As superhero enthusiasts know, DC skipped last month's Comic-Con@Home in favor of its own virtual event, DC FanDome. In a COVID-19-smothered world devoid of new releases and comic-book movie news (the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for instance, has pushed back releases for "Black Widow" and "The Eternals"), the company behind the Justice League threw the fans some lifelines — none bigger than the teaser trailer for Matt Reeves' "The Batman."
Like many DC film projects in recent years, the highly anticipated reboot has taken a tortured path to the big screen before settling on the maker of the highly regarded "Planet of the Apes" reboot trilogy as its director and Robert Pattinson as the new caped crusader. Reeves has said he intends the film to explore the detective side of the character (in the comics, one of his monikers is "The Dark Knight Detective"; he even made his debut in "Detective Comics" No. 27 in 1939).
The gritty trailer seems to take some of its tone from a couple of famed Frank Miller-penned takes: "Batman: Year One" and "The Dark Knight Returns." The action generates the kind of brutal impact Miller showcased in those comics. Catwoman actress Zoë Kravitz has said she read "Year One" in preparation for the role; DC Films President Walter Hamada described the film's version of the character as a "Year Two Batman."
The video, which is set to Nirvana's "Something in the Way," already has more than 20 million views on all platforms — the most of any of the new DC trailers. It also features Jeffrey Wright as the first Black actor to play Commissioner Gordon. It only hints, however, at the film's Bat-villains: main antagonist the Riddler (Paul Dano) and the Penguin (Colin Farrell). The release date hasn't been set yet (the film is still in production, delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic), but its intended bow some time in 2021 is spelled out in a Riddler-inspired title card at the end: "?0?1."
The FanDome also dropped trailers for "Wonder Woman 1984" and the "Snyder Cut" of "Justice League" (which no doubt excited the director's very loyal fan base, despite its video-game-like animations of villains, including big baddie Darkseid and its less-than-inspired choice of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as its musical setting). Also included was an exciting featurette for James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad," which filmmakers billed as a 1970s-style war movie.
As exciting as all this is to fans, it also signals DC's continued fence-straddling about what to do with its cinematic universe(s), including the DCEU (DC Extended Universe). At the FanDome, Hamada confirmed that, like "Joker," "The Batman" would not fall into DCEU continuity, but would be a part of DC's multiverse (something being explored in Andy Muschietti's upcoming "The Flash" movie and previously touched on in TV's "Arrowverse").