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Giant Speculation Is Swirling After The Batman Trailer Drops

Ah, Gotham. You hold your mysteries well.

It seems like The Batman has been the subject of intense speculation for forever, and now that fans have finally seen a trailer for the film — which debuted this past Saturday at DC FanDome — they only have more questions. Among the most burning of these: What's the movie going to be rated?

To be fair, the notion that writer-director Matt Reeves' flick might carry an R rating has been floating around the internet since long before DC FanDome. Those who are familiar with the post-Twilight work of lead actor Robert Pattinson know that he's cable of displaying a brooding intensity that's not only perfect for the character of Bruce Wayne, but also can become scarily intense onscreen. (For evidence, we direct you to The Lighthouse.) Also, there's the fact that last year's R-rated Joker (which, we should note, has nothing to do with The Batman in terms of continuity) became the most profitable comic book film of all time – scoring over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office against a $55 million budget.

Now that the Batman trailer is here, though, the idea that the movie will be R-rated has much more bite. 

Paul Dano's Riddler, all swaddled in a crude mask and goggles, looks like a terrifying iteration of that villain. The very beginning of the trailer — depicting the immediate aftermath of a murder the Riddler's just committed — hints at the fact that he's capable of extreme brutality. The trailer's visual aesthetic calls to mind David Fincher's Se7en, the "brutal, relentlessly grimy shocker" that definitely earned its R rating. And Batman himself? One of the better looks we get at him comes as he beats up a hapless goon on a dark Gotham street, teasing a fighting style slightly less disciplined (and more driven by unbridled rage) compared to what we're used to in our cinematic Batmen.

Fans on Twitter are practically demanding an R rating for The Batman

Virtually the moment the trailer dropped, the DC fandom descended on Twitter to make sure everyone involved with the production is aware that they'd prefer if The Batman snagged an R rating.

User @Enemies_Allies tweeted, "THE BATMAN will be a gritty character study about Bruce Wayne's trauma and psyche. It should be rated R. I really hope it's rated R." Like many others, user @VaughnSmarsh took note of the trailer's Fincher-y vibe, writing, "I really hope The Batman ends up being rated R. I'm getting some strong Se7en vibes from that trailer. Easily my most anticipated movie of 2021."

Twitterer @MastroJesse01 offered up a thoughtful take on the possibility of an R rating for The Batman. "An R rating for intense imagery and representation would be incredible," they tweeted. "It's not so much for blood and gore, which is what I think a lot of people are thinking about here. It's more to disturb the audience and truly show how messed up Gotham is, and what effects it has [on] people." 

In response, @loxiascrownfan pointed out that a PG-13 rated theatrical cut of The Batman wouldn't preclude the possibility of an R-rated version: "I don't think they'll go for an R rating," they wrote, "but I'm hopeful this means there'll be an R-rated extended cut after release."

Of course, a few Twitter users were of the opinion that we don't need an R-rated Batman, but they were in the distinct minority. Invoking Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, user @itsya_Boyd tweeted, "All I'm sayin is The Batman better be rated R or it won't be the movie we deserve."

What are the chances that The Batman will be rated R?

Based on what we saw in the film's first trailer, it's kind of tough to imagine that The Batman wouldn't end up with an R rating — but it's worth noting that Reeves and company didn't have much footage to choose from when cutting the trailer together. Since production on the film was halted back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is just now about to ramp back up again, the bulk of The Batman has yet to be shot. Reeves previously estimated that only about 25 percent of the flick's footage was knocked out before the stoppage.

Keeping that in mind, it's possible that the final product may be slightly toned down from what we saw in the trailer. But it seems more likely that The Batman actually will be R-rated. The only involved party to have commented on the possibility of an R rating so far is Pattinson, and it seems like it would be a no-brainer if it were up to him. Speaking with Empire magazine in January, Pattinson said he wants to push Batman to his absolute limits. "The only thing that's more complicated is the rating. As soon as you make something an R-rated movie, you're freed up to do so much stuff. In terms of the character itself, I want to push it as far as it possibly can go, and I think Matt Reeves does as well. You can do crazy stuff with that part."

It looks like R-Patz is committed to doing just that, and we're here for it. 

The Batman is currently slated for release on October 1, 2021, so it may be a while before we know what rating the film will hold. Check back in with Looper for updates as soon as new information becomes available.