In less than 24 hours, "The Dark Knight Rises" will be available to everybody. It'll no longer be the exclusive secret of Christopher Nolan and his team. Rumors surrounding John Blake, Miranda Tate, the fate of Batman and more will finally come to light — and all will be well.
Still, while we've waited years and years for this film to finally hit theaters, its arrival is a bittersweet thing. This is not the last time we'll see the Caped Crusader stopping crime on the big-screen, no. But if he's to be believed — and given his track record, there's no reason not to believe him — then this is Nolan's final time flying alongside the Bat.
And for that reason, we're taking the time to salute the director as our Hero of the Week.
What Nolan did with Batman is nothing short of legendary. He took a character that few could take seriously anymore after the atrocious "Batman and Robin" and not only renewed the character's gravitas, but enhanced it in ways previously unimaginable to the non-comic book reading masses.
With "Batman Begins," Nolan finally gifted fans with the multifaceted Bruce Wayne story they yearned for for years. Here was a character with at least three faces: the public playboy, the secret wounded soldier, and the avenger of the night. It was the perfect marriage of filmmaker and actor — actors, really, as the entire cast Nolan established in "Begins" was of a caliber never really seen before in a comic book movie, giving Earth's mightiest heroes a serious run for their money.
And in "The Dark Knight," Nolan proved that films based on a character as complicated as Batman, ingrained in pop culture as he is, don't have to be glossy and flashy and fist-pumpingly uplifting. Some men, like Nolan, prefer to watch the world burn, and his fans got exactly that when Heath Ledger's harrowing Joker murdered Rachel Dawes and blew Harvey Dent halfway to hell, sending Batman into self-imposed exile and forcing Jim Gordon to choke on a horrible secret for the rest of his career. The good guys, in short, don't always win. A stark realization for the folks at home, but one that would stand out in its boldness for years and years to come.
So bravo, Mr. Nolan, for twisting those nipples right off the bat-suit and replacing them with something considerably less laughable. You gave us the Tumbler, the League of Shadows, a Gotham City worth fearing and believing in. And in "Rises," you'll bring it all crashing to the ground in fiery fashion, before allowing Batman to rise gloriously one last time.
As they say, we're sad to see you go, Mr. Nolan — but we love to watch you leave.
Welcome to Hero of the Week, our weekly salute to the heroes keeping the comic book, movie and television scene something to look forward to day in and day out. From actual superheroes to the actors and filmmakers who bring them to life, you can tell us who your heroes are in the comments and on Twitter!