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Let's Rush To Judgment: 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Tom Hardy and Christian Bale in <em>The Dark Knight Rises</em>.
Ron Phillips
Warner Brothers Pictures
Tom Hardy and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises.

The Dark Knight Rises is one of those films where so many bits and drops are constantly emerging that it's hard to find a particular moment in which rushing to judgment is any more or less appropriate than at any other time. But the appearance of a new trailer yesterday has set off another round of speculation, and who are we to decline to participate?

On the negative side, the opening line — "There's a storm coming" — set over that sustained "eeeeeee" and the tinkling piano could be out of a trailer for any suspense-based film, particularly if it involves clouds. And Beardy Bruce Wayne, whose facial hair seemingly speaks to a level of personal torment and isolation, isn't the least cliched route they could have taken, either.

But when the piano continues to tinkle over action shots, particularly what looks to be a plane breaking apart to free Bane, it takes on a more interestingly ominous tone. Granted, past concerns about whether Tom Hardy's Bane could be understood through whatever was being done with his voice are not soothed by the first line, "I'm Gotham's reckoning," which I indeed didn't understand the first time through — a combination of the fact that it's an unusual collection of words your ear isn't looking for and the garble-voice. But despite the very understandable concerns of people like Adam Sternbergh, the culture editor at New York Times Magazine, who asked this morning whether a villain in a full-face mask has ever really been a good idea in a superhero movie, the look of Bane is working for me here. It's more Hannibal Lecter than Green Goblin, I think.

The scenes of mayhem are pretty alarming — the football game, the shot-up office — and I'm always happy to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in pretty much anything. The bridge collapse and the kids watching, whether that's what they're watching or not, is chilling, in part because they look more curious than terrified.

There's a bit of a devolution into a more traditional action-movie trailer in the last third or so, and ending on the "This isn't a car" kicker is a bit expected, too, but all in all, a solid and intriguing couple of minutes. I'm a bit concerned about the fact that nothing here makes me think they're doing much of anything with Catwoman, but sadly, that's not new.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

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