There was a lot given to us during the DC Fandome event about Matt Reeves’ upcoming film The Batman. I had planned on doing one piece tackling this topic, but upon getting through a solid chunk of it, I realized it was way too much for just one article. So, here we are with part II of our breakdown of Reeves’ panel on The Batman. In this part II we are going to talk about the main event of the Panel: The release of the first trailer for The Batman.
There is a lot shown in this trailer that not only backs up a lot of Reeves’ statements in the previous piece, but give added layers of the film’s style and tone. What’s crazy is that this film has shot only a quarter of its content, and if this look is any indication, we are in for one hell of a ride. To really go in depth as to what we are getting in this we need to break down the trailer into subtopics: 1. The Roles of Bruce Wayne and Batman, 2. The Rogues, and 3. Gotham: The Irredeemable.
The Roles of Bruce Wayne and Batman
We know from Reeves’ interview that this movie will take focus on the second year if you will of the Caped Crusader. We also know that Batman is still very much in this experimental phase where he’s not really having the effect he’s wanting to have. While we definitely see this, there is a portion that Reeves hinted at in his panel that really gets put on display here. Reeves hinted that in previous films, Batman is when we see Bruce at his best, but that in this film we would see Batman as flawed and he’s not the icon we know him to be, and from the trailer we can piece together what exactly that flaw is: Bruce Wayne only sees the use of Batman, and does not use Bruce Wayne.
In this trailer, what we see of Bruce is very different than what we’ve seen in the past. Where Bruce Wayne is usually this public distraction in the books, it’s very clear that this is not the concern of THIS Batman. To Reeves’ Batman, Bruce Wayne was worthless in the alley as a boy. Bruce sees the disease of Gotham as crime, and his hypothesis is that Batman is the cure. So every moment he can spend as Batman is utilized to be Batman. We see scenes of him in the trailer being out in the daylight, continuing to wear the eye make up as a way to reenforce this notion. The mindset of this Batman is that Bruce is useless, that the way he will cure this disease is by dedicating himself wholely to this crusade, that even during the daytime he is ready to immediately down the cowl and do what he needs to. He obscures his profile and masks his face so he won’t be recognized, but really the only reason Bruce goes out in the day is to further what he’s doing at night and gather intelligence, and this is intentional. However, Bruce Wayne must come to terms with how that side of himself is just as integral to Batman, and so we can now segue into the Batman side of the film.
Batman is seen for the first time in the trailer walking into a crime scen of a murder caused by the Riddler, as Jim Gordon reads out this card that’s clearly targetted for Batman. He’s a consultant to the GCPD and is exercising his role as the Detective. This is the core trait that has been consistent with Batman since the beggining as “The World’s Greatest Detective.” It’s so defining that DC took their name from Batman’s original book: Detective Comics. I want to take a moment to mention that because this is really the first time this element of his character has played as the focus to a plot before. However, there is another piece of Batman we see in that he’s not the cure he needs to be, and Paul Dano’s Ridler even closes out the trailer by implicating Batman as PART of the problem. What I believe we are going to see from this is that the character journey of Batman is that just beating criminals and bringing them the fear won’t solve the problems alone. There are issues that have to be faced with the influence he has as Bruce Wayne, systemic issues like deep corruption in Gotham that can’t be stopped by just beating on the criminal element. This is a journey of how Batman realizes the utility of Bruce Wayne, and I think that’s fantastic.
Rise of Rogues
The other side of the trailer we get to see is the Rise of Gotham’s Rogues. Batman’s flaws have allowed for a new manners of criminals to be born. We see the likes of Penguin and Catwoman who are in their early stages and have yet to fully embrace their roles within Batman’s story the way they are known to be, however, its Paul Dano’s Riddler that we see really coming to light as a result of Gotham’s corruption, and it would appear that Batman is no small part to this equation.
Riddler appears to consider himself an “ally” to the Batman as the victim of the first murder has a Hallmark style greeting card that’s not only directed to Batman, but is signed by “You’re Secret Friend.” Riddler’s entire plot in this film appears to be to open Batman’s eyes to the truth of Gotham, it’s decaying state that Batman is a part of. “
You’re A Part of This Too!… You’ll SeeThe Batman (2021)
Gotham: The Irredeemable
Now Riddler seems to be the extension of the director that is pushin Bruce down this direction to realize the extent of how corrupt Gotham is. The Youtube channel: Film Theory actually has some ideas of how this journey will be used in the film by showcasing the film’s feel very clearly being inspired by movies like Se7en and Zodiac (If you want to watch this full video, click the linke here). In this video, Film Theory claims that, similar to those films, this will be a film where Batman “loses” and is forced to break the morals that he has upheld throughout the film, and he theorizes that the fight scene from the trailer that has gone viral is Batman breaking his rule as a result of the Riddlers machinations. However, while I do believe that Film Theory is partially right, I think his overall conclusion is wrong.
The Riddler’s mission in this film is to showcase to Batman how Gotham is effectively IRREDEEMABLE. It’s a den of corruption and despite Batman trying to stave off it’s corruption, it’s a disease that has its routes in the very foundation of the city. This dynamic is very similar to the movie Se7en as the killer John Doe is actively leaving clues around for the detectives to try and solve before the next victim is added to the list. However, this is a superhero film, and Matt Reeves KNOWS this. Reeves has stated that this is a flawed Batman yes, but this is a starting point down his path to truly embrace the icon of hope for the city that we know him as in the audience. So while the Riddler’s role in the film will be to expose just how deep this corruption goes and pose the idea that Gotham is irredeemable, I feel that the film’s point will be that Batman, by accepting the role he can provide as Bruce Wayne, CAN save this city. The climax of this film that will set up this entire trilogy will be Batman REJECTING this concept of The Irredeemable Gotham, and thus bringing a conclusion to the hypothesis of the Batman experiment and starting the full on crusade that will lead him down the path of true heroism.
Well this concludes part 2 of my breakdown of the panel for The Batman, I am personally excited for this film. I do want to be clear that in regards to this piece in particular, these are inferences I have made based off what has been showcased in the trailer itself, and what Matt Reeves said in his panel. I could be 100 percent wrong about all of this, but on the other hand-. Anyways, let me know your thoughts! What do you think we have in store in Matt Reeves The Batman?
‘The Batman’ is slated to release in October of 2021 (assuming this pandemic doesn’t cause any more issues with production).