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New the batman trailer teases grim reboot of dark reboot:


Well, this looks like a Batman movie. Or, to be more specific, this looks like a Batman movie directed by Chris Nolan. Robert Pattinson sounds a lot like Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne—if you close your eyes, they sound the same. Andy Serkis sounds a lot like Michael Caine’s Alfred, and there are some scenes (Batman shooting up on the grappling hook, for example) that are very similar to the ones in the first movie.

Batman beating up bad guys in a dark nightclub) that aren’t just mythological tropes but are also set up and filmed in a way that makes you think of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Even the first shot of Batman at 0:42 has the same crooked angle as Val Kilmer’s “thumbs-up” moment in Batman Forever, which could be a coincidence or a hint that Matt Reeves has a strange sense of humor.

Since Matt Reeves and The Batman are being marketed as a grim, dark detective story about a young, angry Caped Crusader fighting organized crime and a new, scarier kind of lone wolf bad guy, the scenes we see can’t help but remind us of Chris Nolan’s first two Batman movies. The difference isn’t as big as going from Tim Burton’s macabre camp carnage and Joel Schumacher’s psychedelic camp comedy to Chris Nolan’s grounded, plausible, cops-and-robbers “heightened realism.”

I guess we couldn’t go back to a Caped Crusader-style adventure story with the yellow oval and maybe a blue-and-grey suit. Trying to make Batman “darker” just makes it look like a grimdark remake of Batman Begins, which was a grimdark remake of the Batman movies from 1989 to 1997.

The fact that Pattinson seems less in control than Bale’s superhero (who didn’t waste much time with muggers and instead went after crime bosses and supervillains) is a good reason to choose this alternative. He looks like a young Bruce Wayne from the 2004 anime-inspired TV show The Batman, which was a five-season show about a new (but not a rookie) Batman who meets his first bad guys.

His one moment of yelling at The Riddler is less convincing than any of Bale’s “McGruff the Crime Bat” fits of laughter, but I’m much more interested in seeing his Bruce Wayne since Bale’s Bruce Wayne was what made the Nolan movies work, not his “Swear to me!” Caped Crusader. His outbursts, the homemade suit, and the real-world car just make the movie feel smaller, and the fact that he seems to be bulletproof might take away some of the tension.

After Cloverfield, Let Me In, and the remake of Planet of the Apes, people are more likely to give Matt Reeves a chance. But based on the trailer, it looks like we’ve seen all of this before in other Batman movies. Paul Dano’s Riddler, Colin Farrell’s Penguin, and Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman have all been in at least one big live-action Batman movie. Michelle Pfeiffer played Selina Kyle in 1992, and Anne Hathaway played her in 2012. Even Robin Lord Taylor’s “crime boss,” Penguin, was pretty much a co-lead on Fox’s Gotham for five seasons. This is not necessarily a matter of art. But from a business point of view, a grisly Batman murder mystery that doesn’t offer much more than “just another real-world, grimdark Batman movie” might hit a ceiling.

Remember that Nolan’s “just another dark Batman movie,” Batman Begins, made $371 million worldwide in the summer of 2005, rising to $205 million in the U.S. from a lower-than-hoped $72 million opening weekend? Yes, that was seven years after Batman & Robin killed the franchise with bad reviews and only $238 million worldwide on an alleged $160 million budget. But The Batman will come out five years after the not-very-popular Justice League ($659 million on a $300 million budget) put the whole DC Films franchise on the defensive. Add to that A) a Flash film starring both Ben Affleck’s Batman and Michael Keaton’s Batman and B) a Batman who appears to be a darker, grittier version of Batman Begins. less like “Casino Royale” and more like “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

A “just a Batman” movie, especially one that A) doesn’t have any big-name movie stars as the main bad guys (sorry, Paul Dano) and whose costumes aren’t always true to the comics, isn’t necessarily going to be the next Dark Knight. If the movie has a reasonable budget and is entertaining on its own, even for people who don’t want yet another Batman franchise, there’s not much to worry about. But a solo Batman movie (from a franchise that has usually done closer to 50/50 than 35/65 domestically and worldwide) with a new Batman in the same year as a film with two previous Batmans and “real world” versions of villains we’ve already seen played by people who aren’t stars? I’d still bet on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.


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