The Dark Knight Rises trailer analysis

By David Katz

The release date may be just over a year away, but Warner Bros. are already pushing The Dark Knight Rises (2012) hard. A viral marketing campaign kicked off in May, with fans copying a unique hashtag on twitter to reveal the first image of Bane (Tom Hardy), one of the film’s main villains. And now we have an early glimpse of footage from the film in the form of a short teaser trailer, attached to screenings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011), and yesterday posted onto Facebook in HD quality.

Christopher Nolan projects are notorious for their air of secrecy, and this trailer certainly doesn’t break that pattern. It’s mostly comprised of re-fitted sequences from Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), accompanied by a portentous voiceover from Liam Neeson in Ra’s al Ghul mode (‘If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely’). However, if we look closer we can perhaps detect some clues for the upcoming film’s direction. There is a short sequence with Commissioner Gordon lying injured in a hospital-bed, pleading for Batman to return to fight an emerging evil in Gotham (presumably Bane).

The end of The Dark Knight saw Batman hunted and exiled in the aftermath of Harvey Dent’s murderous rampage, so it’s likely that the verb ‘rises’ in the title hints at an eventual redemption.  Further on, the trailer reveals a chilling close-up of Bane’s face glaring into the camera, and at the very end he appears to be challenging Batman to a duel. In Knightfall, one of Bane’s most famous appearances in the comics, there is a confrontation in similar circumstances, with Bane breaking Batman’s back over his knee, consigning him to a wheelchair. Accordingly, the images presented to us in the trailer are ambiguous, although teasing and suggestive enough to ramp up the anticipation for this film.

I’m not denying that that is some seriously geeky close analysis into a super-short teaser, but if Nolan delivers on this promise we’ll no longer just be looking at two truly excellent Batman films but a definitive Bat trilogy; a definitive super hero trilogy, you may have noticed we’re a little short on those. The man has yet to fail us; we have no reason to doubt him. Judge the trailer for yourself below.

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