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The Batman Release Date, Cast, Plot And Villains

After years of development and delays, March 2022 finally sees the release of "The Batman," the superhero's first solo film since 2012 and his twelfth appearance in a live-action feature film. Initially announced in 2014 as a tie-in to the DC Extended Universe featuring Ben Affleck both behind and in front of the camera, "The Batman" has changed course to become a totally different product. Instead, "The Batman" launches a new take on the character, directed and co-written by Matt Reeves ("Dawn of the Planet of the Apes") and starring Robert Pattinson as a younger, angrier Bruce Wayne towards the beginning of his crime-fighting career.

"The Batman" pits the raw, untested vigilante against the Riddler, played by Paul Dano, and features an array of other characters from Batman mythology, including Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone. None of these characters are new to the big screen, nor is the idea of taking Batman "back to basics" as a gritty detective story, but Matt Reeves hopes his take on the character is sufficiently different from anything we've seen before, a gripping and emotional story that, unlike so many Batman films, focuses more on the Dark Knight himself than on his colorful villains.

With the film's release fast approaching, there's a lot we already know about "The Batman," and plenty that we don't. Here's the lowdown.

Robert Pattinson portrays the Caped Crusader

Back when "The Batman" was imagined as an entry in the DC Extended Universe, it was a given that Ben Affleck would be reprising the role of Bruce Wayne. Once Affleck stepped down as director and his script (co-written with DC Films co-founder Geoff Johns) was shelved, new director Matt Reeves came on board with his own pitch for a Batman film that would call for a younger actor in the role. Robert Pattinson, best known to the public for the "Twilight" films but a critical darling for indies like "Good Time" and "The Lighthouse," was Reeves' first choice for the role; in fact, Reeves wrote the part specifically for him.

Surprisingly, Pattinson, who has usually eschewed major franchise projects since his dismal experience with "Twilight," is a lifelong Batman fan and jumped at the chance to portray this version of the character. His casting in 2019 was met with the predictable fan backlash (Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck were both initially rejected by Batman fans), and stirred up a bit more controversy when he jokingly claimed not to be hitting the gym for the role. Some have also objected to Pattinson's comments on Batman's code against killing, despite his statements being mostly consistent with the character as depicted in comics, film, and animation for the entire life of the character. Likewise, those who mock the "emo" black makeup around Pattinson's eyes when he removes his cowl are apparently unaware that every live-action Batman since Keaton has filled in the space between their eyes and their cowl with black make-up. (We promise, you will notice when it's missing.)

Nevertheless, Pattinson's take will certainly be different from what we've seen onscreen before. "I want to play a dirty, dirty, slimy Batman," he told MovieMaker, and Reeves has reportedly made his dream come true.

The Batman is helmed by Matt Reeves, who also wrote the script

Soon after Ben Affleck walked away from the "Batman" directing gig, news broke that Matt Reeves would be taking on the gargantuan task of shepherding "The Batman" from concept to completion. While "The Batman" will be Reeves' first foray into the world of superheroes, he is no stranger to films featuring high concepts and larger-than-life characters, as evidenced by his directorial work on "Cloverfield" and the rebooted "Planet of the Apes" films.

At first, the intent was for Reeves to use Ben Affleck's script, which still had Affleck starring in the titular role. However, a few months after he was brought on board as director, Reeves announced that he was tossing out Affleck's screenplay and starting from scratch.

While Reeves' script will feature a younger protagonist than Affleck's, the director still hopes to deliver a mature, ambitious film that doesn't talk down to its audience and offers an "epic and emotional new take" on the character.

The film will have no ties to Ben Affleck's Batman

When "The Batman" was first announced, it was intended as another chapter in the DC Extended Universe, pitting Ben Affleck's veteran Dark Knight against the assassin Slade Wilson (a.k.a. Deathstroke), to be played by Joe Manganiello. Manganiello's role in the film was teased in Zack Snyder's version of "Justice League," wherein Lex Luthor reveals Batman's secret identity to Deathstroke. According to Manganiello, Deathstroke would have used this information to exact his cruel vengeance on those close to Bruce Wayne, and to do battle with both Batman and his teammate Batgirl. This one of many plot threads from "Zack Snyder's Justice League" that are now left dangling indefinitely as DC Films retools its DC Extended Universe. (A "Batgirl" solo feature is still in the works, with Michael Keaton as Batman, but with J.K. Simmons still playing Commissioner Gordon ... presumably it'll make sense when we get there.)

After discarding Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns' original script for "The Batman," Matt Reeves set upon writing a new story that would be part of the DC Universe, but not as interconnected and cameo-packed as recent entries in the DCEU. Later, he would clarify that he didn't want his Batman film to "have to carry the weight of connecting the characters from all those other movies." Instead, "The Batman" would be set in its own continuity, divorced from the DCEU entirely as well as from the previous live-action versions defined by directors Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan.

Fans itching for more for more Batfleck will still get at least one final film featuring his take on the character, when "The Flash" hits theaters in November 2022.

The film will play up Batman's skills as a detective

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Reeves said that his screenplay for "The Batman" will be a "point of view-driven, noir Batman tale," which leans into the notion of Bruce Wayne as the world's greatest detective. Contrasting his take on a Batman movie with previous films, which he says haven't really delved as deeply into the Dark Knight's detective skills, Reeves promised to send Pattinson's Batman on a "journey of tracking down the criminals and trying to solve a crime," while also delivering an emotional, transformative arc for the character.

"I hope it's going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional," Reeves said, discussing his character-driven approach to this iteration of Batman. Previously, while talking to Digital Spy, Reeves said that he sees Batman as "a tortured soul who is struggling to find a way to do the right thing in a very imperfect world."

As Christian Bale's Batman famously said, "It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me." However, based on Reeves' comments, we expect his take on the character to be more introspective and intellectual than what we've seen in previous films. While it's probably a safe bet that "The Batman" will feature its fair share of fistfights, explosions, and mind-blowing Bat-gadgets — after all, this is still a DC superhero movie — don't be surprised if Reeves' Batman turns out to be defined by who he is underneath after all.

Zoë Kravitz will be slinking into the role of Catwoman

It was revealed early on that key villain roles in "The Batman" would be filled by the Penguin and Catwoman. After several rounds of lively casting rumors that included Vanessa Hudgens, Aubrey Plaza, Lupita Nyong'o, Tessa Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alexandra Shipp, and Logan Browning, speculation about who will be portraying Selina Kyle in "The Batman" can now come to an end, because the black catsuit has officially been claimed. "Big Little Lies" star Zoë Kravitz will be portraying the Caped Crusader's iconic femme fatale in Matt Reeves' film. Selina has a rich and complex history with Bruce Wayne in the comics, and her role in the film could go any number of directions. 

"The Batman" won't be Kravitz's first or even second foray into comic fare, although it'll be her first starring role in a superhero film. She previously played the mutant Angel Salvadore, a.k.a. Tempest, in 2011's "X-Men: First Class," and also provided the voice for Mary Jane Parker (née Watson) in 2018's Oscar-winning animated film "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." In addition to her Marvel credentials, the actress also already has familial ties to the DC universe through her former stepdad Jason Momoa, who starred as Arthur Curry, a.k.a. Aquaman, in the DCEU's "Justice League" and "Aquaman." But the most purr-fectly relevant gig on her resume? She's already played Catwoman once before, having lent her voice to "The LEGO Batman Movie."

Catwoman has a major role in The Batman

While Catwoman has rarely been depicted as an outright villain in Batman mythology, the past 30 years in particular have seen her rise into an anti-hero in her own right. In the comics, Selina Kyle has led her own comics series almost continuously since 1993. She's arguably the protagonist of 1992's "Batman Returns," got a film of her own in 2004 (though we don't talk about that), and fought alongside Batman in 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises." If the trailers are any indication, "The Batman" will explore the character from a few different angles — as a thief, as a vigilante, and as a romantic foil for Batman.

"This is an origin story for Selina," said Zoë Kravitz to Empire magazine. In keeping with Matt Reeves' vision of "The Batman" as a film noir, Kravitz sees Selina as a femme fatale, as well as a fighter. Kravitz studied a mix of different martial arts that would be practical for a smaller, leaner person to use when taking on larger opponents.

Selina's severe haircut and makeshift Catwoman disguise seen in the film seem heavily inspired by her appearance in the famous four-issue arc "Batman: Year One," by writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli. In this story, Selina follows Batman's example and creates a costumed identity under which to stalk the roofs of Gotham, but she and Batman don't have much interaction. The early flirtation between Bat and Cat is explored more fully in its spiritual sequel, "The Long Halloween" by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, which has also been cited along with "Year One" as one of the inspirations for "The Batman."

The Batman will finally flap into theaters in 2022

The path "The Batman" has taken from announcement to release has taken nearly eight years. It was among the slate of 10 DC Comics-inspired films that Warner Bros. announced way back in October 2014, before cameras had even stopped rolling on "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," though the version of "The Batman" that was then in development is a different film in all but name from the one released in 2022. The Matt Reeves "Batman" was initially supposed to be released on June 25, 2021, but this announcement was made before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted production about a quarter of the way through shooting. This pushed the release to October 1, 2021, but an outbreak of the virus on set in September 2020 paused production for an additional two weeks. This may have contributed to the release date being moved yet again, though it's more likely that Warner Bros. simply wanted a few more months for cases of the disease to decline (and, perhaps, to not have to release the film day-and-date on HBO Max with the rest of their 2021 slate).

Shortly after the second COVID delay, "The Batman" received its third and (hopefully) final release date of March 4, 2022. The film will play exclusively in theaters for 45 days, and then stream exclusively on HBO Max beginning April 19.

"The Batman" is the first of a staggering five live-action features expected from DC Films in 2022, with "Black Adam" coming July 29, "The Flash" on November 4, "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" on December 16, and "Batgirl" going directly to HBO Max some time before the end of the year.

The Batman's Bruce Wayne is in rough shape

"The Batman" finds Bruce Wayne in less than ideal condition, and we're not just talking about those scars on his back. A year into his crimefighting career as Batman, Wayne is still struggling with some deep psychological scars and allowing his life outside the cape and cowl to crumble. Writer-director Matt Reeves has stated in an interview with Empire that this version of Bruce Wayne is "not really a socialite at all" and is letting his family home and legacy decay. In a scene from the film released early on YouTube, we learn from mayoral candidate Bella Reál (Jayme Lawson) that, unlike his comics counterpart, Bruce has not been funding any philanthropic efforts for Gotham City.

Reeves' inspiration for the depressed, rage-fueled Bruce Wayne? Tragic '90s rock icon Kurt Cobain. According to his feature in Esquire, Reeves became fixated on the Nirvana song "Something in the Way" while writing the first act of the script, leading him to imagine Bruce Wayne as a total recluse struggling with addiction — in his case, to violence. He cites the song (which was remixed for film's first theatrical trailer), and the Gus Van Sant film "Last Days" (centered around a Cobain-type character) as inspiring this take on Bruce.

According to Pattinson, his Batman is constantly battling against his own urge to kill, displacing the rage he feels towards his parents' killer onto the other criminals of Gotham. Being Batman is an outlet for his anger, but not necessarily a salve. In short, he's not getting better. As Alfred says in the trailer, "If this continues, it won't be long 'til you have nothing left."

The Batman is a Year Two story

Early in the development of "The Batman," Matt Reeves parried speculation that his "young Batman" movie would be yet another origin story. Instead, Reeves has defined his film as a "Year Two" Batman tale, skipping past the well-trod territory of "Batman Begins" but not so far that Batman is too well-defined to be the lead of his own film.

"A lot of times you see stories where he's already become Batman, then the Rogues' Gallery villain comes in, and it's then their story, and you watch him go toe-to-toe with them," Reeves told Esquire Middle East. "I wanted the main character in the story to be a Batman who was a year in and still trying to figure out how to do this, how to be effective, and he's not necessarily succeeding."

While not quite as tired as an origin story, this is a similar setting to "The Dark Knight," which takes place early in Batman's career and raises the question of whether the presence of a theatrical, masked vigilante might actually be changing Gotham for the worse. Still, "The Dark Knight" is the most critically and commercially successful Batman film, so setting another film during this point in his career (and attempting not to upstage him with a more magnetic antagonist) is probably a good idea.

The Batman pulls from both fresh and familiar comics

Any time a filmmaker comes on board to "reboot" the Batman character for the silver screen, you'll hear the same familiar refrain — they want to take the character back to his gritty, pulpy roots. Usually, this means looking back at one of two essential graphic novels, "The Dark Knight Returns" and "Batman: Year One," both written by Frank Miller, which helped codify a more grounded take that had been evolving for decades in the pages of the monthly comics. (Please, spare some love for his predecessors Dennis O'Neil, Neal Adams, Steve Englehart, and Marshall Rodgers, among the hundreds of other creators who have molded Batman both before and after Miller.)

Matt Reeves is certainly not a total exception to this — "Year One" is indeed one of his favorites. He's also cited Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's 1997 series "The Long Halloween" as an inspiration — in fact, at one point Warner Bros. Animation was told to put their own adaptation of the story on hold because it was being considered as the direct source material for "The Batman." This, too, has already been mined for cinema, as "The Long Halloween" is one of the clearest comics influences on 2008's "The Dark Knight."

More exciting, however, is Reeves' professed love of not only pre-Miller Batman creators like Bill Finger, and Neal Adams, but the 2000 graphic novel "Batman: Ego" by cartoonist Darwyn Cooke. "Ego" is a deep and visual stunning psychological study of the Dark Knight, perfect inspiration for a Batman film that's intended to be richly emotional and focused on the title character. The trailers may also indicate that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's 2013 storyline "Zero Year" may have been mined for plot ideas.

Jeffrey Wright has been commissioned to play Jim Gordon

Character actor Jeffrey Wright becomes the fifth man to portray Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon in a live-action feature, following Neil Hamilton in the 1966 continuation of the Batman television series, Pat Hingle in the Burton and Schumacher series, Gary Oldman in the "Dark Knight" trilogy, and J.K. Simmons in the DC Extended Universe. Wright is no stranger to major franchises, having played CIA Agent Felix Leiter in three installments of the James Bond series, Beetee in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay," and the voice of Uatu the Watcher in "Marvel's What If?," but is also celebrated for his television roles in "Angels in America" and "Westworld." In the years since his casting in "The Batman," Jeffrey Wright has also lent his voice to the Dark Knight himself in "Batman: The Audio Adventures," a campy radio-style drama that streams on HBO Max.

According to an interview with IndieWire, Wright was attracted to the realistic tone of the film. "I saw the themes around corruption and class tensions and all of the things that he wanted to bring from the outside into this world so it had some relevance," said Wright after shooting was complete in 2011.

Wright's tenure as Commissioner Gordon may extend beyond even "The Batman" and its planned sequels, as Warner Bros. has announced the development of an HBO Max series based in the same universe that centers around the Gotham City Police Department. No casting has been announced for the project, though it would be hard to imagine a series with such a subject not including Jim Gordon in some capacity.

Paul Dano is the Riddler

Warner Bros. confirmed in October 2019 that Paul Dano had officially come aboard the film as the Riddler, whose real name here is Edward Nashton (though he may change his name during the events of the film to the classic Edward Nygma). 

Dano is well suited for a dark and menacing villain, having been nominated for an Emmy for his work on the Showtime limited series "Escape at Dannemora," in which he portrayed real-life convicted murderer David Sweat, who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York in 2015. However, Dano has played a wide variety of roles during his eclectic career, from gently comedic turns in films like "Swiss Army Man" and "Little Miss Sunshine," to more serious roles in films such as "Prisoners," "Okja," and "There Will Be Blood."

The thread that seems to tie all of Dano's characters together is a sense of deep interior personality and emotional complexity, which will serve him well as the enigmatic Riddler. Matt Reeves' casting of the soulful, often somber Dano is a far cry from the rubber-limbed Jim Carrey, who played the role in 1995's "Batman Forever," making us even more curious to see exactly what Reeves' grounded and cerebral take on a Batman story is going to look like. 

The Batman features a menacing new take on the Riddler

When Matt Reeves imagined his ideal Batman film, it was always through the lens of a film noir, a detective story. From there, it was a logical leap for the film's main antagonist to be more of an intellectual challenge for Batman than a physical threat. Hence, the Riddler, a Batman villain famous for his puzzles and mind games rather than fighting prowess. In "The Batman," Matt Reeves has reimagined the Riddler as a serial killer in the tradition of the Zodiac Killer, the real-life murderer who mailed clues about his targets and identity to newspapers in the late 1960s.

"I started thinking of the Zodiac Killer, because he did create a costume for himself and he wore a black hood, he had his own insignia," Reeves told Esquire Middle East. "He was an early anti-superhero, a scary figure who terrorized California." As seen in the trailers for "The Batman," this version of the Riddler (who uses his canonical birth name from the comics, Edward Nashton) taunts Batman with written and recorded messages, and may even already be aware of his secret identity as Bruce Wayne. Indeed, Riddler seems to be directing Batman toward solving a mystery about corruption in Gotham that involves the Wayne family.

It's an intriguing take on the character, but there's at least one part of this Riddler that's going to take some getting used to — the costume. While it's hard to imagine the Riddler's traditional green blazers and unitards fitting into the aesthetic of Reeves' film, the puffy Army green jacket and S&M mask with spectacles worn overtop is, well, it's a departure.

Colin Farrell dons heavy makeup to play the Penguin

Without question the most surprising casting choice in "The Batman" is Colin Farrell as Oswald "Penguin" Cobblepot. Cobblepot is typically portrayed as having a bizarrely proportioned face and a rotund body, as opposed to Farrell's dreamy leading-man good looks. But, like Danny Devito (and, to a lesser extent, "Gotham" actor Robin Lord Taylor) before him, Farrell's appearance has been altered via applied prosthetics to make him a closer match for the notorious crime boss of the comics. It took between two and four hours to apply Farrell's facial scars, a heftier neck, and receding hairline, though his transformation doesn't stop there. Farrell is practically unrecognizable in his performance, donning the type of thick New York accent you'd hear in a Scorsese gangster film.

Or should we say Coppola — Farrell cites "The Godfather" character Fredo Corleone, the weak-willed older brother of kingpin Michael Corleone, as his inspiration for the character. Like Fredo, Farrell says that his "Oz" Cobblepot is "crippled by the insignificance that he lives within, in a family that is full of very strong, very bright, very capable, very violent men." It's a role he says he'd be interested in exploring in a sequel, and he may very well get the chance to spend more time with the character — there's a spinoff series for the Penguin in early development at HBO Max.

In the comics, Oswald comes from old Gotham money, operating his criminal empire under the very thin guise of legitimate business. He's also one of the only "traditional" gangsters to maintain his foothold in the Gotham underworld after the rise of more outlandish villains like the Joker, Two-Face, and Black Mask. Oz's inferiority complex may come from feeling overshadowed by his family legacy, or from the changing face of crime in Gotham, a theme also tackled in "The Dark Knight."

John Turturro will be playing notorious crime boss Carmine Falcone

The impressive cast of "The Batman" also includes Emmy-winning character actor John Turturro, who will be playing Gotham's powerful crime boss Carmine Falcone. Sometimes nicknamed "The Roman" and based on Marlon Brando's character from "The Godfather," Falcone first debuted in Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's "Batman: Year One" comics, but assumed a much more prominent role later on in "Batman: The Long Halloween." In the comics, Falcone effectively runs Gotham City, with all of Gotham's influential politicians and lawmakers in his pocket, and is determined to put a stop to Batman's vigilante actions in order to solidify his stranglehold on the city. 

Falcone has previously been portrayed onscreen by Tom Wilkinson in the film "Batman Begins" and John Doman on the television series "Gotham." Further complicating Falcone's relationship with Batman in the comics is the fact that Bruce's father, Thomas Wayne, once saved Falcone's life, a life debt which Falcone has sworn to someday repay. As with the other characters assembling for "The Batman," we don't yet know what Falcone's role will be in Reeves' noir tale, or if this bit of Falcone's backstory will be included, but no matter how Turturro's Falcone is woven into the story, we imagine he will be an imposing force who casts a long shadow over Reeves' version of Gotham.

Andy Serkis is Batman's right-hand man

Andy Serkis, the actor best known for his groundbreaking CGI "performance capture" roles as Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" and Caesar in the rebooted "Planet of the Apes" trilogy, will show his actual face in "The Batman" as Alfred Pennyworth, the Wayne family butler who raised the young Bruce after the murder of his parents. Serkis becomes the fifth actor to play Alfred in a live-action feature film, following Alan Napier, Michael Gough, Michael Caine, and Jeremy Irons. The character has also been a fixture on the small screen in recent years, portrayed by Sean Pertwee on "Gotham" from 2014 to 2019 and the lead character of his own series, "Pennyworth," starring Jack Bannon, on HBO Max.

Serkis has plenty of history with Matt Reeves, who also directed "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and "War for the Planet of the Apes," and Reeves has apparently secured Serkis a sizable role in "The Batman." Serkis has told interviewers that the emotional connection between Alfred and Bruce is "the center" of the film, and trailers have hinted that the story may hinge on some Wayne family secret from which Alfred has been trying to protect his surrogate son. A larger role for Alfred in this film would be in keeping with the way his character has been expanded in the comics over the past few decades, from a passive participant in Batman's war on crime to an irreplaceable asset with a history as a military medic and a secret agent of the British government. Particularly during Batman's early years before the expansion of the Bat-family, Alfred is Bruce's only friend and confidant. He's a parent so dedicated that he tirelessly supports Bruce's double life as Batman, even though it would make him much happier to see him move on to a less violent life.

Peter Sarsgaard will be playing a brand new character... unless...

Similarly to the way Matt Reeves announced the casting for Andy Serkis as Alfred and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, the director took to Twitter again at the beginning of December 2019 to reveal that Peter Sarsgaard had joined the cast of "The Batman." Unlike Reeves' previous few casting announcements, he didn't hashtag this tweet with the name of the character Sarsgaard will be playing, captioning it only, "Oh... Hi, Peter..."

Sources originally told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor would either be playing a corrupt cop named Wasserman or a district attorney, leading to speculation that he could be playing Harvey Dent — better known as the iconic Batman villain Two-Face. However, in early 2020, a Warner Bros. official press release identified Sarsgaard's character as "Gotham D.A. Gil Colson," a new character who doesn't exist in the comics. 

Of course, it's always possible that "Gil Colson" is a pseudonym meant to throw us off the track (although that raises the question of why such secrecy is needed when the other character identities have been readily confirmed), or that Gil may still somehow become Two-Face, despite the different name. Or maybe he could be based on a different Gil in Batman lore, perhaps Gil Mason from "Batman: The Animated Series." Then again, Gil may be exactly who he appears to be — a brand new district attorney created from whole cloth for Matt Reeves' movie, in which case we have no idea whether he'll be playing a villain, an ally, or something in between.

Holy chiseled jawline, Batman! A first look at Pattinson's suit

On February 13, 2020, Matt Reeves gave us all an early Valentine's Day gift in the form of a red-tinted first look at Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader. The 55-second camera test, which the director posted on Twitter, features Pattinson in the full Batsuit and cowl (at least, we assume it's the full suit; we guess he could be wearing anything on the bottom half of his body), emerging from the darkness into a sharp, crimson close-up. Even this partial glimpse tells us that Pattinson's Batman will have a very different look than the Dark Knights that have come before, with an armored chest plate and an industrial-looking, metal bat symbol that looks like it could have been welded in Vin Diesel's garage (and may, in fact, have been forged from the gun that killed his parents). Topping off the suit is a black leather cowl, and a thick, heavy looking cape that attaches to the suit with a raised collar.

But what really sells the look isn't any particular alchemy of materials or cut, but Pattinson's distinctive face, which becomes the ultimate focus of the short video. Like Ben Affleck and Christian Bale before him, Pattinson is gifted with an authentic Bruce Wayne jawline, cutting a silhouette so recognizable that it makes you really wonder why he thinks he can get away with only covering up half his face.

Along with the first look at the new Batman, the clip Reeves posted also contains a few bars of Michael Giacchino's musical score, which plays ominously under the Batsuit reveal. It starts with just a couple notes, played on the lower register of a piano, then repeated ominously over and over as a fuller orchestra joins in, giving the whole thing an almost "Westworld" vibe.

New Batman, new Batmobile

On March 4, 2020, Matt Reeves tweeted out the first look at the new Batmobile (Pattmobile?), and it is sweet. Gone is the bulky tank-like Tumbler of Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy, as well as the almost comically tricked-out stealth-bomber-meets-"Fury-Road" version of Batman's ride that Ben Affleck drove in "Justice League." For "The Batman," Robert Pattinson will be driving a reimagined Batmobile that looks like it could've been driven straight out of Dominic Toretto's garage. The three photos offer several views of the intimidating car, from above, behind, and from the driver's side, and also come with the added bonus of giving us another glimpse at Pattinson in the full Batsuit, which Reeves has now officially revealed almost in its entirety (we have yet to get a studio-sanctioned shot of the Bat-boots).

This new take on Bruce Wayne's iconic transport leans much more toward a classic muscle car than its more military-inspired predecessors, calling to mind well-known models like the 1970 Dodge Challenger and the Pontiac GTO. Since "The Batman" is supposed to take place early on in Bruce's tenure as the Caped Crusader, it's easy to believe that this version of the Batmobile represents one of the billionaire vigilante's first attempts at a superhero car, in which he modified something he already owned rather than building something new from whole cloth (or more accurately, steel). The latest version of the Batmobile comes with a before-its-time in-dash video display, a sleek black custom design, and an absolute monster of an engine. Everything about it seems perfectly suited to Reeves' grounded, noir take on the Dark Knight, and we can't wait to see it in action.

It's a standalone movie but sequels are probable

"The Batman" is deliberately isolated from the DC Extended Universe where most of DC's films take place, and is intended to stand alone. It neither relies on context from previous film incarnations of Batman, nor does it prioritize setting up sequels and spinoffs. Star Robert Pattinson has said that, after seeing the film, "it almost seems harder for me to imagine it being a series afterwards." At the same time, Pattinson, director Matt Reeves, and producer Dylan Clark are all thinking ahead to sequels and spinoffs.

"The hope is we can lay a foundation that you can build stories upon," Clark told Empire in 2021. Warner Bros. is certainly champing at the bit to spin "The Batman" into a shared universe of films and television shows, having already put two HBO Max series into development ahead of the film's release. One would center around the Gotham City Police Department, while another would focus on Colin Farrell's Penguin.

This cross-platform Batman universe would have to coexist alongside a few other live-action projects set in their own continuities, but this is nothing new. The HBO Max series "Titans" and The CW's "Batwoman" both feature a number of Batman characters, take place on different Earths in the DC Multiverse, and even each have their own Bruce Wayne, played by Iain Glen and Warren Christie respectively, though both series avoid showing Batman in costume. And then, of course, there's the DC Extended Universe of films, which in 2022 alone will feature both the Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton incarnations of Batman. By now, audiences are accustomed to the idea of multiple versions of the same character coexisting at the same time. So long as their movies are good, we don't really care how many Batmen there are.