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The Dark Knight Rises: trailer analysis


What clues to our hero's next and most highly anticipated adventure...?

Gary Oldman in The Dark Knight Rises trailer

It’s been almost three years to the day that The Dark Knight hit movie theatres and raised the bar for comic book movie adaptations forever after. For a long while it wasn’t even certain that director Christopher Nolan would return for a third Batman flick. After more than a year of dodging the question, Nolan finally caved and announced he’d buckle up for one more spin with the Caped Crusader.

Details have crept out at a snail’s pace, but finally the first teaser trailer has emerged - and teaser is certainly the correct word. Much of the trailer is composed of footage from the previous two films in the series, with voiceovers from Liam Neeson quoting excerpts from Batman Begins, with particular focus on 'legends'.

For a long time, fans expected Nolan to make The Riddler the primary villain in The Dark Knight Rises, as he seemed the best suited to Nolan’s realistic universe, particularly given the way Nolan toys with narrative chronology, flips the story on its head, leads you down one path of expectation then pulls the rug from under you at the last minute. So it was something of a surprise to find out it would not be The Riddler plaguing Batman for his final outing, but Bane and Catwoman.

Initial reaction was a little mixed to say the least – Halle Berry demolished any credibility Catwoman might have had with the 2003 bomb Catwoman, while Bane has only made one previous on-screen appearance, in Batman & Robin. The less said about that the better.

The teaser for TDKR gives us just a glimpse of some actual new footage, a good chunk of it features Commissioner Gordon lying in a hospital bed with an oxygen mask over his face, insisting that Batman has to come back. He’s talking to someone we can’t see, but it certainly sounds like Bruce Wayne. There are two blink-and-you’ll-miss-it looks at Bane – the first is a close-up of him with his signature gas-mask on, the second is an intriguing over-the-shoulder shot that sees Batman backing away from a gigantic Bane, looking both exhausted and afraid – an emotion we’ve not seen from Bruce Wayne since the trilogy’s beginning.

There’s nothing to be seen of Catwoman in the teaser at all, though when you consider that in the first teaser trailer for The Dark Knight, there was no sign of the Joker or Two-Face, though very few people were complaining about them in the movie once it had been released.

Overall though, it has to be said that the teaser is somewhat underwhelming. Gordon’s dialogue is very difficult to hear, and while the recycling of footage from the previous two films serves to call back to the origins of Batman (Gary Oldman in particular has been talking about how the movie brings things “full circle”), it feels a little cheap. Bane towering over Batman certainly looks promising though, and may well deliver the much sought after battle scene between The Dark Knight and one of his foes that fans have been so desperate to see on the big screen, but as yet have been denied.

The Dark Knight Rises is shaping up to be the biggest film of 2012, with a cast full to the brim of big names, many of them Nolan regulars including Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cottilard and Michael Caine.

The key thing to remember is that it wasn’t the teaser for TDK that got people excited, it was the actual trailer. Remember seeing that truck flip over in the air for the first time? Or hearing the Joker’s psychotic howl of a laugh like a chainsaw against glass? The hype is incredible and the pressure is beyond measure. But maybe, just maybe, Nolan can pull it off once again.

See also the more recent trailer:


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