The first trailer for The Batman loomed online during the 2020 DC FanDome. And it promised an onslaught of brooding Gothic chic from director Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes), not to mention an arresting debut for Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne.
Scroll down to discover our seven main takeways from the trailer.
1. It appears to be a superhero movie via way of a serial killer thriller
Forget Jim Carrey's goofy iteration of The Riddler in 1995's Batman Forever. Paul Dano's take in The Batman promises to be truly menacing. By leaving cryptic clues on gaffa-taped bodies, one might imagine he's been taking clues from the Zodiac, the infamous real-life serial killer who inspired David Fincher's 2007 movie of the same name.
It's a sure sign of how Reeves and cinematographer Greig Fraser (Rogue One; the upcoming Dune) are looking to ground fantastical icongraphy in something more believable. In that sense, it's not dissimilar to what Christopher Nolan achieved with his Dark Knight trilogy, which threw away Batman camp in favour of angst and grit. Can this movie possibly emerge from the shadow of Nolan's franchise?
2. Robert Pattinson keeps the guyliner
One question that's always bothered us: how does Bruce Wayne black out his eyes when he's donning Batman's costume? This was the source of a continuity error in 1992's Batman Begins, as Michael Keaton's Batman appeared to lose these smudges prior to ripping off the cowl. (Skip to 21 seconds into the following video to see what we mean.)
The makers of The Batman have anticipated this, with several shots of a glowering Pattinson complete with guyliner. It might be an incidental, almost flippant detail, but at the same time it fleshes out the logical constraints of the Batman costume.
3. It's about Bruce Wayne's ascent to superhero superstardom
"You're becoming quite a celebrity," Andy Serkis' Alfred says to his master, Bruce Wayne, and the trailer shows Wayne's evolution from bike-riding detective to Batmobile-driving vigilante.
In fact, the continuity of the trailer is such that we begin with a sequence of Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) consulting Batman on one of the Riddler's grisly crime scenes. Are we to assume that this occurs later on in the story where Batman has attained a measure of confidence, resource and status? Perhaps the movie will have a flashback/flashforward structure that forces us to piece together Wayne's march towards superhero iconography?
4. Colin Farrell is unrecognisable
Yes, that is the handsome star of In Bruges as Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin. The make-up artists have done a marvellous job with the buck-teeth, bulbous nose, receding hairline and scarred face. It almost makes Farrell's Penguin akin to real-life gangsters such as Al Capone, which may be another indication of the film's grounded aesthetic.
We haven't seen the character depicted on the big screen since Batman Returns, where he was grotesquely embodied by Danny DeVito. Given the trailer's emphasis on the omnipresent Riddler, we wouldn't be surprised if Farrell's villain was more on the sidelines, being set up for a future movie. Nevertheless, we can't wait to see Farrell sink his teeth into the role.
5. Zoe Kravitz' Catwoman is a literal cat burglar
In 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan re-imagined Selina Kyle/Catwoman as a robber, one with access to Wayne Manor. In that movie, she was imagined by Anne Hathaway, whose relative plausibility was a world away from the glorious, whip-cracking menace of Michelle Pfeiffer's portrayal in Batman Returns.
The third actress to take up the big-screen mantle is Zoe Kravitz, famous for the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road. We only get a brief glimpse of her safe-cracking abilities in the trailer, but she does go toe to toe (or claw to pointy ear) with Batman at one point. It allows us to glimpse her costume, which has ditched illogical style for a more realistic-looking balaclava. Presumably this is a proto-suit and her real costume will emerge at some point in the movie.
6. One of the Riddler's riddles has already been deciphered
The Riddler leaves morbid puzzles for Batman and Jim Gordon, as seen in the trailer. Now, an eagle-eyed Twitterer called Andrew Lane claims to have deciphered it. The ultimate answer doesn't exactly clarify things, but it does signify that Dano's villain is gunning for Batman in the most torturous, teasing way possible.
7. Pattinson's fighting style is ferocious
Pattinson learned Brazilian ju-jitsu for his title role in The Batman. And we can see the fruits of those labours as he takes a group of thugs to task. We can't work out if they're working for The Riddler or The Penguin. But it hardly matters when he can lay such a savage beatdown. The line, "I'm vengeance" also allows us to hear Pattinson's Bat-voice for the first time. Mercifully, there's no Christian Bale-shaped sub woofer in sight. This looks and sounds more organic to a man inside a Bat costume.
The Batman is released on 1st October 2021. Let us know on Twitter @Cineworld what you spotted in the trailer that we didn't.