"The Dark Knight" Trailer #2

Posting a trailer for the “Batman Begins” sequel on the INTERNET, you say? Yeah, I know. Craaaaaaazy idea, but who knows – maybe it’ll catch on…

So, by now we’ve all seen this, yes? By now http://www.atasteforthetheatrical.com/ probably has more hits than a banner ad for custom Foil Hats at the top of a Ron Paul fundraising page (I kid, guys! I kid. No need for the angry emails.)

And if not, JoBlo.com was nice enough to toss an embedable version up on their video site – gracias, fellows. It’s a great trailer, so raving about it is easy… and also a little boring. The raving-about-it, that is, not the trailer itself. Fact is, everything that we already KNOW was awesome about “Begins” is just about everything that seems to STILL be awesome about this trailer – with the possible exception of Heath Ledger’s “holy SHIT”-inducing turn as The Joker, which will be new to you if this is your first day ever accessing the World Wide Web. In other words, let’s get the big broad “yippee!” out of the way – great cast, great score, great look, great trailer – and move on to Movie Geek Ambrosia: Frame-by-frame minutia hunting!!!!

NOTE: You’ve gotta keep hitting the “start over” button on this particular player to start the actual trailer as opposed to JoBlo’s intro animation.

00:12 – Yeah, it’s in there a little bit but I don’t think you can really call Ledger’s “Joker Voice” a full-on Nicholson impression.

00:20 – I can’t wait to find out the context of THIS shot. Bruce Wayne spends Rao-knows-how-much money setting up a super-secret underground lair to hide all his bat-gear in… but he’ll just chill out in his office, surrounded by windows, wearing his costume?

00:25 – Batman, framed as an unmistakable silhouette, standing on the edge of a skyscraper surveying the city through binoculars. Perfect. Gandalf-vs.-Balrog-perfect. Last-two-minutes-of-“The-Mist”-perfect. Threesome-with-Korean-twins-perfect. Moments like this are why I forgave “Begins” for going the armored-costume route and doing that damn Jason Bourne shit with the combat cinematography.

00:30 – Homage to the Burton/Nicholson Joker’s most famous pose?

00:47 – The Joker’s important identifying characteristics (white face, green hair, smile) are so basic that it’s easy to miss just how major of a revamp TDK’s version seems to be, but here’s what looks like the first BIG difference: His hands are the color of normal flesh, seeming to confirm that this version of the Joker is simply wearing makeup. This’d be, unless I’m mistaken, a first – the “canonical” Joker has had “bleached” skin all over since his earliest appearances (though there wasn’t an explanation for it until much later) and nearly every other version has followed suit if it’s brought it up at all. Not sure I’m digging that or not, but it’s interesting.

00:56 – There y’go, the first “official” trailer-closeup of The Joker. Like I said, in the details it’s a pretty radical departure from the Conrad Veidt “Man Who Laughs” design that’s been the standard model for decades, but I like it. Still not clear how pronounced the “smile slits” at the far sides of his mouth actually are, but if he CAN unhinge his jaw like “Ichii The Killer’s” Kakihara (an early rumored inspiration) it’ll be inhumanly awesome.

01:05 – There’s the “Batpod,” aka “Hey! You’d BETTER not call it the Bat-Cycle! Whaddaya think we’re makin’, a comic book movie!??” Dopey name, fun looking vehicle… except those big protrusions on the front had better NOT be guns.

01:09 – Another “official” reveal, another guy in a clown mask standing behind Joker. Confirmation: Joker has some sort of henchmen. So far, they all seem to be guys, so all you guys with the kinky fixation on Harley Quinn, probably time to lower that particular expectation. (all you gals with the kinky fixation on Harley Quinn? Hi, I’m Bob. We should hang out some time.)

01:14 – no (so far) visible changes to The Batmobile… er, Tumbler. TUMBLER! I meant to say Tumbler, honest! Sorry, sorry, don’t be angry, producer guys. I won’t forget again. I swear!

01:16 – Bet that’s important…

01:18 – Bat …sigh, POD again, better look at what had STILL better not be big-ass guns.

01:21 – By Odin, Maggie Gyllenhaal is sexier fully-clothed from the neck-up then most women are buck-naked and fresh out of the tub. 100% improvement as a replacement for Katie Holmes.

01:26 – SMACK! See, if I was playing Joker in this scene, that shot right there would’ve taken about fifty-two takes – assuming she actually slapped him, I mean. I’d be inventing new ways of just-slightly missing my mark. Yes, I have problems, nobody needs to go pointing that out.

01:36 – Crap. Batpod’s frontal offensive weaponry does pretty clearly seem to be guns in this shot. Bloody fucking hell. By no means a deal-breaker, but still… Batman doesn’t use guns. That’s hugely important, and not just in a “thats how it is in the comics” respect – there’s a huge suspension of disbelief element that comes into play here: “Batman abhors firearms” is the only workable answer to the obvious question of why a non-powered superhero operating in a city rampant with traditional street-level crime doesn’t carry a gun. Yes, we know, it’s REALLY because shooting crooks isn’t as cool as taking them out with a Batarang… er, I mean unnamed-bat-shaped-throwing-knife, sorry producer guys… but still, it’s important. Here, if he’s got NO issue mounting a gun on his bike, why wouldn’t he just keep a Bat-Glock in his belt?

01:37 – Hm. Okay, reflected in Joker’s window here we see some flared object going by, preceded by the “firing” shot of the Batpod and followed by explosions. MAYBE the “guns” are some kind of rocket/explosive launcher? Maybe. Hopefully. Live-with-able, at least, and certainly anything is better than the damn machine guns that kept popping out of the Batmobile and Batwing in the Burton film.

01:39 – Money shot, is what that’s called.

01:55 – Ledger doing his take on the mandatory Joker Cackle. Damn good. Yes, we know, EVERYONE is second-best to Mark Hammill’s version, but that’s still damn good.

01:59 – Wish I knew the first damn thing about musical terminology so I could say “that part of the score right there where the horn-type instruments start slowly rising” is a clear callback to Danny Elfman’s “Batman” score, ultimately still the most valuable and lasting contribution to the character and franchise from the Tim Burton era.

This really is, notably, much more a trailer about Joker than it is about Batman. Not surprising, since we’ve already seen Bale’s Batman and know that he owns in the part, but you get a sense of how clearly the marketers understand the need to REALLY hard-sell Ledger in the role. Hardcore fans may scoff at the idea, but it’s a fact that to the mainstream audience the idea of a “serious/scary Joker” being played by ANYONE other than Jack Nicholson is going to be a pretty big initial moment of resistance.

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