There always seems to be a collective frenzy whenever the first trailer for an anticipated superhero film drops. Whether you’re a Marvel zealot or a DC purist, getting to see comic book characters brought to life on the big screen is always an exciting experience, and nothing quite compares to that first glimpse that trailers provide–superheroes people know and love in all their shining splendor, typically displaying feats of heroism that empower audiences.
When I heard that the trailer for the newest “Batman” film had been released, I watched it expecting to see all those things and feel that aforementioned empowerment.
What I got instead was, well…different.
This trailer is dark, and I mean that both figuratively and literally (seriously folks, turn up your brightness if you’re going to watch). We get cryptic narration from the Riddler, Batman’s foe for the film, as we are shown glimpses of crime scenes, gun fights, explosions, thievery, and unkempt chaos. Perhaps the most jarring part of the trailer, however, is Batman pummeling a man who tries to fight him, so much so that the special effects infuse the sound of bones breaking as Batman proclaims, “I’m vengeance.” All the while, a Nirvana song plays.
I’ll admit, this take on Bruce Wayne and the Batman persona is more brooding and jagged than what I expected. The movie seems to take a page out of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy with its grounded realism, but it also feels remnant of Todd Phillips’ “Joker” with its dark tone and cinematography. It’s not the type of Batman I’ve known in past films, but perhaps that was intentional.
This Batman has something about him that’s unpolished, almost as if he’s trying to figure out himself and Gotham City as he goes along. For a character who has a famous “no kill” rule, this Batman has no qualms with beating a guy off the street to a pulp. He feels like a rubber band soon to snap, and even those around him seem to tread carefully.
However, I would not say that this Batman is unrecognizable.
Despite all the aspects that feel unfamiliar, we do get to see Bruce Wayne saving a child. We see Batman interacting with James Gordon at a crime scene. We see him in a mild scuffle with Catwoman. All things that show glimpses of the character people know underneath the face of a younger Bruce Wayne, one who hasn’t got it all sorted out just yet.
Whether people enjoy this new take on Batman remains to be seen, but buzz around the film has certainly begun. Since it was released, the trailer has accumulated over 11 million views and generated plenty of speculation and theories from fans. The general consensus around the trailer seems to be positive based on internet comments, but only when the film comes out in 2021 will we know for sure what shade of Batman to expect.