The first full trailer for “The Batman” starring Robert Pattinson — which debuted on Saturday during the DC Fandome virtual fan event — reveals a film that is unmistakably the darkest and most violent cinematic outing yet for the Caped Crusader, even when compared to Christopher Nolan’s gritty “Dark Knight” trilogy. In a Gotham City saturated in rain and gloom, Pattinson’s Batman, just a year into his reign as a costumed vigilante, attacks his enemies with a visceral, unhinged brutality that past live-action Batman movies never quite reached. (As for Pattinson’s voice as Batman, it’s surprisingly low-key in the full trailer when compared to Christian Bale and Ben Affleck’s growls in the role.)
The trailer opens with the arrest of the Riddler, but although we know the role is played by Paul Dano, director Matt Reeves keeps the character’s face hidden throughout the trailer, suggesting some kind of shocking reveal. Like the teaser that debuted during last year’s DC Fandome, this trailer only hints at the underlying story of “The Batman,” but Dano’s Riddler is clearly the main antagonist driving it, as a serial killer who leaves cryptic clues with his victims and holds a special fixation on Batman.
Instead, the trailer provides a more extensive first look at two other central characters. First among them is Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, who, true to comic-book form, has a penchant for hiding in plain sight in a series of wigs and is curious about the man behind Batman’s trademark cowl. The character has been memorably played on screen by Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992’s “Batman Returns” and Anne Hathaway in 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” But “The Batman” is the first iteration in the larger Batman franchise to lead with Catwoman’s introduction, matching the character’s place in the comic books as one of the most important figures in his life.
“I don’t want her to be an idea, you know, I want her to be a real human being in a real situation in a real city trying to survive and reacting to her own pain,” Kravitz said about the character in the Fandome panel with Pattinson and Reeves.
Meanwhile, the last time the Penguin appeared in a Batman movie, he was played in “Batman Returns” by Danny DeVito as a disfigured man who nonetheless still looked recognizably like the actor. To which the filmmakers of “The Batman” said, hold my beer: because Colin Farrell is utterly unrecognizable here as Oswald “Oz” Cobblepot, aka the Penguin. Farrell has said he’s in only “five or six” scenes in the film, but he’s all over this trailer, showcasing a transformation that all but obliterates his appearance.
Otherwise, we get our first look at Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler, who, like many Alfreds before him, sings a familiar tune when it comes to his charge.
“If this continues, it won’t be long until you’ve nothing left,” Alfred tells Bruce — whose reply underlines the streak of nihilism that seems to run through this film: “I don’t care what happens to me.”
Watch the full trailer below.