The Opening Scene Of The Dark Knight Rises Was More Real Than You Think

It's a memorable scene. Confident and garble-voiced Bane (Tom Hardy) informs an overly cocky CIA agent (Aidan Gillen) that his plan is to crash the plane they are currently flying in, making sure to leave no survivors. The agent, who looks like a befuddled Paul Rudd, doesn't seem to get it. After all, there's seemingly no way for Bane to crash the plane without killing himself as well, right? Ah, but this is a movie, where far-fetched escape plans happen all of the time with relative ease! 

Which means that what follows is a roughly four-minute scene in which all sorts of ridiculously insane things happen. A second plane appears seemingly out of nowhere, dispensing four men all clad in black who parachute down to the much smaller C-130, tethering it to the larger plane with anchoring devices that don't even seem like they'd be real ... or legal. The CIA agents and Bane are sent flying as their plane is tipped completely vertical as the larger plane ascends. Naturally, this abrupt change in flight pattern causes the wings of the C-130 to get ripped from its body until nothing is left but a useless metal tube waving in the wind. The henchmen expertly cut the tail of the plane off as if it's just a can of peas they're preparing to cook for dinner, and they climb inside where everything is topsy turvy, but Bane and his crew seem relatively unfazed.

There's some stuff with a dead body and a blood transfusion that's left some viewers perplexed about its significance, and finally, after ruthlessly ordering one of his henchmen to stay behind because "they expect one of us in the wreckage, brother!" Bane and a now-kidnapped nuclear physicist tie themselves to a rope and hang on as the rest of the plane plummets to the earth below. 

From the very beginning, "The Dark Knight Rises," director Christopher Nolan's third and final installment in his Batman trilogy, does not hold back. The movie is filled with impressive sets and intricately designed props that dispense that particular Nolan-esque magic, but Nolan, who has worked on many impressive movies over his career, has said that it's this opening scene that he is most proud of, and that's because the plane you see dangling in the air and falling to the ground was actually real. 

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In an article for Insider, Nolan is quoted as claiming that the opening scene to "The Dark Knight Rises" is the one "the director is most proud of putting together." He openly talked about it during a press event at the Tribeca Film Festival. From a technical standpoint, the scene was extremely complex and required a great deal from the cast and crew to film it correctly. Behind-the-scenes footage of the moment shows Nolan and his crew directing this intense airplane scene from a helicopter that hovers around the actual plane we see crashing to the ground in the movie. It's wild to watch as stuntmen skydive out of a second helicopter to swoop and swing their way around the plane seemingly without any fear. Nolan revealed that the entire scene was "an incredible coming together of lots and lots of planning by a lot of members of the team who worked for months rehearsing all these parachute jumps."  

Looking to avoid a "Donnie Darko" situation, Nolan also had to obtain permission from the Scottish government (where the scene was filmed) to drop the plane from the sky. This only seems fair, considering the whole thing is kind of, well, dangerous. When it came time to film, the filming calendar had the scene scheduled to take five days, but it miraculously took only two, most likely because of the dedication and skill of Nolan's cast and crew. Nolan, who is known in the business for his love and preference for practical effects over CGI, really took things to the next level with this bonkers plane hijacking scene. Thinking of that mangled plane finally getting dropped to the ground reminds me of that one "Mythbusters" episode where they drop the world's largest rubber band ball from a plane to see if it bounces. Just like watching the opening of "The Dark Knight," the suspense is palpable. But the end results are the same for both the ball and Nolan's plane. Total and absolute destruction, with killer footage to prove it.