After Batwoman was announced last summer, the first promo for the CW Arroverse series was generally well-recieved when it debuted. released back in May, with the general reception being fairly positive (sans a few cheesy lines). Fans were given a glimpse of a Gotham City that's been abandoned by Batman and introduced to the the situations that cause Ruby Rose's Kate Kane to take on the mantle of Batwoman.
However, the subsequently-released footage of the show has been more than a little awkward.
A few weeks back, the CW released a new promo, featuring Kate Kane sticking it to the proverbial man by defying a police officer's orders not to give an expensive watch to a homeless person. The newest promo focuses on Kate Kane's motorcycle (her signature vehicle in the Batwoman comic books), but does so in the weirdest way possible. The lighting and cinematography would almost be more appropriate for an intentionally obtuse cologne ad, and they also unintentionally make the show look eerily similar to the neon-filled dutch angles of the much-maligned Joel Shumacher Batman movies.
Overall, Batwoman seems to be a darker, more grounded series than the rest of the Arrowverse, as befitting a member of the Batman family. Spiritually, this could be seen s a successor to both Gotham, which ended this year, and the CW's Arrow, which will finish its seven year run later this year. However, the cheesy, in-your-face mannerisms and cinematography are more evocative of cartoons than Christopher Nolan. The garish neon especially comes off as a poor man's attempt at neo-noir lighting seen in films such as John Wick.
While Ruby Rose debuted as Batwoman in last year's Arrowverse Elseworlds crossover, these trailers have focused far more on her unmasked alter-ego, Kate Kane. While Rose has appeared in blockbusters like John Wick: Chapter 2, Pitch Perfect 3 and The Meg, the series is her first major leading role, and it's largely being sold off of her star power. While this approach keeps her from donning a superhero costume that we've already seen, it doesn't make Batwoman feel like part of the Arrowverse or connect her to the larger Batman mythos.
By focusing more on Kate Kane than her costumed counterpart, these promos may be trying to fully flesh out the person behind the mask and establish her world before becoming a superhero. While that approach makes sense from a storytelling perspective, these promos have reduced Kane to a flippant, too cool for school" rebel without signifying the deeper character underneath. This is Batwoman's first introduction to a wide audience that's already familiar with Batman Family characters light Nightwing and Batgirl, and these promos simply don't do her justice.
With an overall approach that seems more appropriate for selling motorcycles than kicking off a serial narrative, these ads are a bizarre way to bring Batwoman into the world. Batwoman will join a crowded slate of DC shows that already share a well-defined style. Even though we've already seen Batwoman as a part of that universe, these ads make Kane look like part of a completely different universe that may not even have costumed heroes. While we won't have a good idea about what the series is really like until it premieres, hopefully these abstract, stylistic ads won't be an indicator of what the actual show will be like.
Written by Caroline Dries and developed by Bertlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, Batwoman stars Ruby Rose, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Camrus Johnson, Dougray Scott, Elizabeth Anweis and Nicole Kang. The series will premiere on Sunday, Oct. 6 and air on Sundays at 8 pm ET/PT.