12/20/2011 Entry: On the Dark Knight Rises Trailer
Next summer, there’s a new Batman movie coming out.
The Dark Knight Rises. The third and final film in the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale trilogy. Also starring Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle and Tom Hardy as Bane.
The trailer was released online yesterday:
One of the things I want out of this movie is a definitive ending to the Batman story. That’s not something that comics can do, but there’s no reason that film cannot. Comics have to be left open-ended, whereas with film Nolan can have his beginning, his middle, and his end.
I want an end.
And that’s what Warner Bros. is promising in the trailer. “The Legend Ends,” the trailer says.
I have to admit, the more I watch the trailer, the less I understand what I see. This doesn’t look like any sort of super-hero movie. This looks like a movie set against the threat of urban terrorism and Occupy Gotham protests against the 1%. Compared to the trailer for Joss Whedon’s Avengers, a movie I admit I’m unlikely to see, The Dark Knight Rises trailer looks like the sober work of a serious film maker.
Yet, I’ll try and run what little I know of the film through the filter of what I know about comics.
Bane. Introduced in the early 90s as a big hulking brute of a villain who was both a physical and mental match for Batman. In Knightfall, he set in motion a plan to identify who Batman was, then physically and mentally wore him down, then made his own move and broke Batman’s back, leaving Bruce Wayne without the use of his legs and forcing a mental unstable assassin for a religious order, Jean-Paul Valley, to assume the cape and cowl.
Let’s suppose that Nolan decides to use elements of Knightfall in the film. There are things in the trailer that are suggestive, from the escaped prisoners (part of Bane’s plan in the comics) to the ominous line “When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die,” as if Bane has just delivered the crippling blow to the broken Batman we see in that brief clip.
If Nolan is, in fact, riffing heavily on Knightfall, like Bleeding Cool has reported, complete with Bane shattering Batman’s back and crippling him, then what does this mean for the film?
If this is true, it would have to come at the end of the first act, forty minutes to an hour into the film, because the film would need to deal with that. How does Bruce cope? What happens to the Batman? What does Bane do with the Batman out of the way? Your next hour, Act Two then, would be the ramifications of the act, such as Bane tearing Gotham down, and this would end an hour later at the start of the third act as Batman returns and kicks Bane’s ass.
Now, assuming Nolan is riffing on Knightfall, then Batman’s return in the third act needs to be public, because the whole of Gotham City saw Batman get his back broken by Bane in Knightfall, and it was Jean-Paul’s public trouncing of Bane that convinced the world that Batman was still there, looking out after Gotham. Hence, the scene we see in the trailer of Batman fighting Bane in public, in daylight. This would be a clear third act scene.
But that forces me to wonder. Is that Bruce Wayne we see as Batman, in daylight, or is it a new person under the cowl?
And what of the odd scene midway through, of a clearly older Bruce Wayne (notice the grey in Christian Bale’s hair), in some sort of prison, with an old man saying “Rise”?
I have no idea there, unfortunately.
If I see one super-hero movie next summer, it’s going to be The Dark Knight Rises. If I see two, it’s going to be TDKR and Amazing Spider-Man. I think that’s the most I’ll manage.