BREAKING DOWN THE FILM
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written prior to our one confirming the League of Shadows is in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. To read more on that, click here.
While working on finishing my next feature article, FANTASTIC FOURTH, something amazing happened: The Dark Knight Rises trailer came out! So the super nerd hardcore badass in me couldn’t resist taking a timeout from FANTASTIC FOURTH to break down some important game film…and of course by game film I mean the recent trailer. At the end of the breakdown I’ll provide you with a few questions and theories I came away with, plus my reaction to the prologue that’s currently screening in front of the IMAX version of Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (shameless free plug I know, but hey, it’s the holidays).
0:05-0:09 – Lot of company logos so we know exactly whose ass we should be kissing as a thank you for making this movie, and also where the $1B+ this movie will make will be going.
0:10-0:12 – Small boy singing the national anthem on a football field. We get a shot of the crowd standing and listening, many of them dressed in black and gold (Pittsburgh Steelers colors, mind you, since the film was shot in Pittsburgh), and a group of fans holding up letters that spell out ‘ROGUE’, the name of Gotham’s professional football team.
0:13-0:16 – Our first shot of Bane as he climbs out of what looks to be an elevator shaft below the stadium where the Rogue football game is being played.
0:17-0:20 – A silver serving tray with a lid on a wooden table in a fancy room. It seems to me like this is a room in the new Wayne Manor. In the lid we see a reflection of a man moving toward us, and as the man comes closer into view we see he’s holding a cane. Looking closer, it looks like Bruce Wayne in a bathroom. You may be wondering why he’s using a cane, so if you aren’t already aware, Batman will get the shit beaten out of him by Bane, literally, at some point in the film. In the comics, Bane actually breaks Batman’s back. While I don’t think Nolan will go that far, it’s fair to say Bruce will likely be using a cane once Bane rips away the balls of his masculinity, figuratively.
0:21-0:24 – We hear, and then see, Alfred telling Bruce that he’s as precious to him as he was to his own mother and father, and how he swore to Bruce’s parents that he would protect him but hasn’t. We also get our first real look at Bruce as he looks on and listens.
0:25-0:28 – The sound of the boy singing the national anthem continues to play as we get the much beloved, and always necessary, aerial helicopter shot of the city. I know the film was shot primarily in Pittsburgh, but the city in this shot is not Pittsburgh. Maybe some exteriors were shot in New York? And yes, you do look like you give a shit.
0:29-0:30 – Cut to black. FROM DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER NOLAN
0:31-0:39 – An outdoor evening event at Wayne Manor. How do I know it’s Wayne Manor? Below is the picture from the trailer and a picture of Wollaton Hall Nottinghamshire (my favorite shire as it so happens), which acted as the new Wayne Manor for TDKR.
We hear two city officials, one played by Matthew Modine, talking about Commissioner Gordon as we see him walk up to a podium and shake hands with Gotham’s Mayor, played by Nestor Carbonell, who for some reason always looks like he’s wearing mascara. On both sides of the podium are massive pictures of Harvey Dent. It must kill Gordon to put on a smile every time he has to do a fundraiser or event honoring this guy, considering Dent held a gun to Gordon’s son and tried to kill his family.
One official tells Modine’s character, Nixon, that the Mayor is going to dump Gordon in the spring. Modine responds by saying that Gordon’s a hero. The other official says he’s a war hero, but this is peace time. It shows you just how far Gotham has come since the end of The Dark Knight.
The final shot in this time frame shows Bruce Wayne on the roof of Wayne Manor at night.
0:40-0:44 – Bruce enters what looks to be a masquerade ball, perhaps being thrown at his own house. As we saw in Batman Begins, the guy sure knows how to throw a party. We cut to him dancing with a masked Selina Kyle as she tells him there’s a storm coming.
0:45-0:46 – A bunch of cops are walking down what looks to be a dark alley when something either explodes or collapses, causing all of them to turn.
0:47-0:49 – Bane and his men walking down the tunnel of the football stadium. Nice coat Bane’s wearing, too. I wonder if it’s real fur or not? The guy may be a ruthless, brutal killer, but who knows, maybe he has a soft spot for animals…
0:50-0:52 – Selina Kyle putting on what looks to be the necklace Bruce Wayne’s mother had in Batman Begins. You may be wondering how Selina gets it, but the more interesting thing in this scene is the headband with cat ears by the mirror. Fascinating.
0:53 – An explosion behind Commissioner Gordon and a few cops in what looks to be a tunnel of sorts. Maybe below the football stadium as well? I’m guessing this is the scene that will lead to Gordon ending up in the hospital, as we saw in the teaser trailer last July.
0:54-1:00 – In these shots we see a group of thugs running into a fancy building, throwing and breaking shit. I initially thought this was Wayne Manor, but a closer look at the suit the man at the bottom of the stairs in second 55 is wearing leads me to believe it is a hotel—a fancy one of course. We see clothes and other items being thrown down from the top of the stairs and thugs barging into a room and pulling a terrified man out from under a dresser.
1:01-1:03 – Back to Selina Kyle, finishing her little speech to Bruce (notice the necklace and cat ears on her). Bruce backs away (is that gray streaks of hair on the side of his head or just the lighting?) and we get a brief shot on the lower screen of the top of his cane.
1:04-1:07 – A group of Bane’s henchmen lead a crowd of inmates out of prison through a hole in the wall. The inmates carry guns over their head in a celebratory fashion as they approach Bane, who’s standing above them.
1:08-1:11 – A football player gets ready to kickoff to start the game and we cut to Bane walking down the tunnel of the stadium towards the field. Where’s security by the way?
1:12-1:17 – Smooth transition cut to Bruce Wayne walking through a cell door and into a giant room with Inception-like steps. It looks like this could be a flashback scene to the events of Begins since Bruce’s clothes look very similar to those he wore in the Chinese prison when we first met him. We hear the chanting from the viral marketing campaign coming from the prisoners. Bruce asks what it means, and a man who looks and sounds like a fat Michael Caine tells him it means, “Rise”.
1:18-1:30 – Bane presses a remote control in the tunnel of the football stadium. Screen goes dark for a few seconds and the next image we see is a football player (Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward) running down the football field towards the end zone. Behind him the field is blowing up and collapsing with football players presumably falling to their deaths. Hines Ward reaches the end zone and turns around to witness the devastation.
1:31-1:34 – Bane’s voice comes over a dark screen saying, “When Gotham is ashes…” before we see Bruce Wayne laying bloodied and bruised on the floor looking up at Bane. We cut to Bane who looks down at Bruce and finishes his sentence by saying, “You have my permission to die.”
1:35 – NEXT SUMMER (Chanting starts up and plays throughout remainder of trailer).
1:36 – Miranda Tate (Talia?) and Bruce interacting at the masquerade ball.
1:37 – Bruce wearing a mask and suit jumping down the side of a building at night. This is likely the scene after Bruce talks to Commissioner Gordon in the hospital and Gordon tells him the Batman has to come back.
1:38 – Selina Kyle walking down an airport terminal.
1:39 – THE EPIC CONCLUSION
1:40-1:41 – Batman points his new fancy gun. We don’t know what it is used for yet, but after playing BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY, I’m thinking it might be some sort of device that emits an electromagnetic pulse to either stun enemies or momentarily restore power to dead electronic devices. If Bane’s machine is used to generate earthquakes or something similar, there’s a good chance power in Gotham will be scarce.
A camouflaged Tumbler explodes next to a truck that looks like a cross between a tank and a cargo train. People repel down what looks to be a giant well. I don’t think this is the entrance to the Batcave we know from Batman Begins.
It looks too big, and also there’s no tree branch hanging over the opening that allowed Bruce and his father to use as an anchor and repel down. I think this might be a flashback scene involving Bruce in the Chinese/foreign prison with the Inception stairs. Could this be Nolan’s interpretation of the Lazarus Pit? A jail at the bottom of a dark pit? (See my theory on the LAZARUS PIT at the end of the article)
1:42 – Close-up of Bane posing like an old oil tycoon holding his suspenders. Close-up of Joseph Gordon-Levitt backing into a door with a gun.
1:43-1:44 – TO THE DARK KNIGHT LEGEND
1:45 – Bane walking up steps of a courthouse (I’m just going to say it’s a courthouse for the sake of this breakdown) while Batman stands waiting with his normal pissed-off, constipated look, which is a good thing! In the background, cops and thugs beat the shit out of each other.
1:46 – SWAT team walking down a hallway.
1:47 – Camouflaged Tumbler at base of courthouse stairs firing a grenade at the building causing an explosion.
1:48 – Back to Bane and Batman fighting outside the courthouse. Nobody seems to notice or care that a guy dressed as a bat and a guy in a Darth Vader-like helmet are fighting each other, but I guess that’s life in Gotham.
1:49 – Someone falling down the pit attached to a rope. Again, I think this could be a flashback scene to Begins. I think the stones around the wall of this pit are actually used for climbing. Remember in the teaser trailer from July we saw someone climbing up this pit when Commissioner Gordon said, “Now this evil…rises.” I think this person is Bruce and he’s trying to get to that platform at the top to escape.
Either that, or this whole holding cell area at the bottom of the pit could be some sort of initation/test for people wanting to join the League of Shadows. The next shot in the trailer shows a group of men in militant gear (Bane’s men, most likely) repelling down the pit into the jail. From the look of the head wraps people are wearing in this brief scene, it leads me to believe they are in the desert somewhere. The scene with the so-called Lazarus Pit was shot in India, so maybe this is it?
1:50-1:51 – Batwing ready to fuck shit up.
1:52-2:00 – Zoom in on bat symbol above crumbling buildings a la teaser trailer . Fade to white. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES title appears on the screen with Hans Zimmer’s score playing.
2:01 – THE LEGEND
2:02 – ENDS
2:03 – EXPERIENCE IT IN IMAX SUMMER 2012
2:04-2:08 – Credits
To wrap things up, here are a few questions/theories I’ve taken away from this trailer:
THE LAZARUS PIT: A lot has been made of the Lazarus Pit since set photos from India surfaced last May showing a green screen covering a hole. I, too, have wondered how Nolan will handle the Lazarus Pit, if he even decides to use it. Would there be a flashback scene involving a young Ra’s al Ghul (Josh Pence) or Bane, and would the pit have special healing powers like in the comics? The more I thought about it, the more I came to feel that Nolan would approach the pit with a more literal, rather than supernatural, interpretation. I started looking into the meaning of “Lazarus” (i.e. I googled it) and came to find out that there’s a biblical story of a man named Lazarus of Bethany, whom Jesus raised from the dead four days after his death. No, I’m not saying TDKR is going to make any references to the bible or spirituality, but in a passage about Lazarus in Luke 16:22-31, it says, “That man rises again after death.” Hmmm, who in this movie will face death and rise again? Just saying…
THIS AIN’T YOUR GRANDFATHERS GOTHAM: Nolan has stated in several interviews that the reason for the time jump of eight years is because the sacrifice Gordon and Batman made at the end of The Dark Knight had to payoff because of its enormity. Things in Gotham had to get better. The trailer definitely seems to show just how much things have changed. In the scene at the new and improved Wayne Manor with Gordon at the podium, we find out he’s going to get sacked in the spring. He’s referred to as a “war hero” and right now it’s peace time in Gotham. Peace in Gotham? I guess stranger things have happened.
IS THE LEAGUE OF SHADOWS REALLY BACK: Bane’s men carry guns, which is not common with this group. The League of Shadows likes to remain somewhat secretive, so prancing around Gotham in full view of everyone doesn’t seem like something they would do. Their militant clothing also raises questions for me about whether the League of Shadows is actually back since that’s not the typical clothing we’ve seen them in. Plus, they already know Bruce Wayne is Batman, so wouldn’t that take away from the suspense/storyline of how Bane figures out who Batman really is?
WHERE IS LUCIUS FOX: Seriously, how can you go a whole trailer without at least showing a glimpse of Morgan Freeman? Lucius Fox is clearly the genius behind the Batwing, so why not give him some love and screen time? Then again, we know that Bane and his men somehow get their hands on a few Tumblers. Are they going to have to go through (i.e. kill) Lucius Fox in order to gain access to them?
Pretty intense, right? Like many of you, I can’t wait for this movie to come out. Check back soon for my reaction to the prologue, and happy holidays to all!
PROLOGUE THOUGHTS: Fuck. Yeah.
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