The Batman
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMatt Reeves
Written by
Based onCharacters
from DC
Produced by
  • Dylan Clark
  • Matt Reeves
Starring
CinematographyGreig Fraser
Edited by
Music byMichael Giacchino
Production
companies
  • DC Films
  • 6th & Idaho
  • Dylan Clark Productions
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • March 4, 2022 (2022-03-04)
Running time
175 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$100 million[2]

The Batman is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Batman. Produced by DC Films, 6th & Idaho, and Dylan Clark Productions, and set for distribution by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is a reboot of the Batman film franchise. The film was directed by Matt Reeves, who wrote the screenplay with Peter Craig. It stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne / Batman alongside Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell. Set in his second year of fighting crime, the film sees Batman uncover corruption in Gotham City while pursuing the Riddler (Dano), a serial killer who targets Gotham's elite.

Ben Affleck was cast as Batman in 2013 for several films set in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). He signed on to direct, produce, co-write, and star in The Batman in 2015, but in 2017 he chose not to direct the film due to a combination of factors. Reeves took over as director and co-writer, reworking the story to emphasize Batman's detective side to a greater extent than previous Batman films. He took inspiration from comic books such as "Year One" (1987), The Long Halloween (1996–97), Ego (2000), and "Zero Year" (2013–14), and chose to feature a younger version of Batman. Affleck left The Batman entirely in January 2019 and the film's DCEU connections were removed. Pattinson was cast to replace him in May, with further casting confirmed in late 2019. Principal photography lasted from January 2020 to March 2021 in the United Kingdom and Chicago.

The Batman is scheduled for release in the United States on March 4, 2022, delayed from an initial June 2021 release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film is intended to launch a Batman shared universe, with two sequels planned and two spin-off television series in development for HBO Max.

Premise

During his second year of fighting crime, Batman pursues the Riddler, a serial killer who targets elite Gotham City citizens.[3] He uncovers corruption that connects to his own family during the investigation[4][5] and is forced to make new allies to catch the Riddler and bring the corrupt to justice.[3]

Cast

Additionally, Jayme Lawson portrays Bella Reál,[6] a mayoral candidate for Gotham City;[32][33] Barry Keoghan portrays Stanley Merkel, a GCPD officer;[34] Alex Ferns portrays Commissioner Pete Savage;[35] and Rupert Penry-Jones portrays Don Mitchell Jr., Gotham's mayor.[36] Gil Perez-Abraham,[37] twins Charlie and Max Carver,[38] and Con O'Neill have been cast in undisclosed roles.[39]

Production

Development

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck was initially set to direct, write, produce, and star in The Batman, but left the project in January 2017 due to several factors.
Ben Affleck was initially set to direct, write, produce, and star in The Batman, but left the project in January 2017 due to several factors.

In August 2013, Ben Affleck was cast as Bruce Wayne / Batman for multiple films set in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).[40] He made his debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016),[41] before appearing in Suicide Squad (2016)[42] and Justice League (2017).[43] In October 2014, Warner Bros. revealed plans for a standalone Batman film starring Affleck,[44] and he was in negotiations to direct and co-write the screenplay with Geoff Johns by July 2015. Production was expected to begin after Affleck finished work on Live by Night (2016).[45][46]

Affleck and Johns finished the first draft in March 2016.[47] Set after the events of Batman v Superman and Justice League,[45] the script told an original story inspired by comic book elements, an approach that Affleck compared to director Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman story,[48] with specific influence from Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (1989) and "Knightfall" (1992–1994), as well as the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009).[49] Cinematographer Robert Richardson, who was attached early in development, confirmed that the script was primarily set in Arkham Asylum.[50] It featured Slade Wilson / Deathstroke orchestrating a breakout at Arkham to tire Batman and make him vulnerable,[49] before fighting him in the streets of Gotham during the climax. Batgirl was planned to appear and help Batman.[51] Johns said the film would also explore the death of Robin, which was hinted at in Batman v Superman.[47]

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara confirmed at CinemaCon in April 2016 that Affleck was directing.[52][53] Jeremy Irons said he would reprise his Batman v Superman role of Alfred Pennyworth in May, and Joe Manganiello was cast as Deathstroke in August.[47] Additionally, Jared Leto expressed interest in reprising his role as the Joker from Suicide Squad.[54] Manganiello explained that Deathstroke believed Batman was responsible for his son's death and was depicted as systematically dismantling Batman's life and killing those close to him like a "horror movie villain". He compared the story to David Fincher's The Game (1997).[55][56] Snyder enjoyed the story and filmed a post-credits scene for Justice League—featuring Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) revealing Batman's secret identity to Deathstroke—to help set the film up.[56][57] Affleck revealed the title was The Batman in October, and in December he said filming was on track to begin in mid-2017 for a 2018 release.[58][47] That month, a planned Justice League sequel was delayed to accommodate The Batman.[59] Chris Terrio turned in a rewrite of the script in January 2017.[60]

Affleck began to have reservations about directing the film,[61] and announced in January 2017 that he was stepping down as director but still planned to star and produce.[62] He initially said he had stepped down to focus more on starring as Batman,[62] but soon stated that he had been unable to get the script where he needed it and felt it was time for someone else to "have a shot at it".[63] Affleck later added that he did not think he would have enjoyed directing the film and felt it should be directed by someone who would love working on it.[61] At the time, Warner Bros. was re-evaluating its approach to superhero films following the release of Batman v Superman, which led to Affleck's film being "sidelined" according to Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter.[7] The Justice League post-credits scene was altered in post-production to tease the Injustice League in a Justice League sequel instead of Deathstroke's role in The Batman, though the original scene was restored in the 2021 director's cut, Zack Snyder's Justice League.[56][57]

Matt Reeves

Matt Reeves took over as director and co-writer from Affleck and chose to feature a younger version of Batman.
Matt Reeves took over as director and co-writer from Affleck and chose to feature a younger version of Batman.

Matt Reeves, Matt Ross, Ridley Scott, Gavin O'Connor, George Miller, Denis Villeneuve, and Fede Álvarez were all considered as replacements for Affleck.[60][64][65] Reeves, a longtime Batman fan,[11] quickly moved to the top of the shortlist and entered negotiations to direct after meeting with Warner Bros. on February 10, 2017.[64] An issue with his salary soon arose, but it was quickly overcome and Reeves was hired to direct The Batman on February 23.[66][67] He was also set to produce the film with Dylan Clark.[68]

Reeves began working on the script in March 2017.[69] He initially planned to keep The Batman's connections to the DCEU, and spoke with Affleck during the writing process,[70] but soon reworked the story to focus on Batman earlier in his vigilante career,[71] with plans to cast a younger actor to play Batman;[72] Warner Bros. was planning to replace Affleck by July 2017.[73] In August 2018, Affleck went to rehabilitation for alcohol abuse and it was considered unlikely that he would reprise his role in the film after that.[72] On a Television Critics Association panel in August 2018, Reeves said the script was nearing completion.[70] He hoped to finish it within a couple of weeks, and was aiming to begin production in early-to-mid 2019.[70][74] Reeves submitted his first draft to Warner Bros. the following month.[75] Mattson Tomlin and Peter Craig also contributed to the script,[76][77] though only Reeves and Craig received credit.[77]

In January 2019, Warner Bros. set a June 25, 2021, release date for The Batman, and Affleck confirmed that he was no longer starring.[78] Affleck explained that he stepped down due to a combination of factors, including his divorce from Jennifer Garner, the tumultuous production of Justice League, his lack of enjoyment in the role at that point, and his alcohol problems.[79][80] Elaborating on his Justice League experience, Affleck said it had particularly soured his interest in the role as it involved his divorce, frequent traveling, and competing agendas, as well as the death of Snyder's daughter Autumn (which led to the director's exit from the project) and the subsequent extensive reshoots for the film.[61] Affleck recalled that he had shown a version of The Batman's script to a friend who said, "I think the script is good. I also think you'll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through [on Justice League] again."[79]

Writing

When Reeves decided to focus on Batman earlier in his vigilante career, he began writing a new script from scratch.[71][73] He chose to set it during the second year of Batman's career rather than retell the character's origin story,[34][81] as he wanted his take to be different from previous Batman films.[9] The film still explores the emotional cost that Batman's origin—in which he witnesses the murder of his parents—has on the character, with Reeves stating Batman is "emotionally stunted at being 10 years old, because that's a trauma you don't get past".[82] The mystery-driven plot also ties together the origin stories for various members of Batman's rogues gallery, such as the Riddler, Catwoman, and the Penguin.[22]

Reeves wanted to explore how the Batman mythos could exist in the real world, and chose to use the Riddler as the main antagonist after noting parallels between the character and the Zodiac Killer.[11] He also wanted to depart from Bruce Wayne's traditional portrayal as a playboy and socialite; because he listened to the Nirvana song "Something in the Way" (1991) as he wrote the first act, he decided to base Wayne on reclusive Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. He took inspiration from the film Last Days (2005) which features a fictionalized version of Cobain living in a "decaying manor".[29] Reeves reread his favorite Batman comics, but did not base the film on a specific comic book storyline.[70] Comics that inspired the film include "Year One" (1987) by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, The Long Halloween (1996–97) by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Ego (2000) by Darwyn Cooke, and "Zero Year" (2013–14) by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.[83][84] Reeves took especial influence from the depiction of a young, inexperienced Batman in "Year One" and the exploration of Batman's psychology in Ego,[81][85] and sought to make Batman relatable while honoring what people love about him.[11]

Unlike previous Batman films, The Batman focuses on Batman's detective skills,[70][36] with Reeves describing it as an "almost-noir driven, detective version of Batman" emphasizing the character's heart and mind.[86] He said the film blended the detective, action, horror, and psychological thriller genres, which he felt hewed closer to the comics than previous adaptations had.[11][82] He also felt this approach made it the most frightening Batman film.[87] Film inspiration came from The French Connection (1971), Klute (1971), Chinatown (1974), All the President's Men (1976), Taxi Driver (1976), and the works of Alfred Hitchcock.[15][88][36] Chinatown and All the President's Men influenced The Batman's depiction of a corrupt, decaying Gotham, while Klute inspired the dynamic between Batman and Catwoman.[82] Two characters—Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. and District Attorney Gil Colson—share surnames with Watergate scandal figures John N. Mitchell and Charles Colson, since Reeves felt historical allusions would make the film more believable.[36]

Reeves originally intended for his version of The Batman to be set in the DCEU.[70] In August 2017, Reeves said the film would connect to the broader universe but would be a standalone story that did not service others,[89] a sentiment he reiterated in August 2018.[70] However, he eventually decided that connecting the film to the DCEU would distract from Batman's character arc, and asked Affleck and Warner Bros. for the creative freedom to move outside of the shared universe.[90] Reeves explained that he wanted to be able to create a version of Batman with a "personal aspect to it", and felt he should not be obligated to connect it to other aspects of the DCEU.[91] Warner Bros.' incorporation of the multiverse in its DC productions allowed Reeves to take the project in his own direction;[90] as such, the film takes place in a separate world known as "Earth-2".[92][93]

Casting

(Clockwise from top left) The Batman stars Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, and Jeffrey Wright

By May 2019, Robert Pattinson, Nicholas Hoult, Armie Hammer, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were on a shortlist to replace Affleck as Batman, with Pattinson the frontrunner.[68][94][95] Reeves considered Pattinson after seeing his performance in Good Time (2017), and wrote the script with the actor in mind,[29][96] but was unsure if he would be interested.[7] Pattinson had eschewed large franchise films since his work on the Twilight series, as he found those roles dull and wanted to avoid paparazzi attention.[7][97] This meant he had not appeared in Marvel Studios' Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which made him desirable to Warner Bros. The other major contender, Hoult, appeared in the Marvel Comics-based X-Men films, but those are separate from the MCU and Hoult was unrecognizable for much of them due to prosthetics and makeup.[7]

Reeves spent hours reviewing Pattinson's and Hoult's previous work before meeting with them in April. They were the only contenders for the role by May 20, and both flew to Burbank, California, for a screen test.[7] Pattinson wore Val Kilmer's Batsuit from Batman Forever (1995) during his test, which made the audition challenging because he found the suit difficult to move in.[10] Reeves, who had specific requirements for the role, chose Pattinson,[7] and he was cast on May 31[7][98][99] with a salary of $3 million.[100] Batman had captivated Pattinson for a long time,[101] and he signed on because he was interested in the character's lack of superpowers.[97] Pattinson also had ideas about how to bring a unique portrayal of the relationship between Batman's superhero activities and his identity as Wayne compared to previous film adaptations.[101]

Pattinson's casting was met with backlash from some Batman fans, with a Change.org petition calling to reverse the decision. Pattinson said he found the response less vitriolic than he had expected, and he felt that being an underdog meant he did not have expectations to meet in his performance.[97] Christian Bale, who played Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005–2012), supported Pattinson,[102] encouraging him to "make [the role] his own" and ignore critics. Bale likened the fan revolt to the backlash Heath Ledger faced when he was cast as the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008).[103] To prepare, Pattinson studied Batman's history, reading comics spanning from the Golden Age of Comic Books to Tom King's 2016–2019 run on Batman.[11] He trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with instructor Rigan Machado,[104] wanting to undergo physical change in a similar way to superhero actors like Chris Hemsworth, Dwayne Johnson, Robert Downey Jr., and Chris Evans.[105] He received advice from the Dark Knight Trilogy director Christopher Nolan while working with him on Tenet (2020).[106]

Jeffrey Wright entered negotiations to play James Gordon in September,[24] and Jonah Hill entered negotiations to play either the Riddler or the Penguin.[107] Wright was cast in October,[14] and is the first actor of color to portray Gordon;[108] he felt his casting reflected how diverse America has become since Batman's introduction in 1939, and said none of Gordon's qualities "require that he be white".[25] In preparation, Wright read The Long Halloween.[109] Later in the month, Hill exited negotiations for the film.[110] According to Variety's Justin Kroll, Hill wanted $10 million—more than double the amount that Pattinson would make—while Kit reported that Warner Bros. and Hill could not decide which role he would take.[107][111] Paul Dano was cast as the Riddler after Hill exited talks.[21] Also in October, Zoë Kravitz was cast as Catwoman following a screen test with Pattinson; she previously voiced the character in The Lego Batman Movie (2017).[14][76] Reeves considered Kravitz early in development,[11] and chose her over actresses such as Ana de Armas, Ella Balinska, and Eiza González, who also auditioned for the role, as well as Zazie Beetz and Alicia Vikander.[14][76] Kravitz felt that her honesty with Reeves played a large role in her selection,[112] and explained that she wanted Reeves to know what working with her would be like. Kravitz provided advice on how to develop Catwoman's character,[112] and began training with instructor David Higgins two months prior to shooting.[113][114] She also studied footage of cats and lions fighting to develop her movements while practicing with stunt coordinator Rob Alonzo.[16] Kravitz drew inspiration from "Year One" and Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman portrayal in Batman Returns (1992).[17][115]

In November, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell, and John Turturro were respectively cast as Alfred Pennyworth, the Penguin, and Carmine Falcone.[26][28][116] Farrell looked to the Godfather (1972) character Fredo Corleone for inspiration and worked with dialect coach Jessica Drake to develop the Penguin's voice.[117] Jayme Lawson also joined the cast as a politician,[32] while Peter Sarsgaard was cast in December.[118] During filming, Gil Perez-Abraham,[37] twins Charlie and Max Carver,[38] and Rupert Penry-Jones were revealed to be cast in undisclosed roles,[119] while Con O'Neill was revealed to be appearing after filming concluded.[39] During the virtual DC Fandome event in July 2020, Barry Keoghan was announced as cast in the role of Stanley Merkel, a minor character from Batman: Year One and Batman: Dark Victory.[34]

Design

The design team began working on the Batsuit, Batcave, and Batmobile designs before the script was finished, as Reeves had a clear vision of what The Batman's world would look like and wanted the three to reflect each other. He envisioned a grounded, handmade design for the Batmobile,[120][121] with Ash Thorp creating the vehicle design to have an engine that resembles a bat.[122] Reeves sought to move away from the tank-like design popularized by Nolan's Dark Knight films in favor of one that looked like a muscle car.[85] He also looked to Stephen King's novel Christine (1983), about a car possessed by supernatural forces, for inspiration: "I liked the idea of the car itself as a horror figure, making an animalistic appearance to really scare the hell out of the people Batman's pursuing."[123]

Costume design was led by Jacqueline Durran, and Pattinson's Batsuit was designed by Glyn Dillon over the course of a year.[120][121] Reeves wanted the Batsuit to be practical and feel as if Batman created it on his own.[121] Pattinson played a large role in designing the costume, as it was important for him to be able to move and fight in it.[121] Bale jokingly advised Pattinson to "make sure you're gonna be able to relieve yourself" while wearing the suit.[121] Commentators noted that Pattinson's Batsuit seemed to take inspiration from the one drawn by artist Lee Bermejo in comics like Noël (2011) and Damned (2018–2019).[124][125] Bermejo was not consulted regarding the design, but was proud to see a Batsuit similar to his in a film.[125]

To portray the Penguin, Farrell wore prosthetics and a fat suit created by makeup artist Mike Marino.[126][127] Farrell chose to wear a fat suit over gaining weight because he had suffered health problems when he gained weight for the television series The North Water (2021).[127] Farrell was frequently described as "unrecognizable" in costume, to the point that Wright and Penry-Jones initially did not recognize him on set.[128][129][130]

Filming

Principal photography began in January 2020 in London,[131][132][133] under the working title Vengeance.[134] Greig Fraser served as cinematographer; he previously worked with Reeves on Let Me In (2010).[135] Cemetery scenes were filmed at the Glasgow Necropolis in Scotland in mid-February,[136] before the production relocated to Liverpool in March.[137][138] Reeves was a meticulous director and described The Batman as "the most intricate narrative I have ever, ever tried to tackle". Pattinson said Reeves asked for many retakes and adjusting to the director's approach took some time. Kravitz described Reeves as "the most specific person and director I've ever worked with", recalling a specific instance in which he told her not to close her mouth.[36]

Production was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning two months after filming started.[96] When the pandemic began, Warner Bros. did not plan to suspend shooting, unlike other major studios.[139][140] However, it eventually did so on March 14. Warner Bros. stated that the hiatus would just be for two weeks,[138] but Reeves announced on March 25 that filming had been suspended indefinitely.[141] Production was unlikely to restart until at least mid-May,[142] and Warner Bros. pushed the release date back to October 1, 2021, in April.[143] Also that month, the production's dialect coach, Andrew Jack, died from COVID-19.[144][145]

Around a quarter of filming was completed prior to the suspension, and Reeves began looking over that footage to help plan for the rest of filming. Reeves did not rewrite the script, but used the time to explore the film's tone.[146] On May 12, the UK government said high-end film productions could resume shooting as soon as employers put COVID-19 safety measures in place.[147] A month later, The Batman was given permission to restart production in July at the earliest.[148] Clark said Jack's death haunted the crew as they prepared to resume production.[11] By September 3, filming had resumed for three days at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, only to be put on pause again after Pattinson tested positive for COVID-19.[149][150] The filming crew then entered a two-week quarantine, after which filming was set to resume, while construction on the sets and props at Leavesden Studios continued.[151]

Filming resumed on September 17, after Pattinson was cleared to return to set.[152] At this point, the film had approximately three more months of filming and was expected to finish by the end of 2020.[153] Filming was limited to England, and crew members were required to live close to the production area and not leave the surrounding community until production ended.[154] Pattinson compared filming during the pandemic to a "military operation. We had earpieces in to have direction a lot of the time to kind of limit the amount of interactions." Some scenes were filmed using a remote control camera, which Pattinson found strange since he could not tell if there were any crew members around. Kravitz added that production became "impersonal" since mask mandates and other precautions meant the crew could not interact much.[96]

In early October, the film's release was pushed to March 4, 2022, due to the production delays.[155] Filming for a funeral scene took place at St George's Hall in Liverpool, doubling for Gotham City Hall.[119] Filming in Liverpool also took place at Anfield Cemetery and the Royal Liver Building.[156][157] Industrial Light & Magic began providing the StageCraft virtual production technology that Fraser helped develop on the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian, with a wall of LED panels allowing visual effects backgrounds to be rendered in real time. The wall was built around existing practical sets.[158] Exterior shots and stunt scenes for Gotham City were filmed in Chicago in the middle of October.[159][160] Later that month, Farrell said he would film the remainder of his scenes "on and off" until February 2021.[161] Filming wrapped on March 13, 2021.[162]

Post-production

Dan Lemmon serves as the visual effects supervisor, after previously collaborating with Reeves on the Planet of the Apes films.[163] Warner Bros. held test screenings in late 2021;[164] some early screenings showed a four-hour-long cut.[165] Later test screenings showed two cuts, with an unknown actor included in only one. The Hollywood Reporter noted that this actor could be Keoghan, as reports had spread that his casting as Merkel was a red herring and he was secretly playing the Joker. The final screening took place during the week beginning November 29, after which Warner Bros. executives decided which cut they preferred.[164]

In January 2022, The Batman received a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association, despite wide speculation and internal discussions at Warner Bros. that its somber tone and violent content would lead to it being the first theatrical Batman film with an R-rating. The film was able to receive a PG-13 rating because it does not include excessive profanity or nudity. Rebecca Rubin of Variety opined that an R-rating could have hurt the film's box office potential by preventing many young males from seeing it, noting that the two previous R-rated DC films, Birds of Prey (2020) and The Suicide Squad (2021), both underperformed commercially.[166] The final cut runs at 175 minutes including credits, making it the longest Batman film and the third-longest superhero film after Zack Snyder's Justice League and Avengers: Endgame (2019).[1]

Music

In October 2019, Reeves announced that his frequent collaborator Michael Giacchino would be composing the film's score.[167] Later that month, Giacchino said he had already finished writing the main theme for the film because he was so excited to do so;[168] because this music was written much earlier in the production than is usual for a film, Giacchino and Reeves were able to use it in promotional materials. Giacchino said he felt total freedom to write the music that he wanted for the film, agreeing with Reeves that this was their vision of Batman similar to how different comic book and graphic novel authors and artists over the years had been able to create different takes on the character.[169] Giacchino completed the score in October 2021,[170] and his main theme was released as a single on January 21, 2022.[171]

Marketing

Reeves released "moody, red-saturated" test footage of Pattinson in his Batman costume on February 13, 2020. The footage included early music written by Giacchino,[172][173] and generated discussion about the film's approach to Batman.[174] Chris Evangelista of /Film thought Pattinson's Batman looked much different from previous film depictions,[175] while Richard Newby of The Hollywood Reporter identified the costume's various references to past incarnations. Newby also noted that the bat emblem on the costume's chest resembled a pistol, and wondered if it was the pistol used to kill Batman's parents in his origin story.[174] The footage's use of the color red also led to discussion of how The Batman would differ tonally from previous adaptations.[173][174] On March 4, Reeves released an image of the film's Batmobile. Dino-Ray Ramos of Deadline Hollywood opined that it seemed "sexier and more streamlined than Batmobiles from the past", giving off "James Bond-meets-Fast and Furious energy" that seemed appropriate for Pattinson's version of the character.[176]

Reeves debuted a teaser trailer during the virtual DC FanDome event on August 22.[177] It features a remix of the Nirvana song "Something in the Way" (1991) combined with Giacchino's score.[178] The trailer received 34 million views within 24 hours and,[85] according to CNET's Bonnie Burton and Jennifer Bisset, "set the internet on fire". They noted its somber, grim tone.[179] Katrina Nattress of Spin and John Saavedra at The Ringer respectively described its depiction of Gotham City as "dystopic" and "nightmarish".[178][180] Adam Chitwood of Collider praised the trailer for showing off the "genuinely refreshing" approach that the film seemed to be taking in depicting the world of Batman,[181] and Saavedra wrote that it made The Batman look more like a detective story than a superhero film.[180] Alex Abad-Santos of Vox felt the film had more in common with the R-rated Batman spin-off Joker (2019) than other contemporary DC films. Abad-Santos noted that some critics disliked the trailer's dark tone, as previous Batman films were similarly dark and "some aren't in the mood to watch all that darkness over again", but felt The Batman could show that "carte-blanche reactionary violence, retribution rewarded with material wealth, and a soulless existence driven by bloody, bone-snapping ambition isn't actually something regular people want to emulate."[182]

Reeves and Pattinson discussed the film at the Warner Bros. CinemaCon panel on August 24, 2021, where a sizzle reel of new footage was shown.[183] Reeves, Pattinson, and Kravitz debuted a second trailer as the finale of DC FanDome on October 16.[10] Daniel Chin at The Ringer said the trailer had been a highly anticipated part of the virtual event, and felt it did not disappoint. He and other commentators highlighted the trailer's dark, violent, and brutal approach to the character, which Chin felt was consistent with the teaser trailer.[184][185][186][187] Adam B. Vary of Variety specifically compared the tone to Christoper Nolan's "gritty" Dark Knight films, believing The Batman would be darker and more violent than even those films.[185] Vary, Chin, and Entertainment Weekly's Chancellor Agard all highlighted the trailer's footage of Farrell and his physical transformation for the role of Penguin.[184][185][187] A Japanese trailer released on December 12 quickly led to discussion and speculation that the Joker would appear after fans spotted a figure resembling the character on a newspaper prop in the footage.[188]

Warner Bros. launched a viral marketing campaign in December 2021 with the website www.rataalada.com (Rata alada is Spanish for "winged rat"). The website allows users to engage in simulated conversations with the Riddler, and solving his riddles unlocks promotional artwork.[189] A third trailer, titled "The Bat and the Cat", was released on December 27 and focuses on the relationship between Batman and Catwoman.[190] /Film's Jeremy Mathai already felt the film's marketing had been great and was impressed that this was "yet another incredible trailer".[191] Asha Barbaschow and Rob Bricken of Gizmodo opined that Pattinson looked like a better Batman than his predecessors, Bale and Affleck. They were intrigued by the trailer's implication that the Riddler would position himself as an "agent of justice", and were excited at the prospect of Reeves altering Batman's origin story.[192]

WarnerMedia Global Brands licensed a significant amount of merchandise to promote the film,[193] and described the promotion as the largest Batman merchandise collection in a decade.[194] Promotion included Hot Wheels toys from Mattel,[195] Lego sets,[196] action figures from McFarlane Toys and Funko,[197][198] clothing, cosmetics, and Oreo cookies.[193] DC Comics plans to publish The Batman Box Set, a trade paperback collection featuring a slipcase with art by Jim Lee and the "Year One", The Long Halloween, and Ego comics, in March 2022.[83] Additionally, most of DC's March 2022 Batman-related comics feature variant covers based on the film.[199]

Release

The Batman is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States on March 4, 2022,[155] and will be available to stream on HBO Max 45 days later.[200] It was originally set for release on June 25, 2021,[78] before it was pushed back to October 1, 2021,[143] and then to the March 2022 date, both times after Warner Bros. adjusted its release schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[155]

Accolades

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Golden Trailer Awards July 22, 2021 Best Motion/Title Graphics Warner Bros. Nominated [201]
Best Sound Editing Nominated
Best Teaser Nominated

Future

Sequels

WarnerMedia plans to use The Batman to establish a new shared universe,[202] and the film is intended to be the first of a Batman film trilogy.[99] Key cast members were reported to have signed on for future films as of November 2019.[203] In December 2021, Pattinson said he had ideas for developing Batman's character in further films, while Clark said The Batman would lay a foundation for future films to build upon.[204]

Spin-off series

Gotham City Police Department series

HBO Max began developing a spin-off police procedural television series in July 2020, to be written by Reeves and Terence Winter and centered on the Gotham City Police Department.[205] The series was intended to expand on the universe of the film and its exploration of Gotham City corruption, with Reeves and Winter executive producing the series alongside Daniel Pipski, Adam Kassan, and Dylan Clark.[206] Upon the series' announcement, it was unclear if actors such as Wright and Pattinson would reprise their roles from the film.[205] During the DC FanDome event in August, the series was revealed to be set during Batman's first year of crime-fighting, from the perspective of a corrupt GCPD officer.[207] Winter left the series over creative differences in November,[208] and was replaced as showrunner by Joe Barton in January 2021.[209]

Penguin series

By September 2021, HBO Max was developing a spin-off series focused on the Penguin. Lauren LeFranc was hired to write the series, and Farrell had been approached about reprising his role from the film though no deal had been made.[202] Reeves and Clark executive produce the series, which Deadline Hollywood compared to the 1983 film Scarface.[210] Farrell signed on to reprise his role in December, also serving as an executive producer.[211]

References

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