With DNA strands from Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy and Todd Phillips’ gritty and violent 70s inspired Joker, The Batman has revealed itself to the world in this first look teaser…and it appears to be a Goth Bat all its own (complete with brooding Nirvana track to underscore).
Starring Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader and envisioned by writer/diretor Matt Reeves (the two most recent Planet of the Apes films), The Batman dispenses of being an origin story reboot and, instead, picks up in Year 2 of the crime fighter’s young vigilante career.
Apropos of that, this take has the most DIY feel of any Batman yet, especially in having the Batmobile being a souped-up muscle car. Even the Batcave looks like a straight-up makeshift garage/crime lab gutted from the basement of Wayne Manor. To be sure, the quality of the suit and tools are impressive and indicative of having had the backing of a billionaire, but one also senses that this is Batman 1.0 (in a cool way) and subsequent sequels will find Bruce Wayne giving his alter ego bigger, sleeker upgrades.
This look also fits the tone that Reeves set out to capture: a detective story more than a superhero adventure (the original Batman comics referred to him as the World’s Greatest Detective), one inspired by 1970s crime dramas like Chinatown and The French Connection, especially with the emphasis of uncovering corruption within public city institutions.
Batman will face three villains in this first film as Reeves begins to introduce the iconic Rogues Gallery. In this teaser, we have visual confirmation of one (Catwoman, played by Zoë Kravitz), possibly a second (Penguin, played by Colin Ferrell; I’m guessing he’s the one hiding under the makeup of that rugged, middle aged, slightly overweight crime thug with thinning hair, but we can’t say for sure yet), and a third (The Riddler, played by Paul Dano, who is only heard in distorted voiceover).
If I’m right about who the Penguin is in this trailer, then it confirms that both he (whose actual name is Oswald Cobblepot) and Kravitz’s Catwoman (whose name is Selina Kyle) are very early incarnations of their respective bad guys, but both have yet to be fully formed. (UPDATE: Collider has confirmed that the suspected Penguin is indeed the Penguin.)
Dano’s Riddler, however, likely is (even though we can’t see him here) since he appears to be the story’s main villain driving the crime wave and murders that Batman is investigating…or, at least, that is stirring the pot ala Heath Ledger‘s Joker, but he’s doing it with a purpose beyond anarchy: to unearth Gotham’s corruption at the highest levels. The Riddler’s real identity is a quasi-new character named Edward Nashton, which is different than the canonical Edward Nygma (a.k.a. E. Nygma), although Edward Nash is a canonical alias.
Also seen is Jeffrey Wright‘s pre-Commissioner Gordon and heard is Andy Serkis as Wayne butler Alfred Pennyworth. There’s also a street gang that wears makeup which appears to be an early inspiration for an eventual Joker, but that remains to be seen (likely in a sequel). Absent from this first look: John Turturro‘s Carmine Falcone (unless he’s the guy I’m assuming is Ferrell’s Penguin) and Peter Sarsgaard‘s District Attorney Gil Colson.
While I expect the final film to still fall into the more marketable PG-13 range, it certainly seems possible that based on this trailer (and how excessively violent Batman himself chooses to be) that it could follow in the R-rated footsteps of the blockbuster Joker.
It’s following the same release pattern as Joaquin Phoenix‘s Oscar-winning entry, opening on the first weekend of October. Currently still in production, having resumed after an extended COVID-forced pause, The Batman will hits theaters next year on October 1, 2021.
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