Chris Clow is a comic book expert, retailer and contributor to Batman-On-Film.com and Modern-Myth-Media.com. When not geeking out, he is a Political Science major at Western Washington University. You can find his Dark Knight Rises Countdown column here at Movies.com every other Thursday, and his comic book reviews for various monthly titles and his participated podcasts at BOF and MMM. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
After a couple of months that have proven tame in regards to new Dark Knight Rises news, over the last week we’ve managed to ignite an explosion that has given us an awesome new piece for the viral marketing campaign, as well as the incredible third trailer for the film premiering this July. Someone must’ve decided that it was time to kick the hype machine into a higher gear.
What started as a small hint of what was to come with a rumor about where we'd be able to see the trailer ended up leading to a torrent of info regarding new footage, new elements of the viral campaign, and the full-on revelation of that much talked about trailer. Let’s work up to the main event by looking at where this all started, just about two weeks ago.
BOF Breaks Trailer News
Back on April 21st, BOF posted a report saying that there was a likely rumor floating around that the new trailer for Rises would be attached to May 4th’s release of The Avengers. Not long after posting the initial report, BOF received confirmation via a Deadline report that the trailer would indeed be attached to Marvel’s big film.
So, when “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” kick off the summer film season this coming Friday, you can catch a larger glimpse at the trailer beforehand and get a true feel of what it will be like to see the final product on the big screen. Is it bad that I’m looking forward to that almost as much as I’m looking forward to the film? Don’t answer that.
IMAX to the Max in The Dark Knight Rises
One of the most technically interesting aspects of The Dark Knight was Christopher Nolan and Wally Pfister’s decision to shoot a portion of the film in the IMAX format, which according to Pfister, is the “highest resolution you can achieve” for the moving picture. When audiences got their first extended peek at The Dark Knight in the form of the IMAX-exclusive prologue in December of 2007, part of what made it so striking was the fact that the entire sequence was shot in the format, giving us a very up close and personal first look at Heath Ledger’s unforgettable portrayal of the Joker. After the opening, sweeping citywide shots of Chicago and Hong Kong were also showcased by the format, as well as a good portion of the film’s incredible chase sequence involving the Tumbler, the first appearance of the Batpod, and the Joker’s “[S]Laughter” semi-truck.
The use of IMAX for the film also ended up being the first to set a precedent of a major motion picture being partially shot in the format, with previous IMAX releases of major motion pictures (such as Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and the latter two parts of The Matrix trilogy, among others) having been up-converted for IMAX exhibition from traditional 35mm.
Well, it looks like the production team has decided to amp it up even further. As reported on BOF via a report from the Wall Street Journal, over an hour of The Dark Knight Rises was shot in the IMAX format and will appear in full resolution in IMAX releases come July 20th. Unlike this year’s other major superhero releases that will also appear in IMAX (The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man), in addition to big releases like Prometheus and Men In Black 3, Rises is the only one on the entire slate that features native shooting in the format instead of being entirely up-converted. If it proves to be half as dazzling as its predecessor proved to be, I’d say that we’re in for quite a visual feast this July.
Rises Makes a Splash at CinemaCon, Pfeiffer Comments on Her Successor
The Dark Knight Rises made its presence felt heavily at this year’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas, and BOF was on the scene with my fellow BOF and MMM Gentlemen Sean Gerber and Josh Costella attending. Immediately following the presentation of Rises footage, Sean texted BOF founder Bill “Jett” Ramey the following:
“It was nothing short of incredible, Bill! We saw The Bat in action, a lot of interaction between Batman and Catwoman, and lots of other shots that make good on the 'war movie' description of the film.”
Sean wrote up a great recap/review of the Rises footage screened at the con, which you can check out for yourself here. Don’t be concerned, intense feelings of anticipation and potential salivation are perfectly normal responses to the promises made by the footage. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
Sean and Josh also recorded a hybrid BOF/MMM episode of the Modern Myth Media Podcast discussing everything they saw this year at CinemaCon, which you can check out here. It’s always fun and informative when the Gentlemen get together, and I’d definitely encourage you to join us every week for new episodes of the show!
In another tidbit coming from Sean via Modern Myth Media, Michelle Pfeiffer (Selina Kyle/Catwoman in 1992’s Batman Returns) commented on Anne Hathaway as Catwoman when receiving the “Cinema Icon” award at the convention. She said,
“I love Anne Hathaway. I think she's gonna be amazing. I love Catwoman. I've loved all the [Catwomen] and I think she's incredibly talented and she has everything that you need. She's beautiful, she's got the dark side, she's got the humor. You can't really go wrong with her.”
New Viral Marketing Campaign Precedes Trailer
Fans were treated to the emergence of a new viral marketing campaign that sprung up at the very end of April, which purported itself to be a Gotham City Police Department case file surrounding the “Anonymous Vigilante Investigation” surrounding “The Batman.” Thumbing through the report gives details on some of the charges leveled against Batman, including murder, kidnapping, and aggravated assault of a peace officer. Much of these charges, of course, were actually perpetrated by Two-Face in the closing minutes of The Dark Knight. (Truth be told, a lawyer could probably successfully pin aggravated assault on Batman, but given who he tends to commit this crime against, I doubt many people would complain.)
The campaign also featured an internal letter for the police department surrounding the ongoing investigation, and gives new clues on just how the Gotham PD will react to Batman in the upcoming film. After the cool Easter eggs surrounding the characterization of the department in the world of Nolan’s Gotham, there was a very interesting addendum to the report featuring tons of locations from around the world in a lot of major cities from Seattle to London and beyond. BOF’s report on the campaign can be found here.
As the participants would soon find out, when they went to each specific location and located a subtle form of graffiti, online would unlock a single image. These images would all combine into individual frames of the film’s third trailer. It didn’t take long for each frame to come together and reveal the biggest item on this week’s Countdown: the final theatrical trailer for The Dark Knight Rises.
I have to admit a certain amount of speechlessness when approaching the topic of the recently released trailer. What can I say that would meaningfully add to the torrent of lauding and commentary it’s already received? If you haven’t seen it yet, first, watch it for yourself.
I think the first thing that strikes me is the foreboding tone. Everything adds to it: the music, the snippets of dialogue, the imagery, all seem to contribute to a crescendo of darkness. But just as you think it could get no worse, the image of Batman walking into view along with Hans Zimmer’s unmistakable musical build-up give a sense of hope. The trailer gives us another look at exactly what Batman is willing to sacrifice to save Gotham. When Catwoman offers that he’s given the people enough, it doesn’t take a neurosurgeon to realize that when Batman says, “Not everything…not yet” that he’s probably talking about his life.
The destroyed bridges remind me a great deal of the 1990’s story arc “No Man’s Land,” where Gotham was ravaged by an intense earthquake and was sealed off from the rest of the United States in a very similar fashion. The fact that Bane is talking to Bruce Wayne and not Batman also brings up memories of “Knightfall,” Bane’s first major story in the comics, where the villain is aware of Batman’s identity and nearly destroys the Dark Knight within his own home. It’s also hard not to get vibes from Frank Miller’s classic story The Dark Knight Returns, since so much time has passed between the last film and this one and that Batman’s return to Gotham will probably have quite an impact on Gotham’s citizenry.
I think the thing that I like the most, though, is the fact that the film promises a bright hope from a Dark Knight. One of the things that I love most about Batman is the fact that he can serve to be an inspiration coming from a very unlikely place. When I was a small boy and struggling with a fear of the dark, I was old enough to know that sometimes, good guys can come from the dark. The prime example in my young mind, I remember vividly, was Batman.
There’s a lot to look forward to in this film, and although the marketing seems to be tied toward darkness, endings, and brutality, I fully expect the ending to be a fulfilling one. The trailer has made me anticipate this even more, because for all of the darkness, a glimmer of light is all I needed to attach to new speculation and meaning for the phrase telling me that “the Dark Knight rises.”
That does it for the news surrounding the film, so let’s take a peek at what else Batman is up to.
Arkham City Gets Game of the Year Edition, New DLC Level
Fans of one of the greatest action-adventure games ever should be pleased to know that May 29th will bring the release of the Batman: Arkham City “Game of the Year” edition. For those of you waiting for all of the extra content to be packed into one tidy release, this is the copy for you.
In addition to the full Arkham City game, the new edition will include ALL of the previously released downloadable content (DLC) packs integrated in. These include the “Robin” and “Nightwing” packs (featuring both of Batman’s protégés as playable characters in challenge maps along with alternate skins), the “Challenge Map Pack” (including the Iceberg Lounge and Batcave challenges), and the “Arkham Skins Pack” (including alternate attires for Batman inspired by memorable comics appearances and the animated series).
That’s not all, though, as the major addition new to this release is a new downloadable level that takes place after the completion of the main story. The level is called “Harley Quinn’s Revenge,” and involves the Joker’s mistress seeking vengeance on Batman and Robin over what happened to her “puddin’” in the game’s final levels. From what I understand, playing this level gives Batman and Robin the chance to put the final nail in the coffin for the failed incarceration experiment of Arkham City.
For those of you who already have the game and all of its DLC (like myself), we’ll be able to purchase the Quinn’s Revenge level the same day that the GOTY edition of Arkham City hits stores, which is Tuesday, May 29th. Hopefully, the column that I’ll post that week will be able to give a recap/review of the level after I’ve had the chance of playing it (if school doesn’t kill me first, that is).
Next Week in Bat-Comics: Night of the Owls Continues in Batman #9 and Batman and Robin #9
Next week sees the release of the ninth issue of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s fantastic Batman series, and we’re now fully embedded in the Night of the Owls. Last month’s issue saw the first strike of the Court’s descent on Gotham and the people that try to keep it from collapsing in on itself, and it’s now firmly in the hands of the Dark Knight and his associates to take the Court’s Talons head-on in a desperate race to save city officials and prominent citizens from their respective death sentences.
The excitement and grandiosity of Snyder and Capullo’s unfolding story easily makes it one of the best ongoing comic series on the shelves right now. I’m hard pressed to think of a better title running than Batman, and trust me, I read a lot of comic books in a given month. Not even the chaotic sales powerhouse of Avengers vs. X-Men can even hope to catch up to the sheer greatness of the current story, and with this team firmly in place on the title, I don’t think it’s going to be knocked off of its perch anytime soon.
As always, you can catch BOF’s official review for this title in just about a week on the Batman review page courtesy of the Modern Myth Media Gentleman and all-around scholar John Bierly. As I tend to concur with John far more often than I do not, I feel perfectly fine with preemptively and emphatically agreeing with what he has to say.
Also on deck next week is another taste of the Night of the Owls from a bit of a different perspective: Damian Wayne’s. For those unaware, the boy currently serving as Robin is in fact Bruce Wayne's biological son (it’s a long story). Suffice it to say that he’s inherited his father’s demeanor, his penchant for brutality, and has also been trained from birth by Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins to be the ultimate killing machine. Throw in some honing by the Batman along with the Wayne bloodline and you have one of the most capable and deadly Robins ever to have served in the role.
This issue of Batman and Robin will feature Damian versus one of the Court’s Talons. Given the events of Batman and Robin’s last couple of issues, where Damian killed an enemy by forcing his two fingers through a man’s skull and into his brain, a fight featuring a deadly Court Talon and perhaps an even deadlier Robin should prove to make for one hell of an issue. Batman and Robin is second only to Snyder’s title in regards to sheer quality, so I’m expecting quite a bit out of this one from writer Peter Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason.
I hope it delivers too, because next week I’ll be reviewing this title for BOF. You’ll be able to find the review on BOF’s Batman and Robin review page, along with my takes on all the previous issues.
With that, I bring to a close this latest Countdown for The Dark Knight Rises. Be back here in two weeks as we will discuss the next batch of news that’s sure to come about, since we’re now beginning the summer movie season of 2012. As always, feel free to let me know of anything you’d like to see from this piece, and be sure to check out all of the awesome Countdown pieces for many upcoming films right here on the site. I’d also like to take a moment to say that if you enjoy these pieces, check out the Modern Myth Media and Batman-On-Film podcasts for some engaging discussion on the heroes we love.
So until next time, thanks for reading, and don’t forget that the Fire soon Rises.
The Legend Ends in 77 Days when The Dark Knight Rises.