batman Begins. After being trained by the mysterious League of Shadows, Bruce Wayne is assigned the task of destroying Gotham City. There are good indications that the League’s destructive agenda will be executed by Bane since Wayne fights for Gotham’s survival. A refresher of Liam Neeson’s portrayal of the enigmatic villain Ras Al Ghul, and his global plans, is a good idea.
7. Of course, watch 2008’s The Dark Knight. Forget that the film is one of the most successful of all time, that it features an operatic and intense story, and that the performance by Heath Ledger was a revelation. The ending of the film sets the stage for the beginning of TDKR and it is just an amazing movie to watch.
8. Watch the six-minute prologue to The Dark Knight Rises, originally shown in front of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – The IMAX Experience. Of course, the clip is much better in IMAX theatres, but it will get you in the mood and demonstrate what kind of opponent is waiting for the Batman. There are only bootlegs of the video, so quality is an issue. Check out these options, but beware: there’s this one here or an option with poor subtitles.
9. Buy your IMAX ticket in advance. The theatres have assigned seating and the IMAX format is the way in which the film is intended. You can avoid all the line-ups and walk in just before the show starts to enjoy the event.
10. Avoid 1998’s Batman & Robin, starring George Clooney as the Caped Crusader. Joel Schumacher’s movie is a return to the camp of 1960’s television series and contributes nothing the Chris Nolan trilogy other than being a point of contrast that enables viewers to appreciate how difficult it is to create a decent Batman film. Although the movie features a character named ‘Bane’, the similarities end about there. Fourteen years later, this movie’s stench still wakes me in the middle of the night.
Jason Lapidus is currently coveting his printed IMAX ticket while resisting the urge to wear various Batman t-shirts in anticipation of the July 20th release of The Dark Knight Rises.