The marketing for The Dark Knight Rises has been rather perplexing in one regard. The trailers and TV spots released thus far make it hard to get a real grasp on what the underlying themes will be, and how they will be tackled. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight addressed the war on terror. Now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, one wonders how or if Nolan will continue down that path. One also wonders what else he’ll introduce into the fray. The riot scenes shown in the trailer seem to allude to the Occupy Movement, but it’s hard to tell how this will figure into the story. It’s also clear that Bane represents a substantial threat not only to Batman, but to Gotham City as well. That being said, who is he? Is he simply another terrorist, or is he something more? Two new featurettes have been released to help clear up the confusion.
Both featurettes do a fairly thorough job of establishing both the themes and scale of The Dark Knight Rises without giving too much away. As before, Nolan is not only drawing inspiration from the last thirty years of Batman comics, but from current headlines and old Hollywood as well. According to him, the film borrows many of its visual elements from the silent era. It will also be more akin to a war film than a traditional superhero movie, just as The Dark Knight was more of a crime film than anything else. The longer of the two featurettes offers a profile of each character and lays out the basic plot in very broad terms. At the outset of the film, Batman has been MIA for quite some time. With the arrival of a new threat, Gotham is on the brink of Anarchy. The city is in dire need of its hero’s return. It all sounds eerily familiar to Batman: The Dark Knight; Returns. Of all the things I was expecting this film to be, a live-action version of Frank Millers dystopian classic was not one of them.