What's the deal with 'The Batman'
The Batman is not far away at all, less than a month in fact, unless you're reading this in the future in which case then ignore this. Despite this, little is actually known about what the movie has in store for us so today's article is about some things confirmed and some things rumoured to be going on in Robert Pattinson's first outing as the caped crusader.
The Batman seems to be taking place in year two of Bruce Wayne's crime fighting career so it doesn't look like we're exactly getting yet another superhero origin movie. This also means that we already have established villains and supporting characters to go with it but more on them later. This also means that Gotham is already aware of him which might play a role in the movie with him possibly gaining followers (as seen below in the flood scene). If the movie is indeed set in year two then it will be the first time we've seen a Batman movie set around this time, it's always been either origin stories or stories of a very experienced Batman but this movie seems to lie somewhere in between which is very much a first.
Onto characters, I said we'd get to this part. From the trailers we know who three to four of our main villains are, we've got The Riddler, The Penguin, Carmine Falcone, and Catwoman (although I think she'll fall somewhere between villain and hero). The Riddler in this case is pretty different to his comicbook counterpart, Matt Reeves reportedly (and clearly) drew huge amounts of inspiration from the Zodiac Killer for not only the costume but also the way the character goes about his crimes so long gone are the days of whacky green three-piece suits and question mark canes. The Penguin is a character who will benefit from the year two setting, he's a pre-established mob boss who it would seem has had run ins with the Batman before the movie leading to what could be a pretty interesting dynamic between the two, he also seems a little bit more grounded than previous interpretations so no exploding penguins will be seen in this movie (which is worthy of a boycott for me). Carmine Falcone is the first non-household name on this list, Falcone is very similar to the Penguin and is an old-school gangster who in most incarnations of the character has had dealings with Martha and Thomas Wayne so it wouldn't surprise me if that's the route we're headed for here in what will probably be a more Bruce Way driven sub-plot. Catwoman is just original recipe Catwoman by the looks of things, she'll likelly be hired by a villain such as the Penguin to steal something and then she'll have a change of heart and help Batman before betraying him or something like that as is standard fare for the character so don't expect anything too revolutionary here. There are also rumours of Barry Keoghan playing the Joker but this will likely just be an end credit or end of film setup if that rumour holds any water at all.
There are also obviously good guys to focus on here, Commissioner Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth will be making appearances too. It's thought that Gordon (Jeffrey Wright is a genius casting by the way) will be a relatively newly appointed commissioner at this point but interestingly he is already working directly with Batman, hence the bat signal, although as with many Batman movies this could change by the end of the movie and by the third they'll be back working together (there's always some sort of police vs Batman conflict). Alfred is slightly younger in this one and looks to be less of a traditional posh British butler but other than that not much looks to have changed, hopefully Andy Serkis is given some room to work the character into something new a bit like Jeremy Irons did (the two do seem pretty similar from what we've seen) but aside from this I wouldn't say there will be two many radical changes to the character this time round.
The most interesting aspect of this whole film though is the director Matt Reeves. In hiring Matt Reeves Warner Bros have chosen a director who much like Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan will bring their own specific vision to the character and movie meaning that this film at the very least won't just be another cookie cutter superhero movie. The film is said to be a completely grounded and gritty take on the character (not that this is new) as evidenced by the Zodiac Killer style Riddler or the Plymouth Barracuda Batmobile (what an excellent choice for that car) both of these were results of decisions that the director himself made. It's extremely refreshing to see another superhero movie in which the director has nearly total control over, this is something that DC and Warner are pushing a bit more towards after the backlash of axing the Snyde movies, James Gunn's The Suicide Squad was a great movie simply because there was no studio interference and this is looking like another case of a film that will completely benefit from its director.
Gotham looks great too in this one, they've finally gone for a stylised comic-accurate look in the movies! Burton got close with his massively stylised take on the city but it was more of a Tim Burton city than a DC comics city, Nolan's was just Chicago, Snyder got close but we didn't see all that much of it, and the Schumacher Gotham was garish and hideous, Matt Reeves seems to finally have nailed it. The city seems largely to have been filmed in Liverpool and Glasgow which is a first so it will be great to see a brand new take on the iconic city. Gotham for me is super important to get right, Metropolis is one that could just be any city (like Chicago in the Dark Knight) but Gotham is just as important as any character, it is so iconic and has such a distinct style in the comics that it would be crazy to not fully lean into it.
The Batman is specifically set during Halloween which says to me that it will draw heavily from the 'long halloween' storyline and this got me thinking on the fact that it will likely very heavily draw on a number of iconic comic books so I've very helpfully put together a reading list of books to read before seeing the movie (and links to them). So here is the homework section of thee article:
Batman: The Long Halloween (Same setting and certain shared characters)
Batman Year One (For obvious reasons, an early career Batman)
Batman: Dark Victory (Cited as inspiration by Matt Reeves)
Batman Zero Year (maybe the most similar one to the movie with the Riddler as the villain)
Joker's Asylum: Penguin (an excellent Penguin origin story amd only £1.59 for digital copy!)
This article was more of just a basic who's who and what's what about the upcoming 'The Batman' for the uninitiated. I'll be looking to do this for more upcoming movies, games, and series (next up Moon Knight) in the future who mnows maybe I'll throw in some predictions in the next ones too. And a big thanks to Cloven Hoof member Oscar Bowskill for this article's topic. Check back on the site for more The Batman content when the movie drops in March.