In a bold move from director Matt Reeves and Warner Bros, the first look at Robert Pattinson in costume for The Batman arrived online in direct competition with the debut of Billie Eilish’s James Bond theme tune. There was, fortunately, enough internet-breaking bandwidth to go around and Pattinson’s Caped Crusader has sparked feverish discussion online.
It’s a brief clip, showing the new Batsuit bathed in red light and accompanied by a blast of Michael Giacchino’s cool new score. Pattinson, meanwhile, recently told Variety that putting on the suit made him feel “powerful immediately”.
This might not be a full look at the new Batman in all of his glory, but there’s plenty to unpack in terms of what Reeves’ secretive film might be like.
One of the most obviously eye-catching things about Pattinson’s Batsuit is that the Bat Symbol on the chest of the apparently heavily armoured suit — which IGN connects to famed Batman artist Lee Bermejo — appears to be made from gun metal. Even more specifically than that, fans are theorising that the gun is a very important one — the weapon responsible for killing Bruce Wayne’s parents.
Social media users have theorised that the weapon incorporated into the Batsuit is the firearm Joe Chill used to gun down Thomas and Martha Wayne in Crime Alley. There’s an interesting sort of morbid poetry in Bruce Wayne using the symbol of that trauma as part of his armour.
In a difference from other Batman suits in recent years, Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne appears to be wearing a stitched, leather cowl. Rather than the hard, moulded plastic or armour in previous movie Batsuits, this one appears to have a more homemade feel — perhaps as if it’s a first attempt at a suit rather than the slick, finished product. Pattinson is certainly a younger Batman and so may just be getting to grips with his superhero alter ego.
This decision has divided fans on social media, with some enjoying the different design and others questioning the choice of leather.
Throughout the history of big screen Batman portrayals, the issue of head mobility has been one that has caused headaches — for both costume teams and leading men. Michael Keaton said he ultimately incorporated the inherent stiffness into his movement after he ripped the Batsuit filming an early scene. Christian Bale donned a slightly more flexible suit for the action demands of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, while Ben Affleck’s Batsuit design was more rigid and immobile.
Pattinson’s Batsuit seems to allow for a greater range of movement at the neck, with a raised collar doing the job of neck protection that is usually incorporated within the cowl. Not only does this offer room for a more active Batman, but it also means we get to see more of Pattinson’s wonderful chin. That’s worth treasuring.
Tantalisingly, the ears of the Batsuit are not clearly visible in this short clip, and fans really want to see what they look like.
For many on social media, the presence of either long or short ears will seemingly make or break whether they enjoy Robert Pattinson’s look or not.
The Batman refreshes the entire cast of the Gotham City universe, abandoning the threads established around Ben Affleck’s Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and team-up movie Justice League.
Pattinson will face off against a wide array of memorable villains, including Paul Dano’s The Riddler, Colin Farrell as The Penguin and Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman.
Elsewhere in the cast, Jeffrey Wright will portray Commissioner Gordon and Andy Serkis will play Wayne family butler Alfred Pennyworth.
The Batman is in UK cinemas from June 2021.