The Dark Knight Rises Trailer Breakdown

We pick apart Christopher Nolan's first full trailer

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As Bane makes his entrance with the six-minute prologue released in IMAX cinemas today, Warner Bros reveals much more of Christopher Nolan’s final Batman movie — the one in which, we’re told ominously, “The Legend Ends” — in the first full trailer. The overriding theme is one of doom — for Gotham, and for Bruce Wayne himself, after a period of "peace" following Joker’s brief reign of terror in The Dark Knight. Both Gotham and Batman are gonna get hit hard, it appears, in a 130-second taster packed with tantalising clues…

If you haven't watched or read about the Dark Knight Rises Prologue then there are spoilers ahead!

The American national anthem warbles around Gotham football stadium, home to the Rogues (and in reality Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field), as Bane stomps up the stairs. The 10,000-strong crowd will be the audience for his explosive statement of intent.

The voiceover from Alfred suggests that the figure with the cane walking up to the platter on the table might be Bruce Wayne’s careworn butler. But look closely at the reflection in the dome, and you’ll see it’s another major character — injured enough that he has difficulty walking…

The New York skyline. Yes, for the first time, we’re seeing Nolan’s Gotham as the true Gotham: a sure sign that this Batman will represent a further step into reality from the previous two.

“They mayor’s gonna dump him in the spring,” we’re told of Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon. “He’s a war hero,” comes the reply from Matthew Modine as good cop Foley (Not ‘Nixon’ as has been previously reported) “This is peace time”. It would seem that Mayor Garcia is getting a bit complacent after Joker’s incarceration. Big mistake.

And there she is — Selina ‘The Cat’ Kyle — complete with a black, cat-eared mask. Nice touch. This is the first time we’ve heard Anne Hathaway’s purry tones at Kyle, and her dance with Wayne suggests the essential seductive element in the Batman/Catwoman relationship. Her dialogue is interesting, too: “There’s a storm coming,” she says as we see footage of an opulent residence getting trashed by (presumably) Bane’s goons. “You’re all gonna wonder how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” Just as The Dark Knight had War On Terror undertones, could this movie be tapping into current anti-banker sentiment?

Check out those pearls. Look familiar? There’s a marked similarity to those worn by Bruce’s mother the night of her murder in Batman Begins’ flashbacks. Interesssting…

And here’s Bane filling the ranks of his ragtag mercenary army — with orange-jumpsuit-wearing Gotham convicts. Given the one, brief shot of Kyle in a similar jumpsuit at the end of the prologue, could she yet prove to be among them?

Nolan told Empire that this film is set eight years after The Dark Knight, with an older Bruce Wayne. But he didn’t say when those eight years begin. Could this scene, showing a bearded Bruce and echoing Batman Begins’ earlier moments, be set early in The Dark Knight Rises, during another Bruce Wayne sabbatical — before the ‘eight years later’ chunk begins?

Well, here’s a money shot. As we said, Bane certainly knows how to get your attention… And, by the way, that footballer with his back to us is actually Hines Ward, of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“When Gotham is ashes,” says Bane to an obviously battered Wayne, “then you have my permission to die.” This scene could well be another ‘pre-eight years’ moment, and is the clearest indication yet that Nolan and co-writers Jonah Nolan and David Goyer have hoved close to the Knightfall comic-book storyline in which Batman is crippled by Bane. Could it take Wayne that long to recover…?

Here’s Marion Cotillard giving the trailer an Inception-reunion feel as Miranda Tate, a Wayne Enterprises bod who is also a likely romantic interest. But what’s with the black mask? The slightly Catwomanish black mask? Is that a clue of a darker intent? Nolan playing with our expectations regarding identity as he so often likes to? Or just a tease?

And here’s the Batcave, back in action — only to be invaded, it seems, by Bane and his crew.

Further Inception-reunion action, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake. Like Modine’s Foley, he’s a cop. But good cop or bad cop?

And here’s Batman, in daylight — something we’re going to see quite a bit of in this final installment. It’s part of a huge melee in Gotham’s financial district (and actually shot on Wall Street) — further suggestion of Credit Crunch undertones.

And, to finish off, a quick glimpse at the new Bat-vehicle: this flying ED-209 contraption is ‘The Wing’, pursuing one of Bane’s tumblers. As is to be expected from a Nolan Batman picture, The Dark Knight Rises will be packed with top-grade vehicular mayhem.

The day this scene was shot, there were 10,000 extras there at Heinz Field. Most of them brought their own props and costumes, so clearly one guy has been smart and, when drawing the 'R' for the 'Rogues' signs (for the Rogues are Gotham's team), he's drawn it in the style of a Robin logo, off his own back. So this is no more a 'clue' that Robin will be in the film than the presence of the Batman logo on a door during Following was a 'clue' that Nolan would one day make a Batman movie.

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