Out of all the massive announcements of DC’s FanDome event on Saturday, the crown jewel remains The Batman, the franchise reboot written and directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson. The film was one of the pandemic’s most high-profile delays—it was originally set for June of this year, then October, before finally landing on a date in March 22. However, a teaser trailer at last year’s FanDome event was enough to tide fans over for the time being. Now there’s a new trailer that offers a deeper, more extended look at where Reeves and Pattinson plan to take the character visually, aesthetically and narratively, as well as more footage of the stacked cast that includes Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, and an unrecognizable Colin Farrell.
Here are five major takeaways from the trailer for The Batman, as we count down the days until March 4, 2022.
The Cat and the Bat
The Batman’s first trailer emphasized Paul Dano’s Riddler, but this new clip shifts focus onto Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle, more commonly known as Catwoman. As we saw last year, Selina is already pulling off cat burglaries, catching the attention of Batman along the way. Selina says—and subsequently proves—she’s more than capable of handling herself amid Gotham’s underworld, despite Batman’s concern.
Selina’s comic book history is slightly different from the onscreen iterations in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Selina, like Bruce, ends up an orphan—her mother commits suicide, and her father drinks himself to death while Selina is still a young child. Their shared tragedies link Bruce and Selina within their respective night moves as Batman and Catwoman. The two are often posed as opposites of one another, as Batman co-creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane viewed cats as the “antithesis of bats.” It looks like Reeves is drawing on this characterization in The Batman, providing plenty for Kravitz to play with as she serves as a compelling foil while not being an outright villain for him to defeat.
While this trailer is light on Riddler-related activities compared to the first, it’s still clear that he’s the film’s central threat. It appears as if he’ll end up captured while his schemes continue to unfold. As hinted at by the mural on the ground (and taken in conjunction with footage from teaser number one), the Riddler’s riddles seem to involve the sins of Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne, in part of a larger conspiracy taking place in Gotham. Reeves has said he’s aiming to make The Batman more of a Chinatown-style film-noir than an outright superhero movie.
To Live and Die in Gotham City
Reeves has also described The Batman as a “Year Two” story, wherein the film doesn’t chronicle Bruce’s first time putting on the cape (so, thankfully not a Batman Begins retread) but he is still learning how to be Batman. As such, this version of Bruce isn’t anywhere close to the “hero Gotham deserves.” In fact, Bruce isn’t giving much thought to whether or not he will even live or die. Additionally, there’s a sense of brutality to the way he carries himself, beating a criminal so viciously it causes Selina to recoil. The fear element seems to be all Bruce is obsessed with, as underlined by the line of dialog the clip opens with: that he views the Bat signal as more of a warning than anything else. It seems as if Bruce’s internal struggle in the film will be deciding (or learning?) just how he wants to carry himself as Batman.
Odds and Ends
A few other brief glimpses are worth a quick mention. After hearing him in the initial teaser, we’re given our first look at Andy Serkis’ take on Alfred, who, in typical fashion, is deeply concerned about the unhealthy coping mechanisms his young charge is taking. And Colin Farrell seems to be having an absolute blast as Oswald Cobblepot / The Penguin. Dano’s Riddler might be the villain driving the central plot, but it’s easy to see Farrell stealing the show when it’s said and done. (His character is likely working alongside John Turturro’s still unseen Carmine Falcone.
Oh, you’ll also notice the repeated motif of Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” before Michael Giacchino’s score emerges. You can get another listen to that bit of score, courtesy of this Twitter post from back in September where Giacchino teased the movie’s theme.
Gotham by Gaslight
This is a silly thing to get excited about, but stick with me here: I love how this movie looks. It’s nice to see vibrant colors in a Batman movie again. While nothing here comes close to the production design of the Burton movies, The Batman features several shots of characters at sunrise and sunset. The rich apricot hue makes for a nice thematic touch that further acknowledges Gotham as a “powder keg” waiting to explode.
Overall, the look of Reeves’ Gotham feels more crowded and claustrophobic than the latter Nolan movies, thanks in part to framing; everything is either in close-ups or features characters surrounded by massive industrial landscapes. This micro and macro scope just makes The Batman stand out differently from what’s come before. Oh, and the last shot in the trailer of Batman looking like he’s hanging upside down?Great stuff.