Monday, March 26, 2012 Craig Grobler 1 Comments

The Establishing Shot's Epic! 8,645 word analysis of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises TrailerAccording to my Bat Countdown on my Bat phone or rather my Nokia Lumia 800 The Dark Knight Rises Edition we are still 115 Days or 4 months away from seeing Christopher Nolan’s finale in his Batman trilogy – the decidedly epic The Dark Knight Rises.

     Recently Christopher Nolan showed his first four hour rough cut of The Dark Knight Rises to Warner Bros. executives and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about their thoughts as information is leaked. But until then, I thought I would finish my analysis of The Dark Knight Rises trailer which I started way back when it was released - but have been time poor so didn’t really get around to finishing it. As I’ve been fairly busy of late with no end in sight and cant really write up new stuff (of which there is much) I dusted off my analysis and thought I would get it out.

     My thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises teaser trailer are here: and my thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises Prologue are here:

The Dark Knight Rises Poster
The Dark Knight Rises Poster [+]
     I was asked a little while back the amount of effort required to analyse bits from the The Dark Knight Rises and whilst it is an effort. I'm a long time fan of Batman and knowing the complexity  that Christopher Nolan puts into his films and trailers taking the time to analyse them properly goes some of the way to fully comprehend them and appreciate them.

     The Dark Knight Rises offers up a surprising amount of information to a Bat fan as well as raises many questions. Which is why we love Christopher Nolan and I have to say kudos to him and his team for keeping as much of the film under wraps despite the very public filming.

     As I say the Dark Knight Rises offers up a lot of subtext and semiotics for us to engage with. And you don’t have to be a Detective to figure it out.

Batman Begins (2005)
[Thomas Wayne carrying a young Bruce back to Wayne Manor]
Alfred Pennyworth: Took quite a fall, didn't we, Master Bruce?

Thomas Wayne: And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

[as Wayne Manor is burning down]
Bruce Wayne: What have I done, Alfred? Everything my family... my father built...

Alfred Pennyworth: The Wayne legacy is more than bricks and mortar, sir.

Bruce Wayne: I wanted to save Gotham, I failed

Alfred Pennyworth: Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up

Bruce Wayne: You still haven't given up on me?

Alfred Pennyworth: Never

     I’m guessing those quotes from Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins way back in 2005 will be all the more poignant with The Dark Knight Rises.

     Bear in mind that although I mention Christopher Nolan’s name a lot below, some of the credit should be going to his brother Jonathan Nolan who wrote the screenplay along with Batman familiar David S. Goyer I use Nolan's name as a hold all for the team.

     Also this is all educated speculation rather than based on any inside knowledge of the production or any unofficial spoilery media floating around the web.

and here we go...

The Dark Knight Heath Ledger Joker

The Establishing Shot: The Dark Knight Rises Trailer Analysis
The Dark Knight Rises Trailer is 2:04 minutes long and rather than doing a frame by frame analysis it makes more sense if we break it down by scene.

     Video: The Dark Knight Rises - Official Trailer #2 [HD]  

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00:01 – 00:05 - Studio Logos
Warner Bros Logo
Legendary Logo
DC Logo
Syncopy Logo

In typical Nolan symbolism all the logos are set to the literal background of a dark night we are above the clouds though.

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00:05 – 00:06 – Football Stadium: Boy singing [Heinz Stadium, Pittsburgh] 

We open up with a medium shot of a young boy singing the American National Anthem as is done at most National American sports events.

Ok! This is a strong opening and exactly the kind of subtle subtext that adds depth to Christopher Nolan’s films. What exactly does this one second establishing shot tell us? Well it offers up some intelligence including giving us a time and place.

1. Time: Pretty obvious to anyone in the US but for the rest of the world: The American NFL National Football League season runs from September through to February. So we know that this scene is set in Fall /Winter . Thanks to Brian for pointing out my season error.

2. The American National Anthem or The Star Spangled Banner sung by the young boy is heard in the background throughout the trailer, well up until about 01:01.

The Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Key during the American Revolution. The inspiration for it came to him when he was held prisoner on a British ship and watched as an American fort (Fort McHenry) was surrounded and heavily bombarded by the British navy. The Fort held out and made it through to dawn raising its flag victoriously at dawn. It was loosely based on an earlier Poem of his called “When The Warrior Returns”.

The Star Spangled Banner tells the story of how the fort survived the night of bombing from larger force but “symbolically outlines the struggle of the American People to preserve hope and liberty from an uncertain future”.

The lyrics of The Star Spangled Banner are ripe with clues; slaves turning on former masters, never giving up, lot of bombs “rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in the air”, “when freemen shall stand. Between their loved home and the war’s desolation”

3. I could go further down the rabbit hole by saying that Nolan is reemphasising the hope and innocence themes by having a young boy sing The Spangled Banner. As well as reminding us that the Legend of the Dark Knight all started with a young boy’s dreams and hopes being cruelly crushed.

4. Location: We are at a Football stadium one of the few sanctioned arenas modern combatants can test their mettle against each other.  This is the modern day equivalent of gladiatorial arena where ultimately - we are going man against man.

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00:06 – 00:08 – Football Stadium: Crowd Shot [Heinz Stadium, Pittsburgh]
We are seeing Football fans. In the crowd we see placards naming both teams: Gotham Rogues and the Rapid City Monuments. These are fans of the Gotham Rogues football team. Everyone and their grand mother had pointed out the Robin symbol in the crowd as the R of the group that spells out Rogues. As you are no doubt aware this was not Nolan but the extra’s reference. Good for him and we salute you.

As we now know these scenes were shot at the Heinz Stadium, Pittsburgh with players from the Pittsburgh Steelers

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00:08 – 00:11 – Indoor industrial tunnel exit: Enter Bane
Our first look at Bane (Tom Hardy) in this trailer. Coming across all purpose and power and echoing the words of Jim Gordon and we see “this new evil rising” as he climbs up the stairs and exits the tunnel. This is a man on a mission.

It seems that Nolan has deftly handled the crises of expectation when it comes to Bane’s look. In the comics Bane had a very distinct, very Lucha Libre look – tying into his South American origin, a look that would be very difficult to pull off credibly on film - although I have no doubt Nolan  could do it if neccessary.

It seems that he has taken elements from Bane, updated them giving him a blunt realistic look. His look seems, amongst other influences to be a mix of Industrial steam punk, East European Paramilitary gear and part Revolutionary leader.

The Dark Knight Rises Costume Designer Lindy Hemming, has as much confirmed the revolutionary bits in an interview with GQ Magazine -

Love it, or hate it - there has never been an as consistently mysterious and powerful threat as the one presented by the cold war. Can Nolan be drawing on this? Although Bane’s wardrobe seems fairly generic in terms of East European guerilla military gear, to really understand the influences on Bane’s outfit we should turn our eye to a well, that Nolan has sipped from before, most noticeably the snow castle scene from Inception, I am of course talking about Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Dark Knight Rises Bane Call of Duty Imran Zakhaev
The Dark Knight Rises Bane & Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare Imran Zakhaev

Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare Imran Zakhaev
Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare Imran Zakhaev
The similarities between Imran Zakhaev’s outfit and Bane’s are striking. I wonder if Gary Oldman who is the voice of Viktor Reznov in Call of Duty: World at War (2008) and Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) and the Nolans get together for an occasional COD session?

Whilst in terms of character I get a strong sense that Bane has been influenced by Batman villain KGBeast from the Ten Nights of The Beast story arc. Wherein “Anatoli Knyazev, code-named The Beast, and known to the C.I.A. as the KGBeast was trained as an assassin by The Hammer, a top secret cell of the KGB. In addition to being the master of several martial arts, his strength was cybernetically enhanced, and he had also mastered the use of every deadly weapon known. At the time of his first appearance, he was rumored to have killed at least 200 people, including Anwar El Sadat.”

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Image: DC Comics Ten Nights of The Beast KGBeast fights Batman in a sewer

“The Hammer's General, angry that the Soviet government was working to better relations with the United States, sends Knyazev on a unauthorized mission to kill 10 high-ranking U.S. officials, ten key people who were involved with the United States' Strategic Defense Initiative, nicknamed the "Star Wars" program, in the hope of putting an end to it. These include scientists, civilian administrators, military figures, and politicians, the last of whom being then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan, scheduled to visit Gotham City. The Soviets warned the American government about Knyazev's plan.

Despite Batman's best efforts, Knyazev proved highly successful, killing seven of his nine designated targets. In particular, he showcases his ruthlessness by poisoning an entire banquet, killing over 100 people, just to ensure his target would die. When Batman finally meets the Beast in hand to hand combat, the Beast quickly gains the upper hand, fleeing only because he thought Batman had back-up.”

Wait a minute that sounds familiar! From

"Despite the efforts of the United States Marine Corps and the British Special Air Service, the Ultranationalists seize control of Russia and declare Imran Zakhaev a hero and martyr, erecting a statue of him in the heart of Red Square. Meanwhile, Vladimir Makarov, one of Zakhaev's former lieutenants, begins a campaign against the West by committing acts of terrorism over the course of five years."

It may be that, in a similar way that the Nolans merged Ra's al Ghul and the Batman’ Comics morally ambiguous, but previously under used Henri DuCard. That Bane becomes an amalgamation of villains, and all the better for it as he is transposed from South America to Eastern Europe.

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00:11 – 00:16 – Indoor plush and privileged interior of Wayne Manor: First partial look at Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne [Osterley Park Hall, London]

We are in a rich and stately room and we get our first look at Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) since The Dark Knight Rises marketing campaign has started as he hobbles along aided by a crutch. It is no coincidence that we are seeing Bane’s entry immediately followed by Bruce Wayne’s and you should view these two scenes as companion pieces.

1. Ok firstly Nolan it showing us the contrast between Bane’s dirty, gritty and stark environment and Bruce Wayne’s privileged world. On the surface stately, opulent and with a rich heritage. This point is laboured by Wayne’s actions - he is walking towards a meal prepared for him. Hungry – Gets fed.

This is reinforced by the way the scene is shot, in a similar style to the visual language that the great Stanley Kubrick would have used. Nolan used this technique in Inception when visually describing the Fischers for us. This style immediately conveys wealth through use of colours, lighting, minimal stately interiors, the placing of objects in the room in relation to the door all hallmarks of Stanley Kubrick.  As well as raising the value of the objects on screen by minimising clutter and distraction all shot from waist high.

Stanley Kubrick very much made the camera POV angle part of his semiotic vocabulary and pioneered the lower angle steadicam shot. Excerpt from: American Cinematographer - The Steadicam and "The Shining" by Steadicam Operator Garrett Brown

"…Universal II-raised monitor" Steadicam and we had also devised the means to suspend the 35BL from the Steadicam platform, thereby permitting a whole new range of lens heights from about 18 inches to waist high. Kubrick seemed particularly pleased with the possibilities for low-lens shooting…”

2. Secondly Nolan is showing us the differences between the men. Bane very confident and powerful whilst Bruce Wayne requires a walking stick.  Another Kubrisque touch is Bruce Wayne’s reflection in the silver plate cover. This Bruce Wayne is not the man he used to be and possibly the only other way that would have carried the symbolism that this Wayne is no longer the same Wayne, it is if we see a shadow or ghost of the former man moving towards the dinner. We see Bruce Wayne’s reflection and he seemingly has a beard and wearing an odd Middle Eastern/ Indian waistcoat of sorts.

To reinforce what Nolan is telling us about the respective men -  Bane’s status is raised as he is moving purposefully towards the camera whilst in contrast Bruce Wayne is moving away from the camera almost to ashamed to face it. Again Bane comes out of the darkness to be seen while Bruce Wayne it indistinguishable from the darkness of the room. Or at least this is the reality behind closed doors at Bruce Wayne's public persona may still offer a very different facade to this.

3. If you read my analysis of the first The Dark Knight Rises teaser trailer you would have read a bit a bit about a motif that is developing to do with tunnels and light. Bane’s entry is exiting from a tunnel and Bruce Wayne’s entry is into a room with a door ajar and a white light behind it. The motif continues and very subtly Nolan is telling both these men are on a journey. The ajar door telling us Wayne’s path is obstructed but there is an opening leading towards a light that may free him?

The underlying tradgedy of the moment made all the more poignant as by Alfred’s voiceover:

Alfred Pennyworth: You are as precious to me as you were to your own mother and father

Again the effects of the tragic event that created the Batman are laid bare. On the surface we may see a privileged man moving towards his dinner but the reality is that in this huge mansion a lonely man is hobbling to a dinner for one.

4. Finally there is no chair at the table and the rest of furniture in Wayne’s room is covered up, as it was in Batman Begins when Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham City from his travels. Either Bruce Wayne has returned from somewhere or the Wayne Manor has gone all reclusive in a Miss Havisham style. Either way this tells us something about Bruce Wayne.

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00:12 (00:16) – 00:20 – Alfred Pennyworth voiceover starts in the previous scenes leads to a conversation between himself and Bruce Wayne. [Osterley House, The Great Staircase, London] First Look at Sir Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth and Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne.

Alfred (Sir Michael Caine) is conveying his disappointment in himself, having sworn to protect Wayne and feels he has not done.  What does the brightness and obscuring angle of Alfred's tunnel tell us?

We get our first proper look at Bruce Wayne and he is not looking well. Gaunt and not in the best physical shape. We are looking down at him further re-emphasising his low status.

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Alfred Pennyworth: I swore to them that I would protect you and I haven’t.

Alfred’s voice wavering giving us an indication that this is a man on the edge, pushed too far. It is unlikely that Alfred would have planned this conversation to take place on the stairwell. I believe Alfred’s feelings have been building up and the conversation is taking place now as Wayne has been away and unavailable. He has recently returned to Wayne Manor and a distraught Alfred Pennyworth is unburdening himself. Looks like Wayne has just stepped out of the shower, further reinforcing his recent arrival status.

With this scene Nolan is heightening the emotional stakes of Batman’s arc. He’s reminding us that even though Bruce Wayne’ has no family and has a seemingly invulnerable alter ego. He is still only human and very vulnerable - no man is an island. He is also reminding us that even though Wayne’s parents have passed, that for all intensive purposes his actions still have an emotional weight to those around him. Particularly on Alfred his long time guardian and familial substitute. On another layer he may be the savior of Gotham but those nearest to him are paying a heavy price.

If this needs further clarity as to why this may be important - with this scene Nolan may be laying the groundwork for - OK! So Wayne’s parents are dead but that emotional bond is just as strong with Alfred and if anything should happen to Alfred the burden would be just as tragic as the catalyst event that pushed Wayne to be shaped into the Batman. But I skip to far ahead. Overall we are seeing that all is not well in the world of Bruce Wayne

Again notice the use of lights and recreation of tunnel/paths behind each of the characters

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00:20 – 00:20 – Dusk falling on the Gotham Cityscape
As night begins to fall on Gotham city we hear “at the Twilights last gleaming” from The Star Spangled Banner. Cleary Nolan is drawing parallels between the night falling on Fort McHenry before the bombardment started and the night falling on Gotham City signaling something ominous is coming. This may also be a more subtle clue that bombs may be involved.

00:24 – 00:26 – Screen goes black
The screen goes dark and we hear a loud ominous boom, like the sound of Batman’s cape moving but overly amplified. Also reminiscent of the sounds of bat swarms in the previous Batman films. Title up..


This time no need to remind us who he is as with the previous trailer .

Hells Yea! The Dark Knight Rises has its own distinct sound. That was something I felt was noticeably lacking from the first teaser trailer.

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00:26 – 00:35 – Wayne Manor garden party [Wollaton Hall, Wollaton Deer Park, Nottingham]
00:26 – 00:27 – We see a large crowd of people gathered at some sort of garden party
Party marquees on either side. The crowd is being addressed by Gotham City’s Mayor Anthony Garcia (Nestor Carbonell). This takes place outside the newly rebuilt Wayne Manor.

We hear in voice over:  The Mayor’s going to dump him in the spring.

00:27 – 00:30 – Wayne Manor garden party Mayor Anthony Garcia welcomes Gotham City Police Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) to the microphone

Voice over: Really?
Judge: Mm-hmm

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Behind Commissioner Gordon we see portraits of Harvey Dent. This seems to be a Harvey Dent memorial of sorts.

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00:30 – 00:32 – We now see who the voices belong to: a Judge (Bret Cullen) who is surreptitiously discussing Commissioner Gordon’s fate with Nixon (Mathew Modine) in on of the marquees.

Nixon: But he’s a hero.

00:32 – 00:33 – Back to Commissioner Gordon preparing to deliver a speech

Judge: A war hero. This is peace time.

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00:33 – 00:35 – High above on a Wayne Manor Tower we see a silhouette (shadow of his former self) Bruce Wayne robed, using his walking stick to hobble off.

From this scene we can deduce that the Harvey Dent memorial in the Prologue footage may well have been Dent’s funeral that ties The Dark Knight and previous 8 years to The Dark Knight Rises meaning that all that follows including this Dent Memorial occur in current time.

We also learn that the backhanded politics in Gotham City continue. Deeper the betrayal as the Mayor looks Jim Gordon straight in the eye when giving him the stage. On the up side it sounds like since Two Face, The Joker and his associates were dealt with in The Dark Knight Gotham has been fairly peaceable and crime must be a low for Mayor Garcia to be considering giving Commissioner Gordon an early retirement after all his efforts to keep Gotham crime free.

The in the shadows eagles point of view that Wayne has from above is the one usually held by Batman and while Judge says “This is peace time” we see Wayne shrinking away reinforcing that this is peace time and Gotham does not need his alter ego Batman. So with one stroke we understand that two of Gotham’s finest crime fighters are out of commission.

Nolan has also introduced more of the characters Judge and Nixon that will hold roles as the drama of The Dark Knight Rises roles out.

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00:35 – 00:37 – Gotham Museum Benefit [Crush Hall, Senate House, London] Bruce Wayne enters a Masked Ball room party. 
We hear a woman’s voice: You think this can last.

Again Nolan brings attention to Bruce Wayne and his tunnel leading to light, a theme recurring throughout The Dark Knight Rises marketing. Gotham’s favourite son Bruce Wayne walks into the ball room with the room’s perspective leading into the light.

While prophetically, red rose petals rain down on the party goers our first indication in the trailer of the weather theme that has been underpinning the marketing of The Dark Knight Rises so far; Snow, Bane’s fur lined leather coat, Storm coming. Bat logo cracks in ice.

We could further speculate that Nolan is inferring some religious connotation as red roses are sometimes symbolic of Martyrs blood. Suffered for the sins of others, etc.

But more likely the red roses have other multiple meanings; firstly why are they there? We would not have missed them if they were not there. I suspect that the ball is a benefit event of some for a sub-Himalayan country (India/Pakistan), a region where it is customary to throw rose petals in love and respect.

If the speculation that the Gotham impoverished are going to revolt in The Dark Knight Rises ala the Occupy Movement - it would make sense that that to cinematically counter balance this sentiment Bruce Wayne would need to appear noble and that this event could be related to some of his philanthropic activities for/in the region.

Secondly the message of something ominous is coming is echoed - as the roses could be a reference to “days of wine and roses” a line from a Ernest Dowson poem called Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam (The shortness of life prevents us from entertaining far-off hopes or life’s to short) with the key lines being:

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream

Referencing the loss of Bruce Wayne’s first love Rachel Dawson’s passing as well as that the Gotham party (the days of wine and roses) may be coming to an end soon.

And finally they are a subtle reference to either Chris or Jonathan Nolan’s current Totem - which is also alluded to in the final bit of the poem - as with Inception’s booms that are tied into Je Ne Regrette Rien as sung by Edith Piaf played by Marion Cotillard in the movie La Vie en Rose. We can expect to see Marion Cotillard pitch up soon.

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00:38 – 00:40 – Gotham Museum Benefit [Crush Hall, Senate House, London] First Look at Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (The Catwoman)
Our first proper look at Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle as she dances with Bruce Wayne. Although Selina Kyle is the only one of the two wearing a mask - the irony of two people with masked alter egos at a masked ball is surely not lost? Not totally a Nolan thing as this theme is often played with in the comics. An added bonus Selina Kyle tops her outfit off with cat ears. See further below at 1:33 for more about her outfit.

Selina Kyle: There’s a storm coming, Mr Wayne…

The weather analogy of course rearing it' head. But back in 2005 in Batman Begins. Batman utters the words "Storms Coming." to commissioner Gordon when he visits him. Prophetically speaking about the evil that will soon swamp Gotham. Nolan brings this full circle by the warning this time being said to Bruce Wayne.

     Video: Batman Begins (2005) Storms Coming  

It seems that Nolan is continuing the teasing aspects started in first teaser trailer. By letting us have a look at characters from The Dark Knight Rises and letting us get a sense of them from their dialogue as well as the world of The Dark Knight Rises as visuals are shown under their voiceover.

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00:40 – 00:41 – Sewers/Underground [Studio/ Farmiloe Building, London]
In response to Selina Kyle’s cue the storm arrives to a loud boom that starts to drown out the young boys rendition of Twilights Last Gleaming with an ominous tone.

We see Gotham SWAT team reacting to an explosion and the ceiling seemingly caving in.

00:41 – 00:41 – Sewers/Underground [Studio/ Farmiloe Building, London]
We see a larger mix of GCPD (Gotham City Police Department) officers and SWAT team reacting to the same explosions

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00:42 – 00:45 – Again with the tunnels, Bane striding with his men down a tunnel full of steam pipes 
We get a good look at Bane and he is all purpose as he strides down the corridor. Under his jacket he seems to be wearing a Tactical Load Bearing Vest with the addition of red tags. Which can be seen in the official promotional images.  These kinds of tags are favoured by military (and other) High Altitude Low Opening parachutists to quickly identify their quick release ripcords. As we have seen in the prologue footage Bane is very comfortable with high flying modes of transport, so it is possible that parachuting could be a standard mode of transport for himself and his irregulars.

However it is more likely looking at Bane’s mask that unless it is Rebreather unit the release chords are for the gas tanks that house his “Venom” gas. I could be mistaken but as Bane walks past we see a rather large hump under the his jacket ending at it’s highest point around the location of the scar on the back of Bane’s neck.

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Again Nolan’s tunnel motif is repeated with Bane striding down the tunnel.

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00:44 – 00:47 – Selina Kyle presumably getting ready for the masked ball, in her dressing/bed room. 

Selina Kyle: …You and your friends better batten down the hatches…

We see Selina Kyle getting ready for an evening out. In terms of setting in the DC comics Kyle’s small apartment where she lives with her young “ward” Holly Robinson.

No tunnel for Selina in this scene apart from the mirror creating a door/tunnel effect.

Dispelling the rumour:
Much has been made of an Easter egg in this scene - the pearl necklace that Kyle is wearing and the possibility that it is the same Pearl Necklace that once belonged to Martha Wayne. I believe this to be incorrect. Martha Wayne’s Pearl necklace’s pearls were larger and there were more of them, her necklace started from the middle with a single large pearl followed by each pearl receding in size.
Selina Kyle’s pearl necklace clearly has 7 slightly larger pearls and the remainder being of  equal smaller size.

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Image: Selina Kyle's Pearl Necklace - Martha Wayne's Pearl Necklace

If there was an Easter Egg in this scene is the cat ears hanging on the right side of the mirror. Bear in mind that not everyone is a fan of the Batman mythology to the extent that they would need to deconstruct each scene; sometimes well enough is good enough.

But Nolan a seasoned Director does not let filler take up valuable time in his films so although there may be symbolism pertaining to the necklace even if only to serve as reminder that Catwoman’ has her own motivations and they may be as deep as Bruce Wayne’s. The necklace could be further drawing parallels between Martha Wayne being a victim and Selina Kyle being a victim at some point in her origin back-story leading to her to be moulded into the Catwoman.See further below at 1:33 for more about her outfit and the pearl necklace.

More subtly the text here is that she is getting ready to go out, as Gotham needs to prepare for oncoming events.

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00:48 – 00:49 – Sewers/Underground [Farmiloe Building, London]
We see Commissioner Gordon reacting to a particularly loud explosion as his men are seemingly taking the brunt of the explosion.

If the Dark Knight Rises tunnel/light analogy needed any clarity I think this scene could not make it any clearer. Could this also be part of the reason as to how Commissioner Gordon ends up in hospital in The Dark Knight Rises Teaser Trailer?

It does seem as if a lot of the underground action taking place. Is it all based around the tunnels underneath the Football Stadium?

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00:49 – 00:56 – Interior of Wayne Manor: Riots [Osterley Park Hall, London]

Selina Kyle: …Because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large …

We see rioters and looters vandalising Wayne Manor and terrorising guests.

With the recent rioting/looting in the UK, this action is all the more poignant and adds weight to the possibility that the underclass may be moved to raise arms.

00:57- 0:59 – Gotham Museum Benefit [Crush Hall, Senate House, London]

Selina Kyle: …little for the rest of us.

Selina Kyle finishes delivering her monologue and Bruce Wayne seems to back away realising this is not an ordinary guest.

The 1:00 minute halfway mark, signals a change – The Twilight’s Last Gleaming is now completely gone and the ominous tone is overlaid with the Rise chant - Deshay Deshay Basara Basara

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00:59- 1:03 – Gotham Blackgate Prison [Carnegie Mellon University]
As the chant gets louder we see by Bane’s militia/mercenary army lead armed convicts through and out the mangled Gotham Blackgate Prison gates. The gates seemed to have been crashed through from the outside in.

It’s revealed that Bane is on the scene and we only see the lower part of his legs and boots as the same height as the mob leaving the prison in unison with the Deshay chant  - reinforcing that these are Banes underlings and his subservient army.

Note that all the mobs arms are raised, signaling a call to arms. And in the most literal way possible - the mercenaries are carrying raised Heckler & Koch G36C whilst the prisoners are carrying AKMS.

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1:03 - 1:04 – Football Field [Heinz Stadium, Pittsburgh]
We are then immediately shown one of the American Footballers, actually the Rapid City Monument placekicker played by Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Let’s ignore that he is on the opposing team of the Gotham Rogues. As the symbolism here is that this a people’s champion - with a raised hand acknowledging the people’s cheers.

The direct juxtaposition of the people’s champion with raised hand to the previous scene’s mob with raised guns tells that this fight is bigger than Batman vs Bane, this is The people (Gotham) vs the mob. The good vs the bad. But the guns letting us know that the mob the bad will go to greater lengths for their cause.

The people vs mob telling us that thanks to Batman's actions Gotham is standing on it's own feet without need for a caped protector.

The chant getting louder and the images speeding up.

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1:05 - 1:07 – Football Field [Heinz Stadium, Pittsburgh]
A shadowy and swaggering Bane coming to a halt at the end of the tunnel, stopping just short of revealing himself in the light. The light and tunnel motif continuing.

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1:07 - 1:13 – Stepped Temple [Studio/India]
Another immediate juxtaposition to the previous scene, drawing into contrast the characters, their ideals and motivations. One who is dark walking in the light and one who is light walking in the dark.

We see a bearded Bruce Wayne walk a similar path and exit a stone cell out what seems to be a metal barred door into a mysterious stone and metal like structure with similarly clothed individuals seemingly milling around. There is further contrast drawn between this scene of dark austere stone and the scene of Wayne at the Benefit bathed in light and marble. How the mighty have fallen.

The Deshay chant is reaching fever pitch as we try understand the full extent of Bruce Wayne’s situation.

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As much as I would love Christopher Nolan to explore the period of Bruce Wayne's life where he is training training to become the Batman. I believe that this takes place in a current timeline. I would be very surprised if Nolan suddenly started pulling important flashbacks out of the bag at this stage.

Earlier in the trailer he was either clean shaven with his hair drawn back or couldn't quite get a decent look at him.  But in this scene we see that Bruce Wayne has aged. His beard and hair slightly peppered by grey. This is Bruce Wayne 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight.

Bruce Wayne asks another man: What does it mean?

We assume he means the Deshay chant which is now louder than ever and can obviously be heard by the people in the mysterious structure.

The other man: Rise

Who is rising? Is the Dark Knight Rising after being beat down? Is some great evil rising -Bane? Is someone else rising from the dead to overcome their opposing points of view to forge an uneasy alliance with the Batman to fight side by side?

We aren’t sure but what I am sure of is that this strange seemingly M. C. Escher Inception Penrose staircase inspired prison like structure – may give us a clue to its location.

The strange stone block stairs running up the walls of the structure seem to be inspired by a Indian architecture known as Ghats- stepped bathing places or steps, for religious bathing usually these style steps lead to a water body, usually a holy water source. This particular design seems to be part of a Temple Tank.

From Wiki - Temple tanks are wells or reservoirs built as part of the temple complex in Indian temples. Bathing in the sacred waters of these tanks is thought to cure disease and maladies -

There are many such stepped or Temple Tanks but the closest to the design of the one we see is the Chand Baori Reservoir in Abhaneri, India.

     Video: India, Chand Baori Reservoir  

Initially I thought that this scene must have been filmed at the Chand Baori Reservoir but the design of the step sets is different. It is possible that the Chand Baori steps were either dressed up or CG is used to alter the appearance but more likely Nolan had this entire set built so he could have complete control of filming as well as any potential stunt work that may take place. Either way this places Bruce Wayne in India at some point as this style of architecture is unique to India. Somehow associated with the Benefit Event we see earlier on.

Given that that there may be religious bathing/ holy water source involved - this could possibly tie into Ra's al Ghul’s return. In the comics he had a Lazarus Pits located on Ley lines around the earth. The Lazarus Pits could rejuvenate someone placed into them and could even bring them back from death, but a side effect was that for short periods they drove the person insane and psychotic.

Initially I thought this may be a retreat of sort and that Bruce Wayne is finding himself /recuperating which would make sense as it seems the retreat is attacked later on in the trailer. This is also the same cell that we see Bruce Wayne doing push ups in, in the teaser trailer. But looking at the design and fittings this does indeed look like a prison of sorts as suspected from my initial teaser trailer analysis.

the dark knight rises

1:13 - 1:14 – Football Field [Heinz Stadium, Pittsburgh]
We see a shadowy Bane use a hand held detonator to trigger an explosion.

1:13 - 1:17 – Black
The screen goes black as the Deshay chant climaxes drops away into an over amplified sound signaling that it has started. The storm has started as the audio shifts into an ominous soundtrack.

the dark knight rises

1:18 - 1:25 – Football Field [Heinz Stadium, Pittsburgh]
We see a Gotham Rogue dash across the playing field as it erupts into an - Inception dream falling apart like - explosion.

1:25 – 1:27 –Back to black
We hear Bane saying: When Gotham...

the dark knight rises

1:27 – 1:28 - Broken Bruce Wayne
Bane: … is ashes…

We see a motionless, bloody and beaten Bruce Wayne looking up at Bane.

the dark knight rises

1:28 – 1:30 –Psycho Bane
Bane: … you have my permission to die.
Bane chillingly looks down at Wayne with his psychotic eyes to a screeching boom. This is taken from the same scene as the Bane reveal in the teaser trailer.

Looks like Bane has kicked all shades of life out of Bruce Wayne/Batman and is now keeping Wayne alive to suffer as Gotham burns.

Presumably Bane & Bruce Wayne have faced off. From the previous teaser trailer we have seen that Bane and Batman fight at least once in an underground/sewer like setting. If so it makes sense that Bane has kicked the living crap out of Batman. While Wayne is physically incapacitated Bane has unmasked him.

1:30 – 1:31 – Titles

IN 2012

the dark knight rises

1:31 – 1:32 – Gotham Museum Benefit – First Look at Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate  [Crush Hall, Senate House, London]
The last visual we saw was a masked villain. Now we see a masked lady removing her mask. Interesting subtext, no? Back to the Gotham Museum Benefit. And the red dressed lady is Marion Cotillard playing Miranda Tate.

From a Warner Bros. press release: Miranda Tate, a Wayne Enterprises board member eager to help a still-grieving Bruce Wayne resume his father's philanthropic endeavors for Gotham.

the dark knight rises

Dispelling the rumour – There has been some speculation that this event takes place in the Gotham Museum because in this scene you can see the words _ _ _ AM BEVERIDGE HALL and the presumption is that the missing bits are GOTH - AM BEVERIDGE HALL. Actually this scene was filmed in the Crush Hall Foyer at Senate House and the sign actually says WILLI - AM BEVERIDGE HALL. Those doors below the sign lead to the William Beveridge Hall.

the dark knight rises

1:33 – 1:33 –Gotham General Hospital [Delta Point Building, Croydon]
We see Bruce Wayne leaving Commissioner Gordon’ (Gary Oldman) hospital room, after the chat seen in the teaser trailer. Presumably Bruce Wayne has snuck in and out of the hospital visit as not to arouse suspicion - Bruce Wayne is still the frivolous playboy with very little concern for serious matters.

It’s subtle but Bruce Wayne is going down the building surrounded by walls echoing the tunnel motif. And yes he my have jumped - but he’s falling, the Dark Knight falls.


the dark knight rises

1:33 – 1:34 – Presumably Gotham International Airport [Stansted Airport]
We see Selina Kyle walking along a blue corridor. This less than a second glimpse offers a surprising amount of detail.

1. The light/dark and tunnel motif is used again offering up Selina Kyle as a character with her own journey arc/story in The Dark Knight Rises world with as much importance as Bane and Bruce Wayne.

2. However the light is not at the end of the tunnel for Kyle but above it, does this allude to Kyle being morally good but perhaps misguided?

3. Selina Kyle’s facial expression is one of unhappiness. Her outfit is formal black and traditionally a mourning outfit. In the East a single strand of white pearls, often compliments a dark mourning outfit. Which ties into her outfit for the Benefit event and dance with Bruce Wayne.

4. Presumably Kyle has lost someone recently hence her grim facial expressions and unhappiness throughout the trailer.

5. The corridor setting she is walking down is UK airport architecture. This was filmed at Stansted Airport. But more importantly tells us that Selina Kyle is arriving or leaving, so I am guessing that whatever recent loss she has suffered has brought her to Gotham.

1:34 – 1:35 – Titles


the dark knight rises

1:35 – 1:35 – Underground Parking Area
Batman on his Batpod underground drawing his mysterious light weapon/sensor. This looks to be an underground parking lot. Very similar to the kind we would find at a Football Stadium.

the dark knight rises

1:36 – 1:36 – Gotham Fifth Avenue Street scene [Fifth Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh]
OK! We see a black HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) BOMT 22-00532 truck and a camouflaged Tumbler. Racing down a street the Tumbler gets taken out in an explosive crash.
HEMTTs are military vehicles used to carry heavy loads. If so what is it carrying?

My initial thoughts from the glimpse of this in the prologue is that the black vehicles are Batman’s and the unpainted camo Tumbler, matching the villains khaki military outfits are Banes/villains. But the camo vehicles could also be Batman’s back up vehicles. Ok! So is the black truck a Bat Truck? And Camo Tumblers Banes? Are they both Bane’s? Or are they all Batman’s?

the dark knight rises

1:37 – 1:37 – Mysterious well tunnel and ninjas
We see the same tunnel from the teaser trailer – still not the Wayne Manor tunnel, which was much smaller. With 5 ninja type guys rappelling down from the light. Again the tunnel and light motif is employed.

I say 5 ninja type but actually we only see 4 and a fifth much larger shadowy shape.

This is really interesting as this is the first real indication of mysterious forces at play. Prior to this it has it has been all about Bane and his Eastern European militia. Who the beep are these guys?

the dark knight rises

1:37 – 1:37 – Bane underground
Possibly the most iconic pose we have from Bane yet - bar the head looking back shot image that revealed Bane. All brawn smugness and military steam punk. Again underground and presumably just prior to Batman and Bane's first confrontation. It looks like Bane is smugly  showing that he doesn’t feel to threatened by the Batman

Again Bane is shot from a low angle to raise his status and presence on screen. Remember that shor of Bruce Wayne talking to Alfred? We saw Bruce Wayne from a higher angle lowering his status in direct contrast to Bane who is being elevated.

the dark knight rises

1:37 – 1:38 – Interior of building - First Look at Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake
We see John Blake in red alert mode about to bust through a door. We see the butt of the gun he is carrying presumably a riot shotgun. He is turning back to look at someone/something as he hits the door.

From a Warner Bros. press release: John Blake, a Gotham City beat cop assigned to special duty under the command of Commissioner Gordon."

Again this is very clearly UK architecture and fittings and suspiciously like the interior of the formally BT owned Delta Point in Croydon. I would be surprised if this scene does not take place at Gotham General Hospital.

Do I need to point our the passageway/tunnel motif is employed again> Where are all these tunnels and doors of perception taking us? And it looks like a heavy door is in John Blake's way. Will he get it open?

1:39 – 1:39 – Titles


the dark knight rises

1:39 – 1:40 – Bad ass brawl on Gotham City Hall steps [Steps of the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh]

Bane and Batman going toe to toe on the steps of Gotham City Hall in the snow whilst Bane’s milita & unhappy Gothamites fight the Gotham PD & Emergency Services.

This seems to be the second fight between the two and presumably is the final climatic battle. The snow letting us know the storm is here. The expression on Batman's face says it all. I'm ready bring it!

Looking at the Bat suit it looks no different from Batman’s The Dark Knight Suit. I would have expected some sort of exo skeleton or reinforced suit to aid the Batman’s broken body but this does not seem to be the case or the alterations are not visible to the naked eye. Another theory is that although time has passed since their initial fight. Bruce Wayne does not have access to the resources he previously did and is going into the fight not relying on gadgets but rather strength and his physical ability.

the dark knight rises

1:40 – 1:41 – Dark tunnels [Farmiloe Building]
Gotham SWAT team moving through darkened tunnels. The blocked ending and darkness letting us know it's not going to end well for this S.W.A.T. team.

the dark knight rises

1:41 – 1:42 – Tumbler Tank on the steps of Gotham City Hall [Steps of the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh]

It would seem that this generation of Tumbler’s have received some modifications that include a tank like cannon. This is a nice touch. Nolan yet again pulling a rabbit out of his ingenious hat.

the dark knight rises

1:42 – 1:43 – More bad ass brawling on Gotham City Hall steps [Steps of the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh]

It looks like Bane & The Bat are going hell for leather with drum beats coinciding with their body blows - and only one be left standing or can we expect a Rocky like ending with Batman fighting to his last breathe?

Not only do we not see any modifications to the Bat suit but seemingly Bane is not relying on Venom or the Nolan universe equivalent in this fight. Could this final show down come to man versus man?

the dark knight rises

1:44 – 1:44 – Back to the mysterious Tunnel
We see what looks like a man either falling or jumping down the tunnel attached to a line running up the tunnel wall. Is the same emaciated person attempting to climb out the tunnel as in the teaser? Is Nolan letting unequivocally know that Bruce Wayne/ The Dark Knight - falls? As hinted at the jump from Commissioner Gordon’s hospital room window.

In my analysis of the teaser trailer I believed the emaciated person to be a child - Bane, in fact. Partially as I refused to believe that Nolan would use the same he needs to climb out the tunnel again device again for Bruce Wayne.

But perhaps this be Bruce Wayne’s second great trial. In the first his father had to help him out. Will he finally be free climbing out into the light on his own? Giving the third in Nolan’ Batman trilogy is title? The Dark Knight Rises.At the beginning Bruce Wayne had to climb out a tunnel to the light has Christopher Nolan brought it full circle? Placing this scene so far near the end of the trailer would indicate so.

If so that would mean that his time in the Stepped temple is not a self imposed exile. After Batman’s defeat at the hands of Bane was he transported to a forgotten Gulag like prison that could only be accessed by the tunnel?

the dark knight rises

1:44 – 1:45  - Stepped Temple/Prison [Studio/India]
Another interesting bit - we see 5 ninjas drop into the Stepped Temple. Are these the 5 that we saw coming down the tunnel? I’m guessing yes as in the first couple of frames we see a bright reflection off the stony mouth of a tunnel at the top of the frame.

I’m guessing this is the well tunnel comes down into the Stepped Temple, which is underground.

Which leaves the questions who are these two factions? In the underground Stepped Temple prison we see a bunch of light clothed hooded guys scattering when the darker and red clothed ninjas drop in.Prisoners?

Judging by the ninja’s shearling style jackets and military gear as worn by Bane I’m guessing they play for Bane’s team. And what is in the big black bags they are carrying or going to pour into and carry out?

the dark knight rises

1:45 – 1:45 Gotham Fifth Avenue Street scene [Fifth Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh] First look at the Flying Tumbler

Black HEMTT truck, two camouflaged Tumblers followed closely by Batman’s flying Tumbler.  Awesome stuff! Another nice surprise from Nolan - bringing Batman’s Tumbler full circle.  As well as its look being influenced by a tank that moves like a Lamborghini its design was also based on the flying spinner from  Blade Runner. If it doesn’t do at least one spinning take off I’ll be very disappointed.

the dark knight rises

1:45 – 1:58 – Crumbling buildings to white
Again we full circle to the teaser trailer this time and we are moving to the light as the tunnel of buildings falls around our POV. The Dark Knight Rises. Fade to white out. Snow?

#UPDATE At the time I didn't have this knowledge but subsequently a clever reference and spoiler has become evident.

The imagery in the The Dark Knight Rises of the bat shaped light above the buildings has many meanings but it may also be a clever refrence to an oil masterpiece circa 1733–36 by classical artist François Lemoyne called Apotheosis of Hercules.

How how the piece came about is an intresting tale but let's focus on the relevance of the similarities between the two visuals and the symbolism behind it.

Residing at the Palace of Versailles the Apotheosis of Hercules is the ceiling of the The Salon d'Hercule / Hercules Salon / Hercules Drawing Room. It is in fact the largest ceiling painting on canvas in Europe.

Salon d'Hercule

During the 17th & 18th Century Greek god Hercules was a prominent figure in France. In the painting demi god Hercules is seeing leaving the mortal realm as he ascends, moving towards the light to become a deity and join the other gods.

Apotheosis has multiple meanings relevant to The Dark Knight Rises:

Late 16th century: via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek apotheōsis, from apotheoun ‘make a god of’, from apo ‘from’ + theos ‘god’.

1. the highest point in the development of something; a culmination or climax.

2. the elevation of someone to divine status.

Here is another older interpretation of the same event by German artist Johann Wilhelm Baur. called Hercules ex rogo in polum or Hercules, led by Jupiter, goes to Mount Olympus to live with the gods after burning his mortal body on a funeral pyre.

Johann Wilhelm Baur - Hercules, led by Jupiter, goes to Mount Olympus to live with the gods after burning his mortal body on a funeral pyre
Johann Wilhelm Baur - Hercules, led by Jupiter, goes to Mount Olympus to live with the gods after burning his mortal body on a funeral pyre [+]
The story of Hercules, his tasks, how the past comes back to haunt him, betrayal by a loved one, his pain, his decision to eventually die and the freedom he gains (as well as his legacy overcoming great threats and foes) -  all bear a similarity to Bruce Wayne's journey which culminates the The Dark Knight Rises. You can read more here:



EPIC! Well The Dark Knight Rises trailer may have been out for four months but I think it is agreed that it is EPIC!

A big, classy visual and audio treat promising much while keeping both die hard fans as engaged and confused as civilians.In a year with some very big and anticipated films being rolled out. The Dark Knight Rises is easily one of my most bitter sweetly anticipated films of the year.

I can't wait to see it - but with regret as The Dark Knight Rises signals the end of the hands on involvement of Christopher Nolan, the man that raised the character of the Batman to a place were he belongs. No easy task given the studios and Comic Publishers background involvement with one of their most cherished and profitable properties. Yet somehow Christopher Nolan managed to make films that were huge successes whilst pleasing fans that had being crying out for a decent interpretation of Batman screen. Nolan clearly understand the existing material and has the balls to make it come together in a way that very few Directors manage despite their best intentions.

But where does this leave the Batman post Nolan? Guess we'll have to wait until after Christopher Nolan brings the same realistic magic that he brought to the Batman to Superman to find out.

In Nolan we trust

My thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises teaser trailer are here:

My thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises Prologue are here:

The Dark Knight Rises release date: The Dark Knight Rises will be released on the 20 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises
The terrorist leader Bane arrives in Gotham City, and pushes its hero Batman to breaking point and beyond.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Stars: Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman


Craig Calder's Epic! 8,645 word analysis of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises Trailer
Craig is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.

When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. He also  & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime. 

A list of his 133 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 
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