The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

The Batman Trailer Breakdown: 15 Story & Character Reveals

The first trailer for Matt Reeves; The Batman is packed with reveals about Bruce Wayne, Catwoman, the Riddler, and more! Here’s our breakdown.

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The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

The first trailer for Matt Reeves’ The Batman is here, released during the DC FanDome event. A reboot of the character that’s unconnected to the recent Ben Affleck version, this Bruce Wayne is played by Robert Pattinson and is still early in his vigilante career. The main villain of the movie will be the Riddler, played by Paul Dano, and Colin Farrell will also feature in the role of Penguin. Production on The Batman had to halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, but fortunately enough was filmed to provide footage for a great first trailer.

The Batman solo movie was originally set to be written and directed by Affleck, who would also reprise the titular role. However, Affleck made the decision to walk away from the project entirely and allow a new story to be told, with a new Batman (though his DC Extended Universe version will return in The Flash solo movie). For fans who weren’t enamored with the older and jaded Batman who was introduced in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Batman could be the adaptation that they’re searching for.

That doesn’t mean a lighter, happier Batman, however; if anything, Pattinson’s portrayal of the caped crusader seems to be even darker and more angsty than Affleck’s. Nonetheless, The Batman FanDome trailer sets itself apart from the grand scale of Batman’s recent big screen adventures by bringing things right back down to the streets – where horrible murders are taking place. Here’s our breakdown of the biggest story and character reveals in The Batman trailer.

15. The Batman’s Present Day Setting Is Confirmed

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

Though there were once rumors that The Batman would be set in the 1990s, the FanDome trailer confirms that it’s actually set in the present day. The man being remotely held hostage by the Riddler at the funeral has an iPhone attached to his hand, and later on in the trailer a gang member films Batman’s brutal beating of his friend on a smartphone. This removes any possibility of the Bruce Wayne in The Batman being the same character we saw in Batman V Superman and Justice League, and confirms that Pattinson’s version of the character exists in his own universe.

14. R.I.P. Mayor Don Mitchell Jr.

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

The Batman has been described as a noir detective film, so naturally the Riddler is a serial killer who uses his murders to taunt the Batman. The first murder victim we see in the trailer (as revealed in newspaper clippings) is Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. – an apparently corrupt politician, if the Riddler’s “NO MORE LIES” graffiti is to be believed. It’s unclear if Don is dead or just unconscious in the scene where the Riddler is kneeling over his limp body, but if he’s still alive then his death is rather horrifying: having duct tape wrapped around his face until he suffocated. There is another intriguing calling card in the crime scene (besides the literal card): Don’s hand is adorned with a brown paper bag.

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13. Meet The New Jim Gordon

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

Played most recently by J.K. Simmons in the Ben Affleck movies and by Gary Oldman in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, Jim Gordon gets another new face for The Batman. Jeffrey Wright is best known for his role as Bernard Lowe in HBO’s cerebral TV adaptation of Westworld, and will also appear in the upcoming James Bond movie No Time To Die. Note that at this point in Batman’s career he’s still merely Detective James Gordon, not yet Commissioner Gordon. The current police commissioner in Gotham is Pete Savage – more on him later.

12. The Batsuit

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

New Batman, new Batsuit. This new look at Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting gear seems to support the theory that the bat symbol on his chest is actually made from the pieces of the gun that shot his parents. Outside of the symbol, Pattinson’s suit is more angular and structured than Affleck’s was. His cowl, seen later in the trailer, appears to be hand-stitched, and the overall aesthetic of the suit is stripped-down and practical. We also see him get shot, with the bullet seemingly bouncing off of his suit’s armor. This is definitely a Batman with a tough shell.

11. The Riddler’s Calling Card & Symbols

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

It looks like Batman is actually invited to the crime scene by Gotham City PD (or at least, by Jim Gordon), even if the gathered officers look at him warily. But there’s a good reason for him being called to personally investigate: the Riddler left a card addressed to him. The front of the card has a skeleton (possibly related to the face-painted goons later in the trailer) and an owl (which could be either set-up for the Court of Owls, or just an Easter egg referencing it). The card’s printed text says: “From your secret friend. Who? Haven’t a clue? Let’s play a game just me and you.” However, it’s in the handwritten message that things get interesting.

The other side of the card, which is partially obscured, reads, “What does… LIAR… when… DEAD?” The full message must be “What does a LIAR do when he is DEAD?” – to which the answer would be, “He lies still.” How do we know for sure? Because that’s what the code spells out. It’s a basic alphabetic substitution cipher, and looking at the number of symbols and the symbols that repeat (the ones that correspond to “E” and “S”), it fits with the answer to that particular riddle. This also gives us nine letters of the Riddler’s alphabetic code, which will be useful for solving any more riddles that might pop up!

10. Batman’s Eye Make-Up

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

The Batman trailer features two shots where Bruce wears black make-up smeared roughly over his eyes. This is used to maintain the black color of his cowl over the skin surrounding his eyes, as he has the makeup on when he removes his cowl in the Batcave. The eye make-up could also serve as a different way of concealing his identity, since we see it used in combination with a dark grey face covering over his mouth and nose. It’s possible that this is an alternate vigilante look that Bruce wears when he has business to conduct, but doesn’t want to attract attention with his full Batman get-up. Alternatively his suit may become damaged or unavailable, forcing him to improvise.

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9. Commissioner Pete Savage

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

Commissioner Pete Savage is played by British actor Alex Ferns, who is best known for his role in the long-running soap opera Eastenders. This character doesn’t appear in DC Comics, though there are a few villainous characters with the last name “Savage” (like Vandal Savage, for example). If Pete is in charge of Gotham PD then there’s an extremely high chance that he’s corrupt, which could make him a target for the Riddler. After all, if you’re a police commissioner in a Batman movie and Jim Gordon is standing behind you waiting for a promotion, you’re probably in danger.

8. Death At A Funeral

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

Even in death, Mayor Mitchell isn’t permitted to rest in peace. A major sequence in the trailer sees the Riddler crashing Mitchell’s funeral by hiving someone drive a car into the ceremony. The back of the car has white paint graffiti reading “DOA” (separated by prison bars) and the man wearing a bomb collar, holding up the phone, and wearing another “To the Batman” card on his chest seems to be be a hostage who was forced to drive the car. The shot of an explosion in the funeral setting does not bode well for this poor man.

7. Catwoman Commits A Crime

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

The Batman trailer offers a first look at Zoë Kravitz in the role of Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman – and naturally, she’s putting her cat burglar skills to good use by cracking open a safe. In keeping with the movie’s more grounded tone, Catwoman doesn’t have a full-blown cat costume, but instead a cloth mask with subtle peaks that resemble cat ears. Later on in the trailer, Selina is shown using her cat-like fighting skills against Batman as he interrupts her in the process of thieving. It looks like she’s breaking into a safe in the late Don Mitchell’s apartment – which is why Batman is still lurking around.

6. Colin Farrell Is Unrecognizable as The Penguin

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

You could be forgiven for missing Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot a.k.a. Penguin entirely. The above image has been brightened for better clarity, but when he appears in The Batman trailer he is shrouded in darkness. Coupled with a balding headline and the heavy prosthetics on his nose and the lower half of his face, and Farrell is virtually unrecognizable. He appears in the trailer twice: watching over a recycling plant where some undoubtedly shady business is going down, and engaged in a car chase with Batman, exclaiming, “This guy’s crazy!” Well, it takes one to know one, Oswald.

5. The Skeleton Gang

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

A major feature of The Batman’s trailer is the caped crusader confronted a gang with white-painted faces and brutally beating one of them. It’s possible that this is just another Gotham street gang, but there are indications that they’re working for the Riddler. Note that the card the Riddler sends has a skeleton on it, and the gang’s faces are painted in the style of Day of the Dead skeletons. The car that crashes into Mayor Mitchell’s funeral also has graffiti in white paint. Interestingly, the gang member that Batman beats has makeup that somewhat resembles the Joker’s stretched smile – which, if this Batman has previously encountered the Joker, could be the motivation for his excessive rage.

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4. Batman V Gotham PD

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

Gotham City Police Department may begrudgingly tolerate Batman’s presence at the murder scene, but it’s clear that there’s no love lost between them. There are multiple scenes in the trailer where Batman appears to be fighting with cops. In the first, he is in what looks like a lock-up pen at the police department and is surrounded by dozens of police officers, lashing out at them until Jim Gordon restrains him. In another scene he uses his grappling hook to pull himself up through a staircase while officers fire their guns at him.

3. “I’m Vengeance”

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

After delivering a brutal beatdown to a skeleton gang member who had the audacity to make fun of his bat costume, Batman delivers an answer to the presumably comatose goon and his friends: “I’m vengeance.” Director Matt Reeves cited Darwyn Cooke’s story Batman: Ego as an inspiration for The Batman, which may shed some light on this line. The comic portrays a sudden split in Bruce’s personality that causes the Bruce Wayne Superego and the Batman Id to confront one another as two separate identities. As Reeves put it, the comic is about Bruce/Batman “confronting the beast of the duality… confronting the shadow side of himself.” At this point in his career, Bruce still seems to be struggling to balance his morality with his rage – and in this scene, the rage wins. As for the vengeance part – does he want vengeance in some abstract form for the death of his parents, is he taking revenge for something that happens in the film, or is he avenging someone else?

2. The Batcave Is A Little Unrefined

The Batman Trailer Breakdown 15 Story & Character Reveals

The Batman is set in “Year Two” of Bruce Wayne’s career as Gotham’s dark knight, so his Batcave is a little less built-up and sophisticated than we’re used to seeing in Batman movies. It still looks to be set underneath Wayne Manor, with a ramp leading in and a parking space for the Batmobile under a grand staircase. However, the rest of the Batcave looks like Bruce has been moving in one piece of gear at a time, and still has quite a basic set-up and a lack of overall design.

1. The Riddler – Or Is It?

Fans who were expecting to see the Riddler wearing a green suit and a bowler hat with a question mark on it may be surprised by the villain’s appearance in The Batman’s trailer. His costume is a heavy, green winter coat and a green gas mask, with some kind of padding on his head beneath the mask. He also wears a pair of thick glasses over the top of the mask. There’s a resemblance to the Batman supervillain Hush, who appeared in a story arc where the Riddler played a major role. If The Batman is lifting elements from that comic, we may not actually see the Riddler in the trailer at all.

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