‘Dark Knight Rises’ primer: Going back to Gotham? Read our recap first

July 19, 2012 | 7:15 a.m.

When director Christopher Nolan brought Batman out of the shadows seven years ago in “Batman Begins” and carried on the character’s adventures in “The Dark Knight,” he produced a hero and setting appropriate for the times: a grim, hard-nosed loner in a world racked by corruption, shaken by terrorism and standing on shaky moral ground." (Photo credit: Warner Bros)

Realizing that organized crime and corruption are endemic in Gotham, an anguished Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) disappears from society and throws himself headlong into the underworld to learn firsthand what makes criminals tick. After thieving and brawling his way into a Bhutanese prison, Wayne is offered a way out by the mysterious Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), later revealed as Ra's al Ghul, the true leader of the League of Shadows. (Photo: Neeson and Christian Bale in "Batman Begins." Credit: Warner Bros.)

Claiming to be centuries old, the league is a sinister group dedicated to eradicating decadence and corruption at any cost, as it did in the past by sacking Rome and Constantinople. In his Ducard persona, Al Ghul mentors Wayne on how to fight and strike fear into his enemies, but he fails to convince him that Gotham is another depraved city that must be destroyed. (Photo: Liam Neeson and Christian Bale Credit: WarnerBros.)

After escaping the league, Wayne returns to Gotham and creates his menacing crime-fighting alter ego, drawing on his own childhood fear of bats and outfitting himself with high-tech equipment from Wayne Enterprises’ mothballed R&D division. He’s aided by his trusty butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), and gadget guru Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). (Photo: Bale and Caine. Credit: Warner Bros"

Batman allies himself with Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes), a childhood friend now working for the district attorney, and honest cop Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman). Together they bring down a mob boss and foil a plot by the League of Shadows (led by al Ghul himself, having dropped the Ducard guise) to decimate Gotham with a fear-inducing gas -- the sort made infamous by Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy). (Photo: Scarecrow. Credit: Warner Bros.)

By the time of “The Dark Knight,” vigilante life is taking a toll on Batman, who hopes to inspire a successor to carry on his crusade — preferably through legal means. “Gotham needs a hero with a face,” he says. His prime candidate: Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), the dogged new district attorney. (Photo: Aaron Eckhart, left, joined cast as Harvey Dent. Credit: Warner Bros.)

Adding to the complications, Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes (now played by Maggie Gyllenhaal) are an item -- to the chagrin of Bruce Wayne, who is torn between his feelings for Rachel and his grim mission. (Photo: Gyllenhaal and Christian Bale. Credit: Warner Bros)

Despite Harvey Dent’s promising work against the mob, the appearance of the sadistic lunatic known as the Joker (the late Heath Ledger in a performance that won a posthumous Oscar) throws the city into chaos. Like Al Ghul, he wants to watch Gotham burn, but his motivation isn't righteous anger -- it's sheer anarchic appetite. (Photo: Heath Ledger as the Joker. Credit: Warner Bros)

With mob backing, the Joker orchestrates a series of high-profile murders, a rash of bombings and a dual kidnapping that leaves Dawes dead and Dent severely disfigured. (Photo: Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent. Credit: Warner Bros.)

Batman is forced to question his own moral code and reckon with how far he’ll go to stop someone as deranged as the Joker. He finally apprehends the villain, only to learn that a now-unhinged Dent is on a killing spree in retaliation for Dawes’ murder. The situation culminates in a standoff involving Batman, Dent, Gordon and his young son, and ends in Dent’s death. (Photo credit: Warner Bros)

In order to preserve Dent’s legacy as a symbol of hope and justice, Batman convinces Gordon to blame Dent’s crimes on him. He then disappears into the darkness to rise another day...namely this weekend at a theater near you. (Credit: Warner Bros)

When director Christopher Nolan brought Batman out of the shadows seven years ago in “Batman Begins” and carried on the character’s adventures in “The Dark Knight,” he produced a hero and setting appropriate for the times: a grim, hard-nosed loner in a world racked by corruption, shaken by terrorism and standing on shaky moral ground.

With the concluding chapter “The Dark Knight Rises” poised to plunge into blackness once again, here’s a refresher on what brought us to the brink: CLICK THROUGH THE PHOTO GALLERY ABOVE TO REVISIT KEY CHARACTERS AND EVENTS.  BE SURE THE “CAPTIONS ON” OPTION IS ACTIVATED. (And if you haven’t seen either film, just an obvious warning that spoilers lie ahead.)

– Oliver Gettell

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Comments


3 Responses to ‘Dark Knight Rises’ primer: Going back to Gotham? Read our recap first

  1. @rmcmillen01 says:

    Bring it on! I can't wait for tomorrow! The Dark Knight Rises, But Will He Fall?- http://voices.yahoo.com/the-dark-knight-rises-but

  2. @TheFlapship says:

    I like that review. It's fair and balanced. I can't wait to see Batman tonight! http://flapship.com/the-dark-knight-rises-and-why

  3. Steve Nash's Dark Knight Rises has a dark hero too http://youtu.be/5IgXmvhX_9o

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