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In the annals of comic book adaptations, director Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy stands as a shining example of how to mold an enduring superhero for modern audiences. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises effectively delivered a beautifully human and grounded approach to the world of Gotham City — along with its gallery of heroes and villains — that continues to serve as the blueprint for the way in which Hollywood refracts decades of comics through the lens of a jaded, post-9/11 world. If Matt Reeves has his way, however, another paradigm-shift for the genre is on the way with the release of his blockbuster take on the Caped Crusader: The Batman.
"Batman is 80 years of blood," one of the film's producers, Dylan Clark, told Empire for the magazine's February 2022 issue. "It's a thing that's so intense that when you say yes to it, you immediately feel, 'Oh sh**, what we have done? How do we do this?' I've said this to Chris Nolan directly: 'Look, we're trying to be the best Batman ever made, and we're going to try to beat you.'"
"I've made a kind of map for where Bruce's psychology would grow over two more movies," added Robert Pattinson (the Tenet vet plays Bruce Wayne in the reboot) when asked about a potential trilogy. "I would love to do it."
Going for a completely different approach compared to what fans have seen on the big screen before, The Batman won't waste any time throwing us into a gritty rendition of Gotham where a new breed of felon is on the rise.
"It isn't Batman Begins Again," Reeves quipped. "We've seen a lot of great stories about Bruce Wayne witnessing his parents murder and then trying to find a way to find a way to cope with that by perfecting himself into Batman. But I wanted to do a story where he's already been through the origins and does not really know exactly how to be Batman. It is a Year Two story and I wanted you to connect to him. Not only as Bruce, but as Batman."
This incarnation of the character is a lot more inexperienced and ruthless. "When that light hits the sky, it's not just a call," Bruce states in the latest trailer, "it's a warning." The dude is legitimately scary and won't hesitate to beat the living snot out of a rapscallion for the simple crime of giving him a weird look. In short, Pattinson's Wayne is a far cry from the charming, handsome, and personable billionaire portrayed in previous Batman movies.
"He's ... got that Kurt Cobain thing, where he looks like a rock star, but you also feel like he could be a recluse," Reeves explained. "When I write, I listen to music and as I was writing the first act, I put on Nirvana's 'Something In The Way.' That's when it came to me that, rather than make Bruce Wayne the playboy version we've seen before, there's another version who had gone through a great tragedy and become a recluse ... The idea of this fictionalized version of Kurt Cobain being in this kind of decaying manor."
This ghostly and rather monstrous interpretation of Bruce Wayne weaved itself into all aspects of the vigilante, including his sweet ride: the Batmobile. "It has to make an appearance out of the shadows to intimidate, so I thought of it almost like Stephen King's Christine," Reeves continued. "I liked the idea of the car itself as a horror figure, making an animalistic appearance to really scare the hell out of the people Batman's pushing. There is absolutely a horror-genre aspect to this movie."
"They wanted me to drive it, like, only ten feet, but I immediately went off for 25 minutes, trying do all the stunts I'd learned in the normal cars," Pattinson added. "After that, I was never allowed to drive it without someone else in the car."
The Batman arrives in theaters everywhere on March 4, 2022.