There are only so many stories that Batman fits into, right? Actually, with its art deco, industrial setting, there are any number of social ills and political spills to feed an endless line of narratives. From Depression-era roots to current hollowed-out industrial cores, the scene remains the same for any number of stubbled actors looking to play the brooding Bat. And with only a couple of noted stumbles, Warner Bros.’ Batman franchise holds up a high standard. The studio will look again look to the Dark Knight with the latest entry, The Batman.
On December 27, Warner Brothers/DC Comics released The Bat and The Cat, The Batman’s latest trailer (number three if you’re counting), only adding more rocket fuel to smoldering expectations. With Robert Pattinson in the fold as the stoic Bruce Wayne and Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle, Batman’s complicated relations with Catwoman only get more frisky.
“You got a lotta’ cats.”
“I have a thing about strays.”
The Bat and the Cat preview promises movie-to-movie character development. This version of Catwoman, for example, is just as demanding as her purring pride for women, but she stands as a civic guardian much more than previous revenge-fueled kitties.
Then there is, of course, the Ash Thorp-shaped Dodge Charger Batmobile. There’ll be plenty of explosions and bat tool-aided escapes with the armored supercar patrolling Gotham’s streets on fat tires accelerated bya jet-engine. Endless Bat tools, both new and old, only intensify the question of whether the Bat can hunt down the Riddler (played by Paul Dano), an elusive villain that’s still only teased in previews.
“I’m just here to unmask the truth about this cesspool we call a city,” a very-much masked Dano says as The Riddler.
This mush-faced version of the Riddler wants to pull the wool from the collective’s eyes yet even he can’t show his face. It’s one of many flashing contradictions populating this packed two-and-a-half-minute preview. In a rasp that creepily apes Batman’s, Dano’s voice unveils another silken line that intertwines Bruce Wayne’s upright aims with that of a violent crusader. This Riddler is a mirror upon which the vigilante hero is reflected.
Guess what the green question mark also reveals in the preview? He knows Batman’s everyday identity as Gotham’s bachelor billionaire Bruce Wayne. And he’s got plenty of queries voiced from bound hostages. The villain’s main question keeps to an emerging theme: How the city’s corrupt privileged will pay for their crimes.
Whether hero or supervillain, it looks like all characters are driven by an encompassing demand for equity. That’s why the Bat is going to be fighting astride instead of against the Cat in this version of The Batman, an unexpected note that fits like nails tearing fabric.
The Batman is set to arrive exclusively in theaters on March 4, 2022 — just one major tentpole in DC’s line of big top releases set for the new year. This includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s debut as Black Adam and Jason Momoa’s dark return as Aquaman in The Lost Kingdom.
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