The Batman‘s story naturally sets up Two-Face’s debut in the new movie series. The nature of The Batman has morphed constantly since the film was first announced in 2014, starting as a DCEU entry starring Ben Affleck and ultimately becoming the debut of Robert Pattinson in a completely separate continuity. The Batman‘s star-studded cast already had fans of the Caped Crusader excited, with Paul Dano as Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman and Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, but the DC fandom has been tantalized further by the gothic noir imagery emanating from The Batman‘s marketing department. Now, The Batman‘s first trailer has ramped up the excitement to an entirely different level.
Premiering at DC’s online FanDome event, The Batman‘s first proper trailer showcased a wildly different incarnation of Riddler and teased a gripping detective battle between two great intellectual minds. There were early glimpses at Catwoman and Colin Farrell’s Penguin, while Pattinson was cemented as undoubtedly the darkest Dark Knight to grace the big screen thus far, as he mercilessly pummeled a hapless goon and brooded in black eye makeup that Gerard Way would be proud of.
The Batman has a trove of villains already, but it’s impossible not to consider what other members of the Rogues Gallery might look like in Matt Reeves’ unique depiction of Gotham City, and of all the villains in that infamous club, it’s Two-Face who feels best suited to the dank and shadowy world of The Batman. Although Harvey Dent doesn’t appear in The Batman‘s trailer, the themes and storylines at play establish a world in which Two-Face would be a natural fit.
Corruption is a problem in virtually all retellings of the Batman story. After all, Bruce’s lack of faith in Gotham City’s police is Batman’s raison d’être. Even so, The Batman looks to be putting the rotten stench of Gotham’s authorities to the forefront more than ever before in live-action. The Riddler is seen killing the city’s mayor and scrawling “lies” across the wall, suggesting that he uncovered duplicitous behavior unbecoming of such a respected office. Just to drive the point home, Edward Nashton writes “no more lies” across the tape covering his victim’s face. Meanwhile, Batman is out for vengeance and evidently has an uneasy relationship with any cop not named Jim Gordon. Judging by The Batman‘s trailer, both Nashton and Wayne will be racing to figure out the true power influencing Gotham City, as the emerald enigma targets any public official with skeletons in their closet.
If corruption in Gotham City is the name of the game, Harvey Dent surely isn’t too far from the board. In Batman lore, Dent is the one lawyer (and later District Attorney) who Bruce Wayne trusts to do the right thing. An incorruptible bastion of justice who shares Bruce’s determination to put Gotham’s criminal contingent behind bars, Dent acts without fear of being intimidated or bribed into turning a blind eye. Harvey Dent hasn’t yet been announced among The Batman‘s cast, but some fans are speculating that the character could appear in a minor role, or perhaps receive a passing mention ahead of a full debut in the sequel.
Peter Sarsgaard has been cast as Gil Colson in The Batman, the city’s DA when the film begins. Given the sorry state Gotham’s justice system finds itself in, poor Gil is likely to be as crooked as they come. Assuming Colson is somehow dealt with over the course of the film (either by The Riddler or Batman), a replacement would be needed, and that young hotshot Dent looks like the perfect candidate to take over.
It’s often pointed out to Bruce Wayne that people don’t dress up as Bats and prowl the streets beating up criminals without some significant psychological baggage upstairs. But while Batman has always danced on the edge of sanity, Robert Pattinson’s character looks positively possessed, grimacing with maddened eyes, using excessive violence and prioritizing revenge over justice. This version of Bruce is only in his second year as Batman, so it follows that he hasn’t yet come to terms with the burden of being a crime-fighter. Unfortunately for Bruce, this raging attitude won’t win him many fans in the GCPD or the legal system, so while the Dark Knight usually works hand-in-hand with the authorities to a certain extent, that relationship doesn’t seem to have completely formed yet in The Batman, outside of Jim Gordon delivering Riddler‘s mail, at least.
Until Pattinson’s Batman tempers his violence , the GCPD will be reluctant to work with him. But in Harvey Dent, Batman might find a willing ally. Another young and aspiring justice-seeker struggling to gain a foothold in a corrupt city, Bruce and Harvey are kindred spirits in The Batman‘s world. While Dent might not agree with Batman’s vigilantism, he might be able to strike up a deal with the city’s new masked superhero – Batman delivers the criminals, Dent ensures they go to jail. In this arrangement, both men get what they want; Dent can bypass the corrupt red tape getting in the way of his job, and Batman can make sure the villains he collars aren’t let off the hook by shifty cops and compromised commissioners. This relationship could be established in The Batman ahead of Dent’s inevitable fall in a future film.
One of the most compelling elements in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (outside of Heath Ledger’s Joker, of course) is the idea that a light and dark force could work toward the same goal. Christian Bale’s Batman and Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent want the same thing, and we’re not just talking about Rachel Dawes. Bruce sees Harvey as the ideal future in Gotham City, someone he can trust to get things done in a legitimate way, rendering the entire concept of Batman unnecessary and allowing Bruce to finally retire from getting beaten up each and every night. Dent is the “hero Gotham needs” because his law-abiding openness allows the Dent Act to usher in an era of relative peace. As Bruce finds out, however, both light and dark are necessary to keep Gotham from chaos. Batman crosses lines that cops and lawyers can’t, and shoulders the hefty burden that others won’t. Meanwhile Dent’s legitimacy leads directly to his deformity and descent into Two-Face, and the Dark Knight trilogy ends with Bruce handing over his mantle to John Blake, recognizing the necessity for a Batman in the city.
Matt Reeves will have his own ideas about the relationship between light and dark protagonists in The Batman, but the idea of a legitimate force for good will surely play a central role in Pattinson’s arc as Bruce Wayne. As evidenced by The Batman‘s trailer, the new Bruce is so dark, and seemingly unrepentant about the damage he might be dealing to a criminal’s face. This makes the idea of a white knight (perhaps not using those exact, Nolan-era words) even more vital in The Batman – someone to demonstrate a path away from vengeance and towards justice. Both Jim Gordon and Alfred could chip in there, but it’s Harvey Dent who would traditionally influence Bruce’s thinking the most in this matter. Ironically, Dent is the other side to the Batman coin, especially a Batman as ruthless as Pattinson’s, and his presence could be vital to Bruce’s philosophy maturing in The Batman.