During this year's DC FanDome, in a surprise turn of events, we got our first glimpse of Matt Reeves' The Batman, the latest cinematic take on the Dark Knight. While it can be easy to bemoan the idea of yet another Batman movie, as we've gotten more than our fair share in the past few years, this trailer promises an electrifying, haunting new vision on the classic character — complete with a darker tone, grounded characters, stylistic action, and a noir-heavy tinge on the property.
While we've only seen a sliver of what's to come, particularly as filming hasn't concluded yet, it's easy to feel confident about this Batman blockbuster, especially if it might bring new ideas to the comic book character's cinematic portrayal. There are no guarantees until the film is projected in front of our eyeballs, but here's what Robert Pattinson's upcoming Batman movie might do differently than past iterations.
Though it sometimes fluctuates a bit, Bruce Wayne is generally believed to be in his mid-to-late 20s whenever he first dons the cowl and cape. When it comes to the movie themselves, the filmmakers tend to follow the Caped Crusader whenever he's in his 30s or, sometimes, even in his 40s, as he's already established as Gotham's shining hero — if often lurking in the shadows.
While Batman Begins followed our titular hero during his early days, we only catch a glimpse of his beginnings before we're transported to his more established presence in The Dark Knight. With The Batman, we'll get a chance to see a younger, more adaptable Batman in action, notably as he's still fighting against his lack of experience and expertise to prove himself as Gotham's newest detective. It'll hopefully provide a more boyish, less established young crime fighter (as we'll discuss more below).
He's Not As Experienced
Additionally, given his more youthful appearance in this new movie, it also makes sense that this Batman is less experienced than what we've seen in past variations of the character. While Robert Pattinson isn't too much younger than Christian Bale was when he made Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne is given an edgy, unestablished nitty-gritty style in this trailer, which shows a Batman settling into his wings.
While we've seen younger variations of Batman in the comics and on television, in movies, Batman is often already settled into his groove as Gotham's crime-fighting hero. To spend more time with a Batman driven by revenge and anguish but still figuring how his style and sense of purpose makes for an interesting spin on the familiar crusader. His fighting style should be more rugged and less defined, giving him an inherent vulnerability — even when he's inside the suit.
He's More Of A Detective Than Past Cinematic Interpretations
Bruce Wayne is really a detective who adopts a costumed persona more than he is simply a superhero. He's a symbol, yes, and a beacon of hope who rose from the ashes and overcame his greatest obstacles for justice and restored civility. But, at his core, Batman is a man (if one who dons a batsuit) who solves Gotham's greatest crimes. After all, he's considered the World's Greatest Detective, which isn't a moniker he takes very lightly (if he takes anything lightly nowadays). Nevertheless, outside of The Dark Knight, Batman's detective side only occasionally comes out inside his multiple movies.
Recently, Batman is more prone to throwing punches and using psychical assertion rather than sleuthing. While it's a shame this side of Bruce Wayne doesn't come out more readily in his big-screen appearances, director Matt Reeves will hopefully rectify that with The Batman. This investigative trailer doesn't secretly take a great deal of inspiration from David Fincher's Se7en, which should provide an intriguing perspective to the character — much in the same way that Christopher Nolan took liberal inspiration from Michael Mann's Heat with The Dark Knight (to great results, of course).
He's (Possibly) More Violent
One of the most striking moments in The Batman trailer (quite literally, in this case) is Robert Pattinson's intensely beating up a guy in white make-up. It's hard to know, based on his getup, if he's meant to be a Joker fanboy or maybe someone else entirely, but what's clear here is that Bruce Wayne doesn't mind roughing up bad guys to assert his dominance.
While that might not mean breaking his no-kill code like Ben Affleck's Batman did in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it suggests that Pattinson's version might be more violent — or more willing to be violent — than a few past iterations. This one is admittedly arguable, since Batman was never afraid to throw punches. But if that moment is a sign of things to come, we might be looking at a more aggressive take of the popular character.
He's Moodier (Seemingly)
While Bruce Wayne wasn't necessarily a chipper fellow to begin with, Robert Pattinson's upcoming take on the Caped Crusader might possibly dive into Dark Knight's dark side even deeper. The trailer for this newest Batman solo story suggests an even more intensely brooding, relentlessly moody, and aggressively volatile personification of the comic book character, one who doesn't take a kind eye to criminals and makes a point to tell his perpetrators that he's seeking "vengeance."
If this trailer is accurate to Matt Reeves' vision for this newest DC blockbuster, we might be looking at the most solemn, somber cinematic portrayal of Batman to date, which is saying something. Of course, the trailer could be selling us an impartial glimpse. Maybe Pattinson is actually cracking jokes and telling a bunch of funny one-liners in the film? But there's no indication of that in this intriguing first trailer.
He's Potentially More Focused, Possibly More Alone
Given the heavier focus on Batman's detective side, it's also possible that the Caped Crusader is also more focused on his ambitions, stripping away whatever distractions life might have in his way to hunt down bad guys like The Riddler and The Penguin who muck around Gotham. The other movies saw Bruce Wayne weighing his personal life as Bruce Wayne with his secret persona of Batman. It's very possible that the same is true here, but this trailer pretty much only shows us Bruce in Batman mode — minus a few shots of Robert Pattinson wearing a tailored suit.
Does this mean that Batman's obsessions engulf Wayne's attention entirely? Given his rich ancestral wealth, it's not as if he needs to work for a living. If money isn't a factor for him, it's possible that crime-fighting becomes his sole occupation in life.
Now, it's around this point that we dive into speculation (more so than we already have, at least). The trailer only represents the footage that was shot pre-COVID production shutdown, so it's hard to say for certain what is or isn't fairly represented. But if this trailer is accurate to how Wayne will be in this new movie, it's clear that Wayne is a lone wolf hunting down bad guys mainly by himself — outside of help from Commissioner Gordon, of course. It's possible that Wayne has no love life (unless there's something happening with Catwoman), and he obviously doesn't have much in the way of family or friends outside of Alfred Pennyworth. Andy Serkis is reportedly signed on to allegedly play Alfred, but he's nowhere to be seen or heard in the trailer. Does Alfred take a more reserved approach? Is Batman more alone than ever in The Batman?
Gotham Seems To Fear Him, Doesn't Know Him As A Superhero Yet
The Batman will follow Bruce Wayne two years into adopting his crime-fighting persona. He's still a novice when it comes to putting on the costume and taking out Gotham criminals but he's also got some experience. That balanced perspective, taken from Batman: Year Two by Mike W. Barr, gives us a look at a point-of-view that's been largely absent from previous Batman movies.
Unlike Batman Begins, which shows the early days of Batman until the sequel follows back years later, it looks like we'll see a point in Batman's career where he's not yet trusted or understood by the Gotham public. To the criminals, he's clearly an antagonist. But to the general public, Batman isn't known as a superhero yet. They don't know how to separate him from all the other eccentric oddities lurking around the tormented city. In short, Gotham still fears Batman.
The Batman is slated to hit theaters on October 1, 2021. Are you excited to see Robert Pattinson adopt this role? Please let us know below!
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.