It’s been a big weekend in the Batman universe. We’ve got not one, not two, but three new trailers to dive into. It’s a very good time to be a Batman fan.
The first teaser for the upcoming The Batman movie, starring Robert Pattinson, has dropped. It’s dark, gritty, and jaw-dropping.
Between dealing with true villains, sidekicks, and Catwoman, The Batman will have his hands full.
Pattinson’s turn as the dark knight appears less heroic than the Nolan trilogy, going by the tone of the trailer and the beatdown the Bat delivers — along with a line that’s sure to become iconic — in the teaser’s final third. Several major Bat universe villains drive the story, including Riddler, Penguin and the mysterious Court of Owls. As usual, Riddler taunts Batman with a series of violent crimes wrapped in an unfolding enigma. The Bat hardware looks sleeker and stripped down from the Nolan films as well. And unless anyone misunderstands, Pattinson’s film is not a sequel to those films, which finished with The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, and it’s also not truly a reboot of them. The Batman follows the comics reboot from 2011.
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Warner Bros. also chose this weekend to drop the reveal video for its upcoming new game in the Arkham series, Gotham Knights.
Gotham Knights looks to be a direct sequel to Arkham Knight, the final of four in that series. In the trailer, a scarred Bruce Wayne has lost the Batcave and sends his loyal sidekicks a sobering message: He’s dead. It will be up to them — Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, and Red Hood — to protect Gotham City now.
The trailer looks fantastic, but I have misgivings. WB Montreal is producing GK, not Rocksteady. Rocksteady produced the shockingly great Arkham Asylum game (2009) which resurrected Batman as a video game franchise. Arkham Asylum won a gazillion awards including Game of the Year, which it deserved for its storytelling, its graphics, and for its success at allowing players to become Batman as he battled Joker, beat down henchmen, and used his detective skills and Bat tech to save Gotham. Rocksteady went on to produce Arkham City (2011) and Arkham Knight (2015), both of which are outstanding additions to the Batman universe. The games stand strong on their own and build a cohesive story.
WB Montreal, on the other hand, produced Arkham Origins (2013), which is widely regarded as the weakest of the Arkham game series. Having played them all, it’s a fair assessment. Arkham Asylum was mind-blowing. Mark Hamill is brilliant as Joker. There had been Batman games before. But none of them had been any good until Asylum changed everything. Arkham City brought the open world concept to Batman, with a large and explorable Gotham City a swing or a glide away, and Arkham Knight brought in the Batmobile as a massive tank-like vehicle capable of driving right through destructible walls. Arkham Origins wasn’t terrible. It just wasn’t as strong as the other three. To be fair, it’s a prequel, Batman is weaker than in the other games, and the story just doesn’t flow or work as well as the main Rocksteady story does.
WB Montreal is producing Gotham Knights. This doesn’t mean Rocksteady is sidelined. It’s producing the third Batman offering that’s on the way, which is Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. Its reveal trailer dropped this weekend too.
While Gotham Knights appears to offer four heroic/vigilante playable characters, all with their own fighting style, Suicide Squad seems to offer four playable villains including Harley Quinn. Their primary enemy is none other than Superman.
The game will highlight a smaller roster of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, King Shark and Captain Boomerang. The teaser shows them beating up minions in a city under siege from what appears to be the evil supercomputer Brainiac. But things quickly take a turn when they run into Superman holding a pilot in one hand — who he promptly fries with his heat vision. Task Force X’s alpha target in this title is no other than Big Blue himself.
They’re gonna need a bigger Squad.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League also appears to be a continuation of the Rocksteady series. It’s due out in 2022, while The Batman and Gotham Knights are both due out in 2021.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put on my Nightwing shirt.