This week two brief videos will leave most people scratching their heads and asking, “Why bother?” The first, for The Batman, released by writer-director Matt Reeves (who we hold out hope for because he wrote and directed the great vampire love story Let Me In), is a “camera test,” which appears more like an early lighting and costume test where you can glimpse new bat actor Robert Pattinson in his batsuit. The second is from Netflix, and it’s an overly long scene of a Russian prison work detail resulting in the appearance of David Harbour as a thinner, gaunt, exhausted Jim Hopper, spoiling any surprise that the character was really killed in the final episode of the last season of Stranger Things. (C’mon, you knew he wasn’t going to be dead for long). Some will applaud one or both. Others will sneer. Where will you land? (Psst. There’s no wrong answer).
What are these things anyway? Barely teasers, the purported “camera test” for The Batman is more “trial balloon,” an intentional vehicle for starting buzz, good or bad, so potential audiences get accustomed to yet another revamp of the batsuit and actor. Literally thousands of podcasters have already manipulated the image of Pattinson in many ways to try to glean something worth discussing (not surprisingly with little to say). We already knew it takes some effort to find an artist that has drawn Bruce Wayne that in any way resembles the co-star of The Lighthouse, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and the Twilight vampire movies. And–big surprise–David Crossman and Glyn Dillon′s new costume design looks like another batsuit of the sharp-angled, action figure toy variety (toys = sales = more $) instead of something out of the comics pages. And current movie go-to composer Michael Giacchino offers another repeated bass line with drum set in the background to back it all up. Our wish? We just want Warner Bros. to finally get the voice of Batman right and skip that goofy, dry, smoker voice and coughed-out dialogue. Let’s hear him say, “I’m Batman.”
The Stranger Things video is out there to whet appetites of fans who won’t see the series return for another year. But did the fans need to know Hopper wasn’t dead before the fourth season was ready to go? Here’s an idea: If you’re going to cast against type, as they’ve done for The Batman, why not really have some fun and give us David Harbour as Batman? Sure, Harbour is playing a Russian superhero in the summer Black Widow movie from Marvel Comics, but audiences won’t care. Let’s really have some fun. Or give Pattinson the role of a superhero he really looks like: Wolverine. They need a new younger actor for the role in the new Marvel Cinematic Universe, right?
Oh, well. Watch–or don’t–you’re not missing much! Here are the two brief, too-brief videos for The Batman and Stranger Things:
Of course, some people would view these images as spoilers, and rather wait until Stranger Things’ next season arrives to learn Jim Hopper lived. But if you turn to superheroes and sci-fi for stakes, you’re probably looking in the wrong place. Dead is never really dead. Unless you’re Sean Astin’s Bob Newby. Or can the Duffer Brothers bring him back, too? (Please?)
Will we all forget this by the time these shows actually arrive? Stranger Things season four isn’t expected for release until early 2021. The wait for The Batman will be longer. It arrives next summer, June 25, 2021.