If you are a DC fan, you would have been eagerly anticipating the release of The Batman, a reboot of the original franchise. But even if you haven’t been following the caped crusader’s journey, this movie promises high returns.
We’ll let the trailer speak for itself:
Set to reach cinemas very soon (like…tomorrow, 3 March 2022?), here are 10 facts about DC’s latest release with no spoilers ahead, we promise.
While Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy set the benchmark high, critics say The Batman does not fall short of its predecessor.
To completely reboot a long-running franchise and do it well is not an easy task, but Matt Reeves totally nails it with his latest work.
The three-hour film brings the titular character back into the midst of Gotham City, except it isn’t quite the place we remember (more on that later).
So buckle up, because you are about to see some massive changes.
Starring Robert Pattinson
Many have donned the iconic bat mask and black cape, but the latest to do so is Robert Pattinson. The British actor’s turn as a grimy bank robber in the 2017 thriller Good Time influenced Reeve to cast him as he “just thought it should be Rob”.
On his role, Pattinson said, “There’s definitely a part of me which thought I wanted to do a big movie [again].”
Now you might be wondering what happened to the previous Batman. Well, Ben Affleck, who was supposed to direct, produce, co-write and star in the movie, dropped out of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), granting the Twilight star the opportunity to take up the caped crusader’s role.
On being the tenth actor to play Batman in a live-action, Pattinson said it was a “massive honour” and it felt like he was “inheriting a mantle”.
Exploring More of Batman’s Detective Side
Other than the actor under the mask, the plot is set to diverge from the usual as well.
A vengeance-seeking vigilante, Batman, is on the fringes of the law with his only supporter on the inside being Gotham City PD member Jim Gordon.
However, when a mysterious, masked figure kills the mayor and begins leaving ciphers for “the Batman”, he is drawn into a puzzle that will take him into the heart of Gotham City’s underworld, in which villains mingle with corrupt district attorneys, cops and politicians.
This is one Batman story where his alter ago, millionaire orphan Bruce Wayne, is given little screen time despite the Wayne family history smartly woven into the story.
Joining Pattinson in the cast lineup are new faces to the franchise as well.
Zoe Kravitz plays Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman in the comics.
Andy Serkis stars as Bruce Wayne’s faithful aide Alfred Pennyworth; Colin Farrell as The Penguin; and Paul Dano as The Riddler.
Side Characters Get Refashioned
While Batman becomes a darker, grimmer version of himself, the other characters will also be refashioned.
DC fans will know The Riddler as a flamboyant goofball in a bowler hat and a bright green unitard. In the remake, however, he is a bespectacled sadist and maniac who teases the police with trails and riddles.
Reeves said he was inspired by the Zodiac Killer who left puzzles and ciphers to be solved, communicating with reporters and the police in a way that was meant to provoke. “It’s a version of The Riddler you’ve never seen,” he remarked.
The Penguin also does not adopt his trademark monocle, top hat and umbrella, so he resembles Al Capone instead of a cackling supervillain.
Farrell, who plays the character, is completely unrecognisable in this role and actually had to undergo four hours of prosthetic makeup when filming.
Meanwhile, Catwoman is nothing like the purring theatrical seductresses played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Anne Hathaway. Instead, she is a tough, streetwise waitress with a sideline in burglary.
The Bad Guys
Other than The Riddler and The Penguin, Batman goes head-to-head with another villain.
Carmine Falcone, played by John Turturro, is the gangland boss that Batman encounters as he goes further into the “cesspit” that is Gotham City.
References abound to 1940s film noir, with a story that looks at “the people who were in power behind the people who are in political offices”. Corruption seeps through with Gotham’s finest as morally bankrupt as Falcone and his right-hand man, The Penguin.
Very Dark (Literally)
Gone are the days when Gotham was a thriving metropolis in Nolan’s Batman films.
Instead, it is now a dingy, desperate urban jungle, riddled with vice and corruption from its sleazy officials down to its thuggish street gangs. It is always raining and the sky is always grey.
Complementing the dark plot that leaves no room for humour, Reeves had a vision for the set of the movie—“none more black”, to borrow that famous line from another rock star, Nigel Tufnel of spoof metal band Spinal Tap.
“As soon as you were on the set, it influenced what you did,” said Turturro, impressed by the gloomy backdrops created by production designer James Chinlund, who previously worked on Reeves’ 2017 film War for the Planet of the Apes.
“It gave you the right vibe, the right mood. It set the tone, it helped you get lost in that world very easily,” Turturro added.
Setting the Tone with Music
Of course, a movie is nothing without its supporting music.
The Batman makes it very clear what song reflects its nihilistic mood—Nirvana’s Something in the Way, from the grunge band’s masterpiece album Nevermind.
Schubert’s Ave Maria and a funereal four-note riff by composer Michael Giacchino, reminiscent of both Jaws and Darth Vader, also make up the movie’s tracks that accompany its grim scenes.
Despite all the changes the reboot is bringing, don’t expect any less of the action. The trailer already previews an epic car chase between The Penguin and the Batmobile. Vengeance will also be delivered in the form of Batman’s heavy punches.
Anxious about Audience’s Response
While DC fans are curious about what the new take on Batman will be like, Pattinson and Kravitz are also a little worried about how audiences will respond.
“I feel scared and very excited at the same time but definitely intimidated,” Kravitz told Reuters in an interview.
“Hopefully it will go down well. I wish we did press after the movie came out. It would be so much easier,” Pattinson added.
Well, they won’t be anxious much longer because The Batman is hitting the big screens tomorrow.
Showing at Golden Village, Shaw Theatres and Cathay Cineplexes, go check this one out because it’s quite likely that this will be the first movie of yet another Batman series.
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