Since his debut in Detective Comics #27 on March 30th, 1939, Batman has been through a number of different iterations which have been translated to the big screen from Adam West’s campy Batman of the ’60s to the extra theatrical, gaudy Batman in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and Batman & Robin; director Christopher Nolan’s grounded, realistic Dark Knight trilogy and the humorous LEGO Batman of recent years. One element of Batman’s character which hasn’t been thoroughly explored in the movies however is the detective angle — after all, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics and has been touted as the World’s Greatest Detective throughout his tenure.
That’s set to change with upcoming Matt Reeves’ film The Batman, whose first trailer dropped yesterday during DC’s FanDome event.
The Batman (2021 film) trailer
The trailer depicts a dark, violent murder mystery — among the gritty, noirish Gotham City surroundings, a solemn Commissioner Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), a brutal fight scene which depicts Batman (Robert Pattinson) breaking an attacker’s arm and continuing to beat him into the pavement (the already buzzed about “I am vengeance” scene), a brief appearance by Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman and a nearly unrecognizable Colin Farrell as the Penguin, is a voiceover from the film’s villain, ostensibly the Riddler (Paul Dano), who wants to play a “special game” with brooding Bruce Wayne/Batman. The Riddler’s game includes leaving sealed envelopes marked “For The Batman” at the scene of crimes, which are sure to contain the villain’s signature conundrums therein. The Batman trailer also features an atmospheric, bleak, slow-burn version of the song “Something in the Way” from Nirvana’s 1991 breakout album, “Nevermind,” put together by the film’s composer Michael Giacchino.
Director Matt Reeves was on hand to elaborate more on the premise of The Batman as well as which time period in Batman’s life the movie takes place.
“The idea is that we’re in Year Two, it’s the Gotham Experiment,” Reeves said at the DC FanDome event. “It’s a criminological experiment. He’s trying to figure out sort of what he can do that can finally change this place. And in our story, as he’s in that mode, that’s where you meet him…and he’s seeing that he’s not having any of the effect that he wants to have yet, and that is when the murders start to happen,” Reeves said. “And then the murders begin to describe sort of the history of Gotham in a way that only reinforces what he knows about Gotham, but it opens up a whole new world of corruption that went much farther. But as that story starts to come out, without being an origin tale for him, it ends up being something that touches on his origins. So you start to see that, as it starts to describe this epic history of corruption in Gotham, that you start to understand, ‘Well, where did my family sit in that?’
Although The Batman will take place after Batman’s initial transformation from Bruce Wayne, the evolutionary process of him fully becoming the seasoned veteran Batman is still very much an ongoing one.
“I think, you know, as we said, it’s not an origin tale,” Reeves continued “and you’re meeting him in the early days. And, for me, what’s really important about this iteration is that, you know, a lot of the other stories are very much about how he had to master his fear, and master himself, in order to become Batman. And that in that Batman state, he’s sort of in his best self. And I think, for me, what was exciting was not doing that—not doing the origin, not doing what we’d seen done so beautifully in other movies, but instead to meet him in the middle of this criminological experiment, to see him in the becoming of Batman, and to see him make mistakes as Batman, and see him grow and fail and be heroic, do all of the things that we associate with Batman, but in a way that felt very human and very flawed.”
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