Friday, July 13, 2012

Guest Writer, Ethan Smith - The Dark Knight Rises Trailer 5 - “Journey”

YAMB Welcomes Guest Writer Ethan Smith from Ethan Unscripted

The Dark Knight Rises is only a week away, and if you’re between the ages of 5 and 95, you’re excited about it. As if Warner Bros. needed to add any more fuel to the fire, they have released one final trailer that highlights some key moments from the previous two films. This is especially exciting for those of us who are nerdy enough to go see the marathon before the midnight showing on the 19th. (9 hours of Batman! I hope we get bathroom breaks!)

The trailer begins with a quote from good ol’ Alfred, one of the many characters who provides moral direction for Bruce Wayne. “I never wanted you to come back to Gotham. I always knew there was nothing here for you, except pain and tragedy.”

Creepy Batman is creepy...
Well, that’s kinda depressing! Alfred never wanted Bruce to come back (he was probably enjoying having the mansion and the cars to himself), but it is a good point. As long as Bruce is in Gotham, he will always be reminded of his parents’ deaths, and as long as that reminder is there to drive him, Bruce will never be able to escape the Batman.

Next we get a shot of Bruce in the well, being swarmed by bats from Batman Begins, before seeing the screen title: “The Beginning of a Legend.” This is followed by the often repeated lines, “Took quite a fall didn’t we, Master Bruce?” (Alfred) “And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” (Bruce’s dad) We see Bruce kneeling over his fallen parents.

It's interesting that all the clips which are shown are from the exposition segment of Batman Begins. There are no scenes of Scarecrow or Ra’s Al Ghul or any moments from the climax of the first film. The focus of the trailer is on Batman’s journey and how he has grown and changed as a character throughout the series. We are not shown action scenes or scenes in which Bruce gets his suit or the tumbler. Those are “how” moments. Rather, we are reminded of his fear of bats and his parents death. It’s the “why” moments of inspiration that are key here.

Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight
This brings us to the screen title “The Fall of a Hero” with a Bruce Wayne voice-over saying: “I was meant to inspire good. Not madness, not death.” We see the Joker and a ravaged Harvey Dent. Then the Bat-signal is broken as Harvey says, “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” The final piece of this segment is of the final shot in The Dark Knight, as Batman flees Gotham PD on the Batpod.

We are reminded that Harvey Dent’s prediction comes true, and that Batman is now considered a villain, although he might not technically be one. The focus of this flashback is on the concluding scenes of The Dark Knight, with Batman sacrificing his reputation. If The Dark Knight was about Batman’s “fall,” then The Dark Knights Rises will be about . . . well, you can probably guess.

“The End of a Journey” flashes on screen before we revisit the football stadium scene coming up in The Dark Knight Rises, followed by a quote from Bane. “We will destroy Gotham,” he says in his creepy, muffled accent as footage is shown of a stock trade being ambushed and the bridges collapsing. That's followed by another voice-over – “People of Gotham, we have not abandoned you” – which confuses John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), but Gordon clarifies: “It means we’re on our own.” The trailer gets really intense as we see the city on fire, torn American flags, a prison breakout, two masses of people about to violently collide, and two tumblers chasing each other down the street.

Clearly desperate times will lure Batman out of retirement, but this will no longer be Bruce’s home turf. The criminal landscape of Gotham has changed (there’s a woman running around dressed like a cat for crying out loud) and Batman will clearly be forced to fight out of his element. This is given physical shape as we’ve seen more and more of Batman having to take action in the middle of the day, instead of at night in his comfort zone, and against Bane, who can actually challenge Batman physically. The new TV spot shows us that this is a Batman who has taken a beating over the years as Batman, and his body is already falling apart as it is. We’re also given a sense of the scale of the film. The climaxes of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were largely Batman versus an individual or two. Here Gotham is engaged in civil war. The scope of this movie is going to be insane and it seems things are going to be desperate.

Which is probably why Alfred offers up some more advice: “You see only one end to your journey. But sometimes a man rises from the darkness.” We see shots of some as-of-yet unexplained prison before John Blake asks Batman, “What now?” to which Batman responds, “War.” See? I told you it’s gonna be huge!

The trailer concludes with the screen titles, “On July 20th” … “A Fire Will Rise.” These are intercut with Catwoman telling Batman, “You don’t owe these people any more. You’ve given them everything.” Batman replies, “Not everything. Not yet.” (Ugh! Stop hinting that Batman may or may not die! It’s driving us crazy to figure out what’s going to happen!) We see the new Bat-transportation, called simply the Bat, chasing a tumbler, Batman and Bane throwing their first punches during what is possibly the climax, and Batman declaring, “I’m not afraid - I’m angry.”

"Bat-Hulk smash!"

Again, they’re really teasing us with the whole will-Batman-die bit, but the focus is still on the character journey. Much of this series is focused on fear, and finally it seems the character ultimately overcomes his own doubts; that he finally knows exactly who he is as both Bruce Wayne and as Batman. That line at the end is my favorite part of the trailer and I can’t wait to find out how he, at last, fully embraces who he is (likely right before kicking a ton of butt!).

And finally, there was The Dark Knight Rises. Wow. A week feels like forever!

Note from YAMB: We're very luck to have Ethan writing for us. Expect to see more from him over the next few weeks, as well as other guest writers.  Thanks Ethan!

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to say thanks for using my art work of Bat-Hulk. More of my art work can be seen at


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