Today brought us the first teaser poster for the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s phenomenal Batman reimagining, The Dark Knight Rises. And it’s signature Nolan. Very similar to the style of The Dark Knight and Inception marketing campaigns, I wouldn’t have it any other way. From how we look up to the sky to how the bat symbol is incorporated into the crumbling skyscrapers, it’s more than evident the dark tones of The Dark Knight will be carried over here. I think it’s also safe to say the demise of Gotham as portrayed in this poster will have a lot to do with Tom Hardy’s Bane.
With the very first teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises coming nicely packaged in front of fellow Warner Bros. franchise Harry Potter on Friday, my excitement and anticipation for this final outing couldn’t be any higher. So I felt the need to revisit the teaser posters and teaser trailers from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight to try and guess what we might have in store from another of Nolan’s brilliant viral campaigns.
Back in 2005, Christian Bale graced our screens as a version of Bruce Wayne as far away from the campery of Joel Schumacher’s best forgotten attempt as possible. And for this we were eternally grateful. But no one had any idea of the dizzying heights this franchise would reach. From Oscars to tragic deaths to box office gross of over $1 billion, Nolan’s Batman is regarded by most as nothing short of a masterpiece.
The dark and atmospheric original teaser poster for Batman Begins showed the iconic silhouette in a contemporary way that could connect with everyone. Remaining on the right side of pretentious and mysterious, the best thing about this poster is recognising it as Batman, not Bale. Immediately Nolan got everybody onside and more than just a little intrigued by focusing on the character, NOT the star.
The two teaser trailers that followed stuck to the character over star premise – even if Liam Neeson was featured rather heavily in the second. The first trailer gives you faith the original story would be included by showing a young Bruce’s back story, but the second makes you so much more than thankful that Nolan is a completely original and visionary director who was taking the Caped Crusader on a new journey. With just the right amount of action, dialogue and heightened suspense, these teasers put Batman Begins firmly on the map as one of the most anticipated films of summer 2005.
With the runup to the release of The Dark Knight tragically overshadowed by Heath Ledger’s untimely death, there was a time when the world wondered exactly what would happen with this film. With the viral marketing campaign incredibly strong from the off, Ledger’s Joker had always been the focus.
Nolan stuck to his campaign, with the first teaser poster featuring a graffiti type wall scrawling of the Joker’s face that incorporated the bat symbol. Ledger’s death inevitably brought the film a lot of (the wrong sort of) attention, but Nolan never appeared to use this to his advantage, always being extremely respectful of the situation and carrying on the viral marketing in the way Heath would have wanted – by not stopping and bulldozing straight on with it, just like Ledger’s character.
And then came that trailer. That first teaser trailer that suddenly made all the haters retreat back into their shells and accept that a certain ex-teen heart-throb could in fact have a chance of being an inspired casting choice for the Joker. Oh yeah, and then he went and won an Oscar. But back to the teaser.
Simple and wonderfully brief, this trailer is a rare thing. I still get shivers watching it. And although there are only three voices in it against the sustained bat symbol, the power behind it is incredible. We know who is talking, we know what characters they play, yet we don’t know what will happen to them during this film. None of us know how Nolan does it, but a simple trailer like this is enough to drive any fanboy into overdrive and consequent meltdown.
Since The Dark Knight, Team Nolan have a very distinct style in their general marketing campaigns. Batman Begins seems to be a little separate in regards to trailers and posters, but I think most people see The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises as tighter companion pieces, a straight continuation if you will. So I don’t think we should expect anything mind-blowing in regards of style in the upcoming trailer, but something rather similar to The Dark Knight teaser.
And so what of Friday? What are we to expect? We all know it’s the footage everybody’s going to go crazy over. That first soundbite of Bane. Hathaway in her Catwoman costume. But as for my bet? A very dark and spine tingling minute and a half of sheer euphoria. I don’t care what’s in it. I don’t care if there’s no footage. Any proof this film is tangible and on its way will have my mind blown.
In Nolan we trust.