What can we learn from the Dark Knight Rises trailer?

First things first – watch it again. Of course you’ve already seen it, it’s been out for, like, HOURS.

Oh dear, looks like Gotham’s really gone to shit, hasn’t it? Having sworn to become the villain the city needed in order to leave the memory of that bastard Harvey Dent undefiled, Batman ran off into the credits of The Dark Knight with poor old Commissioner Gordon left with nothing to do except release the hounds. Now, years on, it seems that corruption still reigns supreme in the good city of Gotham; with the rich rich and the poor poorer, tensions are mounting and the world is poised for DISASTER. Excellent. As Catwoman (Hathaway) herself says to our old pal Bruce, being all sexy and breathy and rather irritating: “you’re going to wonder how you could live so large, and leave so little for the rest of us.”

Speaking of totally magnificent set-pieces, how brilliant does Bane’s attack on the football field look? Pretty bloody brilliant, is how. That poor man doing the running, all he wanted was to win the big game, LITTLE DID HE KNOW HIS ONLY PRIZE WOULD BE HIS LIFE. Judging by the jaw-dropping opening heist we were privy to in the six minute prologue (did someone say mid-air plane hijack?) and the glimpses of action we see here, we reckon it’s safe to say that Nolan has upped the spectacle factor for his finale – and it does rather help that his villain has access to the kinds of weaponry the cuddly ol’ Joker could only dream of.

So why is Bane doing all this? The only words he utters in this trailer are “When Gotham is in ashes, you have my permission to die” (and to be honest, he doesn’t so much utter them as slowly choke them), suggesting that he’s bent on the total annihilation of the city at any cost. It sort of depends on how faithful Nolan is being to the original tale; in the DC Knightfall storyline Bane is raised in a prison cell, ruled by fear and becomes obsessed with Gotham – the city that is ruled by the same force. So with a city now shaking under the supposedly malevolent force of the Batman, which is Bane’s objective? To destroy the city itself? Or to usurp the figure that rules it? Could it be that he’s finishing off the work that Ra’s al Ghul started in Batman Begins?

And what about Joseph “just a hint, just a hint of him” Gordon-Levitt? So far we know that he’s playing a detective by the name of John Blake – HOW CONVENIENTLY BLAND, CHRIS NOLAN. By giving him just a few seconds of screentime and zero dialogue, we’re basically told not to worry too much about him. Which, of course, is bound to send us into a SPIRAL OF MYSTERY. At this stage, is it still too late to cling to the idea that Levitt may be playing some incarnation of Azrael – the man who Bruce Wayne passes the Bat-mantle onto after he gets crippled by Bane? Probably. But let’s entertain the fantasy anyway, eh?

Sure sure, technically that character’s name is Jean-Paul Valley – slightly different to John Blake, we’ll admit – and he’s basically a brainwashed computer scientist assassin, but come now, Nolan didn’t bring on JGL just to look worriedly at a door. We know – from the teaser released way back in July – that at some stage Bruce Wayne gives up his cape and mask, and that commissioner Gordon begs him to return to his heroic ways. This all fits in beautifully with the Knightfall storyline (a replacement Batman going mental across the city of Gotham, turning from do-gooder into hard-hearted villain), and certainly does leave us with an Azrael shaped gap…

Anyway, we’re getting ahead of ourselves, and we’re now covered in spit. Back to the trailer.

The one character that seems to feature heavily is Selina Kyle – and though at the moment she’s little more than a taut-cheeked exposition machine, it’s worth noting. Will she be a straight villain? Our bat-instincts are telling us no – we reckon that if Nolan has already chosen his central villain (that would be Bane, for you at the back), he might make a rather more complex character out of miss Kyle. In the Knightfall storyline she struggles back and forth between the two forces – asked to work for Bane but loving (god DAMN it she can’t help loving) Batman nevertheless – and judging by the sexual chemistry between Brucey and Selina, we reckon that’s probably what we’re going to see. Brillo.

And of course, throughout, there’s Zimmer’s glorious score. Having seen the prologue in the IMAX, it’s important to stress how much that pulsing chanting pervades your viewing experience, surrounding you – hell, almost suffocating you – with glorious noise, vibration and pure unadulterated LOUD. Though let’s not forget that apparently we could all chant a bit louder.

So, all in all it’s a tantalising glimpse into the ruined city of Gotham, the central players that inhabit it and the stories that will unfold within its crumbly walls. And, helpfully, we’re still left with plenty of delicious questions. ROLL ON TRAILER TWO. GET AZRAEL INVOLVED, GO ON, WE DARE YOU.

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