CinemaCon 2012: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES In Vegas

Christopher Nolan comes to Sin City and shows a reel of mostly dialogue-free THE DARK KNIGHT RISES footage.

Christopher Nolan took the stage at CinemaCon to present not the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises (which will premiere in front of The Avengers) but rather a reel of disconnected imagery, which he compared to the 'visual gibberish' of an Inception reel he had brought to ShoWest (what they used to call CinemaCon) two years earlier.

I don't know that what Nolan showed was gibberish, but it definitely was a series of non-sequitur images. It's hard to draw too many new conclusions. There was little dialogue, although it's clear that any concerns about Bane's voice can be put away - Tom Hardy's dialogue has either been mixed way, way higher or there has been additional ADR done (he still sounds like a cartoon walrus to me, though). Batman still sounds sort of silly in his one line of dialogue.

It seems that rather than work as a prostitute or stripper, Selina Kyle is a maid at Wayne Manor... but that seems more like an undercover assignment to me, like she's scoping the place out. We see her leaving the mansion, taking off elements of her maid uniform, straightening out and walking differently as she does so.

We also see Kyle hanging out with Bruce Wayne, but it's a Bruce Wayne who seems sick or injured. He's thin, and he has a shitty goatee. He's playfully shooting a bow and arrow in his dining room - right next to Selina. Does she help Bruce Wayne get out of some kind of a funk?

Is this Bruce broken by Bane? There's a shot of him hobbling on a cane, and a shot of him looking sickly and wearing a robe in some sort of castle (I think. It could be just a shot of Wayne Manor that I mistook). At one point he's in the back of a car driven by Alfred, who says "Don't worry, Master Wayne, it'll take a while to get back in the swing of things."

But there's also a shot of Bruce making out with Talia Al'Ghul, played by Marion Cotillard. It's unclear when this happens, or what Bruce's condition is.

There's plenty of city in chaos stuff. There's a wide shot of two of Gotham's bridges blowing up at once. There's a shot of what appears to be a whole crowd of cops racing down a street - almost as if they're rioting. Joseph Gordon Levitt's character walks through rubble-strewn streets. The Tumbler - camoflouged - comes roaring up courthouse steps in the middle of a riot/brawl. And then Batman and Bane face off on the steps, are about to trade blows... and Nolan cuts away.

On stage Nolan emphasized that this was a film of big spectacle, the biggest in the series yet. He talked about being happy - yet sad - to be able to bring an ending to this story. He downplayed the fact that he shot an hour in IMAX, probably because most of his audience was made up of theater owners without IMAX screens.

The footage looked very good - Nolan can shoot - but I wonder how he's going to make this siege of Gotham business feel new for the third time. It feels, to me, like variations on a theme. Which is surely part of the point, and why Gotham City was always the least silly fake name for The Dark Knight Rises. The lack of concrete details is what's making me more intrigued than anything else, and now I'm wondering if the new trailer will be more explicit about the plot and how all of these pieces fit together.