Robert Pattinson may have rocketed to fame by playing the sparkliest of all vampires in the Twilight franchise, but he’s cruising for a serious bruising now that he’s Gotham City’s champion. In the latest trailer for The Batman, which premiered during WarnerMedia’s second star-studded DC FanDome event, the Pattinson’s grim and gritty Dark Knight seems to be dancing along the proverbial cliffs of insanity, plagued on all sides by marauding gangs, psychotic villains and a romance with a certain cat burglar that could cause emotional, as well as physical, damage. (Watch the trailer above.)
Due in theaters on Mar. 4, 2022, The Batman kickstarts a new Bat-universe under the creative guidance of co-writer/director Matt Reeves. (Reeves is also closely involved with HBO Max’s spin-off Gotham PD streaming series, which will tie into the feature.) In this latest iteration, Bruce Wayne is only two years into his crimefighting career, and he’s already experienced a lot of wear and tear. “All the fights seem very personal,” Pattinson told the FanDome virtual audience. “He hasn’t completely defined who Batman is, and he gets lost in it.”
Not only are Bruce’s nocturnal activities taking their toll — just watch the way he walks headlong into gunfire, letting his suit absorb the bullets’ impact — but his investigations have also turned up a legacy of corruption that reaches into Gotham’s most prominent families… including his long-dead parents. Bruce is battered enough by all these literal and psychological blows that his loyal butler and friend, Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis), appears convinced that Batman won’t make it to Year 3. “If this continues, it won’t be long before you have nothing left,” Alfred tells him at one point during the two-and-a-half-minute clip.
Unfortunately, Batman’s life is about to get a heck of a lot more complicated. A serial killer calling himself The Riddler (Paul Dano) is bedeviling Gotham’s already chaotic streets, threatening to ignite a “powder keg” that could bring the city to its knees. And there’s no mistaking that he’s got the Caped Crusader in his sights. “What’s black and blue and dead all over?” reads one of his easier riddles… not that he bothers giving Batman the chance to solve it. The answer? “You.”
Clearly, the Riddler isn’t good news for Batman’s mental health. But he’s also affecting the financial health of the criminal empire overseen by Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin, played by Colin Farrell, who is virtually unrecognizable beneath all the prosthetic make-up. Still, the Penguin and the Batman aren’t about to become birds of a feather just because they have a shared problem. During a chase sequence, the Batmobile appears to explode, leading Cobblepot to boast: “I got you!” But wouldn’t you know it: a Bat-suited figure soon emerges from the flames and marches towards his Penguin prey, as Michael Giacchino’s score starts to channel the Imperial March.
But enough about the Bat — what about the Cat? Zoë Kravitz started to trend on Twitter as soon as Reeves posted the first image of the Big Little Lies star as the new Catwoman aka Selina Kyle. Kravitz is featured extensively in the trailer, which shows off her fighting prowess and also hints that Catwoman and Batman have what you might call an animal attraction to each other.
That romance is strictly limited to their costumed identities, though: “Who are you under there?” Catwoman muses to Batman, confirming that Selina, at least, doesn’t know that she’s flirting with Bruce Wayne. “I don’t want her to be an idea, I want her to be a real human being in a real situation in a real city trying to survive and reacting to her own pain,” Kravitz said about her approach to the character.
It’s worth noting that Pattinson isn’t the only actor suiting up as Batman next year. The eternally svelte Michael Keaton is also stepping back into the cape and cowl for the first time since 1992’s Batman Returns in Ezra Miller’s solo Flash adventure, which speeds into theaters on Nov. 4, 2022. Here’s hoping the Batcave is big enough for the both of them.
The Batman premieres Mar. 4, 2022 in theaters