While I typically enjoy watching trailers, I don't usually go nuts over them. After all, trailers can be a bit misleading at times; directors will occasionally alter footage so as to not spoil a big reveal, or sometimes just straight up use scenes that wind up being cut from the finished film. Maybe it's the fact that we're all starving for new content right now, or perhaps it has to do with my already sky high level of anticipation for 'The Batman,' but the official teaser trailer that was revealed Saturday night at DC FanDome has me ALL shook up! In just under 48 hours since this 2 minute and 24 second sneak preview dropped, I think that I've already watched it at least ten times. Because I'm so excited about what we were just given (and, based on the reactions I've seen from people on social media, it looks like I'm not alone), I figured I'd write up a full breakdown of it. Let's dive right in here, folks, shot-for-shot!
Right off the top, it's important to note that, per Director Matt Reeves during Saturday's panel itself, only about 25% or so of the film has been shot. Obviously, a big reason for that is COVID-19, which has effectively shut down the film industry. Despite that, we were still able to get all of this awesome footage out of only a quarter of the film, which is nuts. As of right now, 'The Batman' is still projected to drop at some point in 2021 despite not being close to completion, but we'll see if that remains the case.
We open the trailer with the sound of duct tape being ripped by a mysterious individual and a makeshift mask being made out of it to be applied to what I can only assume to be a dead man's face. And on this corpse's face is a somewhat ominous message: "No More Lies." I'd say that it's an extremely safe assumption at this point that this strange figure is Paul Dano's Riddler, as even though he doesn't have the traditional Riddler look to him (no visible question marks on his outfit, no cane, hat, etc.), he is seen wearing a green overcoat in the clip. And in case we still weren't entirely sure, we're given reason to be later on in the trailer.
If this guy wasn't dead before, he is NOW. No chance he can breathe out of that thing
I'm not sure if Matt Reeves had complete creative control over this trailer, including music, but kudos to him if he did. If you picked up on the song choice, kudos to you as well, as we could hear Nirvana's 'Something In The Way' playing in the background. Just a fantastic song choice, in my opinion -- this is quite frankly a pretty underrated track from the band's hit 1991 album 'Nevermind' (I went through a grunge phase in high school/college and had this on a few of my playlists, don't judge me).
We then cut to the Gotham City Police Department as it investigates a murder crime scene; the sound of Jeffrey Wright's James Gordon reading one of Riddler's infamous...well...riddles is heard and we see Gotham Gazette headlines covered with ominous messages similar to the one in the first shot of the trailer. I think it's worth noting that, although Jeffrey Wright's role has been reported as 'Commissioner Gordon,' we really don't know if he's still Lieutenant or already Commissioner at this point. Gordon looks up and asks if "this means anything to you." The note is labeled 'To The Batman' in some indistinguishable penmanship. We then see Batman walk towards Gordon in the same makeshift suit that's been teased previously in set photos. It's important to remember that the events of this film are supposed to take place in year 1 or 2 of Bruce Wayne's time as Batman. Now, this footage could have been altered, but from what we see here, it does appear that the GCPD is cooperating with Batman at what seems like should be an early point in the film. As we know, his relationship with the GCPD is very much love/hate, both on-screen and in print.
We're then shown a press conference that's being held outside, with an older, bearded man with coke bottle glasses standing at the mic. I'm honestly not sure who this man is, but he has a somewhat creepy smile on his face. Both a GCPD Officer and Gordon are standing behind him, so perhaps this is either Gotham's Mayor or Commissioner Loeb? Again, I don't think we can be completely sure if Gordon is Commissioner yet, especially with this film being set so early in Batman's career. We see Bruce Wayne looking in on this presser from a distance; his Batman mask has been removed, but he has black makeup around his eyes, suggesting he's just left a crime scene (maybe the same one as before). He then puts on a bike helmet and rides his motorcycle to the Batcave (!!!), which appears to be somewhat bland, simplistic and not as high-tech as we're used to. The Batcave we see here is quite similar to that of the Nolan Batman trilogy in this sense, whereas the Burton, Schumacher, Snyder and Animated Series Batman iterations of the Batcave have been much more state-of-the-art.
Next, we hear a pretty familiar British sounding voice state to Bruce that he's "becoming quite a celebrity." We can only assume that this is coming from the one and only Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's ever devoted butler, who will be portrayed in 'The Batman' by the great Andy Serkis. Since Bruce Wayne is already an incredibly famous billionaire, it’s more than likely that Alfred's referring to Wayne's recently increased "extracurricular" activities. Spliced in with Alfred's words is a clip of regular old Bruce Wayne, no traces of the Batsuit whatsoever, saving a citizen from an out of control car going through a crowd of people before crashing. Again, we see a note from The Riddler addressed 'To The Batman,' this time taped to a man who had been strapped to the oncoming vehicle. The man is still alive, but appears to have his mouth duct taped closed. After my many re-watches, it looks like this gathering could have been a funeral or something. An angry-faced Bruce Wayne looks on. Is it just a huge coincidence that The Riddler sent a note for Batman to an event Bruce was attending, or is it possible that Riddler's on to him? Again we hear Alfred's voice question why Bruce/Batman is receiving these notes. "Why's he writing to you?"
The very next scene contains what appears to be Zoë Kravitz's Selina Kyle dropping into an unknown building by a cable and using some sort of device to attempt to crack its safe. She is the ultimate burglar, so even though Bruce is busy trying to solve Riddler's puzzles and investigate some murders, it's inevitable that they'll cross paths.
We then see Colin Farrell's Penguin standing outside in the rain and WOW -- what a makeup job they did here! They really went all out to make this man look as ugly as Oswald Cobblepot typically appears to be. Yet another fantastic casting decision by Matt Reeves and his team, by the way. This iteration of Penguin looks really interesting.
Our next shot is of Batman looking on at what appeared to me (at least at first glance) to be a 'Joker Gang.' This would be really cool if that's indeed what they are (the way their faces are painted, it honestly could be, but who knows). Joker gangs are a big part of the 'Batman Beyond' 90's cartoon, but this would be a Joker gang EARLY in Batman's career, as opposed to when he's in retirement. Still, I think that making this the way that The Joker is represented in what is said to be a new Batman trilogy, rather than giving us yet another new iteration of the character (would be the third one in five years), would be pretty awesome. Let the rest of the rogues gallery shine! I've seen some other people speculate that these are Penguin's henchmen, which would probably make more sense, but I don't know. After all, you've got to admit that the way their faces are painted do look somewhat clown-like!
We then see a series of events taking place in something of a montage; while we witness all of this different action going on, we hear a creepy voice that I can again only assume to be The Riddler asking the following: "If you are justice, please do not lie...what is the price for your blind eye?" Sounds like yet another riddle to me! The action that I referred to involves Batman getting into it with a bunch of GCPD officers in what appears to be an enclosed area, Batman getting blown backwards by an explosion of some kind and also a scene of him sparring with Catwoman (see, I told you they'd cross paths!). Batman is also forced to use one of his trademark fancy grappling hooks in order to pull himself up a long, winding series of stairs to avoid GCPD officers firing at him. As mentioned earlier, Batman's relationship with the GCPD is always love/hate and it appears that, at this stage of the movie, GCPD is in the 'hate' mode of their reluctant partnership with the masked vigilante.
Okay, now we arrive at what I think is the best shot of the entire trailer, one that just gets me SO excited for this movie. Again, we see the same gang with painted faces as we did earlier; maybe they are Penguin's guys, I don't know. I guess that would make more sense than them being a Joker gang, but we'll see. Anyway, one of them has the audacity to quip "who the hell are you supposed to be?" in Batman's direction. Big mistake, my friend! Bats proceeds to land (by my count) ten consecutive punches to this man's body, followed by another two for good measure once he had fallen to the ground, before delivering the line that makes me smile each time I've heard it: "I'm vengeance." I'm not sure whether or not this was Matt Reeves' intention, but this is a great nod to 'Batman: The Animated Series,' one of my favorite cartoons growing up.
The Batmobile then fires up to take on what appears to be Penguin in a car chase through Gotham's streets; we only get a look at the rear thruster in this trailer, but the Batmobile does look pretty cool in the set photos that were released several months back (see examples below). Penguin is clearly impressed with his pursuer, exclaiming "WHOA, this guy's crazy!" as he attempts his desperate getaway.
The latest iteration of the Batmobile looks closer to a Dodge Challenger than 'The Tumbler'
The final moments of this epic trailer see Bruce in the Batcave after having removed his iconic cowl. As he stands there, a mysterious voice tells Bruce that he's "a part of this, too." This is definitely being said at another point in the film, but it's noteworthy nonetheless. The voice sounds somewhat similar to Riddler's, although it's impossible to be sure at this time. "How am I a part of this?" replies either Bruce or Batman (again, impossible to tell which persona the Caped Crusader is using in this instance); the voice very ominously states "You’ll see." We get yet another shot at our hero, once again sans mask, with the black makeup surrounding his eyes.
So, what does this final exchange mean? As I postulated earlier, is The Riddler on to Batman/Bruce Wayne? Is his secret out this early into his career? It's possible, albeit unlikely. Again, trailer footage can definitely be altered to mislead the viewer. Nevertheless, Bats has his hands full for sure. And to think, we didn't even see the infamous mob boss Carmine Falcone in this trailer! Given the fact that only about a quarter of the film has been shot so far, it's possible that John Turturro just hasn't filmed his scenes yet. But Battinson will have him, Catwoman, Penguin and Riddler to deal with in this movie, plus any other members of the rogues gallery that might pop up. I remember reading about the potential for Scarecrow or Mad Hatter to be in this movie as well, but we won't know who else Batman has to deal with for sure until the film ultimately hits theaters (knock on wood) sometime next year.
That reminds me, actually: the very last thing we see in the clip is what appears to be the year the film will be released, 2021...although it's actually shown to be "?0?1" -- the question marks seem to be yet another nod to the fact that Riddler will be the "main" villain in this film, although there are obviously others, as we discussed. Since the focus of 'The Batman' is said to be on Batman's reputation as 'the world's greatest detective,' there's a chance that we see him doing more sneaking around than straight up beating criminals to a pulp (although as we've already seen, there will still be at least SOME punching).
Battinson would certainly fit in with a group of goth kids, that much is certain
That's all I've got, folks! As someone who thinks the Nolan trilogy is far and away the best iteration of Batman on the big screen that we've ever gotten, I'll tell you that I'm unbelievably to see Matt Reeves' upcoming interpretation. I think that, while this will be quite different from the previous trilogy, 'The Batman' could wind up being just as satisfying for hardcore fans of the character at the end of the day. Hopefully the world can calm down soon and this movie can be completed on time. Can we just fast forward to "?0?1" already?!?