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‘The Batman’ Japanese Trailer: Dano’s Sinister Riddler is the Villain We Need Right Now

It’s been almost six months since The Batman was originally scheduled to release, and like most fans, I am desperate for any crumbs of new content. Luckily, the new trailer that dropped in Japan on Monday offered some particularly appetizing morsels. To call it an entirely new trailer is probably not wholly accurate, it’s more of a new cut of the previous one. However, it still offers up some new footage and dialogue with some pretty substantial (potential) implications.

The official trailer we saw during DC’s Fandome event in October offered some extremely intriguing first looks at quite a few major players, including Catwoman, Penguin, and Alfred, but Dano’s Riddler was noticeably elusive. The new trailer, however, places him much more front and center, granting him more screen time than in the original trailer, even though it’s a full minute shorter. We’re still pretty much in the dark in regards to his actual objectives, but the new footage offers some insight as to just how formidable an opponent he’s shaping up to be.

Even in the snippets of extra footage, we still don’t get a good look at his face, which remains concealed under that menacing canvas mask. It’s a look that, I think, does a terrific job of adapting a comic costume that is not particularly well-suited for live-action, and a choice that gives the character a crucially sinister presence.

Paul Dano in costume as The Riddler.
Image via Warner Brothers Pictures

The biggest reveal is reserved for the final line of the trailer, uttered (supposedly) by Dano. “I’ve been trying to reach you, Bruce Wayne.” The name lingers ominously as we watch a dishevelled Pattinson remove his cowl. There are some that have doubts about whether it truly is The Riddler who has unearthed Batman’s identity, including those who believe this is actually a confirmation of the Joker’s appearance. While I understand the skepticism, the collage of Bruce Wayne newspaper clippings bearing the Riddler’s handwriting and signature question mark motif all but affirms it for me. There are also photos of what appears to be a young Edward Nygma beside the Waynes.

A collage of cut out newspaper clippings and photos of Bruce Wayne bearing The Riddler's question mark.
Image via Warner Brothers Pictures

We’ve had three new Jokers since the last time Riddler had a shot on the big screen, so I’m certainly just excited to see a new member of Batman’s iconic rogues’ gallery claim the spotlight for a moment. More than that, however, director Matt Reeves and Dano’s exceptionally insidious interpretation appears to be the perfect adversary for Pattinson’s Batman, specifically.

When it comes to Batmen, I prefer mine just over the line of unhinged, which Pattinson appears to be channelling wonderfully. From what we know, this film will be a “Year Two” story and takes place rather early in Bruce Wayne’s tenure as the Dark Knight. We’re following a Batman who is still green behind the ears and more than a little rough around the edges; a vigilante more sure of his methods than his mission. Even for Batman, he displays some shocking brutality in the trailer, at one point unleashing a merciless barrage of 12 blows in under eight seconds on a single assailant. We even see Commissioner Gordon taken aback at the savagery he is witnessing.

While a more mature and stoic Batman might be able to make short work of Riddler’s psychological onslaught, that is not this particular interpretation. Instead, this film’s half-baked and half-cocked protagonist looks like he will be a much more susceptible participant in The Riddler’s heinous machinations. Especially if Nygma truly has uncovered and bypassed the Batman façade, and is targeting a much more vulnerable unbalanced and uncertain Bruce Wayne directly.

Between the absolutely exceptional cast list, compelling design, and gritty noir-tinged plot, this film is gearing up to take a real shot at dethroning The Dark Knight. That’s no small feat, and of course, we’ll have to actually see the film before passing any real final judgement, but every new tidbit of content takes it another step in the direction I’m hoping to see it go in.

The Batman will arrive in theaters on March 22nd, 2022.

So what do you think of the trailer for The Batman? Are you as excited as Max to see The Riddler get another shot against Batman on the big screen? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re looking for horror trailers, we’ve got you covered!

Written by Max McHone

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