One of the main highlights of DC Fandome is easily the first proper glimpse at Robert Pattinson as Batman, in 2021’s ‘The Batman’. It’s difficult to comprehend how a full length trailer was somehow scrambled together, given director Matt Reeves has publicly stated only around 25% of the film was shot before production was halted due to Covid-19. Robert Pattinson garnered significant disapproval, almost universally, after his performance in ‘Twilight’, but Warner Bros persevered with the movie, originally with Ben Affleck at the helm and in the mask.
Much like the negative fan outcry at Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, and Michael Keaton in ‘Batman’, somehow WB have thrown a curve-ball and managed to perfectly cast a controversial actor for a main part in a Batman movie. Again. Despite the odds stacked against it.
At DC Fandome, Jim Lee stated that WB now recognise their rich and diverse ‘multiverse’, and they feel confident they can have two co-existing ‘Batmen’ at the same time. Lee clarified that the beauty and appeal of the Arrowverse and its crossovers is largely in part due to deep cuts and the resourceful co-existence of multiple portrayals of popular characters. Jim Lee clarified, ‘The Batman’ is like an ‘Earth 2’, fans are smart enough to recognise the difference between Pattinson and Affleck. Coupled with Keaton and Affleck’s casting in the upcoming ‘Flash’ movie, it seems very much full steam ahead with DC’s ‘multiverse’!
There are so many easter eggs for fans to spot and the trailer gives the impression the film is somehow complete. The star-studded cast nail their roles, from what we see, the batsuit and batmobile fit in perfectly with the tone of the movie despite concerns from fans after set photo leaks and the initial batsuit teaser.
The trailer opens with a man dressed in green, with his face obscured by a gas mask, the colour scheme suggests this may be the Riddler. The character is taping up a man’s face abominably, possibly a reference to Hush, a character with ties to Riddler since the 2002 Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee story ‘Batman: Hush’.
Batman is called to a crime scene by a seemingly reluctant GCPD, something we may see more of in the planned ‘Gotham Central’ style HBO Max series (read more here). We see a card addressed to Bruce Wayne, obvious to even the most casual of fan to be from the Riddler, played by Paul Dano. Reeves described Dano’s performance in the accompanying panel as “[something] no-one has ever seen before. What he’s doing is, I think, going to blow people’s minds.”
We also catch our first glimpse of Catwoman, played by Zoë Kravitz. True to form, she appears to be breaking and entering somewhere and no time is wasted between shots before she and Batman face off. Elsewhere, Colin Farrell is absolutely unrecognisable as Penguin. Jeffrey Wright nails Jim Gordon and Andy Serkis lends us a very promising Alfred.
Ben Affleck was a good Batman and Bruce Wayne, but sadly has yet to appear in an actual Batman movie. A ‘World’s Finest’/’Trinity’ Batman V Superman movie, twenty seconds in Suicide Squad and a supporting role in Justice League has given us one of the best examples of cinematic Batman in the character’s history, despite their flawed presentation, but all that may change with this incredible torrent of Bat-related mastery. This Batman is dark. We have a human bomb and an extremely savage beatdown with audible bones breaking, courtesy of Bats. If Pattinson’s Batman is as dark and brooding, and dare I say it, silent, all the way through the final cut, this film may well be the perfect Batman movie for adults. This isn’t your dad’s movie and we can’t wait to see it.
The Batman is due October 2021.
Words: Graeme Small