For a fictional city, and one that has rarely appeared the same way twice, audiences just know Gotham City at this point. Massive foreboding skyscrapers, near-constant rain, and darkness on all sides. We understand the city because we understand why Batman has to stalk it. But I don’t think we’ve ever quite seen it the way it is in the first full trailer for Matt Reeves’ The Batman. We saw a first look over a year ago at the first DC FanDome event, and now, only a few months before release, we have a much better idea of what Robert Pattinson’s Dark Knight will be up against. And it’s, uh, pretty dark.
What immediately stands out in the trailer is the use of orange as the sole major color amid the blackness that usually signifies Gotham City. Several gorgeous shots take place at dusk, bathing the city in amber, but even the streetlamps and interior lighting give off the same hue. While we have some reds and blues, it’s this pale gold that really took me by surprise. Oh, it’s also the color of fire, of which there is a lot.
We see Pattinson’s Batman go toe-to-toe with the thugs and ruffians of the city, many in face paint reminiscent of the Clown Prince of Crime. Hmm. Colin Farrell’s Penguin, who looks a bit like a gangster out of 1990’s Dick Tracy, shows up quite a lot, with a very New Yorky accent I wasn’t expecting. We get a great look at Zoe Kravitz as Selena Kyle/Catwoman. And we also see a bit more of the Batmobile, or should I say, the Mad Max car with fins on it. Not my fave version of the car, I have to admit.
On the theme of golden, warm light amid the chilly cold of rainy Gotham City, we also have the Bat Signal. Literally the beacon that could, perhaps, warm up the horrible, unwelcoming burg. Batman says “when that light hits the sky, it’s not just a call. It’s a warning.” The criminals need to watch out, because not only does this version of Batman seem plenty ready to beat/maim/kill(?), but he’s also pretty much bulletproof. One striking sequence in the trailer is a hallway fight, illuminated only by machine gun fire. And Batman doesn’t stop even a little bit for it.
One color we don’t see very much of in The Batman trailer is green. The Riddler (Paul Dano)’s presence is everywhere, but DC and Warner Bros. are holding back a bit from showing him to us. We see him from behind in the trailer’s opening; GCPD arrest Edward Nygma in a diner where he’s left a question mark in a cup of coffee. (The saucer also has a green trim, which is a cool touch.) Batman says “This is a powder keg, and Riddler’s the match,” and later Batman has a confrontation with him behind prison glass, though we don’t see the Riddler there.
One final interesting thing to note is after Andy Serkis’ Alfred Pennyworth warns Bruce Wayne if this continues he’ll have nothing left, we see an overhead shot. A shirtless Bruce stands in the middle of a floor on which we see spray painted “The Sins of my Father” and a question mark with prongs saying the following: “No more lies. Colson”; “Savage”; “Mitchell”; and “Renewal is a lie.” If we look at the cast list, we get a few answers. Colson refers to District Attorney Gil Colson (Peter Sarsgaard). Mitchell is Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. (Rupert Penry-Jones). And Savage refers to this universe’s Gotham Police Commissioner Pete Savage (Alex Ferns). Clearly the Riddler has an agenda.
We have a lot to mull over here in The Batman but we won’t have too-too long to wait. The movie will hit theaters March 4, 2022.