The movie opens with some CIA agents escorting a nuclear scientist, Dr. Leonid Pavel, and three hooded prisoners, on board a small military aircraft. On learning that the prisoners worked for a mercenary named Bane, the agent in charge of the operation is excited and begins interrogating the prisoners for information about Bane. However, one of the prisoners turns out to be Bane (Tom Hardy) himself, and getting captured was part of his plan. Suddenly, the aircraft is overpowered by members of a criminal-paramilitary unit in a C-130 Hercules, from which several of Bane's henchmen climb into the smaller aircraft using ropes, killing the CIA agents. Bane and his men then grab hold of Dr. Pavel and improvise a blood transfer from Dr. Pavel to a corpse. Bane orders one of his men to stay behind and be found in the wreckage. Bane then releases the smaller plane, which plummets. Bane takes Pavel along with him in the larger aircraft.
The scene then cuts to Gotham, where Harvey Dent's death anniversary is being celebrated as Dent Day. At a charity event hosted by the forever-absent Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) prepares to deliver a speech revealing the truth about Dent and the murders for which the Batman had taken the fall 8 years ago, but deciding that the time was not right, stuffs the speech into his jacket. Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), a wealthy investor, tries to meet the reclusive Bruce to get him to invest in her clean energy project, but is unable to meet him.