There’s a lot to love about Matt Reeves’ take on The Batman.
The character’s introduction is one of the best onscreen portrayals of him yet, as we see how two years of dwelling in the shadows has bred fear into the criminals of Gotham, with some chilling shots of them staring into dark alleyways, fearful of what will emerge. And there is a fresh arc to the Batman’s role in Gotham, evident by the end of the film, a take on the character we haven’t really seen highlighted for some time. Gratifyingly, it’s an arc earned both plot-wise and emotionally.
His relationship with Jeffrey Wright’s excellent Jim Gordon (though really, when isn’t Wright excellent…!?) is a highlight, though doesn’t pay off as satisfyingly as we might expect. Perhaps they’re saving that for the inevitable (and bluntly teased) sequels.
And finally, after decades of being ignored in the various cinematic versions of Batman, ‘the World’s Greatest Detective’ (as he’s known in comic books) takes to the screen, and very welcome he is (albeit set against a typically convoluted film noir plot).
Noir is a major touchstone here, and Jake Gittes would be at home in Reeves’ Gotham as much as he was in Polanski’s Chinatown (I almost expected someone to pull Gordon aside and say “Forget it, Jim, it’s Gotham”).
The other influences are strong: Scorsese’s Taxi Driver weighs heavily on Pattinson’s Batman/Wayne, and Fincher’s Se7en and Zodiac loom close at hand in numerous ways, while the dynamic between Selina Kyle/Catwoman and Batman here could easily be traced back to Sutherland and Fonda’s in Pakula’s Klute. Meanwhile, comic book series such as Batman: Year One and The Long Halloween also make their presences keenly felt (Zoe Kravitz’s winning take on Kyle/Catwoman has its DNA placed firmly in the former).
These textures make for a far more refreshing version of the character than I was expecting, and while the distinctly non-frenetic pace is to be applauded, a tighter edit could easily have trimmed fifteen to twenty minutes from the bloated three hour running time without any detraction from the overall film.
While Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne occasionally veers a little too close to being a moody emo boy under his floppy locks, he nevertheless brings a fine vulnerability to the role, gifting the character with liberal (*cough*) doses of white guilt and a couple of touching revelatory moments for both of his alter-egos. Happily, the actor/director/studio choice not to make Wayne growl absurdly as Batman pays dividends, as that has been too much of a diversion in recent iterations of the character.
The film’s main villain never feels quite as present or chilling as he should be. Despite some truly grisly crimes he tends to get a little lost in the story’s mass of convolutions, and his final confrontation with Batman ultimately suffers when compared to, and yes, that is an elephant in the room, Ledger’s Joker. Indeed, The Batman is unable to escape from the long shadows cast by the far-too-recent Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy (or, to a far lesser extent, the Snyder Batfleck efforts), and perhaps expects audiences to have moved on too quickly from that cultural juggernaut. It’s a sure bet that Reeves’ outing with the Caped Crusader would have felt fresher with a little more distance from those films.
Having said that, Reeves should be applauded for his almost stoic anti-blockbuster approach, deftly juggling elements of noir, horror, and mystery, for resolutely refusing to spoon fed audiences yet another version of the Batman origin story, and for leaving the character in a place that bodes well for his next outing.
Though maybe next time Reeves could bring some sharper scissors to the edit suite.
Category: comic book news
The Batman – DC FanDome Trailer
The DC FanDome online event has just dropped the second trailer for Matt Reeves’ forthcoming film, The Batman.
Starring Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader, this latest trailer reveals much more of Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman and Colin Farrell as Oswald “Oz” Cobblepot, A.K.A The Penguin. Still held back from all but the briefest view is the film’s chief villain, Paul Dano’s The Riddler.
In his second year of fighting crime, Batman uncovers corruption in Gotham City that connects to his own family while facing a serial killer known as the Riddler.
Reeves has promised that this iteration of the DC Comics character will place a greater emphasis on his detective skills, though since this trailer mainly focuses on action beats, we’ll have to wait and see if that bears out.
Originally set for release on June 25, 2021, the pandemic saw that date come and go, and The Batman will now emerge from the Bat-Cave into cinemas in March, 2022.
EDIT: Director Reeves released a higher quality res version via his Vimeo account:
The Batman – Main Trailer from Matt Reeves on Vimeo.
Marvel Bounces Back With Phase 4 Releases And Finally… Fantastic Four!
2020 has been the first year in a decade not to see any Marvel theatrical releases. While I’m certain I don’t need to explain why that is, the news from today’s Disney Investors meetings should keep fans of the studio’s output very happy. Buckle up, because this is quite a ride…
A slew of new releases will begin on January 15th, as WandaVision becomes the first Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series, crossing over onto Disney +. Here’s the new trailer for this extremely exciting looking show, starring Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Teyonah Paris and Kat Dennings:
Following that on the same channel, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, starring Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp and Wyatt Russell, will arrive on March 19th. Marvel dropped a brand new trailer for this:
The first trailer also arrived for the Loki series, starring Tom Hiddleston as the God of Mischief, Owen Wilson and Gugu Mbatha-Raw:
And finally we have a sizzle reel, including the first snippets of footage, for the as-yet undated Ms. Marvel, starring Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan/Ms.Marvel:
Also announced and/or confirmed without release dates, were forthcomng series Hawkeye, seeing Jeremy Renner reprise his role, alongside Hailee Steinfeld as comic book favourite, Kate Bishop, and She-Hulk, with Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk, Tim Roth returning as the Abomination and an appearance from Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo.
Meanwhile, What If…? and I Am Groot will see animated adventures on the channel, and just announced at the last minute: James Gunn will write and direct The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, for an unannounced date in 2022, and the same year will see Don Cheadle in his own series as James Rhodes, in an adaptation of a famous Iron Man comic book storyline, Armor Wars.
Looking further ahead to shows in development, Moon Knight will get his own series (apparently with Oscar Issac in the title role, as a bizarre and complex vigilante), Samuel L Jackon’s Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn’s Skrull, Talos from Captain Marvel, team for Secret Invasion (another comic book series, which saw the shape-shifting Skrulls infiltrate the Marvel heroes on Earth), and finally, Dominique Thorne will play genius inventor Riri Williams in Ironheart, a series about the creator of the most advanced suit of armor since Iron Man.
The long-delayed Black Widow movie will finally be released, to cinemas according to Marvel Studios’ head honcho, Kevin Feige, on November 6th, 2021. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has now completed production and will be in theaters July 9th, 2021.
Christian Bale is confirmed to be joining the cast of Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder, released May 6th, 2022.
Meanwhile, Brie Larson returns as Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel 2 on November 11th, 2022, directed by Nia DaCosta. Joining the cast are recently announced Ms. Marvel, Iman Vellani, and Monica Rambeau played by WandaVision’s Teyonah Parris.
Peyton Reed is back to direct the third Ant-Man film, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer all return. Kathryn Newton joins the cast as Cassie Lang and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror. No release date was given for this yet.
Although news on Black Panther 2 was somewhat understandably slim, Feige confirmed that T’Challa, as played by the late Chadwick Boseman, will not be recast.
And, as if all this wasn’t breathtaking enough for Marvel fans, Feige announced that Jon Watts (director of the MCU Spider-Man films) will bring Marvel’s First Family (created by Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby, in 1961), Fantastic Four to the screen at last, thanks to the all-powerful Disney returning the characters to their rightful home in the recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox. There have been two previous screen versions of these characters through Fox (including a rights grabbing abomination, infamously directed by Josh Trank in 2015), but fans of the Four have longed to see them integrated into the MCU, and now that will happen.
2020 may have been a quiet period for Marvel fans, but it’s safe to say the studio will be back with a bang in 2021.
The MCU Gets Weird With WandaVision Trailer
The trailer for WandaVision, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe series to hit Disney Plus dropped last night, and it looks like things are about to get mighty strange…
Not much is known about the plot for WandaVision, but it does apparently take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the events of Avengers: Endgame, which saw The Vision meet his synthetic maker (that can’t possibly be a spoiler for anyone now, right!?). That in itself makes this show intriguing, to say the least.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles from the Marvel movies, joined by Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings, Randall Park, and Kathryn Hahn, while the six episodes have been written by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman.
No date was given for the release of the series, just a generic ‘Coming Soon,’ though since the series was originally supposed to drop in December, following Falcon And the Winter Soldier (which has been delayed in production due to that all-encompassing Covid-19), it now looks like WandaVision will kick off the Disney Plus Marvel bandwagon.
We’ll just have to wait and see when exactly this slice of Marvel weirdness will arrive on our screens, but this trailer certainly has me looking forward to it…
Marvel Cast Tatiana Maslany As She-Hulk For Disney Plus
I have to be honest, I’m a little obsessed with Tatiana Maslany. It’s her teeth. They are, and I’ll brook no argument on this, the sexiest teeth on television.
That aside, the fact that Marvel have landed Maslany for the title role in their new She-Hulk series for Disney Plus is excellent news, because her performances in BBC America show, Orphan Black, were fabulous. Maslany was nominated for three Emmys and a Golden Globe during the show’s run between 2013 and 2017, winning the Emmy for best actress in a drama series in 2016.
She-Hulk, to those who are behind on their Marvel Comics’ lore, is the alter-ego of lawyer Jennifer Walters, Bruce Banner’s cousin who, at least in her four-colour origin, is tranformed into an intelligent, green-skinned giant after a life-saving blood transfusion from her (in)famous relative. Mark Ruffalo has coyly intimated he may even reprise his role as Banner for a cameo on the show.
She-Hulk’s debut on the screen is shaping up nicely, as Maslany’s casting joins the announcement from earlier this week that Kat Coiro had been signed as director and executive producer. She will direct the pilot and additional episodes of the series. Jessica Gao is writing the series and serves as executive producer and showrunner.
Coiro has directed shows including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Dead To Me, while Gao has Rick and Morty on her resume, which suggest She-Hulk might follow the frequently semi-comedic tone taken by the best of the character’s comic book appearances (star artist/writer John Byrne produced a memorable run in the 80s, with Shulkie, as she’s affectionately known, frequently breaking the fourth wall to address readers).
She-Hulk, with a currently unknown release date, will join other Marvel Cinematic Universe shows on Disney Plus, including Falcon and The Winter Soldier, WandaVision and Loki, with Hawkeye, Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel also in development.
We’ll bring you more news as it hits.
Tatiana Maslany photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
To The Batmobile… Matt Reeves Reveals His Ride.
Start your engines! The Batman director Matt Reeves has just revealed his version of the Batmobile. And, well, here it is…
There’s not much more to say at this point, except that it looks nicely slimmed down from recent chunky cinematic Batmobiles, and to this old Bat Fan’s eyes, it has something of the feel of both the 1970s comic book sports car versions designed by the likes of Bob Brown, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano and the sleek number designed by the late, great artist Norm Breyfogle, for his excellent run in the 1980s. And that’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The cast also includes Zoe Kravtiz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as Riddler, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, John Turturro as crime boss Carmine Falcone, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred and Peter Sarsgaard as Gotham City DA Gil Colson.
The film will be released June 25th, 2021.
Here’s Your First Look At Robert Pattinson As The Batman
Director of Warner Bros.’ forthcoming reboot of The Batman, Matt Reeves has revealed the first look at incoming Bruce Wayne, Robert Pattinson, in costume as the Dark Knight…
The short, atmospheric video is part of a camera test for the film, so this may not be the final costume, but there’s no doubt that Pattinson looks good in the cape and cowl.
The cast for The Batman also includes Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as Riddler, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, John Turturro as crime boss Carmine Falcone, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred, and Peter Sarsgaard in an as-yet unrevealed role.
The Batman hits our screens on June 25, 2021.
UPDATE: Apparently that IS the Bat Suit and also the music is from Michael Giacchino, who’s scoring the film. That makes this clip a whole lot more intriguing.
WandaVision, Loki and Falcon and the Winter Soldier Teasers: You WILL Subcribe To Disney +
Those of you who unsubscribed to Disney + at the end of The Mandalorian: get ready to re-subscribe:
There are your Super Bowl teasers for forthcoming Marvel TV shows: WandaVision, Loki, and Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Well, Disney +, you have my attention.
All featuring the actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Mackie & Sebastian Stan), joined by the likes of Kat Denning and Owen Wilson, these look set to be intriguing expansions of the first ten years of Marvel, ready to lead us into the next phase.
The first show up will be Falcon And The Winter Soldier (autumn 2020), which looks like it will deal head on with the space left by Steve Rogers (oh, the whole world has seen Avengers: Endgame by now, right!?).
WandaVision (following soon after) looks especially bizarre, seemingly taking visual cues from the likes of I Love Lucy and Roseanne. It’s great to see these shows might take some creative risks.
And I feel sure Mr Hiddleston will bring a fan or two into the Disney streaming service with Loki, in 2021. Also expect this show to tie-in heavily with cinema sequel, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, sadly without director, Scott Derrickson, who recently departed the production due to those pesky “creative differences.”.
Now, where’s that TV remote? I have some planning to do…
Somewhat Surprisingly, The New Mutants Gets A New Trailer…
Whatever has occurred in the twists and turns taken to bring Fox’s The New Mutants to the screen remains somewhat of a mystery, but we finally have a new trailer and a new (new) release date.
Though I’m generally not a huge fan of Marvel’s mutant teams, I’ve always had a soft spot for The New Mutants, encouraged mainly by the Chris Claremont/Bill Sienkiewicz ‘Demon Bear‘ storyline that elevated a bunch of second string characters into a must read comic book!
I also rather liked the first trailer for Josh Boone’s The New Mutants film for Fox, released two years ago, followed by… well, officially, nothing.
Behind the scenes, however, everything seemed to be going on, from the Fox/Disney merger (would Disney want to see Marvel characters in a straightforward horror movie, albeit released under the Fox banner?), to delayed release dates, rumoured reshoots involving X-Men writer/producer Simon Kinsberg and further rumours that the film would be shelved as it now longer fitted in with the Mouse House’s overall plans for Marvel.
But just recently, director Boone tweeted that a new trailer would be released and a final release date set, and here we are.
I’m more than intrigued by this, the cast is full of great young actors (honestly, I’d watch Anya Taylor-Joy in anything, and I’m dying to see her take on Illyana Rasputin / Magik, but Maisie Williams, Maisie Williams, Henry Zaga, Blu Hunt, and Charlie Heaton are all of great interest too), and the thought of a superhero/horror mash-up ticks all of my boxes.
The New Mutants is released (finally) on April 3rd. Here’s hoping I won’t regret spending so much time writing about it.
Riddle Me This… Paul Dano To Play Which Bat-Villain?
The answer, of course, is that Warner Bros have just announced Paul Dano will play The Riddler, in Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
We couldn’t be happier about this at Out of Dave’s Head towers, as Dano is a superb actor and a smart choice.
In a departure from the comic books, Dano’s character will be named Edward Nashton, as opposed to the rather too on-the-nose Edward Nigma, and will be part of a Rogues’ Gallery of villains squaring off against the Caped Crusader, joining (so far) Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman (see here for more).
Jonah Hill was in talks for the film, reportedly to play either The Riddler or The Penguin, but it seems negotiations broke down, swiftly followed by Dano’s announcement.
Created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang in Detective Comics 140, published in 1948, the Riddler has previously appeared onscreen portrayed by Frank Gorshin and John Astin (in the 1960s Batman film and TV series) and Jim Carrey (in the 1995 film, Batman Forever).
Dano’s credits include Love and Mercy, Prisoners, 12 Years a Slave, There Will Be Blood, Youth and Okja, and he was recently nominated for an Emmy for his role in Escape at Dannemora.
Dano and Kravitz join Jeffrey Wright as Comissioner Gordon and Robert Pattinson as Batman. Warner Bros will release The Batman on June 25, 2021.
Photo: Paul Archuleta/WireImage