The teaser trailer for Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” dropped on Aug. 22, revealing the long-awaited first look at Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne. In the two weeks since then, the video has racked up over 21 million views on YouTube and garnered excitement from fans.
Reeves’s iteration of Batman is removed from the other DCEU films, as confirmed at DC’s FanDome. “Warner Bros. today confirmed Matt Reeves’ superhero reboot film The Batman will be in a separate universe from the rest of the DC Comics superhero franchises that currently exist,” Mark Hughes wrote in Forbes.
This opens the door for an immersive Batman-centered universe without the complications of the rest of the Justice League, much like Christopher Nolan’s earlier “Batman” trilogy.
In “The Batman,” Pattinson’s hero will face off against myriad villains, like Colin Farrell’s the Penguin, Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman and Paul Dano’s the Riddler. The Penguin and Catwoman are in the trailer, but the Riddler is only hinted at through shots of riddles left at murder scenes.
Reeves leans into the film noir aesthetic in the trailer, with a black and red color scheme and gritty scenes of Gotham City’s corrupt underbelly. Reeves also presents the Batman as not only a dangerous vigilante, but as a detective working a case alongside the police.
While the trailer includes a typical Batman scene, with Pattinson violently beating criminals in an alley before saying “I am vengeance,” he also unravels clues left addressed to him, likely by the Riddler.
Some comic fans have expressed apprehension at Pattinson’s casting. Many only associate him with his role as Edward Cullen in the “Twilight” franchise. However, this ignores Pattinson’s development as an actor. Yes, he was Edward from “Twilight.” But in the years since, he has worked on a variety of more artistic projects and received praise for his visceral performances. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some examples.
Pattinson starred in the Safdies’ “Good Time” in 2017. The movie earned a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and he received rave reviews for his acting. “A career-peak performance from Robert Pattinson,” wrote Guy Lodge from Variety. “As a scuzzy Queens bank robber on a grimly spiraling mission to break his mentally handicapped brother out of jail, will attract more eyeballs to this A24 release than the rest of the Safdies’ oeuvre combined.”
Pattinson appeared in Claire Denis’ English debut, “High Life,” in 2018, and last year, he starred alongside Willem Defoe in Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse.” For the latter film, Allison Wilmore wrote in Vulture, “But it’s Pattinson, playing the straight man, who sells the slow deterioration of the pair’s mental state.”
Most recently, he appeared alongside John David Washington in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi action film, “Tenet.” Deadline’s Anna Smith noted how the two actors “could both compete to play rather different James Bonds.”
Pattinson clearly has the acting chops to play Bruce Wayne in “The Batman.” Smith even argues that Pattinson could play James Bond, certainly a high honor for any actor. If he could be Bond, surely he can be the Batman.
He has franchise experience from “Twilight” and “Harry Potter,” along with artistic experience from films that would push any actor. “The Lighthouse” was an insane and grueling film, and if he can do that he can do anything.
On an aesthetic note, Pattinson looks amazing in the trailer. As Bruce Wayne, he looks somewhat put together in a three-piece suit, with hair just long enough to provide the unkempt, effortless sex appeal of the brooding playboy billionaire orphan. As the Batman, he’s first seen approaching a crime scene in tactical boots, with the signature black cape brushing against his calves.
The camera pans around the crime scene before it follows the gaze of Jeffrey Wright’s Jim Gordon to the Batman. Reeves executes the Batsuit perfectly. It’s tactical enough to withstand attack, with seemingly Kevlar panels, but it’s also gorgeous. The Batman emblem looks like it’s made from pieces of fractured metal, once again adhering to the noir atmosphere. The mask frames Pattinson’s jawline perfectly.
Another brief scene in the trailer shows a close-up shot of Pattinson’s bloodshot eyes lined messily with eyeliner and a cowl covering his mouth. That’s Batman — a man who hasn’t slept in years, eyeliner smudged after another night of fighting crime and his dark hair is caked with sweat, dirt and dried blood. That’s the Batman I want to see onscreen.
The trailer ends with a frenzy of scenes depicting Pattinson in action. He gets shot in the chest at point-blank range, he pulls himself up on a grappling hook as bullets fly around him and he pursues the Penguin in a frantic car chase through the streets of Gotham. It’s clear that Pattinson can portray both the softness and pain of Bruce Wayne and the brutal strength and courage of the Batman.
I think this film has the potential to be the best live-action “Batman” movie yet. Its standalone nature offers the opportunity for an onscreen Robin, whether it be Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake or Damien Wayne. The gloom of the trailer also adheres to the ambiance of the darker comics, which should please fans.
It’s also refreshing to see the Batman not only as a vigilante who fights with his fists, but also as a detective who uses his intellect to mitigate crime. Mark my words, Pattinson will undoubtedly flourish as Bruce Wayne and prove the “Twilight” haters wrong.