by Jessica Marshall
He's tall. He's dark. He's handsome. He's...BATMAN. And the next chapter of this vigilante’s dark adventures in Gotham City unfolds this week. Christian Bale reprises his role as the big black bat in this third and final installment of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, once again donning the perfect six-packed bat suit and delivering his dialogue in that sexy, grunty voice.
This time, Batman is forced out of a self-imposed exile to stop the evil (and insanely well-muscled) terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) from wiping Gotham from the face of the planet. And if that wasn’t enough, he also has to avoid the deadly charms of another good-looking, black-clad super-villain, the nefarious Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). Against those odds, how will our hero save the day?
Going to catch this summer blockbuster? Here are five things to do before seeing "The Dark Knight Rises."
Check out the Batman hotties through history
Several well-built gentlemen have donned the Batsuit and messed around in the Batcave in the last 40-odd years. Starting with "Batman" in 1966, starring then-hunk Adam West (Pow! Thwap! Bam!), and moving through Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney all the way to Christian Bale in the most recent retelling, you won't be disappointed by the tight-suited eye candy. You'll even be treated to some hilarious anatomical correctness (bat nipples!) in several of the films.
Watch "Bronson" and "10 Things I Hate About You"
Because it's criminal to go through a whole movie without getting a good look at Tom Hardy's face (mostly hidden behind a giant gas mask-like contraption), pre-game with this biopic about the UK's most famous jailbird, and we promise you will get to see a lot of Tom Hardy. And we're not just talking about his face. And in honor of the fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays rookie Gotham cop John Blake, is all growed up (and also in memory of Heath Ledger), take a quick trip back to 1999 when high school was Shakespearean and the bat suit still had nipples.
Vow to be Catwoman for Halloween
Dust off that old sexy kitten costume in the back of your closet and revamp it with a little inspiration from the ferociously feline style of Selina Kyle. "The Devil Wears Prada" star Anne Hathaway rocks the sleek look, which translates onscreen as a perfect blend of classy and super-sexy.
Become a Steelers fan
Well, if you're a diehard [insert NFL team of choice] fan, we are not expecting you to betray your boys for the sake of one movie. But at least visit Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The stadium, home to the six-time Super Bowl champ Pittsburgh Steelers, is featured prominently in one of the most visually stunning scenes in the film. Any place that voluntarily submits to getting blown to pieces on screen (it's in the trailer so that's not spoiling anything), and sacrificing one of its star players (Hines Ward), is worth a visit. Also, it's named after a ketchup magnate, so the hot dog condiments are sure to be phenomenal.
Visit New York City
If there is any city on the planet that most closely resembles the fictional Home of Batman, the Big Apple is it. In fact, the Batman comic canon is so prolific that New York sometimes actually refers to itself as Gotham City. Take a stroll on the streets at night and look to the sky for the bat signal! (But do not stop in the middle of the sidewalk or a Gothamite may snap at you!) Or just enjoy the night lights and the pulse of life in this city of millions.
Bonus: Whip up a BATch of cookies
Find a cookie cutter in the shape of a bat and go to town in your kitchen. Decorate them, or don't decorate them, either way, you can toss the finished product at the super villains in your life like Batman slings his famous Batarang.
Are you excited to see "The Dark Knight Rises" this weekend? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!