I hate modern trailers.
I hate their trends: the Inception WHAAAA noise, it’s counterpart VVVVVVvvoom, the slowed down pop songs, and the fact that they show too damn much of the fucking movie. There is a cynical belief that audiences don’t want anything new when it comes to tempting us into cinema seats, so the same intellectual property gets put through each shiny new meat grinder and spat out into obnoxious trailers for our supposed amusement. The new trailer for The Batman is guilty of a lot of this but there is one key difference: this movie looks fucking great.
I am hyped, good people. The Batman looks like the movie that I have been craving ever since Joseph Gordon-Levitt got surprised by a rising floor. The Batman looks like that other Frank Miller comic, but written with the smarts of Scott Snyder (he’s the good Snyder, and his run on Batman is one of my favourite versions of everything to do with the character). This trailer brings the Caped Crusader into a refreshing darkness, a ferocity that comes from Bruce Wayne’s anger and trauma. He’s a different beast to Keaton’s icy madness, or Bale’s symbolism and integrity. This is a raw Batman, who doesn’t seem to know what kind of hero to be yet.
The telling line is when he’s asked who he is – “I am vengeance.” Not the iconic I am Batman, because he clearly isn’t yet. “But Kev, you absolute hypocrite!” I hear you cry. “Doesn’t this sound a lot like Batfleck?” The answer is a yes, with a but. Context is key here. Bruce Wayne becoming Batman, for as heroic as he is, is a tragedy. He is fuelled by trauma and terror, willing to become a monster for what he see’s as the greater good. Batman always starts off as vengeance: meaning, like Keaton, he’s a little bit insane. We all may be tired of seeing the Wayneses die onscreen, but Bruce sees that every time he closes his eyes. Batfleck was put in a situation and a story where he didn’t fit. He’s older and wiser and really should have known better. This Batman isn’t there yet, and it’s this movie’s job to get him there. Don’t be surprised if “I’m Batman.” is the last line of the movie.
What about the rest of it? Paul Dano’s Riddler is still so enticingly out of reach, Colin Farrell looks like a lot of fun as The Penguin, and Zoe Kravitz look pretty cool as Catwoman. Action-wise, The Batman is obsessed with making Batman look scary as fucking possible, the flickering light of machine gun fire was a wonderful flourish. I would expect nothing else from director Matt Reeves.
I started this article bemoaning trailers and how everything is the same, but Matt Reeves has made a career of proving, with the right approach, what was once thrilling but seems to have lost it can be so again. He’s already made a solid remake of Let the Right One In (nothing on the original but still pretty good), and went two better with is rebooted Planet of the Apes films (both of which are better than all that came before them). Reeves has clearly looked at Batman, and thought of a great idea. Even if we have seen all of these characters before, we haven’t seen the quite like this. Because of all this, I’ll even forgive the slowed down use of Nirvana’s “Something in the Way”. Well, just this once.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out the rest of our Batman retrospective right here. You can also take a look at our other cinematic universe retrospectives, for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Jurassic Park movies! And, as ever, if you enjoyed this and want to see more stuff like it, please consider supporting us on Ko-Fi.
By Kevin Boyle
(header image via Indiewire)