The shadows become Bruce Wayne in the newest posters for The Batman. Fan account Binge Watch This shared three new promotional images for Matt Reeves’s neo-noir depiction of the Caped Crusader’s second year of crimefighting, showing actor Robert Pattinson unmistakably blending into the background: a literal bat seeing red in the darkness. And at the bottom of a third poster, it reads: “I am the shadows.” Haunting. Check them out below:
Rendering the Dark Knight as “the” shadow over simply retreating into the blackness is the most Batman Robert Pattinson could ever be. Unlike what previous cinematic iterations may convey, the big bad Bat is no chameleon or trained ninja simply harnessing the shadows for a greater purpose. He’s more like an ineffable force blanketing criminality and injustice in its waiting grasp, or a bear trap biding its time till the right moment to strike.
As a vigilante protecting the forbidding streets of Gotham, Bruce Wayne is no less a man than villains like Bane and the Joker, and he takes advantage of this constraining sense of inhumanity to keep the criminal underworld of the city at bay while using the same mortifying sense of self to fight systemic cruelty rather than build on it. But he doesn’t assume a symbol; he becomes it. The shadows aren’t his friend; they are him, both inside and out. Hence The Batman’s fitting new tagline. DC fans have no use for a Batman who takes on a menacing identity to keep villainy in line. The Batman we all know and love takes superheroing to a far greater level by making Bruce Wayne out to be the mask, and the World’s Greatest Detective to be the mad creature that lurks underneath.
The double chromatic color palette for Robert Pattinson’s The Batman expands on the rugged symbolism of the tagline and vice versa. Director Matt Reeves made a terrific creative decision to use shades and cinematography to depict theme, energy, and character arc, with the black and red representing both Batman and Gotham in equal measure, feeding into each other like parasitic bonds clinging to either host. Gotham is a city of incredible chaos and evil, with exposed entrails painting the streets a dark, blood-red color. It’s an open wound pulsing with the beating heart of a city in ruin and disarray, crying out for a hero to save it from itself.
And yet Batman himself is the same. He’s an unmitigating force for change living constantly in darkness; since his parents were gunned down in Crime Alley, the shadows are all Bruce Wayne has ever known and in time, he became what his circumstances made him. He’s no longer shrouded in pall; he’s the very color itself. Despite the unyielding exterior, however, like the way Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz) would obsess over what’s underneath the cowl, audiences can tell Bruce Wayne is still a walking fissure. He’s bleeding himself dry staying the way he is, and yet at the same time, it’s exactly this overwhelming ache that fuels his crusade and keeps him going. In this case, driving a wedge between Gotham and Robert Pattinson’s Batman isn’t going stop the Dark Knight from forging ahead; he’ll either break his own skull smashing it to pieces or make it entirely his own. Gotham made the Batman what he is, and vice versa, and he’d be damned if he let it fall into further disrepair on his watch.
It’s bizarre to see a superhero be both darkness and a living embodiment of pain all at once, but Batman is a contradiction — and it’s what has always set him apart from characters like Superman and Wonder Woman who literally exhale hope, love, and rainbows wherever they touch base. Batman conveys hope and exacts justice by staying in the dim, and it’s human and realistic and works even better.
Directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne, Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colton, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, and Colin Farrell as Penguin. It hits theaters on March 4, 2022.