DC Comics’ iconic black-clad bat-mimicking superhero has taken on many forms on the big screen. From George Clooney in the 1997 movie “Batman and Robin” to the adaptive genius of Lego Batman in recent years, the Batman movies are notoriously polarizing. Ben Affleck’s grizzled, grumpy latest take on the “Justice League” hero turned out to be no exception. However, in this age of reboot and rebirth of films, “Planet of the Apes” director Matt Reeves and “Twilight” (or “Harry Potter”, depending on your allegiance) star Robert Pattinson have risen to the challenge. The main trailer for their highly anticipated 2022 film “The Batman” premiered at the DC FanDome last Saturday, posing the question: Will DC finally break the curse of mediocre Batman movies?
The trailer for this standalone version of Batman opens with the dramatic, cinematic arrest of the Riddler on a rainy night in Gotham City. Portrayed in this version by actor Paul Dano, the weird, eclectic, and dubious characterization of the Riddler lends itself to constant aesthetic and narrative adaptation, from Jim Carrey’s question mark-covered trickster to the animated criminal pawn “I am a bush. “from Young Justice. this creepy new serial killer (and surprisingly not suited to green). After this introduction to a less cheerful Gotham, the trailer moves on to the traditional Bat-Signal through stormy skies and the premiere of many dark and fast-paced fight scenes featuring Pattinson’s new Batman. This first fight scene brings more questions than answers: Are the thugs with the clown faces a reference to the Joker? How bulletproof is this Batsuit? Does the electrifying end of the fight scene suggest this Batman won’t follow the “no murder” coded?
Instead of answers, the trailer switches to a tense showdown between a quietly creepy trapped Riddler and an enraged Batman yelling “What did you do?” through a Gotham City Police Department interrogation table. Pattinson and Reeves both noted in various interviews that the Batman in this movie would be young and tortured, and his emotional instability becomes extremely palpable in this clip. The tension, resolved by a typical action-movie explosion, transforms into the familiar image of Batman smoldering as a costume-less Bruce Wayne is shown outside of Gotham’s mayor’s funeral. This shade of political upheaval, full of hints of insider corruption and an absurdly large police presence, runs through the rest of the trailer (and presumably the film) as well.
But no blockbuster superhero movie is complete without a femme fatale, so Zoë Kravitz struts around as Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman. Kravitz’s introduction is accompanied by a montage of typical Catwoman tropes: a proclamation of her independence, fiery fight scenes, motorcycles, and the seduction of the Batman. The trailer then quickly cuts off to reveal Andy Serkis as Bruce’s staunch companion, Alfred, and Colin Farrell as crime boss, The Penguin. This cast marks a new introduction of an iconic villain and notable actor, and Reeve’s strategy to balance all of these superstars and storylines is sure to be intriguing.
The trailer speeds up, defined by short scenes rich in Easter eggs: Pattinson amid a scattering of evidence and police theories strewn across the ground, fight scenes and Bat-Cat flirtations, and much more intense low-visibility battles with Batman. Pattinson repeats the line “I am revenge” once more, leading to the next action sequence, the GCPD clamor, dramatic violence and the Riddler’s voiceover, “What is black and blue and dead everywhere? ” The trailer ends with an extended car chase clip between Batman and the penguin, culminating in a reverse shot from the penguin’s perspective of a backlit Batman emerging from the fire, himself looking like a revenge. .
A far cry from Affleck’s Batman, who epitomized the legend of the Unflappable Brain in the recently released “Justice League” Snyder Cup, this new Batman exudes unbridled rage and borderline madness. The trailer adheres to the classic dark and dramatic aesthetic of the Batman films and has no shortage of star action scenes. Yet Reeves and DC make no attempt to emulate the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s superhero movie format like they did in “Justice League.” Instead, they unearth a rare portrayal of a young and inexperienced Batman. This Batman will have nothing to do with the multiverse experience of the upcoming “The Flash” movie, which perhaps bodes well for this tumultuous franchise. Unrelated to other expectations and other iconic superheroes, this standalone iteration of Batman gives the film a chance to delve into the darkness and grit that makes the Dark Knight unique among the Supermans and Avengers of the mainstream cinema.
“The Batman” hits theaters on March 4, 2022.
– Editor Hannah T. Chew can be reached at [email protected]