Batman, The: New Trailer for Robert Pattinson Movie (Opens March 2022)

Terror Behind Robert Pattinson’s ‘The Batman’ Trailer

Filmmaker Matt Reeves has crafted a scary character.

In the new The Batman trailer, Robert Pattinson’s Dark Knight doesn’t really look human.  Instead of taking the by-now-traditional opportunity to tell panicking bystander (and the audience) “I’m Batman,” Pattinson’s new hero declares himself to be something else: “I am vengeance.”

In the trailer for Matt Reeves film: we see Pattinson’s Batman get shot repeatedly, seemingly without suffering any negative effect. We see him survive an explosion, seemingly by simply driving through it entirely unscathed; the final shot of the trailer, unveiled Saturday at DC FanDome, is Batman walking slowly towards his victim, the camera inverted — his prey is trapped in a car that’s flipped over — and, more than any other superhero movie to date, it looks like something from a horror movie.

The Batman

 

For this trailer at least, the audience is seeing Batman in the way that criminals in Gotham City do — the “superstitious, cowardly lot” that Batman’s costume was designed to strike terror into the hearts of, the ones who would see the Batsignal as “a warning,” as the opening narration points out. (“Fear is a tool,” after all.) It’s impossible to watch the trailer and not come away with the understanding that this particular Batman is meant to be scary above all else; it’s the core message being communicated throughout the whole thing, right down to the scream as he barrels along in the understated, nitro-powered Batmobile. The truth, however, might be somewhat more complicated.

The trailer shows faithful butler Alfred (Andy Serkis) and Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravitz) attempting to speak to Bruce Wayne, instead of Batman–or, in Selina’s case, the man under the mask, though she doesn’t know his identity. In both cases, Pattinson’s Batman is unmoved, even seemingly responding to Alfred, “I don’t care what happens to me” in an appropriately surly manner.

That line is one of the few times that we actually hear Pattinson in the trailer; in addition to being scary, this Batman is also unusually silent in the trailer, even compared with earlier cinematic incarnations like Christian Bale and the grunt-centric Ben Affleck. We also only glimpse Pattinson out of the mask a handful of times, and in each glimpse, he seems uncomfortable and awkward compared with how he looks in the costume. There’s an unspoken implication that Bruce Wayne is an inconvenience, or a means to an end at best, with the Batman — the mission of vengeance — being who he really is, and what he really wants to be, even when faced with Selina Kyle’s flirting.

It’s a familiar framing of the character for comic book fans, who have seen a Batman lost crusade before, and one that makes sense with what is already known about the movie — that it takes place relatively early in his career, before he’s worked out that work/life balance thing. It also suggests a potential character arc for the Pattinson era of the franchise, although perhaps not, given that movie audiences have already seen the “Bruce Wayne learns to be a person, instead of a revenge fantasy” progression in Nolan’s Dark Knight movies.

The Batman looks to be grounded and far from the excesses of both the Zack Snyder and Nolan versions of the franchise in other respects — the criminals, even the big names like the Riddler and Catwoman, feel something approaching realistic and down to Earth, at least compared with other versions audiences are familiar with. It almost feels as if the central figure has gone in the other direction; judging by this trailer, the Batman is this existentially threatening figure that exists to stalk evil without mercy, having sacrificed everything for the mission.

Watching an obsessed Batman dealing with everything from gangs of thugs  to serial killers who offer clues in the form of riddles that aren’t actually riddles might not be everyone’s idea of fun, and it might not even be the way that the finished movie approaches things. One thing is for sure, though: it certainly makes for a fun trailer.

The Batman arrives in theaters on March 4, 2022.