Just when I think I’m done, they keep pulling me back.
I said this after the teaser and it bears repeating. I’M HYPED FOR THIS MOVIE.
Stupidly hyped. Like, it’s unhealthy now. The Batman is set to come out the same week as my 30th birthday, so my transcendence is set.
If the teaser left us drooling for peeks at Paul Dano’s Riddler, then this main trailer… well, kept us salivating. But the Riddler’s elaborate game for the Batman is coming better into view. I’m loving the vibes and how much it pisses off Robert Pattinson’s already pissed-off Batman. Most of all, I’m digging how The Batman appears to be doing for the Riddler what The Dark Knight did for the Joker.
Also, I find it funny how the trailers are teasing out the look of Paul Dano as Edward Nygma when I feel like he’s just gonna look like… how Paul Dano usually does.
I mean this in the best way. Mr. Dano is a very creepy looking guy. He looks as innocent as a child. (He also looks very weaselly, with a face you just wanna punch—again I mean this in the best way.) Which is why his casting is as brilliant as it is deliciously upsetting. The purveyor of such ghastly crimes in this spiraling sinister game looks like a traumatized youth who needed saving at one point. It’s what Paul Dano does best; his role in Prisoners is practically an audition reel.
It’s yet another reason why I dig that this is a “year two” Batman. Batman and Riddler both look significantly younger than all the cops and criminals around them. Just two repressed youths duking it out on Gotham’s center stage.
We also get better teases at an unrecognizable Colin Farrell as the Penguin. I know it’s Colin Farrell, I accept that. But my brain has trouble processing it a little. Even his voice is SO steeped into Gotham-inspired villainy that I’m still doing a double take.
It’s fascinating to me how all the villains in the Batman movies are getting second lives with each new reboot: The Joker, Two Face, Bane, now Penguin. Fans keep lobbying for Killer Croc or Hugo Strange, but at the moment I’m fascinated by the villain repeats. An obvious way to cash in on previous installments leading to “revisits” and reappraisal pieces of the Joel Schumacher films (and by god, I will write a couple of them—including Batman & Robin) as well as first-time watches for those who never saw the Tim Burton movies. Warner Bros. is obviously readying up a whole Batman category on HBO Max.
But I’m forgetting the best part of the trailer: Zoe Kravitz. Half of the new trailer is just flexing how hot Zoe Kravitz is and I ain’t mad about.
It’s borderline sacrilegious to bring up Michelle Pfeiffer’s iconic performance as Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Nothing will ever top that, let’s just get that outta the way. Because I’m excited for Kravitz’s Catwoman and I don’t wanna get caught up in discussions of “Who’s the best one?” I firmly believe you can enjoy things without having to rank them (or contend with legacy), and I say this as someone who often ranks things on this blog.
Now, some might groan at yet another attempt at “grounding” the Caped Crusader, but I’ll say this. Nolan’s “real world” take on Batman involved Bruce Wayne joining and learning from an army of ninjas, driving in a freakin’ super tank, AND stopping a microwave emitter from vaporizing Gotham’s fear-poisoned water supply—atop a train that literally goes off the rails. And this is just Batman Begins by the way.
It’s not the world that’s grounded; the world is just as theatrical and fantastical as any superhero movie. It’s the perspective that’s grounded. So there’s no reason why a filmmaker like Matt Reeves can’t do his version on the matter. (Sidenote: I love the gold tinge of Gotham here, whereas Nolan’s movies where heavily doused in shades of blue.)
Perhaps one day the franchise will return to the non-serious, campy delights that made earlier incarnations such an escapist good time. For now, gimme a Batman working on his childhood trauma by beating Gotham’s goons to a pulp. Gimme a Batman whose rage can only be tamed by grunge or emo playlists. Gimme a Bruce Wayne who loves spray-painting his eyes black and never ever smiles.
We have until March of next year, but in my book Matt Reeves and crew have already done the impossible. They made me excited for another Batman movie after 5 iterations of the character in my lifetime.
I don’t care how anymore. Just give me this fucking movie already. It’ll be my birthday.