A Football Field Implodes? Over-Scrutinizing 'The Dark Knight Rises' Trailer

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by Gabe Toro
December 20, 2011 2:44 PM
30 Comments
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Time To Draft Hines Ward In Your Fantasy Football League

At the close of 2011, Warner Bros. hit us with a tease of 2012's biggest blockbuster event, the trailer for "The Dark Knight Rises." What's interesting about this trailer isn't what it reveals as much as what it hides and obscures. Like the six minute prologue shown on IMAX screens, it's certainly substantial as far as conveying tone, and yet it definitely does not illuminate very much about this movie at all.

We've been throwing around some ideas at the Playlist watercooler, and in trying to decipher this brief clip, here's what we've learned.

Christopher Nolan's Clever Misdirection
It appears at the start of this clip, as a child sings the Star Spangled Banner, that the trailer is cutting between two events, that being a football game for the local Gotham Rogues (played by the actual Pittsburgh Steelers) and a banquet of sorts. However, it may actually be three, as we see two separate banquets, one an event to commemorate Harvey Dent's passing held at a rebuilt Wayne Manor, the other a more conventional ballroom event. Focusing on these two gatherings, we only see Wayne at one, and he's very specifically walking with a cane, meeting both Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) and Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). Could this be later in the film, after a brief, brutal encounter with Bane? Or maybe the wear and tear of years of crime fighting?

Catwoman Is The 99%
"You think this can last," muses Selina Kyle, wearing a mask in a ballroom much like her predecessor Michelle Pfieffer in "Batman Returns." The question is, what is "this" that she's referring to? Following a shot of flower petals thrown from the balcony, it suggests Catwoman is referring to Bruce Wayne's extravagant wealth. Her speech about Wayne "living so large and leaving so little for the rest of us," dripping with the sort of venom we don't associate with Hathaway, is followed by a further scene of chaos. Shots of a mansion (maybe Wayne Manor?) being ransacked suggest someone's climbin' in yo' windows, snatchin' yo' people up, Gotham City. Could be the League Of Shadows, could just be looters. Following the Catwoman footage, the suggestion is that Kyle is behind it.

Bane And The Gang!
We see a number of jumpsuit-clad convicts emerge from a hole in the wall. Given that they seem fairly enthused to be carrying heavy artillery, their collective walk seems like a confident strut. In other words, they're not in the biggest hurry to leave prison, since it's probably been established that there's craziness spilling all over the streets at that moment. It looks bad enough that Batman's only going to do minimal damage to his enemy. Near the end of the trailer, Batman engages in a one-on-one fight with Bane on the steps of City Hall, but the duo is surrounded on all sides by bros throwing down with other bros. Clearly, Batman just figures some of these guys are going to have to take a few punches in the face. FOR JUSTICE.

When Gotham Is In Ashes, Wide Receivers Will Be The Only Ones Left
In addition to the looting, we get to see mass carnage and crowd violence spilling onto the streets of Gotham (an overhead shot from the prologue confirms a "300"-style throwdown) and, in the film's money shot, Gotham's football stadium torn asunder. As Steelers/Rogues wide receiver Hines Ward makes a run for it, the ground beneath him gives way, swallowing the defense whole. It's darkly comic, and wonderfully apocalyptic, with the suggestion that there isn't going to be any major sports in Gotham for a while. It's an attention-getter, for sure, and a sign perhaps that most of the material in this trailer is first-act stuff.

Also, congratulations, Hines Ward: you're now one of the few football players that geeks know by name. Please do not beat any of them up.

Bane's Plan Is To Hmmmrrrrmmmphh Frrrrrrghhhhghrfrffffff
Given that this is a Batman movie, it's weird that star Christian Bale's only line in this trailer is, "What does it mean?" Of course, perhaps he's responding to Bane, so loquacious in the prologue, who here gives a garbled reading of "When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die." Apparently executives are concerned about the complaints regarding Tom Hardy's muffled line readings, though Chris Nolan is sticking to his guns and is only considering minor alterations. On one level, it would be disappointing if we didn't understand most of what Bane was saying. On another level, the idea of a movie this big having such an indecipherable major character would be hilarious.

Bruce Wayne Needs A Cheeseburger
During an early, anguished chat with Alfred, and a later excursion into the heart of the League of Shadows' lair, Bruce is looking fairly skinny, gaunt even. Not only does he hear their chant, but they even provided a translator for him. Clearly, the League doesn't even care that Bruce Wayne is just hanging out over there. How big is this operation, anyway? We would say this might be a flashback to Wayne's earlier days with the League from the first film, but he looks to have the same body type in the first part of the trailer. When is this happening? What is the chronology of this thing? Keeping in mind Nolan's promise that this movie would occur eight years after the last picture, we have no idea what to think.

Everything will be answered when "The Dark Knight Rises" opens on July 20, 2012.

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30 Comments

  • Jesus's father Judas | March 3, 2012 4:15 AMReply

    Gabe Toro= pretentious dick

  • davey sockrocker | December 21, 2011 10:02 PMReply

    yeah i DO think his voice is muffled, but there are already pics out of bane in his luchador mask from behind so its probably something nolan doesnt want to give away, which is hard to do in this world of spoilers we now live in. Either way I feel like this list is more looking for things to complain about than being astute at all. Cant we just wait to yknow, SEE it. Do people really have to rate the trailer with such scrutiny? Would it be if it wasnt a follow up to dark knight? Its a trailer, compared to OTHER trailers, its good. And I realize now that the dark knight was so beloved, this movie probably doesn't have a chance. -_-

  • Col. Glen Manning | December 21, 2011 9:07 PMReply

    "We have no idea what to think." Wouldn't your having an idea what to think be the purpose of writing an analysis? This isn't an analysis, or a riff, it's just a description of some obvious things anyone who sees the trailer has seen. WTF was the point of this?

  • Supreme Commander Al-Basheer DehShayre | March 3, 2012 4:13 AM

    Col. Glen manning, you, sir, is up for court martial.

  • GEN. MAJOR DIC | December 21, 2011 9:19 PM

    WHAT AN A--HOLE. THIS WAS ACTUALLY A GOOD ARTICLE. GREAT WRITING.

  • Alex | December 21, 2011 5:25 PMReply

    I hope Selina dies in the first 20 minutes.

  • Zach | December 21, 2011 7:04 AMReply

    Gabe: FYI, "heavy artillery" would be cannons and howitzers. Those convicts are carrying AK-47s, probably the Chinese variant, at that; the AK-47 is an assault rifle, and not artillery.

  • Patrick | December 21, 2011 3:03 PM

    Zac, are you surprised? When has The Playlist ever gotten anything right fact-wise? They'll probably go back and re-edit this article the moment they read your comment.

  • gonad | December 21, 2011 6:07 AMReply

    Michael Caine is impersonating Steve Coogan impersonating Michael Caine.

  • Andrew | December 20, 2011 9:52 PMReply

    "wearing a mask in a ballroom much like her predecessor Michelle Pfieffer in 'Batman Returns.'"

    You mean much UNLIKE her predecessor, since Michelle's Selina Kyle wasn't wearing one, since her "Selina" personae WAS her real mask, and Catwoman the real her = )

  • San | December 20, 2011 9:17 PMReply

    I think the part where he asks what does that mean is after the eight year period. As Bruce has grey hairs on the side. So I'm guessing it's not a flashback sequence.

  • Fatpie42 | December 20, 2011 8:32 PMReply

    If you couldn't understand Bane in that trailer you need a hearing aid. He's clear as a bell. If that were an argument for redoing the sound in a movie, then the first Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance trailer is an argument for redubbing Nic Cage's lines. (Seriously: "What if you have to pee when you are on fire?" "Haassgahhaonnoaceh." - Um what?)

    However, the complaints about Bane's voice may not be so unreasonable because they were about the prologue previews, not this short trailer featuring a single line. While the line in this trailer is very clear indeed, that doesn't mean that Bane is so clear for the rest of the movie....

  • kintaro.west | December 20, 2011 7:31 PMReply

    This article is just one of the many reasons why I've been fucking with this website for almost a year now....you do things with humor and you don't take yourselves seriously...I fucking love it! Ok, enough playlist dick licking for now......I happen to be one of many folks who believe that Nolan can do no wrong, so I trust that the Bane issues will be fixed.....I mean look at him! Does he resemble the campy twat we witnessed in Batman & Robin? Nope! They made him as fucking menacing as he is in the comic book.....a venomous Catwoman? Maybe.....we'll see in a few months now won't we!

  • Chase | December 20, 2011 4:34 PMReply

    I really hope Catwoman cracks a whip in this movie...

  • Sean | December 20, 2011 4:08 PMReply

    ::pom poms at the read:: "Gabe Toro, he's our man! If he can't do it, no one can!" Oh shit, look at all that bullshit I just spilled...

  • Hook | December 20, 2011 4:12 PM

    LoL! playlist most-hated blogger. BA-HA HA HA.

  • hackattack | December 20, 2011 3:29 PMReply

    I think Wayne might be rescued/kidnapped by the league of Shadows after Bane crushes him. The facility that Bruce asks "What are they saying?" doesn't mimic anything that we saw in Batman Begins ( Wayne and the Shadow People hung out on the top of that temple).

    SEE 1:49 - It looks like they take over a prison and put Wayne in there. Notice the same people keep repelling down during these events.

  • Goggin | December 20, 2011 6:06 PM

    I'm with you on this but I'm not sure if its the League of Shadows. I think just because Nolan told us it will take place 8 years after, doesn't mean we wont see anything happen in between. Bane could break the Bat and Wayne leaves Gotham for a long time to heal and make a comeback.

    ALSO thinking maybe Wayne only uses the cane to hide that he's able to be Batman.

  • Chase | December 20, 2011 4:36 PM

    Interesting perspective. You don't think Bane is teaming with the League of Shadows?

  • Xavier | December 20, 2011 3:21 PMReply

    John Taylor please go to sleep forever. Whining about an article you don't have to read is childish so please take the tampon out of your ass and move along.

  • Wash | December 20, 2011 4:48 PM

    We need a "like" button for comments like this.

  • The Playlist | December 20, 2011 3:21 PMReply

    Unlike other pieces out there, this actually has a sense of humor.

  • geha714 | December 21, 2011 11:48 AM

    I notice it when you quoted Antoine Dobson.

  • Fred | December 20, 2011 5:02 PM

    LIKE. (lol)

  • Marcus | December 20, 2011 4:33 PM

    Only he's not...funny...

  • John Tayor | December 20, 2011 3:01 PMReply

    Really, The Playlist? I thought you guys were much better than these useless, hit-whoring trailer dissection articles. For shame.

  • CRACKO | December 20, 2011 2:47 PMReply

    HitFix did a much better 15 Things We Learned From "The Dark Knight Rises" Trailer article. However, I can't believe Nolan is doing "minor alternations" to Bane's voice. It will kill this movie if he doesn't show a little ADR-love. But, in Nolan we trust, and the man, really, has never made a mistake in any of his films. Please don't eff Bane up, man.

  • CandyCane | December 21, 2011 3:06 PM

    KT, every movie has flaws. Every movie. But I have to agree, Nolan really hasn't made a bad film yet. All of his films are in the 80 percentile on Rotton Tomatoes. Has to stand for something.

  • KT | December 20, 2011 3:25 PM

    "But, in Nolan we trust, and the man, really, has never made a mistake in any of his films."

    Hop off the man's dick. Most Chris Nolan's films are far from perfect. A rare combination of entertaining and at times thought-provoking, yes, but not perfect. 'Inception', for all its brillance, had some glaring flaws.

  • Gabe Toro | December 20, 2011 3:15 PM

    Unlike HitFix, our article didn't begin with the cringe-worthy line, "Christopher Nolan, you're a genius."

    Advantage: PLAYLIST.

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