The Batman trailer is finally here, accompanied by Nirvana’s “Something in the Way.” The two-and-a-half minutes of footage presents a nightmarish new take on Gotham City and the Dark Knight, an impressive feat considering only 25% of the movie has been shot so far, according to what director Matt Reeves said during the DC FanDome digital event.
Reeves’ Batman reboot explores the early days of the Caped Crusader’s career, about two years into it, and focuses on a younger Bruce Wayne who is haunted by his past as well as a new villain who’s leaving victims all of the city for him to find.
We see in the trailer as Batman is hunted by a serial killer who is leaving him letters at every crime scene, teasing that the movie will feel more like a detective story than the usual action take. The trailer also gives us our first look at several villains, including Penguin, Catwoman, and a gang that seems to call back to a group first introduced in an animated series.
While the trailer makes quite a few things clear about this new Batman movie universe, there are a few lingering questions left in the promo’s wake. So we’re going breaking down the trailer to see what’s really going on in The Batman. And if there’s anything you spot in the trailer that we missed, let us know in the comments!
Before we get started, take a look at the trailer again:
Okay, let’s get started:
The trailer kicks off the character reveals right away, giving us our first look at The Batman‘s version of the Riddler — at least I’m pretty sure this is him. The riddle-obsessed villain isn’t really known for wearing a full facemask with glasses over it, but as you’ll see throughout the trailer, this movie seems to play like an extended fever dream full of grotesque baddies set against an almost overbearingly dark Gotham City.
This is the perfect version for this new take on the Riddler, who seems more like a serial killer here than the grinning megalomaniac we know from the comics, video games, and Batman Forever. In fact, Paul Dano’s Riddler looks about as far the opposite of Jim Carrey as you can get.
The trailer definitely sets up the Riddler as the main villain of the piece, a killer obsessed with getting to the Batman by leaving behind corpses and messages for the Dark Knight at his crime scenes. Above, we see one such victim, his face wrapped in tape with the words “No more lies” written over it.
Uncovering a lie seems to be a major aspect of the movie, as its a message the Riddler repeats to the Batman several times in the trailer. It suggests the Riddler knows something about the Caped Crusader that no one else does. Does the villain know that Bruce Wayne is the masked vigilante? Or does this lie run much deeper than that?
The fact that the Joker movie also dealt with the idea of the Wayne family’s hidden past — in that case, that Thomas Wayne may have had an illegitimate son — and that this movie could have at least one potential connection to last year’s Taxi Driver-inspired character piece makes me think the Riddler knows a secret about Bruce’s past. The Riddler, who seems to be speaking to Batman throughout the video, tells the Dark Knight at the end of the trailer that “he’s a part of this,” meaning whatever the villain is doing was designed to punish Bruce for something.
Jim Gordon and the GCPD
Reeves has said that his take on Batman is more of a detective story than an action movie, and this trailer definitely delivers on his promise. We see Jeffrey Wright’s Jim Gordon investigating the crime scene the Riddler leaves behind at the start of the trailer, while a forensics team takes photographs and gathers evidence.
One piece of evidence is a green envelope addressed to the Batman. Inside is a card with a riddle that I can’t quite make out, but it’s undoubtedly meant to lead the World’s Greatest Detective to the next clue in the Riddler’s twisted game. We also see that the Riddler has also picked up a few things from the Zodiac Killer’s book of riddles, as he leaves behind a code for the Bat to crack.
A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of a framed newspaper at the crime scene gives fans of The Dark Knight and The Long Halloween a nice easter egg to mull over. We already knew John Turturro was set to play crime boss Carmine Falcone in the movie but now we know that his comrade in crime/rival Salvatore Maroni also exists in this universe and has been busted for transporting drugs at some point before the start of the movie. Was Maroni one of Batman’s early targets? Maybe we’ll find out.
Here’s an excellent look at what the top half of the new Batsuit looks like. It’s pretty much a suit of armor, although the cowl and cape seem to be made of leather. And as we already knew, this Batsuit has a collar, which is a pretty neat departure from the usual suits designed for the movies.
This scene also confirms that by year two of Batman’s career, he’s already on good terms with Gordon and the GCPD, although something tells me that relationship ain’t gonna last very long…
I have no idea who this is, but I’m going to guess it’s The Batman‘s version of Commissioner Loeb, the corrupt head of police that preceded Gordon. Since the movie is getting a GCPD-centric spinoff on HBO Max about the corruption inside the police force, I’m going to assume this version of Loeb will be a bit closer to the power-hungry chief introduced in Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Batman: Year One.
We also get a look at the new Batcave, which is about as minimalist as the Dark Knight’s secret lair can get. In fact, it looks more like a garage than a secret underground science lab/high-tech surveillance station.
It even looks like this version of Bruce spends more time working on his Batmobile than on his computer piecing mysteries together. Can you even call that a Batcomputer? It looks like a workbench with a dual-monitor PC setup. Does this dude even get wi-fi inside his underground mechanic shop?
Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne
Bruce is at a funeral for someone I don’t recognize when a car comes crashing through the church. Inside seems to be a man with a bomb and a letter for Batman strapped to his chest. Does the Riddler know Batman is in attendance already or does he think this latest scheme will lure him there?
Either way, we also get our best look at Pattinson as Bruce. It’s interesting to see a version of Bruce who doesn’t sport slicked back billionaire hair. Instead, Pattinson wears more of an emo slick — very fitting for the mood of this trailer.
We get our first look at Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle doing what she does best: stealing. Reeves said during DC FanDome that this version of Selina hasn’t quite morphed into Catwoman at the start of the film and is instead still being shaped into the master thief we know and love.
The trailer shows us a brief snippet of Selina taking on Batman, suggesting that the characters will be at odds in the movie. But could this be the start of a love-hate relationship like what we’ve seen in past takes on this duo? This should be interesting.
We also get to see Colin Farrell’s absolutely incredible transformation into the scarred Oswald Cobblepot, who, according to Reeves, is still working his way up the crime ladder in this movie. He’s not yet the powerful crime lord known as the Penguin, but it sure seems like he causes plenty of havoc for the Bat nonetheless.
The Joker Gang?
Here’s why I mentioned that Joker connection earlier. The gang of face-painted goons that challenge Batman in the trailer sure look inspired by the Clown Prince of Crime. My initial reaction was that The Batman was doing the Jokerz, the Joker-worshiping gang introduced in the Batman Beyond animated series, but what if these guys were actually inspired by Arthur Fleck’s actions in the ’70s-set movie?
We know that by the end of Joker, Arthur has a cult following rallying around him, despite the fact that he’s admitted to murdering quite a few people by that point. His followers, who don their own clown makeup and masks, see Arthur as a freedom fighter, someone fighting for justice in a corrupt city where the rich have it all and the poor have nothing. It wouldn’t be surprising to see that Arthur has become a symbol all these years later, inspiring the next generation to go out into the streets and cause their own chaos.
I know WB has said that both The Batman and Joker exist in their own universes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the studio was suddenly anxious to tie these two movies together after the massive success of the latter. If Pattinson ever does take on the Joker, you can bet your Batarangs that WB will try its very hardest to make it the Joaquin Phoenix version of the villain.
We wrote a little bit more about whether Joker could (or should) show up in this movie here.
Anyway, we eventually watch as Batman beats the ever-living shit out of one of these clowns. It’s a bit…much.
While Batman and the GCPD seem to be on good terms at the start of the trailer, things have certainly taken a turn later. We first see Bats getting into a scuffle inside an interrogation room surrounded by cops and then later escaping a building while police officers shoot at him.
That second shot actually seems to recreate the famous panels from Year One where the Dark Knight escapes an abandoned building surrounded by the GCPD with the help of a swarm of bats, a scene that also inspired an action sequence in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.
Why are Batman and the GCPD suddenly at odds? It’s possible this is part of the Riddler’s plan to destroy the Bat. Has the villain framed the Dark Knight for something? Or has Batman gone too far in his search for justice?
The new Batmobile is front and center towards the tail end of the trailer. It’s a very cool and surprisingly realistic take on the Batmobile unlike what we’ve seen in past movies. This muscle car definitely looks like something Bruce would have worked on himself inside the Batcave.
The Canonical Batman Eye Makeup
Finally, we get a look at Batman sans mask. There’s no elegant bachelor under the cowl in The Batman but a beaten down, soot-covered man who looks more troubled than any other Bruce before him. Pattinson’s Bruce almost looks more inspired by The Crow than Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, or Michael Keaton before him. It definitely looks like he’s taking the character in a new direction.
We’ll find out for sure when The Batman hits theaters on Oct. 1, 2021.