The expectations couldn't be higher for Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight follow-up, The Dark Knight Rises (which hits theaters this weekend, for those of you living in ... I don't know, some kind of cave). Seeing as the Batman franchise has gone through some extreme ups and downs in the 70-odd years since first being adapted by Hollywood, we here at Grantland thought we'd offer a bit of perspective. Here are a few handpicked highlights (and lowlights):
Batman Dances, Batman (1966)
Jonah Keri: Batman walks into a groovy '60s bar. Gets propositioned by a seductress named Molly. Molly asks the Caped Crusader to dance. Batman sneaks in a light neg:
The Dark Knight Rises, which will conclude Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, is one of this summer's most highly anticipated films which naturally means it's a prime target for parodists. Oscar winner Christian Bale and Oscar nominee Anne Hathaway are fine and everything, but when the movie comes out in July, will they really be able to top the performances in these parody trailers?
The hijinks continue on the Pittsburgh set of the Most Serious Movie in the World, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. Last weekend saw a Batmobile wedding. Then on Saturday, Tom Hardy's steroidal villain, Bane, played the half-time show at a Steeler's game. And yesterday, a stand-in for Anne Hathaway (Catwoman) plowed into an IMAX camera on a motorcycle (injuring nobody, thankfully — see the video above, or a better one at TMZ), probably resulting in the highest-resolution America's Funniest Home Video ever. Aren't these guys supposed to be shooting 2012's bleakest, least fun superhero movie? Whatever happened to Nolanism? You certainly won't see bloopers like this on the set of Marc Webb's joyless Spider-Man reboot, or Zack Snyder's poorly lit Superman movie (though the crew members probably bump into each other a lot). Quit screwing around, Nolan!
Is there anything stupider-looking than set photos from a superhero movie? Not really! But here are some pictures from this weekend's The Dark Knight Rises shoot in Pittsburgh anyway. The challenge for Christopher Nolan's trilogy-finisher will be finding a way to shoehorn silly villains like Bane (Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) into a Gotham City grittier and more realistic than the campy, art-directed ones that hosted Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher's Batmans. It could be all the un-Nolan-esque daylight and smiling crew members in these shots, but Hardy's Bane doesn't look nearly as terrifying as Heath Ledger's Joker did, or even much scarier than the Bane from Schumacher's Batman and Robin. Blame it on the cargo pants. Or the laser tag vest. Or maybe the wedding happening down the block in the Batmobile. Click through for more photos.