“Fear is a tool,” says Robert Pattinson’s Batman in voiceover in the trailer for Matt Reeves’s The Batman. A dusty grate is illuminated from the back and it takes a half-second to connect the dots before you see it for what it is: the Bat-Signal. “When that light hits the sky, it’s not just a call. It’s a warning.” Cut to Batman showing us exactly what he means by making a gang of cake-faced Nux-bros cower in fear as he takes them all down in an alley. The Batsuit is bulletproof and this trailer won’t let you forget it, although the biggest problem facing Gotham isn’t gun violence but a couple of slippery mega-villains. There’s Paul Dano’s Riddler, apprehended and jailed at the outset of this trailer, who teases Brucie with clues and teases us by never showing his face. He leaves messages that say things like “THE SINS OF MY FATHER?” and “RENEWAL IS A LIE.” A news report also teases the Riddler pulling off some “serial-killer livestreams,” which is all very 2022 (the film is out next year on March 4).
Then there’s an unrecognizable Colin Farrell as the skeezebag known as the Penguin, clearly having the time of his freaking life under all that silicone. He sports a combover, calls Batman “sweetheart,” and giggles to himself when he thinks he’s got him beat. Batman will have to balance being perpetually pissed off by the Riddler and annoyed by the Penguin with a burgeoning flirtation with Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman and whole surrogate dad with Andy Serkis — mo-cap free! — as Alfred. It’s enough to make a grown man brood.