Saturday, April 20, 2024

DC FanDome: The Batman

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And now it is time to talk about one of the big guns of the DC FanDome, Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Set to come out sometime next year, the next iteration of the Batman franchise was quite interesting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t experiencing some Batman fatigue, but Matt Reeves is so clearly excited and enthusiastic about the project, about his film, that it’s hard to not get enthused, or at the very least charitably indulgent.

Firstly, let’s discuss the nature of the film. It will not be set in the greater DCEU, but be its own thing, like Joker before it. So no, Robert Pattison is not a younger version of Batfleck. In addition, this film will be somewhat like Spider-Man: Homecoming in that it will not tell the direct origin of the titular hero but instead focus on their early years when they’re still getting their feet under them and working out the kinks. Specifically, this set in Bruce Wayne’s second year as Batman. It’ll also feature the fresh, just starting out and still evolving versions of Catwoman, Riddler, and Penguin.

On top of that, we have an interesting angle for a Batman film in terms of genre. Batman is often referred to as the World’s Greatest Detective, but aside from brief moments here and there, this isn’t something the films have concerned themselves with overmuch. Reeves however intends to embrace that angle, and the main focus will be on Bruce trying to solve a series of murders while dealing with the corruption of Gotham. Reeves specifically compared it to the movie Chinatown in terms of the tone and story he was trying to capture. A noir-style Batman movie is something that, somewhat surprisingly, we haven’t really seen before and that could help set this film apart.

Reeves spent some time answering questions, explaining how they used older architecture from Liverpool combined with CGI modern buildings inserted into the shots to try and create a unique and mysterious feeling to Gotham itself, and more in-depth about his efforts to try and make each character stand out as different from any previous iteration we’ve seen before. Admittedly, telling the tale of Catwoman, Riddler, and Penguin becoming the characters we know and love might not have been the wisest of plans so close to the ending of Gotham, but we’ll see how things shake out. Things are unlikely to get as…odd as Gotham got at the very least.

And finally, the panel closed out with a trailer for the movie itself, which still has a 2021 release date. The trailer itself is well made, though it feels very Nolan-esque. However, while it has interesting moments to it, I’m reluctant to put too much stock into it one way or another, as COVID-19 interrupted the filming of this movie and they had to put a trailer together out of footage from just the 25% of movie they got filmed before everything went to hell. So while I have no doubt that this trailer captures the tone of the film well, given that Reeves likely had a strong hand in making it, I’m reluctant to judge it the way I would a trailer for something that had completed filming and would have had a full film’s worth of footage to draw from.

Overall this was a strong finish to the FanDome, and a good panel. I’m not entirely certain that I want to see The Batman I confess, but I’m certainly feeling somewhat more positive towards it and I’m certainly impressed with Reeves’ enthusiasm and passion.

Images courtesy of Warner Bros.

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