Even though we'll see more than one familiar Batman return in 2022's The Flash movie, we're also getting a brand new incarnation of The Dark Knight this year. Robert Pattinson is playing the Caped Crusader this time around, as director Matt Reeves reboots the franchise with The Batman.
Here's a look at everything we know about The Batman, from the plot and cast to how you can watch the film and whether it's going to be streaming on HBO Max.
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The Batman Review
Reviews for The Batman have been mostly positive. IGN's Alex Stedman gave it a rave, scoring the film with a 10 out of 10. "Matt Reeves’ violent, thrilling, darkly beautiful take on The Batman more than justifies its place in the franchise’s canon," says Stedman. The film has received mostly positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes as well.
When Will The Batman Stream on HBO Max?
The Batman will be arriving on HBO Max on April 18. If you don't have HBO's streaming service, however, it will also arrive on HBO proper on April 23. This is part of WarnerMedia's new strategy of giving tentpole films at least a 45 day theatrical window before they appear on HBO Max.
The Batman's Release Date
The Batman was released in theaters on Friday, March 4, 2022. Originally it was intended to be a summer movie (as most Batman movies have traditionally been), but it was pushed back from its June 25, 2021 release date multiple times after production was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presale tickets for The Batman went live on February 10, so there's still time to reserve your seats before opening night.
Is The Batman Set in the DCEU (DC Extended Universe)?
No, The Batman is not set in the DCEU where films like Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, Justice League, and the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and The Flash are set. Director Matt Reeves' take on Batman is specifically intended to be its own story, set in a different cinematic world. Of course, that doesn't mean that it won't someday cross over with other DC films or characters, especially with The Flash movie already promising to bring the multiverse to the big-screen DC movies (that film has two Batmen in it already – Michael Keaton's and Ben Affleck's!). But for now, the intention seems to be to keep the Robert Pattinson Batman off in his own world, much as the Joaquin Phoenix Joker was also portrayed.
How Long Is The Batman?
The runtime for The Batman is 2 hours and 55 minutes, making it the longest Batman movie that has ever been made. If you're planning on watching the film in theaters, you may want to avoid drinking too many liquids beforehand.
What Movies Do I Need to See Before The Batman?
Basically, you don't need to see anything before The Batman. Since the film is the first in a new series (which will reportedly be a trilogy), there is no back story to worry about.
Of course, you may want to check out some of director Matt Reeves' other movies after you see The Batman. He's a skilled filmmaker and we're big fans of his here at IGN. He's also directed Cloverfield, Let Me In, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, War for the Planet of the Apes, episodes of the TV series Felicity (which he co-created with J.J. Abrams), and more.
The Batman's Title
With this reboot changing production dates, directors, writers and lead actors in recent years, about the only thing that's remained constant is the title. This new Batman film will simply be titled The Batman.
It may be no coincidence that the movie shares a title with the 2004 animated series. Both projects focus on a younger Bruce Wayne early in his crime-fighting career. "The Batman" is how the people of Gotham tend to refer to their protector early on, when he's an unfamiliar and mistrusted presence in a city plagued by crime and corruption. Reeves teased that Gotham's residents are actually afraid of Batman, as he hasn't yet become the symbol of hope his city truly needs.
The New Batman Movie's Trailers
Fans didn't have to wait long after production began before seeing their first glimpse of The Batman. Reeves posted a short costume test video featuring Pattinson in a dramatically redesigned Batsuit. That costume seems to be drawing inspiration from both the comics and the Arkham video games.
The first full-length trailer for The Batman was released during DC FanDome in August 2020. You can watch it out below:
Then you can check out IGN's full breakdown of the trailer and the secrets hidden within:
A lengthier trailer debuted at DC FanDome 2022:
IGN also did a deep dive into that trailer, and why it appears Pattinson's Batman may just be the most psychologically unhinged one yet:
The Batman Cast & Crew
When word of Warner Bros.'s next solo Batman movie first surfaced in July 2015, it was believed that Ben Affleck would direct and star, with Affleck and Geoff Johns co-writing the screenplay. However, the project has undergone a major shift since then, with Affleck dropping out (first as director and then completely) and the screenplay being substantially altered. That seemed to mark the end of Affleck's tenure as Batman, though he's since appeared the Snyder Cut of Justice League and will play Batman one final time in the upcoming Flash movie.
The Batman DC FanDome 2021 Trailer Images
Matt Reeves (War of the Planet of the Apes) has now been tapped to direct The Batman. Reeves is also writing the film and serving as producer alongside fellow Apes veteran Dylan Clark. Michael Giacchino (Rogue One, Lost) is scoring the film, and said he has "total freedom" with his take on the franchise.
Robert Pattinson (Cosmopolis and, yes, the Twilight movies) is starring as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The choice to cast Pattinson was apparently a simple one, with a Warners insider describing it as "quicker than normal." Pattinson's main source of competition was Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class), with both actors participating in a costume test in May 2019, shortly before Pattinson officially signed on.
Zoe Kravitz became the next cast member to officially sign on. Kravitz will play Selina Kyle, with Reeves describing the movie as an origin story for Catwoman. Westworld's Jeffrey Wright will play Commissioner Gordon. Jonah Hill was rumored to be in the running for either Penguin or Riddler, but he's since dropped out of the running. Instead, There Will Be Blood's Paul Dano has been cast as Edward Nashton/The Riddler.
Reeves recently confirmed several other casting choices. His Apes collaborator Andy Serkis will play Alfred Pennyworth. Reeves also announced Do the Right Thing's John Turturro will play mob boss Carmine Falcone and confirmed previous rumors that In Bruges' Colin Farrell will play the Penguin.
Newcomer Jayme Lawson and Black Mass' Peter Sarsgaard are also joining the cast. While neither actor's role was confirmed at first, we've since learned both Lawson and Sarsgaard will be playing entirely new characters. Lawson is playing a mayoral candidate named Bella Reál, while Sarsgaard is playing Gotham's District Attorney Gil Colson. Previous rumors suggested Sarsgaard was playing a pre-Two Face Harvey Dent and Lawson's character is actually Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, and it's possible these new characters are meant to be red herrings to help keep the plot under wraps.
Joe Manganiello was expected to play master assassin Deathstroke in the Affleck/Johns movie, and even appeared in a brief post-credits scene in Justice League as a new recruit to Lex Luthor's supervillain team. Manganiello's cameo was reworked in the Snyder Cut, setting up what we now know would have been a dark showdown between Deathstroke and Batman in the original version of the film. At this point, it's unclear whether Manganiello will reprise his role again.
The Batman's Plot
Despite featuring a young and still largely unproven hero, The Batman isn't an origin story. The movie is set in Year 2 of his superhero career, as Pattinson's Bruce Wayne is still perfecting his equipment and methods and establishing a relationship with the GCPD. The plot revolves around the hunt for a puzzle-obsessed serial killer who murders wealthy Gotham residents, as well as Batman's discovery of a deep conspiracy reaching far back into Gotham's history (and potentially involving his own parents).
Early rumors suggested The Batman is set in the '90s. That, in turn, has fueled speculation that Pattinson is either playing a younger version of Affleck's Batman, or that the movie is set in the same universe as 2019's Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime is certainly conspicuously absent in The Batman. However, the trailers show modern technology like cellphones and late-model cars, so it appears to be a contemporary story. Though there's certainly a retro muscle car quality to the new Batmobile design.
Moreover, The Batman isn't connected to the DCEU and takes place in its own universe. But with DC emphasizing the multiverse in its future live-action projects, that doesn't necessarily mean we won't see Pattinson's Batman appear elsewhere.
The Batman will take a more noir and mystery-oriented approach to the Dark Knight's world, emphasizing his detective skills more than previous movies and drawing inspiration from films like Chinatown and the work of Alfred Hitchcock. However, Reeves is said to have recently tweaked the script to include more action and give fans a more well-rounded superhero experience. Expect some big action scenes, as Pattinson trained in jiu-jitsu. And Andy Serkis promises The Batman is darker than any of its predecessors.
7 Detective Stories 'The Batman' Could Adapt
Early rumors pointed to The Batman featuring anywhere from two to six villains. We know that Catwoman, Riddler and Penguin will all appear, and another rumor claims the Mad Hatter and Two-Face could also be in the movie.
Multiple reports suggest The Batman is the start of a new trilogy. Reeves revealed as far back as 2017 that he has ideas for a multi-movie Batman story. "I have ideas about an arc," Reeves said in 2017, "but really, the important thing is just to start… you have to start with one."
The Gotham PD Series
Not only are fans likely to see multiple Batman movies starring Pattinson, the franchise is also getting multiple small screen spinoffs. WarnerMedia announced a prequel series called Gotham PD. The series is exclusive to HBO Max and was set to be executive produced by Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter, though Ritual's Joe Barton has reportedly taken over the series. Gotham PD is set one year before the events of The Batman and will delve deeper into the corruption and conspiracies at the heart of the movie.
"The idea of this story was a story in which Gotham, which has this depth of corruption, and the idea that we could do a series that is going deeper into an aspect of it, which in this case is the corrupt police department, the corrupt inner workings of the city," said Reeves at DC FanDome. "The idea is, we go back to year one, and year one is the beginning of the first emergence, the first appearance of this masked vigilante that starts to unsettle the city, and you start to see the story through the POV of these corrupt cops, and one in particular. And the story is actually a battle for his soul."
The Batman – Official Trailer 1 Stills
As Reeves alludes, the series is believed to be centered around Wright's Jim Gordon, and won't be drawing from the critically acclaimed comic book series Gotham Central, as previously assumed.
There's at least one other spinoff series in the works for HBO Max. Colin Farrell will reprise his role in a Penguin-centric series. That series is reportedly set after the events of The Batman, with the film itself acting as an "origin story" for Farrell's Oswald Cobblepot and the various other villains.
Note: This story originally ran in June of 2019. It was updated with the latest streaming information on April 13.