Matt Reeves flew the virtual Batwing out of the virtual Batcave into the virtual DC FanDome to tell us all about The Batman, and he did not disappoint. Director Reeves talked about the film and gave us a seriously great trailer to boot, and pretty much everything the director had to say was gold. Reeves’ infectious attitude about the project goes a long way to shutting down any cynicism someone might have about yet another Batman movie.
Look, I get it – you’re wondering, “Do we really need a new Batman movie?” I was more or less of the same opinion. But based on both the trailer, and what Matt Reeves had to say at DC FanDome, I’m now all-in on The Batman. Reeves spoke at great lengths about how this film is trying to be different. He mentioned that almost all versions of the characters we see here are different than on-screen versions we’ve seen before. The same goes for Gotham City, too.
I loved Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series, but his Gotham always just looked like either Chicago or Pittsburgh. Reeves says that he and his team worked to avoid the same issue here, making sure this Gotham looked unlike any real American city. The director also fanboyed out about Batman as a character, specifically the way that Batman’s “superpower” is about his ability to endure.
Beyond that, Reeves promised that this was not an origin story. This is Batman in his second year of crimefighting, as he’s taking part in a “criminological experiment” to figure out how to change Gotham.” And that’s when a murder mystery arises that blows the lid off of how deep the corruption in Gotham really goes – and how it connects to the Wayne family.
The Batman is many things: a detective story; a point-of-view story; a mystery; an action movie. Most of all, though, it’s a personal movie about how Batman becomes Batman. This isn’t Batman just starting out, nor is it Batman well-established. It’s Batman still trying to figure out what his real mission is. As a result, he’s an almost mythological figure in the city, with many Gothamites fearing him. But it’s also about Batman becoming the world’s greatest detective – something we really haven’t seen in previous Bat-films.
As far as film inspirations go, Reeves cited Chinatown, The French Connection, and even Taxi Driver. And as for Batman comics, Reeves cited Batman: Ego and Other Tails, by the late, great Darwyn Cooke – specifically drawing on how Batman confronts “a shadow of himself.” And while this may not be a Batman origin story, Reeves said is an origin story of sorts for the infamous Batman rogues gallery – Catwoman isn’t quite Catwoman yet; Riddler isn’t quite Riddler; and even The Penguin is just starting out (and hates when people call him The Penguin).
When it comes to Robert Pattinson‘s Batman, Reeves said he cast the actor because he’s a big fan of Pattinson’s work. He also stated that Pattinson even helped design the bat suit a little, and how the bat suit in this film is a practical suit, with the whole idea being that Batman made it from scratch. It’s a suit that’s still evolving; the cowl even has battle-damage in it to show that Batman has been wearing it for a while. Pattinson also possesses “the soul of someone who can play Batman like you’ve never seen before,” as far as Reeves is concerned.
Beyond The Batman, Reeves also talked a bit about the Gotham PD series that will spin-off from the film. The show will also deal with Gotham’s corruption – and its corrupt police force. It’s also a prequel, going back to the first year that Batman begins appearing in the city, and focusing on how these corrupt cops reckon with that.
Only 25% of the movie has been shot so far, with the production shutting down due to the coronavirus. The hope is that Reeves and company will get back to work next month. And after this panel, I’m even more eager for them to get back at it, because I want to see this movie as soon as possible.
The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as Batman; Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman; Paul Dano as The Riddler; Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon; John Turturro as Carmine Falcone; Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colson, Gotham’s district attorney; Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál, a mayoral candidate in Gotham; Andy Serkis as Alfred; and Colin Farrell as the Penguin.
The Batman opens October 1, 2021.
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August 23, 2020