After going through the latest trailer for The Dark Knight Rises frame by frame, we only have one question left in our minds: Why isn't this movie called The Dark Knight Falls?
Check out our detailed look at the Gotham City horror, with in-depth analysis of screencaps plus some wild speculation, below. Beware: Major spoilers!
Note: Where possible, we're going to skip over scenes that were in last December's trailer, or other stuff you've already seen. Where scenes are a different version of stuff we saw in December, then we'll try and draw the connections. Thanks to Meredith for the suggestions!
The trailer begins with a shot of the Gotham City skyline that was in the previous trailer. Then we see a bearded Bruce Wayne — so he clearly hasn't been dressing up as Batman in quite some time, because only Hugo Strange can pull off the "Batsuit and beard" look. In this scene, Bruce moves as though he's got a limp — so this probably comes from the same sequence we saw in the previous trailer, where Bruce is using a cane. In fact, if you look at the reflection in the shiny dish cover in the "walking with a cane" scene, it's the same outfit, black except for a brownish scarf. Bearded Bruce looks angrily at someone, and then turns away to face the window, signifying the conversation is over. (This scene almost certainly takes place in the newly rebuilt Wayne Manor, and probably early in the film. The real pain for Bruce is yet to come.)
This is followed by the first of several snippets from the film's opening sequence, which was shown at IMAX theaters ahead of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol last December. (Click here for our complete rundown.) This is the part where Bane is held captive by the CIA aboard a plane, but he attacks it with another plane and basically kicks tons of ass, before absconding with the CIA's prisoner, a doctor. We'll skip over the other bits from this prologue, for the sake of time. You already saw it, right?
Alfred carries something to Master Bruce in Wayne Manor — probably that covered plate we saw Bruce's reflection in in the previous trailer.
Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle dance, while they have a conversation — which we've already been hearing over the rest of the trailer. We heard part of this conversation in the earlier trailer. Selina: "You think this is all going to last. There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches. Because when it hits, you're all going to wonder how you all thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us." Bruce: "You sound like you're looking forward to it." Selina: "I'm adaptable."
Notice that Bruce has no limp in this sequence, so either the limp was something he's gotten over (a leg injury, maybe) or this is earlier in the film.
We don't know who he's playing, but the natty tie and suit suggest perhaps a banker. Or a spy, maybe. He certainly looks freaked out to have Bane's hand on his neck. "What are you?" he asks. "I'm Gotham's reckoning," says Bane, who is certainly much, much easier to understand than he was in December. Chances are, Mendelsohn's character is dead a few seconds after this moment, which takes place in a nice office somewhere.
We see a glimpse of Bane hitting the detonator in the "football game implosion" sequence from last December's trailer. And then we're looking at Nestor Carbonell, once again playing Gotham Mayor Anthony Garcia. (Assuming he's not an ex-mayor by now.) In December's trailer, we heard people saying the Mayor wanted to dump James Gordon as Police Commissioner, because Gordon was a war hero, and this is peacetime. In any case, the Mayor looks calmly at a set of big windows — until the windows explode in his direction. The light is almost blinding. Is this the stadium thing or a totally different explosion? Does the Mayor survive this time?
A huge squad of police are running down an access road or tunnel at night, until they turn in response to a loud noise of some sort. And then they get buried under a cave-in. This is intercut with the stadium disaster, but that takes place during the daytime and this is apparently at night. And this sequence is obviously part of the same sequence in which James Gordon gets nearly buried under debris from a tunnel collapse, that we saw in December. Some of the shots are almost the same. There are also some shots later in the trailer of cops caught in a tunnel explosion, which may or may not be the same incident.
A group of thugs with machine guns come into a nice building, with gold trim and wrought-iron balconies. It looks very similar to the place where Ben Mendelsohn was having his meeting of the minds with Bane. Note the trash can fire, temporary lighting and makeshift cots. Best guess: this is a nice hotel or office building, which has been converted into a refugee center during the collapse of Gotham City's normal order. We saw a lot of this sequence in December's trailer.
This leads to a sequence where someone tries to hide under a nice bureau while everyone else is fleeing, but then gets yanked out from under there by the thugs, which we saw more of in December's trailer. The suffering of ordinary wealthy people during Bane's onslaught appears to be a major theme here.
Our first look at Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Gotham police officer John Blake. He's standing on a bridge during a snowstorm, watching something in total horror. Behind Blake, a schoolbus has been crashed into the side of the bridge, effectively blocking it off.
Bane has blown up two major bridges leading into Gotham City simultaneously, thus cutting the city off from the outside world. (Except for the subway, of course. But see above — there are some scenes of tunnels being collapsed too.) The trailer implies this is what Blake's looking at, except that it's not snowing in this bridge demolition sequence — plus why would the bridge Blake's standing on be left undamaged?
A group of kids watch something terrible, with dazed expressions. Once again, it's snowing. Almost certainly the same sequence where we saw John Blake staring a moment earlier. The kid in the center is probably Blake's son, since a moment later we see him talking to Blake.
A dirty, ragged figure is dragged along by two men, and he's apparently either A) unconscious or B) too badly injured to walk. At one point, the man tries to put one foot on the ground, so B) seems more likely. This is probably Bruce Wayne, after being horribly beaten by Bane to the point where he's barely able to move.
John Blake, wearing a nicer outfit, asks Selina Kyle if "they" killed him. Almost certainly meaning Batman/Bruce Wayne, although it could also be Jim Gordon — who we know winds up in the hospital in this film, too. But it's probably Bruce.
Skipping ahead slightly, Selina responds that she's not sure if "they" killed him. She looks like Hell, and it's the total opposite of the gloating Occupy Wall Street spokeswoman who danced with Bruce Wayne and taunted him about the storm that was coming. She probably joined Bane's crusade, or tried to profit from it, and now she's grief stricken. She's in some kind of hospital or doctor's office, with a box of tissues, flowers in a vase, and magazines on a table's lower shelves. Is she sick? Or visiting a sick person? (Visiting James Gordon, even?)
Bruce Wayne looks up from the bottom of a deep well. Notice that he's wearing the same outfit and light beard that he had in the scene we saw in December's trailer, where he's visiting the Monastery of Ten Thousand Stairs. He's uninjured, too. This is probably not where Bane sticks him after he's beaten to a pulp. In December's trailer, we saw Bruce (wearing this outfit) ask an older man in the room full of staircases what it meant. The older man responds, "Rise." Bruce is probably on a fact-finding mission here. Chances are the Monastery of Ten Thousand Stairs is where Bane came from, and Bruce is there to learn about his enemy. Or it's something to do with Ra's al-Ghul, who's strongly rumored to be in the film.
Bruce climbs up out of that well. He has a rope, so he's got help from the outside. Or supplies. Again, highly doubtful this is where Bane imprisons him.
A severely injured Bruce Wayne regains consciousness, to see an ultra-blurry Bane staring at him. This is a sequence we glimpsed in last July's teaser, and again in December. Bruce asks why he's not dead. "Your punishment must be more severe," says a deeply earnest Bane. Chances are, this is followed by the bit where Bane tells Bruce: "When Gotham is in ashes, you have my permission to die." This scene definitely takes place in some kind of prison — you can glimpse bars in the background — but it's not the place with all the staircases and stuff. Probably, it's in Gotham, since Bruce has to be able to see Gotham reduced to ashes. It could even be the prison where Bane busted out all the inmates.
Oh, and a side note. I never miss an opportunity to quote from Denny O'Neil's novelization of Knightfall, in which Bane fantasizes about keeping an injured Bruce Wayne prisoner and feeding him rats:
Bane could see it. Batman, pale, blinded by light, smeared with filth, dressed in tatters, so thin his ribs almost burst from his skin, his arms and legs flopping, drool leaking down his chin. "Give him a cockroach to eat," Bane says. "Give him a live mouse. Then put fire to his feet. I want to hear him scream."
A lone figure lowers him- or herself into what appears to be the well that we see Bruce climbing out of. Could this be Bruce descending into the Monastery of Ten Thousand Stairs to do some recon? Bear in mind, in December's trailer, we saw a whole bunch of ninjas lowering themselves into this same well, and also attacking the staircase chamber. Bruce Wayne could have some ninja visitors during his stay in the Monastery.
That kid we saw earlier looking out the window draws a bat symbol on his own jeans leg, using a piece of chalk. "Do you think he's coming back?" he asks John Blake, who's sitting next to him, wearing a police uniform.
"I don't know," Blake responds, looking furrow-browed. Again, assume they're talking about Batman, especially since the kid just drew a Bat-symbol.
That's interspersed with a shot of Bane holding a shattered Batman cowl, which he drops on the ground. It's raining and Bane is standing next to an overflowing water tank.
Catwoman, looking extremely upset, looks down at something through a barred window. It's implied she's looking down at...
...a Tumbler painted in camouflage colors, rolling down the snowy streets of Gotham. Notice that it's now snowing again. We're guessing that Bane's takeover of Gotham takes place in December, and coincides with winter falling on the city, since most of the harshest scenes feature snow. Last December's trailer showed this camouflaged Tumbler shooting at the crowd during the big fight scene between Batman and Bane on the steps of what looks like City Hall.
Also in this new trailer, we see that there are actually two camouflaged Tumblers attacking the crowd during the fight between Bane's men and the cops on the steps. Later in the trailer, we also see a few more shots of the melee on the steps, with Batman and Bane punching each other and Bane charging towards the camera — but it's all pretty similar to what we saw in December's trailer.
John Blake tangles with a big bald man wearing paramilitary gear (who is not Bane, just some random mook)... and gets tossed into a hole full of snowy debris.
The Gotham Stock Market explodes! This is worse than Sarbanes-Oxley.
Then we hear an exchange, which I'm guessing is still from the scene where Selina is talking to John Blake. It sounds like their voices. John Blake says: "How'd you run, eh?" To which Selina replies: "You should be as afraid of him as I am." Selina's always telling people what they should be afraid of. Meanwhile, we see Selina riding on a Batpod along a city street — notice, no snow, so it's probably earlier — and this is probably her running away from Bane.
John Blake runs into an overflowing pool of splashy water, towards something pretty terrible, judging from the look on his face. This appears to be the same place where we saw Bane dropping the broken Bat-cowl earlier, so chances are Blake is running to try and save Bruce. Too late.
Bane looks down at someone on the ground, and then kneels down to finish inflicting grievous harm. Notice that Bane is wearing his same fleece-lined jacket that he had on during the stadium implosion sequence from December's trailer. This is probably part of that same scene, and those fancy columns behind Bane are probably part of the stadium. We glimpse a man standing behind Bane — probably one of his men. The trailer sort of implies that Bane is about to fuck up Bruce Wayne, but this is probably a totally different "Bane fucks someone up" scene.
This is actually a great blink-and-you-miss-it sequence in the trailer. Two of Bane's machine-gun wielding thugs are standing in a concrete tunnel someplace, shooting at something inside a dark tunnel. The machine gun flashes briefly light up what they're shooting at — it's Batman! He leaps out and takes them both out before they can hit him with their wild shots. Notice there's a lot of water flooding down there. Possibly soon before the scene where Batman gets taken out by Bane.
Batman stands at a wire fence, in what looks to be the same underground facility, and slowly turns to face...
...Bane, who is waiting for him at the other end of a walkway.
Bane advances towards Batman, adjusting something noticeably on his vest. The supply of drugs? Or something else?
Alfred declares that he won't bury Bruce. He's buried enough members of the Wayne family already. This is from the same sequence in the earlier trailer, where he tells Bruce that he promised Bruce's parents that he'd protect Bruce, and he hasn't. They're in a shabby blue hallway, not Wayne Manor, and Bruce is clean-shaven — so this isn't the same period as the "Bruce has a beard and a limp" era. Alfred is trying to talk Bruce out of doing something foolish — like become Batman again, maybe.
James Gordon lights a flare, and Batman appears. This is probably early in the movie, since Gordon is uninjured — or late in the film, after he's miraculously recovered. Chances are, now that the Bat-signal has been destroyed and Batman is officially a fugitive from justice, this flare-lighting business is something they've worked out, that allows Gordon to contact Batman in secret. Batman steps forward into the smoke from Gordon's flare. (See first picture.)
Badass shot of Batman standing on top of a building looking down at Gotham City.
Selina tells Batman, "You don't owe these people any more. You've given them everything."
Skipping ahead slightly, Batman responds, "Not everything. Not yet." And it's noticeably not the typical Bale Batman growl. Which means either that Batman is letting down his guard a bit with Selina, and no longer trying quite so hard to do The Voice. Or that this isn't Bruce in the Batsuit any more. Take a look at Batman's mouth in this shot — it looks a lot like Joseph Gordon-Levitt's. Don't believe us? Check this out...
Batman saying "Not yet" is juxtaposed with John Blake raising his hands in surrender, while closing his eyes in pure agony. He's wearing the same outfit he has on in that snowy "watching Gotham fall" sequence earlier in the trailer. And notice how his lips are fuller than Bale's? And his chin is more jutting? We could be imagining things, but that's how Bats looks in that previous shot, too.
Lucius Fox controlling some high-tech interface in a subterranean concrete tunnel...
...perhaps the same one with the flooding pool, where Batman is getting his ass kicked by Bane, just prior to the "shattered Bat-mask" segment.
After a quick shot of Batman racing along on a Bat-cycle, we cut to this shot of James Gordon, looking the worse for wear, with an apparently dead body behind him. Notice it's snowy again, which seems to be the sign of "Bane in charge of Gotham."
An unidentified prisoner grabs another prisoner's hands and does a weird cartwheel inside the prison, while a bemused guard and warden watch. This is probably the prelude to the prison break we saw in the last trailer.
Cops and criminals rush towards each other in an all-out street fight, with two camou tumblers standing by.
Bruce Wayne kisses Miranda Tate, a Wayne Enterprises board member who's rumored to be Talia al-Ghul.
An armored truck drives through explosions, looking vaguely military — can anybody make sense of those markings? Later in the trailer, we see one of Bane's camouflaged Tumblers crash into it and flip over, bursting into flames. So it's definitely running a gauntlet. This might be the same sequence as the bit we see in both trailers, where the Bat-plane gets into a skirmish with a couple of Tumblers.
Batman and Catwoman team up to fight a bunch of thugs. Probably around the same time as the conversation where Catwoman tells him that he's already given them everything.
A shadowy figure faces a hole in a wall underground, where an explosion has just gone off. (A rocket launcher, maybe?) This appears to be connected to the tunnel cave-in that hurts a bunch of Gotham cops, probably including Gordon, since we see lots of shots of cops caught in a tunnel where a fireball is going off. The sheer amount of destruction in this film is going to be staggering, as Bane takes the city apart piece by piece. Around this time in the trailer, we get another glimpse of Batman raising his high-tech gun.
We finish out with Catwoman getting into Batman's vehicle and saying, "My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men." To which Bats replies, "this isn't a car." And this time, he certainly sounds a bit more like Bale's trademark growl, although still more whispery than growly. So perhaps we're off base about it being John Blake in the Batsuit in that other scene — or perhaps this is just earlier in the movie.
In any case, it definitely isn't a car — the Bat-Plane lifts off and zooms over Gotham, leaving confused police officers eating its fumes.