The Dark Knight Rises has started to make headlines on an almost daily basis over the past couple of weeks. We can probably read that as a harbinger that Warner Bros. is about to emulate what Marvel did with The Avengers during the two months (or so) leading up to that comic book blockbuster’s release: begin a marketing blitzkrieg for Christopher Nolan’s final Batman flick that’ll leave moviegoers both hyped to see it – and worn out by the promo overload.

For the time being, though, Bat-fever is just starting to spread. Along with early descriptions of the film’s CinemaCon sizzle reel that leaked out yesterday, today we have some promotional imagery for Dark Knight Rises that premiered at the event.

Among the reasons why people are psyched to see Dark Knight Rises (beyond the obvious) is that this marks the first of Nolan’s Batman movies where the Caped Crusader (Christian Bale) will go up against a foe in Bane (Tom Hardy), who possesses both brains and brawn that match – and exceed – his own. As cunning and skilled an opponent as Batman’s mentor, Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) was in Batman Begins – and Heath Ledger’s Joker was sheer, unbridled chaos in physical form in Dark KnightBane is another sort of monster altogether.

Besides that, Dark Knight Rises brings the promise of new Bat-gadgetry and “toys,” including useful trinkets like a “Bat-Pad” for detective work. Obviously, though, the big new piece of technological hardware that Bats will have at his disposal this time is an aerial vehicle simply called … “The Bat.” Between the brief glimpse offered of “The Bat” in the Dark Knight Rises trailer – and descriptions of its maneuverability, as teased in the CinemaCon preview – it’s a pretty sick ride indeed.

Just the glimpse of Batman duking it out with Bane – and juxtaposed next to “The Bat” – in these promo images is enough to get us excited to find out how all that looks in motion:

IMAGES REMOVED BY STUDIO REQUEST

While attending CinemaCon 2012, Nolan expressed his desire to complete his Batman trilogy “in the biggest way possible” – which also accounts for why a massive chunk of Dark Knight Rises was shot in IMAX. As the filmmaker put it, “What defines cinema, and what gets people out of the house to watch it, is spectacle.”

Passing over whether or not you agree with Nolan 100% on that matter, there’s no denying that everything from Dark Knight Rises set photos and videos teasing the (literal) war between Gotham City and Bane’s army, to the film’s prologue where Bane – whose infamously garbled vocals reportedly have been improved, according to CinemaCon attendees – establishes himself as a massive storm in human form – all points to Dark Knight Rises being crazy big.

Bear in mind, crazy big and crazy good aren’t necessarily synonymous descriptions. Still, even Nolan’s attention-demanding detractors (who, to be fair, have raised valid criticisms of his Batman movies) have to admit: the minds behind Dark Knight Rises are aiming so high that, even if they slightly miss their mark, the final product still stands to be a pretty damn good movie.

The Dark Knight Rises in theaters around the U.S. on July 20th, 2012.

Source: Warner Bros. [via Coming Soon], The Washington Post