In four days, by all reports audiences will be streaming in droves to see The Avengers, a big, rousing, brightly-colored superhero movie filled with aliens, Norse gods, and giant green rage monsters. Before that movie begins, however, they'll see the trailer for a very different kind of superhero movie, The Dark Knight Rises. That trailer was just released on the web, the culmination of a viral marketing campaign that began this morning. The preview paints a bleak, almost nihilistic picture of what awaits audiences on July 20 — check out the trailer below, and then let's talk about our first impressions:

Some immediate thoughts and reactions:

* "I'm adaptable." Looks like Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle is living up to her alter-ego's reputation for moral ambiguity.

* Bye-bye airplane wings This sequence, part of the IMAX preview of the film that played last December, really demands to be seen in an IMAX theater. It. Is. Awesome.

* "I'm Gotham's reckoning." Hey! I understood Bane!

* "Did they kill him?" "I'm not sure." The story is finally beginning to emerge. My read on things: Bane's successful invasion and takeover of Gotham results in Bruce Wayne being banished from his home city. No Bruce Wayne, means no Batman. So how does he get back to fighting shape?

* "You don't owe these people any more. You've given them everything." "Not everything. Not yet." Starting with the broken Batman cowl poster from last December, the implication has been strong that Batman will die at the end of this movie. This exchange only reinforces that impression; it sounds like Batman knows he's going to die, and almost like he's inviting it.

* "My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men." Yeah, yeah, yeah, the BatJet looks frickin' awesome. But I'm more taken by how suddenly front and center Hathaway's Catwoman is in this preview. The Dark Knight had one wily, wicked main villain in the Joker, and his cackling taunts were central to that movie's marketing (and overall success). Bane, by contrast, barely says anything in what is likely the final Dark Knight Rises trailer — the guy appears to be bringing all the brutality with none of the "fun." So with Bane laying highly organized waste to Gotham in general and Bruce Wayne in particular, it feels like the film may be relying on Catwoman for its sparks of verbal wit.

What were your impressions of the trailer? What do you make of Hathaway's Selina Kyle? Were you surprised to see so much of Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Sound off below!

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The Dark Knight Rises
  • Movie
  • 164 minutes

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