Closing out the DC FanDome virtual presentations on Saturday was director Matt Reeves who presented the new teaser trailer to The Batman. But first, Robert Pattinson appeared and addressed all the DC fans watching at home. “As many of you probably already know, we were in the beginning stages of production when COVID hit so now I’m very anxious to get back to work and continue to form this beloved character. I’ve always been a massive fan. I’m not really allowed to share anything so I’m going to hand it over to the great Matt Reeves and he can determine what we can talk about. But if you stick around to the end there is a cool surprise,” the actor teased.
Matt Reeves then appeared and began by explaining why he wanted to direct a Batman movie. “Look, I love Batman and I have loved Batman since I was a kid,” said Reeves. “What excited me, and what I relate to in the Batman story is that he isn’t a superhero in the traditional sense. He puts on a cape, but he can’t fly. He is like you and me, but if he has a superpower it is the ability to endure, and not just the ability but the compulsion. So that idea of being that driven by your past and the things that you can’t quite resolve in yourself, makes him a very alive character. I wanted to tell a version of Batman that was not about how he became Batman, but the early days of how he is as Batman. He is so far from being perfect, but to watch him becoming what we all know about him, and to see it in new ways, I felt like that was something that hadn’t been done and what I was excited to do with this iteration.”
The director then discussed the film’s main plot and how it connects to Gotham and the Wayne family. “We’re in year two, and Batman is conducting a criminology experiment,” Reeves explained. “He’s trying to figure out what he can do to finally change this place. In our story, we meet him and see that he is trying, and he is not having any of the effects that he wants to have yet. That is when the murders start to happen. The murders begin to describe the history of Gotham in a way that only enforces what he knows about Gotham, but it opens up a whole new world of corruption that goes much further. As that story starts to come out without being an origin tale for him, it ends up being something that touches on his origins. As it describes this epic history of corruption in Gotham, you start to understand where his family sat in all of that, and in that sense, I think all of that is a way to take a story that is a detective story, a point of view story, a mystery, and it has action, but at the end, it is also incredibly personal for him even though it is a story where he is trying to understand and unravel this mystery.”
Reeves also took a moment to talk about the rest of the film’s cast, and how these will be different versions of the Batman characters you have seen in the past. “Paul Dano plays a version of the Riddler that no one has seen before,” said Reeves. “He is an incredibly creative actor so what he is doing I think will blow people’s minds. Then to have Zoe Kravitz, her iteration of Selina Kyle, to me that is incredibly exciting. It touches on all these sorts of iconic things that people know from the comics. Selina isn’t Catwomen yet, that is part of her journey. Oswald (Cobblepot) is not yet the kingpin that he will become, and in fact, doesn’t like being called the Penguin. Then we have Andy Serkis and he is playing an iteration of Alfred that I don’t think people have seen before. We have Jeffrey Wright, who I think is a phenomenal actor, playing a new version of James Gordon. So, in going on this journey to solve this series of crimes, we will touch on the beginnings of all these characters. The whole movie is like a snowball moving, you can just feel the momentum building.”
Reeves is developing an HBO Max series centered around the Gotham Police department, that would be a spin-off of The Batman, and he talked about the show’s basic plot and connection to the movie. “The idea of this story was about Gotham and this history of corruption,” he explained. “So, we are able to do a series that goes deeper into an aspect of the movie, and in this case, it was the corrupt police department. The idea of the series is that we will go back to year-one, and year-one is the beginning of the appearance of this masked vigilante. Then you start to see the story through the eyes of these corrupt cops, one of them in particular, and the story is really about a battle for his soul. He’s a cop in the city over generations, and his history of corruption in Gotham goes back many years. In the series, there will be this myth of the Batman growing in the background. You can go into detail in the series that you can’t go in to in the film.”
Reeves also revealed that he wanted Gotham in The Batman to look different than it has before. So, for one scene that takes place in Gotham’s version of Times Square, rather than shooting in the real Times Square, they shot in Liverpool, England. That way, they would have the gothic architecture of the city around them, and then CGI the stores and billboards later. Other details Reeves revealed in the presentation included that Darwyn Cooke’s ‘Batman: Ego and Other Tails,’ was an inspiration for the film, as was the movies Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and The French Connection. The director also professed his love for Adam West’s portrayal of Batman but said he was also a fan of Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck. He even expressed his joy for Zach Snyder being able to finish his version of Justice League, and that he can’t wait to see it.
Finally, Reeves introduced the first teaser trailer for The Batman, which the director said is only twenty-five percent done filming. The teaser is dark and moody in tone and is set to Nirvana’s ‘Something in The Way.’ It begins with Jim Gordon and Batman investigating a murder together, and the killer has left clues in the form of riddles. We hear Alfred say to Bruce, “You’ve become quite the celebrity,” and see that the Riddler is now targeting Batman. We are then introduced to Catwoman, and witness Batman battle her on a rainy rooftop. Next, Batman encounters a gang of thieves and they ask, “Who are you supposed to be?” Batman then absolutely demolishes one of them, and when asked again who he is, simply replies, “I am vengeance!” We also get a glimpse of the new muscle-car style Batmobile. The final shot of the trailer features Bruce taking his mask off in the Batcave, with the Riddler’s voice-over saying, “You are a part of this too.’ We hear Bruce reply, “How am I a part of this?” To which the Riddler cryptically says, “You’ll see.”