In a short teaser similar to the one that revealed Joaquin Phoenix’s look in Joker, fans can now get their first glimpse at the suit Robert Pattinson will wear in 2021’s The Batman. Director Matt Reeves tweeted out the video, which is less than a minute long and offers little more than a peek at the new costume. The DC Extended Universe seems to be starting a trend with these costume and make-up test videos.
With the film’s release over a year away, fans know very little about The Batman. In addition to Pattinson, the film will feature Colin Farrell, Zoe Kravitz, and Paul Dano as The Penguin, Catwoman, and The Riddler respectively, and it is expected to focus on Bruce Wayne as a detective more than a crimefighter. This is the first reimagining of the character since Ben Affleck last wore the cowl, but critics and audiences are starting to wonder how much it will resemble last year’s hit, Joker.
At least in terms of its marketing strategy, it seems there will be a few similarities. A year before Joker was let loose upon audiences, a short video gave the world its first look at Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck with the Joker’s new make-up design projected onto his face. Then, in its final seconds, the video revealed an unobstructed view of the reimagined villain. There was no dialogue, no sense of Joker’s story, and not a hint at what Phoenix would bring to the performance.
The same can be said for this new teaser, in which Batman is shown in low, red lighting that doesn’t reveal much more than the new Batman logo on its breastplate and Pattinson’s cowl, which has clear seams that give it a homemade look. If anything, this video shows even less than the Joker teaser or a similar screen test that came out a year before Birds of Prey. The latter gave glimpses at several key characters, mostly Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but this new Batman teaser focuses strictly on the dark knight.
The success of Joker was not always guaranteed, but DC teased audiences brilliantly. By showing little more than Phoenix standing in front of a dark background, they made the character’s new look instantly iconic. It was a powerful image that opened a flood of questions about the film’s tone, look, and connection to other DC properties. For those eagerly awaiting The Batman, this clip provides the same mix of excitement and curiosity.
The Batman, which will likely be rated PG-13, should be expected to lack the gritty edge and violence that Joker’s R-rating afforded that film. In fact, The Batman and Joker may not be similar at all. What DC has discovered, though, is the power of simplicity. These characters are already household names; notice that neither teaser features the names of the films or the characters they’re advertising. By breaking them down into their most recognizable features – the Joker’s makeup and Batman’s costume – DC is stripping away all expectations about where these new films will fit into larger franchise canon. It’s a palate cleanser, one that distances itself from Affleck and Jared Leto’s ill-fated turn as the Joker, but it also reminds Batman fans that their favorite hero is set to return in exciting fashion.
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