Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson), aka Batman, must grapple with a taunting serial killer and his family’s potential links to long-standing corruption in Gotham City in the latest trailer for The Batman. But he’s still got time for some heavily flirtatious fisticuffs with Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), which should delight “Bat/Cat” shippers everywhere. The studio has helpfully titled the trailer “The Bat and the Cat,” lest anyone miss the intended focus.
As I’ve written previously, the original plan was to set the film within the DCEU, after the events of Justice League. But as Warner Bros. was rethinking the shared-universe model for its superhero films in favor of standalone films and franchises, Ben Affleck announced he was stepping down as director, and the studio replaced him with Matt Reeves. Affleck would eventually withdraw from the project altogether, following his divorce from Jennifer Garner and a stint in rehab for alcohol abuse.
Reeves said that the plot would follow a series of murders, revealing the history of corruption in Gotham and how Bruce’s family is linked to that corruption. The classic bad guys—the Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman—are also in the early stages of their development into full-fledged villains. Reeves has cited Alfred Hitchcock as a major influence on the overall look and feel of his film, as well as Chinatown, The French Connection, and Taxi Driver.
In addition to Pattinson and Kravitz, the cast includes Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) as Commissioner Jim Gordon; Colin Farrell (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin; Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) as Bruce Wayne’s butler and mentor, Alfred Pennyworth; John Turturro (Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski) as crime boss Carmine Falcone; Paul Dano (Okja, 12 Years a Slave) as Edward Nashton/Riddler; and Peter Sarsgaard (Dopesick) as Gotham DA Gil Colson.
Per the official synopsis:
Two years of stalking the streets as the Batman, striking fear into the hearts of criminals, has led Bruce Wayne deep into the shadows of Gotham City. “With only a few trusted allies — Alfred Pennyworth, Lt. James Gordon — amongst the city’s corrupt network of officials and high-profile figures, the lone vigilante has established himself as the sole embodiment of vengeance amongst his fellow citizens.
The first teaser dropped during last year’s DC FanDome, and the Warner Bros. CinemaCon panel this past August featured a brief sizzle reel of new footage. A full trailer dropped in October, in which we got a bit more footage of Batman beating up street goons, some serious sparkage with Selina/Catwoman, a fiery confrontation with Oswald Cobblepot, and our first brief glimpse of the Riddlers.
This latest trailer opens with some of the action footage we’ve previously seen, interspersed with Pattinson in his buttoned-down Bruce Wayne persona. He’s approached by Bella Reál (Jayme Lawson), a mayoral candidate for Gotham City, who seems to be targeting him as a potential donor. “You know, you really could be doing more for this city,” she tells him, laying the guilt trip on thick, as we see scenes of his nocturnal crime-fighting adventures flash by. “Your family has a history of philanthropy but as far as I can tell you’re not doing anything.”
Bruce/Batman has other things to worry about, namely a killer that keeps leaving cryptic messages for him. It’s the Riddler, who wants Batman to “unmask the truth about this cesspool we call a city.” That includes the Wayne family’s legacy. Bruce also encounters Selina Kyle, who seems to have a lot of cats (“I have a thing about strays”). Soon Batman and Catwoman are trading blows and sexually charged quips. “The Bat and the Cat—it’s got a nice ring,” Catwoman says in one clinch.
The Batman hits theaters on March 4, 2022.
Listing image by YouTube/Warner Bros.