Breaking Down The Batman Trailer’s Secretive Shadows

Breaking Down The Batman Trailer’s Secretive Shadows
The sun rises on a new Dark Knight. (Gif: Warner Bros.)

Our latest look at Warner Bros. and DC’s The Batman is here, and it re-introduces us to Robert Pattinson’s angry young vigilante, as well as shining a spotlight on a few more faces barely glimpsed in the original trailer from last year. But what other details can we uncover? Let’s take a closer look.

Screenshot: Warner Bros.

The trailer opens with Gotham City PD engaging in a rain-soaked raid on a diner. Seems a bit much, but they are cops and they are in Gotham City, so what else should you expect?

Gif: Warner Bros.

Especially when it’s revealed just who it is they (and Jeffrey Wright’s Jim Gordon, also briefly seen here) are after in the diner. If you’ve been following Batman casting news then you’ll recognise this as our first unmasked glimpse at Paul Dano, who is playing DC Comics’ villain the Riddler in the film. For much of this trailer and the previous one, his face was hidden behind a taped-up mask, and his willingness to go along with the police seems to suggest that the Riddler at least factored getting arrested into his mind games.

Screenshot: Warner Bros.

If you didn’t recognise Dano however, the trailer much less subtly beats you over the head with the information that this is The Bad Guy by a quite immaculately presented question mark-stamped foam on his cup of coffee. Kudos to either the diner staff the Riddler instructed to do that with, or to Eddie Nigma himself. It’s a little silly, but given the tone of what we’ve seen of The Batman so far, embracing a little of that comic book camp strikes a nice balance.

Gif: Warner Bros.

Gordon lights up the Bat-Signal, shining Bruce’s chosen icon into the (still-rain-soaked) Gotham skyline. “Fear is a tool,” Pattinson’s Bruce narrates. “When that light hits the sky, it’s not just a call. It’s a warning,” he threatens. All pretty standard Batman material, to be sure, but the way this young iteration of the character re-emphasises what a threat he is to the people he’s going after is seemingly a big part of the latest Bruce Wayne, who, it cannot be stated enough, is really, really quite mad at the state of the world he finds himself in. Dead parents’ll do that to you.

Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Speaking of Batman, it’s cut here to make it seem like Bruce has just been… moping about waiting for the Bat-signal to come in. The first trailer for the film established pretty clearly that this Batman has been working with Gordon and the GCPD at least long enough that people aren’t surprised when a dude dressed in Bat-themed armour shows up at a crime scene. Considering that crime scene in the first trailer saw Riddler leave a puzzle explicitly for Batman, all this seems to tie into the villain getting himself “caught” as a way to get some alone time with the Dark Knight.

Gif: Warner Bros.

Batman’s threat concludes as we see an expanded version of the brutal fight scene between him and a gang of clown-paint-wearing thugs, an obvious hint at the long shadow of the Joker. Who probably isn’t in this movie, considering the focus we get on the Riddler and the Penguin later on, but, Batman movies do like to remind you that the Clown Prince of Crime is always lurking in the distance. Also established here, briefly, is that Bruce’s snazzy suit can definitely take a few gunshots. Gee, once again, I wonder why.

Gif: Warner Bros.

Once again, Riddler’s unmasked face is cleverly obscured from us as a GCPD interview room raises a blind to let Batman come face to face with the criminal. “I’ve been trying to reach you,” Riddler whispers, as Bruce explodes, smashing the window and screaming “What have you done!?” at him. Presumably, whenever this occurs in the film Batman and Riddler have been chasing each other for a bit, but still, the former’s inability to control his emotions is something constantly reinforced throughout this trailer.

Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Speaking of explosions, here’s our first of many, as a building somewhere in Gotham gets engulfed in flame. “This is a powder keg, and Riddler’s the match,” Batman warns.

Gif: Warner Bros.

We cut to Bruce himself for the first time out of the Batsuit in this trailer, outside of what appears to be the funeral for Don Mitchell Jr., Gotham’s mayor, whose murder scene we saw Batman visit with Jim Gordon in the first trailer. Riddler’s involvement with the killing suggests that the political upheaval of Gotham is going to be an important undercurrent in the movie, given the connections there to a character we know basically nothing about in the movie yet: Bella Reál, being played by Jayme Lawson, who is “a grassroots political candidate running for office in Gotham” according to Gizmodo’s previous sourcing. Bruce looks over as a knee-high-booted foot slinks out of a car. Set pictures from these scenes revealed that this is, of course, Zoë Kravitz’ Selina Kyle

Gif: Warner Bros.

We cut to a brief sequence of Batman and Catwoman getting close to each other on a sunlit rooftop. “I can take care of myself,” Selina purrs as she strokes Batman’s chest.

Gif: Warner Bros.

Ample evidence of which we get in a brief montage of Selina doing all her Catwoman things: beating up dudes, riding motorcycles, disguising herself with a wig or two. And we’ll get more of that later in the trailer.

Gif: Warner Bros.

“If this continues, it won’t be long before you have nothing left” warns Andy Serkis’ Alfred Pennyworth, as we cut across a trio of interesting shots: Colin Farrell’s Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penguin, looking out across the Gotham sunrise, Alfred himself in our first actual look at the character, and Bruce, clad in shades, as he reads a newspaper, which you can just about make out has a headline about Mayor Mitchell’s death.

Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Speaking of, Bruce eschews a more typical whiteboard or notepad to just hang out shirtless and write his own detective mind map in spray paint. The five spokes here are interesting: three are murders, it would seem, as one of them is Mayor Mitchell’s name, joining Colson (Peter Saarsgard’s character, a District Attorney) and Savage (presumably no relation to DC Comics villain, Vandal Savage, who is infamously rather hard to kill). “Renewal is a lie” is interesting, and presumably relates to Mayor Mitchell’s re-election campaign, considering newspaper reports were painted with the word “Lies” by the Riddler at the mayor’s murder scene. But perhaps most interesting of all is the final spoke “The Sins of my Father.” Given Thomas Wayne’s presence in the Gotham social elite before his death, connecting him into a political corruption scandal would be rather interesting — and far from the first time a version of the Bat-mythos has tried to take the death of the Waynes and turn into something more than just a random mugging gone wrong.

Gif: Warner Bros.

“I don’t care what happens to me,” Bruce says, presumably to Alfred — note he’s still got his Batman makeup on, here, but isn’t actually in the suit. Perhaps a flashback to his early days of trying to become a vigilante, or something else?

Gif: Warner Bros.

“It’s only going to get worse for you,” Selina tells Batman, before, well, it immediately does. We hard cut to Batman leaping into a massive brawl with thugs in some sort of facility — presumably, the Penguin’s thugs, as we see Bruce go to menace the criminal before he tells him to take it easy.

Gif: Warner Bros.

“You’re everything they say, ain’t you,” Penguin continues, as we cut to Selina loading a gun on her bike, and a separate shot of her in a pink wig striding through a darkly lit party. We also see Batman fighting during said party, so maybe the facility is less industrial as it seemed a few moments ago but is just a club: more specifically, Penguin’s iconic hideout from the comics, the Iceberg Lounge.

Gif: Warner Bros.

“Maybe we’re not so different… who are you under there?” Selina says, as we’re back on the sunlit rooftop we saw Catwoman and Batman on earlier — a conversation seemingly interrupted, as we also briefly see Catwoman leap off the rooftop as Batman brawls with someone.

Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Batman, regardless of incarnation, really doesn’t like guns. Really, really doesn’t like them.

Gif: Warner Bros.

After a repeat of his vengeance line from the first trailer and a few shots of the new Batmobile roaring into action, we get an interesting shot of multiple Gotham cops trying to apprehend someone as they leap from a very tall building in a gliding suit. Odds are that this could be Batman, and not just because it’s the kind of thing he typically does. In the first trailer, we did see Batman scuffle with the police in their offices (presumably after the Riddler interrogation we saw earlier), and escape from them by ziplining up a precariously high spiral staircase. This could, possibly, be the top of a suitably very large and very gothic GCPD building, couldn’t it?

Gif: Warner Bros.

Smash cut to a massive emergency services presence outside the building Mayor Mitchell’s funeral was taking place in, this time at night. We get a shot of Batman, caked in dirt, that’s meant to look like he’s looking up at the helicopter we just saw scanning the scene, but it’s hard to say if that’s just the trailer or actually in the film itself.

Gif: Warner Bros.

“What’s black and blue, and dead all over?” The Riddler teases, as we cut through a few more shots: a crowd watching a message from the Riddler (simply described as a serial killer) on the local news, Selina watching in horror as Batman wails on someone, and Jim Gordon holding his gun up at Mitchell’s funeral — presumably at the bomb-strapped driver we saw smash into said funeral in the first trailer.

Gif: Warner Bros.

A few more scant shots: Batman leading what appears to be a crowd of GCPD officers into a waterlogged area with a flare, another less-than-cryptic message from The Riddler (“I’ll see you in hell”), Batman being blasted back during the bomb threat at Mayor Mitchell’s funeral, and both Alfred and Selina looking horrified at something. Presumably, Bruce related, because that’s what he’s best at, making people who care about him worried all the time.

Gif: Warner Bros.

The trailer concludes with an extended look at the car chase between the Penguin and the Batmobile we got a glimpse of in the first trailer. Penguin thinks he’s blown the Batmobile up, only to be immediately proven wrong when it comes slamming out of fire and smoke and into the back of his car, upending it…

Gif: Warner Bros.

… leaving us with a very cool shot of a very angry Batman descending on his prey.

While our latest look at The Batman gave us plenty of fire and fury, from all the explosions to a frisson of Bat-Cat energy from our lead heroes, it’s mostly an iterative look of what to expect from Matt Reeves’ spin in Gotham City after last year’s DC Fandome reveal, rather than something with a whole lot of newness to it. We get to see more of what we knew was coming: Paul Dano’s mysterious Riddler, Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman getting close to Pattinson’s rage-filled Batman, and more heavily make-up-clad Colin Farrell than anyone would know what to do with. But it at least reinforces the tone and idea that Warner Bros. is going with in this latest cinematic Batman: dark, youthful, and tortured in just enough of a way that hopefully, it will let the Dark Knight stand out from his cinematic predecessors lurking in the shadows.

The Batman is set to hit theatres in Australia on March 3, 2022.

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