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The Batman director and co-writer Matt Reeves has done a few interviews recently for his much-anticipated adaptation of the DC hero, giving fans glimpses into his creative process for putting together his reboot of The World’s Greatest Detective. We already knew, for instance, that The Batman would lean into a detective noir vibe, à la Chinatown; that it would not be a Batman origin story, and that the Riddler, played by Paul Dano, was inspired by the Zodiac Killer.
In a recent Q&A following an advanced screening of the film at Warner Bros, SYFY WIRE and other select outlets, Reeves shed more light on how the comics inspired the DNA of his new movie, how the real world influenced The Batman, why this movie serves as an origin story for Batman's deep bench of villains, and how the character of the Riddler intentionally takes advantage of the technology that pervades our all our lives.
“It was very important to me that Gotham not be New York, not be Chicago, not be any particular city,” Reeves said. “I wanted you to feel like ‘Wow, this is a place we've never been before, but it feels absolutely like an iconic American city — a really corrupt, messed up place.’ But I wanted it to be very much of our world. And as I was doing that, I was thinking, okay, so [the Riddler] wouldn't write to The Chronicle, the way that Zodiac did — he would start using social media … this idea of viral communication, I just wanted it to be very much of our world.”
Reeves also shared that while The Batman isn’t Batman’s origin story, it is “the origin story of every Rogues Gallery character you come across,” including Catwoman, the Penguin, and others. And unlike the films before it, Reeves’ story emphasizes that Batman is the genesis and spark for all these villains coming into being — none of them would exist if Batman didn’t exist, a concept that is explored in the comics.
“When I began this, I thought: 'Wow, I have a responsibility to understand everything,' including takes of the character that I don't necessarily understand or like, I just needed to understand it all — I think we all did when we read the comics,” he said.
“And as I did that … the notion of what it is to project this image of vengeance — this idea of being a masked vigilante in the city — that it could have effects that were not intended. And [Batman is] trying to figure out why, after two years of this, crime is not going down. And it never occurs to him that he could be at least part of it. And that did absolutely come from the comics.”
The Batman opens in theaters March 4.