There was absolutely no way that this trailer was going to excite me as much as the first glimpse of The Dark Knight four years ago. As I've written before, that was basically THE Batman movie that we had been waiting our entire geek-lives to see, a street-level crime epic pitting Batman, Gordon, and Dent against The Joker for the moral soul of Gotham. So what is this one exactly? Well, Nolan is obviously going for a pretty grand-scale finale, and the scope is relatively impressive thus far. I could carp that the attack on the football field is the kind of implausibly weird thing that happens in a C-rate episode of Justice League or in a Transformers movie, but oh well. Football fanatics, does that still count as a legitimate touchdown?
Considering that we've been told by Nolan himself that the film will take place eight years after The Dark Knight, it is a little odd that we see at least one scene of James Gordon speaking at some kind of function with Harvey Dent pictures plastered about. Eight years is a long time to mourn a popular district attorney who served for a few months and then was 'murdered' by a now-vanished vigilante. Speaking of which, there is almost no actual Batman footage in this trailer, giving credence to my theory that Batman actually more-or-less quit after the events of The Dark Knight, and that this film will be Nolan's loose interpretation of The Dark Knight Returns. There are hints that Wayne will be severely injured at some point as well, although I doubt Nolan would give away any 'backbreaking' plot twists in the first trailer. We see a surprising amount of Selina Kyle footage (remind me again why Anne Hathaway wasn't 'sexy or sensual' enough?), including a moment seemingly meant to imply that the film will touch upon (coincidentally) the economic frustrations of the last several years.
Despite two minutes of new footage, the trailer merely invites more questions and teases the obsessive 'pause every frame' fans to an almost comical degree ("OMG! Marion Cotillard is wearing a mask because she's IN DISGUISE as Talia Al Ghul!!!"). What the trailer does try to do is overcome the prime obstacle this time around, which is basically selling a Batman movie without the 'origin story' or 'look who the villain is!' hook. Bane is not The Joker, he's not even The Riddler, although they do have the rare advantage of selling a definitive series finale. Is it as gloriously nerd-gastic as The Dark Knight trailer from four years ago? Will The Dark Knight Rises be the Batman film I've always wanted to see? No and No. But, that horrible prologue aside, there is little reason to presume that Nolan hasn't crafted a solid Batman drama that touches upon relevant social themes. As always, we'll see...