With no Comic-Con this year, DC and Warner Bros took it upon themselves to have their own virtual convention in which we got to see the coming attractions from the DCEU, the first proper look at the Snyder Cut, and, in my opinion, most importantly, the first trailer for the long-awaited The Batman. Much like every new version of the Caped Crusader, The Batman, and specifically Robert Pattinson, has courted a huge amount of controversy for existing in the first place. I’ve already seen countless people calling him the emo Batman, and saying that he’s too skinny (what a load of utter shit, by the way).
I’ve already defended the choice of Pattinson as the new Batman: he’s a terrific actor with a CV littered with layered and complex performances. He is basically the Leonardo DiCaprio of the last decade and he is beyond perfect for Batman – but, most importantly, the trailer was frankly awesome. I’ll try not to get too fine-toothed-comb about it, but instead, I just want to get excited with you.
The trailer gave me a vibe of the awesome early nineties cartoon Batman: The Animated Series, especially the gorgeous Batmobile – oh, and in how Batman and Commissioner Gordon are introduced working together – previously, it has taken an entire movie to achieve this, and The Batman took care of it in the trailer. This also suggests that, despite this being a young Batman/Bruce Wayne, this definitely won’t be another origin story, thank God. We’ve had enough of those.
Director Matt Reeves is such a refreshing change of pace from previous Batman directors. While the Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan films are the high water mark for the character in cinema, they are products of their director’s singular visions. Arguably, they are Burton and Nolan movies before they are Batman’s. The same can be said of Zack Snyder and Batfleck – though, frankly, the less said about that mess the better. Reeves, on the other had, has a filmography that encompasses many different genre exercises no two (unless they are directly connected) the same in Cloverfield, Let Me In, and the second and third movies from the modern Planet of the Apes trilogy. Reeves’ lack of idiosyncrasies and his unwillingness to be pigeon-holed into a specific style mean that his approach lacks the ego of his past directors. Reeves, on the evidence of this trailer, wants to tell the best Batman story possible rather than making the best Matt Reeves movie he can (though it might just be the latter, too).
The Batman looks like a detective story first and foremost, and the decision to have the big bad be The Riddler is genius, especially when he’s played by Paul Dano. The Riddler is such a sour presence in this trailer that it’s amazing to think that we never actually get a good look at him. We have seen many villains in Batman movies taking on the Dark Knight in different ways, but this is the first to go after his intellect. Sure, there are whiffs of Heath Ledger’s Joker, mainly due to the terrorist attack-nature of The Riddler’s plans, but who cares when the movie looks this good (and when we know what Paul Dano can do)?
The Batman seems like the Batman movie I always wanted, a movie that remembers why Batman is such a unique superhero. He’s smart, rich, and highly trained, but he’s human. The Batman knows this. Also, good on Pattinson for not overhauling his body for the superhero physique. Michael Keaton didn’t do it either, and that eyeliner is more than enough for me.
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By Kevin Boyle
Header Image: CNET