Warner Bros. has provided several movie bloggers and entertainment journalists with an exclusive first look at the Dark Knight Rises prologue in all its IMAX glory; as you might imagine, early reactions to the footage have been overwhelmingly positive, with the exception of one (minor) complaint: Tom Hardy as Bane is somewhat difficult to understand when he speaks, due to the muffling effect of his life-preserving mask.

Sadly, you may still struggle to understand the muscular villain all too well in the newly-released full-length trailer for The Dark Knight Rises – though, the rest of the second theatrical promo is so impressively ominous and (for lack of a better word) epic in tone that you probably won’t care.

Reactions to the original Dark Knight Rises teaser trailer were decidedly mixed; not only because there was very little actual footage from the film on display (shooting had just barely commenced, at the time of its release) but also because it felt like a clumsily-structured “announcement” promo, more than an actual theatrical preview. If nothing else, the new trailer for director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy concluder should not attract similar criticisms.

No point in delaying any further – check out the official new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises below:

Head over to Apple.com for the HD version

Among the highlights of this new Dark Knight Rises trailer are:

  • Some simple exposition suggesting that Gotham City is (at the film’s beginning) “peaceful,” eight years after The Joker’s reign of terror in The Dark Knight.
  • An early look at how Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle serves as a femme fatale to Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne (albeit, without her Catwoman suit) and hints about her possibly being connected to Bane. (?)
  • The appearance of new technology like the Batwing and Bane’s mystery device in (awe-inspiring) action.
  • Brief glances at the film’s various new side players, like cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard).
  • Foreboding imagery of Bruce Wayne as he walks around with a cane – not to mention, lies bruised and battered beneath a triumphant Bane.
  • Allusions to Bane’s prison background and his intention to “break” Batman, in all meanings of the term.

Tom Hardy as Bane in 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Overall, this new Dark Knight Rises promo not only marks an improvement on its predecessor; it also does an excellent job of teasing the film’s apocalyptic atmosphere, grand-scale set pieces, and thematic elements (ex. characters’ use of masks looks to become all the more prominent a motif, this time around).

In addition, this new footage also makes the threequel look like a stylistic marriage of Batman Begins‘ gritty, yet still recognizably comic book-rooted design and the more straight-forward “realistic” aesthetic of The Dark Knight. That’s all the more appropriate, seeing how Dark Knight Rises aims to bring Nolan’s Caped Crusader trilogy full-circle – as should be reflected in both the film’s visual structure and narrative layout.

The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Juno Temple, Josh Pence, Daniel Sunjata and Nestor Carbonell.

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It will open in regular and IMAX theaters around the U.S. on July 20th, 2012.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers