Batman director Matt Reeves teased fans with an entire scene, giving us a closer look at Robert Pattinson’s take on Bruce Wayne. Reeves posted a high-quality, 4K version of the scene on his Vimeo account, according to a Twitter post put out on Monday.
Eternal gratitude for putting these out in 4K, sir. YouTube is no longer kind to regular HD footage. Vimeo’s quality is far superior, and this film is looking captivating.
— Nick Michalak (@RavensFilm) January 30, 2022
It’s a great moment for fans, with many of them lauding Reeves’ efforts at turning around what was originally a leaked scene into a special moment for cinephiles. Before we dive further into every key moment in the scene, let’s take one more look at all the Bat-goodness on display:
Pretty slick, isn’t it? With dark undertones, tense moments, and subtle emotional cues, they couldn’t have picked a better scene to leak. So let’s get down to business.
Bella Réal and Bruce Wayne
The scene opens up with a shot of Bruce Wayne walking alongside a woman named Bella Réal (Jayme Lawson), but let’s get a bit of context first.
The first question to answer for any funeral scene is, of course, whose is it?
Turns out that it’s the old mayor of Gotham, who was murdered by Paul Dano’s sinister Riddler. Bella is the candidate for his replacement and she is trying to convince Bruce to donate more money for the city’s welfare, like his father Thomas Wayne did. She remarks on how he never makes any time or money for philanthropic projects, and leaves Bruce after driving her point home.
Nolan’s Dark Knight and Tim Burton’s 1989 film’s Bruces were much more friendly and social, regularly fraternizing with everyone from reporters to politicians and other businesspersons. In contrast, Reeves’ Bruce maintains little contact with the outside world. His ‘philanthropy’ spending primarily goes towards his activities as a vigilante. In previous trailers, we’ve even seen shots of a decrepit, dusty Wayne manor. So while Bruce may be a billionaire, he also doesn’t seem to care much for luxury or a social life.
The Ex-Mayor’s Son
The brief dialogue tells us a lot about Bruce’s priorities. Not only is he silent throughout, but as Bella speaks, his eyes are focused on a lone figure standing at the foot of the ex-Mayor’s coffin—a young boy we can assume is his son. Bruce, whose own father was murdered, resonates deeply with the child, with Pattinson delivering a great, subtle performance even as his lips are sealed.
The image is of a young Bruce Wayne who still feels the wounds of his childhood tragedy; one who channels all his time, effort, and emotional energy into being Batman. This is a person carrying the weight of pain and loss, a hero focused more on vengeance than on justice.
While Reddit theorists suggested that the child could be a potential Robin, we disagree. Rather, the character serves as a way to connect Bruce’s past to his present, and shows us the first time Pattinson’s character saves a life, when he swoops in to save the kid from an incoming vehicle. This brings us to…
The Riddler’s Next Crime
Before the vehicle comes crashing into the funeral event, Bruce notices a sole, obscured figure on a mezzanine balcony, bathed in sunlight and staring directly at him.
While a short side-view shot confirms that this is the Riddler, it also adds weight to the theory that he knows about the Bruce-Batman connection. Why else would he be standing expectantly, watching the man’s every move? The scene also culminates with the vehicle’s occupant D.A. Gil Colson, who is held hostage via a remote detonator, and carries a message addressed directly ‘To The Batman’.
Colson, played by Peter Saarsgard, was described by the actor as being a ‘really bad guy’. Even the short police officer dialogue overheard by Bruce implies that Colson goes missing often; this is implied by a frustrated wife’s complaint and a relatively indifferent set of colleagues.
Perhaps this is what links together the Riddler’s targets—remember, the funeral itself is swarming with police officers—the guardians of Gotham’s political elite, even in death.
It also further deepens the idea that Riddler’s true vendetta isn’t against Batman. Rather, he’s tightening his grip around the Wayne family legacy. Previous promotional material suggests that the Riddler was raised at an orphanage owned by Thomas Wayne, and that whatever made the Riddler a Zodiac-Killer-styled villain began within the halls of the said institution. Creepy.
This also illustrates Reeves’ skill as a director—linking childhood trauma, the Riddler, and the Batman all within the span of three minutes. Supported by Michael Giacchino’s excellent score, the scene brings together what just might be DC’s best superhero flick yet. Not counting The Dark Knight, of course.
The Batman hits theatres on March 4th, 2022.
(Featured Image Credits: Warner Bros. Entertainment)