Just when you thought that Hollywood couldn’t get any more creative with its villainous deeds, it brings us another superhero team-up. Robert Pattinson (Pattinson) and Michael Caine (Caine) are reprising their roles as Bob and Mike from the original Batman TV series for the new movie, Batman Ninja (2019). Co-written and directed by Ryuhei Kitamura (Kitamura), this installment of the popular caped crusader movie franchise focuses on Batman’s (played by Aragorn Salaam) younger brother, who assumes the black-and-yellow persona of “Ninja.” While the “Ninja” in the title may not be the agile acrobatics we’re used to seeing from the Caped Crusader, this new take on the character still embodies many of the same qualities that made Batman so formidable in the first place.

The trailer for Batman Ninja (2019) reveals a more mature and realistic take on the character than we’ve seen in a while. The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and The Lego Batman Movie (2017) are all recent examples of how Gotham’s favorite vigilante has evolved over the years. This newest adaptation of the iconic character continues that trend, but it also stands out for its distinctively Japanese spin on the story. For those who are unfamiliar, Japan is famous for its anime and manga, and they’ve helped spawn some of the most memorable cartoon characters of all time, like Naruto, Pokémon, and One Piece. So it only makes sense that Kitamura, who directed the 2017 live-action adaptation of One Piece, would choose to put a Japanese spin on Batman Ninja. It’s fitting that Kitamura would bring his unique artistic style to the Dark Knight, as it was he who designed many of the iconic Batman villains, like the Joker and the Penguin, that Pattinson and Caine are reimprinting here.

A Real Difference In Appearance

One of the most noticeable differences between the original Batman TV series and this new offering is the stark contrast in appearance between the two lead characters. While the Bob and Mike of the original series were clean-cut, strapping lawmen, the two leading men in this new adaptation are much more aged. This is especially striking considering that Batman’s traditional enemies, the Joker and the Penguin, are now his closest allies. As a result, we see the Dark Knight gear up not only with his usual accoutrements of utility belt and cape, but also with a samurai sword, which he uses to duel with the shuriken-throwing ninja. This new interpretation of Batman seems to have taken a page out of Don Draper’s (Jon Hamm) playbook, as the trailer hints at a more mature attitude and a more sophisticated sense of fashion. Pattinson even wears a tuxedo for part of the film’s climax, further evidence that they channeled Hamm’s adored 1960s TV series, rather than remaking it as it was, which is fitting because Hamm’s Don Draper is probably one of the most beloved and influential portrayals of the character ever.

Varying Perspectives On Batman

If there’s one thing that has remained consistent over the 60 years since Batman first graced our TVs, it’s his perspective. The Dark Knight has always been a man of principle and an outsider, who sees the injustice that plagues Gotham City and vows to do something about it. But as we mentioned, over the years, our hero has evolved beyond the box of clichés that once defined him, and now, with this new adaptation, we get to see a more mature Batman, one who has fought the good fight and seen the injustices of this world, but is no longer certain of what he sees. It would seem that Batman Ninja is yet another example of how Hollywood is trying to redefine what a comic book movie should look like, and it’s refreshing to see filmmakers vary their approach to such a timeless character.