UPDATE 3/4/22: “The Batman” is now in theaters, racking up a respectable 85 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and appearing to be on a trajectory to cash in at the box office. But, for our purposes, the star of the movie isn’t Robert Pattinson—its the muscular Batmobile, with its mid-mounted engine and an overall vibe that wouldn’t be too out of place in a Mad Max film. And, like any good Batmobile, it seems to be a central part of the film, speeding through a Gotham City that’s as dark and moody as ever, launching baddies’ vehicles into the air to land with an explosive thud. Whet your appetite with a longer, more recent trailer below.
“The Batman” opens today in theaters, and will hit the HBO Max streaming service in mid-April.
The Batman director Matt Reeves just revealed the new Batmobile on Twitter, and it’s a definite departure from past movie cars. The movie press had earlier heard rumors that the new Batmobile would be more of a muscle car than the military-inspired Tumbler that appeared in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight film trilogy. That is exactly what we have here, although the mid-mounted engine is a bit of a surprise.
What we can see resembles a lot of different classic muscle cars, and that’s probably intentional. The deeply recessed front headlamps have a generic late 1960s look to them: a bit of Mopar, a bit of Mustang, maybe even a hint of De Tomaso Mangusta. Extremely swoopy rear fenders with pointed trailing ends that hang over three-element taillights are the closest thing we get to a traditional Batmobile motif. The rear tubes of a roll cage poke through the C-pillars and trailing edges of the roof. It is likely completely custom bodywork over a tube frame or donor chassis, so there’s probably not a single recognizable base underpinning this creation.
The longitudinally-mounted engine aft of the cabin is an enigma, but an awesome one. It appears to be a V-10—an OHV unit—with a couple of immense turbochargers that dump straight into the atmosphere behind the roof. If the movie magic gods are kind, it’ll spit two tongues of delicious fire with every throttle blip. This Batmobile will be neither inconspicuous or quiet. There’s obviously some extraneous fantasy bits tacked on to make it look more futuristic, but it seems like a real motor under there.
Remember, there are usually several movie cars built for various purposes: stunt cars that can take a jump without disintegrating, “hero” cars that look good in close-ups, a rig that makes it look like our new Batman (Robert Pattinson—yes, that guy, from the sparkly vampire movies) is actually driving it even though it’s grafted to the front of some other vehicle. This is probably a “hero” car, so the wild-looking engine might not be what motivates the running/driving ones.
Even so, the Mad Max meets Fast and Furious vibe this new Batmobile gives off is a solid hint that this will be a movie that appeals to car enthusiasts on a deeper level. This reboot, the umpteenth since the 1989 Tim Burton movie, focuses on a more youthful Bruce Wayne/Batman with a greater focus on his detective work. There’s surely going to be a lot of fighting, and given the unique direction that this Batmobile’s design takes, we hope that there will be a lot of driving, too.
Update: This post, which originally published on March 4, 2020, has been updated with the latest trailer for “The Batman”.
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