The Latest Dark Knight Trailer Brilliantly Builds the Suspense

Slate's Culture Blog
May 1 2012 1:02 PM

Trailer Critic: The Dark Knight Rises

darkknightrises
A still from the newDark Knight Risestrailer

The promotional campaign for The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final Batman film to be directed by Christopher Nolan, has been going on for almost exactly a year now. So how does one continue to build suspense for a movie after 12 months of advertising?

By getting quiet. The third (and reportedly last) full trailer for the film wisely eschews any big reveals or explosive setpieces; most of the footage it shows has been seen in previous trailers or in the several minutes that were screened in IMAX theaters before Mission Impossible 4. Instead, we get quiet piano music, Selina Kyle's ominous reference to "a storm coming," a much more comprehensible Bane, and several shots of Joseph Gordon-Levitt looking concerned.

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While the first trailer appeared to emphasize echoes with the Occupy Wall Street movement, this one downplays whatever battle the movie may depict between the haves and the have-nots. (There's no Heidegger yet, either.) Instead, it foregrounds the hero's sacrifice. "You don't owe these people anymore," Catwoman tells Batman. "You've given them everything." "Not everything," Batman replies. "Not yet."

It's the perfect anticipatory note on which to end. Then, for some reason, we get an old-fashioned action-movie one-liner after the title screen. But that's really the only wrong note in one of the more expertly crafted trailers Hollywood has put out this year.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

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