Robert Pattinson’s ‘The Batman’ Promises a Sad and Sexy Evolution of the Caped Crusader

·7 min read

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Even though news of his casting received some backlash at first, it looks like Robert Pattinson's going to make a hell of a Batman. After months without any significant news about the upcoming film, which plans to leave behind Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne in favor of a younger hero focused more on detective work, this weekend finally proved revelatory. At Saturday's DC FanDome, fans saw a new trailer for the movie, which gave us glimpses of rouges such as the Penguin, Catwoman, and the Riddler.

Before we get to that—one tidbit of fun news that you might enjoy. At DC FanDome's panel for The Batman, Pattinson revealed that he auditioned for the role in Val Kilmer's old Batsuit. (Kilmer starred as Bruce Wayne in 1995's Batman Forever, in a suit that notably looked fairly—read: very—cramped.) Here's how Pattinson remembered the audition:

"It was crazy, but I remember putting it on and thinking 'this is impossible, this is gonna be absolutely impossible.' I remember you (Reeves) saying like, because I guess just trying to move, I mean wearing a kind of 2-inch thick rubber suit, a latex suit and being incredibly nervous and full of adrenaline the whole time. I remember we did like 2 takes and you were just saying 'What can we do about the sweat?', and I was like 'Nothing! There's nothing that could be done!'. I had to like be drained of liquid!"

When we finally see The Batman, though, after years of beat-em-up, bruiser versions of the hero, it'll be refreshing to see Reeves's sleeker, paired-down portrayal of the DC Comics legend.

Here's everything we know so far about the new Batman trilogy, including its cast and plot rumors, and even looks at the Cape Crusader's new suit, motorcycle, and Batmobile.

Is there a trailer?

The new trailer for The Batman debuted in October, paying off on all the darkness that was teased over the past couple of years. The preview focuses on the battle between Pattinson's Batman, and well, all of Arkham City. (Also: Pattinson's Batman voice? Not bad!) It also highlights his beef with The Riddler, which looks like a letter-swapping back and forth that rings as creepily as you'd expect. We also get new looks at Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, and even a beefy Colin Ferrell as the Penguin. Oh, and Pattinson pummels a bunch of goons. Never gets old.

Before the full trailer, there were a lot of teases from set photos and Reeves himself. Well over a year ago, the director first shared a first glimpse of what Pattinson will look like in the upcoming role. The dark and mysterious teaser clip featured Pattinson in his new Batsuit, featuring a new Batman symbol along with part of Pattinson's cowl. In short, the clip was equal parts dark, sad, and sexy, which is pretty on brand for Pattinson (and Batman).

Photo credit: Screenshot
Photo credit: Screenshot

Reeves, at that time, also confirmed that the film's cinematographer is Greig Fraser, who shot the clip, while the music played during the footage is from the film's composer, Michael Giacchino (of Lost and Pixar fame).

Also last year, we also got our first look at Pattinson's Batcycle, as photos emerged from the set of the movie in Glasgow, Scotland. Though Pattinson isn't in the photos, a man who appears to be his stunt double is seen mounting Batman's two-wheeled whip. The photos also gave us a closer look at the Batsuit, which looks armored as hell. It's hard to tell what scene was being filmed, but if the woman in the second photo isn't a member of the crew, her position on a motorcycle might imply there's a chase to be seen.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:
Photo credit:
Photo credit:

In early March 2020, we got our first look at a different, much more well-known mode of transportation for the Caped Crusader: The Batmobile. And these pictures are the real deal, not from some paparazzo—director Matt Reeves posted three different looks at Batman's famous whip to his Twitter account.

Finally, it looks like we've gotten away from the looks of Christian Bale and Ben Affleck's Batmobiles, which were closer to armored tanks than cars. Pattinson's ride, surprisingly, looks like a souped up version of Adam West's whip—if you put the top on the convertible, and built a mean-looking engine into it.

Where will it fall on the Adam West to Christopher Nolan grit scale?

Medium gritty? Back when we heard about the Affleck departure, Reeves told The Hollywood Reporter what his gameplan was looking like. "It's very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale," he said. "It's told very squarely on his shoulders, and I hope it's going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional. It’s more Batman in his detective mode that we’ve seen in the films."

It’s a relief that we’re getting a detective noir take on the hero, considering Zack Snyder’s Batman (Reeves’s trilogy has no connection to that corner of the DCEU, by the way) had Bruce Wayne in a Hurt Locker suit beating on those weird desert dragons.

Pattinson seems on board with the more-brains-than-brawn take, too. "He’s a complicated character… His morality is a little bit off,” Pattinson told The New York Times of Bruce Wayne. “He's not the golden boy, unlike almost every other comic-book character. There is a simplicity to his worldview, but where it sits is strange, which allows you to have more scope with the character."

He also told the Times, “Batman’s not a hero… He’s a complicated character. I don’t think I could ever play a real hero—there’s always got to be something a little bit wrong. I think it’s because one of my eyes is smaller than the other one.”

Farrell described Reeves' script as "beautiful, dark, moving," and "really gorgeous," while Sarsgaard compared the film's tone to that of the alt-rock band The Pixies, saying that the film will be "raw" and "not sanitized." Pattinson, meanwhile, promises a Batman "just as crazy and perverse" as the characters he's become known for playing in indie films.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Any chance of Battinson meeting up with Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker?

If you’re going by Joker director Todd Phillips’s word, then probably not. When the Los Angeles Times asked him if Joaquin’s Joker would square off against any version of Batman, he said, “We would never do that. No, no.”

And when presented the theory that Arthur Fleck inspired the version of the Joker who would go on to fight Batman, Phillips left things a little more open-ended. “Maybe Joaquin’s character inspired the Joker,” he said. “You don’t really know. His last line in the movie is. ‘You wouldn’t get it.’ There’s a lot going on in there that’s interesting.”

Hey, crazier things have happened in the name of money. So we’ll see.

When will it be released?

Like every recent film, production here has not been spared COVID-19-related delays. It disbanded the first time due to the arrival of the pandemic, and just days after production resumed, Warner Bros. announced that The Batman had once again halted production because a crew member had tested positive for COVID-19. “A member of ‘The Batman’ production has tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating in accordance with established protocols,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement. “Filming is temporarily paused.”

Shortly after that announcement, Vanity Fair reported that Pattinson was the individual who tested positive for the virus. Warner Bros. did not confirm these reports. The day after that news, The Daily Mail broke the story that The Batman began production once again, without Robert Pattinson, trying to get as much non-Pattinson scenes shot as possible while the star quarantines at home.

The film is currently slated to hit theaters on March 4, 2022.

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