After months of speculation and a trailer that almost broke the internet, Batman 2021 will finally arrive in theaters.
Based on the popular comic book series, the new movie will see the Caped Crusader facing a younger and more tech-savvy generation.
We have the lowdown on what to expect from the latest Batman movie. Read on to find out more.
Fans of the Dark Knight have long awaited the renewal of the Batman franchise. After a decade-long absence, we will see the Caped Crusader return to the big screen in 2021.
The first look at the movie was accidentally leaked online last year, but it wasn’t until the beginning of April 2021 that fans got to see a fully-formed image of Robert Pattinson in costume as Batman. Even then, it wasn’t actually possible for the general public to see what they were looking at, as most theaters have since been closed due to the pandemic.
The good news is that since the beginning of April 2021, we have finally gotten to see a steady flow of new images from the set of Batman 2021. While the identity of the villain remains under wraps, we know from previously released images that he will be played by Michael Caine, a well-known British actor and screen legend. Caine’s character will serve as the classic “nemesis” of the Batman, matching wits with the superhero in an epic showdown.
The new Batman movie will combine the conventions of the comic book series with an action-adventure narrative. This will allow the filmmakers to experiment with time-compressing events and create a more streamlined story, but it also means that the action will move at a faster pace than viewers are used to in a traditional superhero movie.
This combination of elements will make up for the somewhat lacklustre performance from Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), as well as the widely panned spin-off The LEGO Batman Movie (2018). While those films boasted a pretty high average on review aggregators, they still lagged behind the blockbusters of their time, which favored familiar comic book scenarios and character interactions over thrills and spills.
Batman: Beginnings will be the first of the new trilogy and will introduce us to Gotham City and Bruce Wayne before he donned the cape and cowl. This incarnation of the Caped Crusader will also be the first to be visually based on the designs created by artist Alex Ross, whose work can be seen in the opening credits of the movie. The Dark Knight Returns, the final part of the trilogy, will continue where Beginnings leaves off, and see Wayne finally donning the mantle of Batman and fighting for justice.
Faster, More Furious
While some fans may be excited about a slower pace and a more streamlined story, it’s fair to say that Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) changed the game when it came to speed-demoing action scenes. Rather than being bogged down by tedious speechifying or uneventful travel between locations, the stories from the show’s first three seasons focused on action, and kept the viewers enthralled through fast-paced, high-octane adventures that frequently left the heroes injured or exhausted. This made them ideal viewing for kids and even some adults who just wanted to get their money’s worth without having to spend too much time thinking during the film.
Kids these days may not get as much entertainment value out of watching a typically slower-paced superhero movie, so it’s important for parents to understand that when they show up to the theaters to see their child’s beloved film, they may not be able to stay for the entire duration. With all the explosions, car chases, and other trappings of an action show, it would be a shame to ruin your kid’s night out by dragging them to a grown-up movie that they could easily miss.
A New Approach
Batman was first introduced to cinemagoers in 1943, and over the years, the character has become a cultural icon. Despite being one of the most well-known superheroes, he has never really been given the cinematic treatment that he deserves, with his last appearance on the big screen coming in 1989’s Batman.
The Dark Knight (2008) turned the tables on this convention, reimagining villainous masterminds and grotesque villains as human beings with recognizable emotional and psychological flaws, making them relatable and even sympathetic characters. Rather than seeing Batman as a distant and aloof figure who occasionally helps out the police, the movie introduced us to a hero who was also a human being and had personal motivations for his actions.
The new movie will continue this theme, using an ensemble of characters to show us the human side of heroism and villainy, while also providing a fresh take on Batman’s world. We will see the Caped Crusader confronted by a younger, hipper, and more technologically-savvy generation, as well as a new type of villain who can’t be summed up in a single archetype.
A Familiar Face
One of the most exciting aspects of Batman 2021 is that we will be seeing Michael Caine reprise his role as Ace the Clown from the 1989 film, making it the first time that the character has featured in a Batman movie. While it will be interesting to see how the events of that film unfold in a timeline skewed towards the early 21st century, it will also add a bit of extra oomph to the story.
On the other hand, the Dark Knight Returns (2016) saw the return of two iconic villains from Frank Miller’s 1986 classic, The Dark Knight Returns. Rather than simply being reimaginings of characters we saw in The Dark Knight (2008), Miller’s anti-heroes from that iconic graphic novel will be making their presence felt.
While the bright lights of Broadway and the London stage have given us some of the greatest super-villain screen performances of all time, it’s the small screen that has consistently delivered the greatest villains (at least in my opinion). From Mr. Freeze to the Joker, Poison Ivy to Lex Luthor, we can count the villains of the Smallville TV series (2001-2011) amongst the greatest cinematic baddies ever.
While some of these villains may appear to be one-offs that only exist for the sake of a scene or ancillary character, many of the series’ baddies, including the aforementioned and the wonderfully-named Mr. Mxyzptlk, have become iconic figures that we will remember for years to come.
A New Generation Of Villains
In addition to reprising his role from The Dark Knight (2008), Michael Caine, who plays Ace the Clown in that film, will be appearing in the next two installments of the Batman franchise. However, it will not be his only appearance in 2021 as he has also been cast in the Marvel Studios film, The Eternals.
Caine’s character, Lobo, is a brutal, muscle-bound criminal who serves as the henchman of a character called The Grey. However, Lobo has his own agenda, as he’s secretly in love with The Grey’s wife and believes that she will eventually come to her senses and return his affections. Hence, his hatred for the couple – and particularly The Grey, who beats him every time they sleep together.
The great thing about this plan is that Lobo will eventually get in touch with his more gentle, comedic side, which will prove that even a villain can have a heart, as well as a sense of humor. It will be interesting to see how the character evolved as the course of the story took its unusual twists and turns.
It’s still too soon to tell what the ultimate fate of Lobo will be, as the script is still being written, but for now, we know that he will be appearing in the 2021 movie, where he will presumably wreak havoc and comedic havoc in the Marvel Studios film, The Eternals.
The success of The Dark Knight (2008) and its sequels, The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and The Final Knight (2017), have established a new benchmark for other superhero movies, inspiring other studios to give it a go. Several upcoming films will continue this trend of darker, more adult-oriented movies.