There are but two weeks left until The Dark Knight Rises swoops into theaters, and expectations are riding high (higher?) as ever for Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy finale. Fans have good reason to be psyched for the film, just based on such factors as the latest in Bat-technologymassive runtime, and gargantuan amount of IMAX spectacle featured (plus, four years of buildup, obviously).

We’ve rounded up the latest TDKR material circulating the Interwebz, including: a compilation of preview clips from Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack (it runs just over 14 minutes total); the new official plot synopsis – and production notes, which offer insight on a variety of topics concerning the film.

Zimmer’s Dark Knight Rises score revisits certain leitmotifs featured throughout the first two installments in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, while also (at times) recalling his contributions to other films series (such as Pirates of the Caribbean). There are some intriguing unprecedented compositions teased here, though, such as the mix of strings and piano utilized in “Mind If I Cut In?” (a.k.a. Selina Kyle’s theme?).

Meanwhile, themes such as “Underground Army” partly recall Zimmer’s Inception score, but are more reminiscent of the electronic beats featured in recent films like TRON: Legacy and Drive (for this writer, anyway). There’s also the pre-established “Bane’s Chant” chorus to consider, which certainly offers its own distinct flavor.

That’s all to say: whatever your previous feelings were about Zimmer, Dark Knight Rises isn’t likely to change them too much. Detractors will complain the composer repeats himself too much and doesn’t produce memorable melodies so much as glorified ambient material (more about creating atmosphere than telling its own story).

Zimmer’s fans, however, should enjoy the preview clips and appreciate the new elements that he’s brought to the table for Nolan’s final venture with the Caped Crusader. Feel free to discuss all that in the comments section.

The Dark Knight Rises Official Synopsis & Production Notes

Recent Dark Knight Rises trailers and TV promos have focused on selling the film as a rousing, action-packed climax to the Nolan-era Batman universe (and a fun summer blockbuster to boot). That’s a break from the third theatrical preview for the film, which painted a vague outline of the story and focused primarily on teasing the scale of the proceedings.

Those who are interested in learning more about the film in general (without being outright SPOILED for anything), check out the new official Dark Knight Rises synopsis:

It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good.  For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.

On the thematic side of things, here’s some insight from Nolan and star Christian Bale (from the official production notes for TDKR)

Christopher Nolan: “Our story picks up eight years later, when it seems that Batman and Commissioner Gordon have succeeded—the Dark Knight is no longer needed in Gotham.  In that regard, Bruce Wayne has won the battle, but he is traumatized by what happened and doesn’t know how to move on from being the figure of Batman.  ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ very much deals with the consequences of his and other characters’ actions in the previous films.”

Christian Bale: “In ‘Batman Begins,’ you see the tragedy and the pain that motivates this angry young man, who feels useless and is searching for a path—who wants to find out who he is and what he can become.  Then in ‘The Dark Knight,’ he’s discovered that path.  He is useful; he is doing what he imagines is the best thing for him to be doing in his life.  Now, we are eight years on and he has lost the one thing that gave him a purpose…until he is forced to deal with a new threat to the city and to himself.”

For much, much more insight – including, why Bane (Tom Hardy) was selected as the main villain, how Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Bruce Wayne (Bale) are complimentary personalities, and difficulties that came with shooting in the IMAX format (and choreographing close-quarters combat sequences) – read the full production notes for Dark Knight Rises.

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

Source: Warner Bros. [via Collider]