The Batman is one of the most highly anticipated films of 2021. With a premiere set for this coming Thursday, March 26th, we get our first look at Robert Pattinson as Batman and Ben Affleck as his sidekick, along with plenty of other stars in the DC universe. Director Matt Reeves brings a darker tone to the character than we’ve seen in previous films. The result is a more mature and complex take on the superhero that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
The Making of The Batman
The Batman is the first installment in a new trilogy that will conclude with the upcoming Joker trilogy. The three films will be released back-to-back in theaters around the world beginning on June 25th 2021.
The movie begins several months after Batman’s (Pattinson) recent return from retirement. After a string of brutal crimes, the Dark Knight decides to strap on his cape and cowl once more to protect the citizens of Gotham City.
The movie begins with a flashback which details Batman’s (Pattinson’s) early years as the ultimate professional superhero. The role was made famous and more powerful by the late actor, Richard Grayson. Grayson’s portrayal of the Caped Crusader was so realistic that his fans even named their sons Batman and Robin after him. Growing up in Gotham City, Batman (Pattinson) learned to fight bullies and criminals alike, and developed a taste for ice cream that continues to this day.
Once he mastered the art of fighting, Robin (Camden Bower) was introduced to the world as Batman’s (Pattinson’s) aide-de-camp. After Grayson’s untimely passing, Bower took over the role of Robin, and brought a fun-loving spirit to the character which helped cement his place in pop culture.
A New Look at the Caped Crusader
Unlike previous entries in the DC cinematic universe, The Batman focuses more on Batman’s (Pattinson’s) personality and character arc than his famous gadgets and vehicles. This is certainly a bold move, and one that will undoubtedly alienate some of the film’s existing audience. Still, Matt Reeves wants to push the boundaries of superhero films, and with good reason.
This isn’t the first time that a director has brought a more human and relatable spin to the character. Bryan Singer’s 1997 film, Batman Forever, changed the game forever, introducing the world to Tommy Lee Jones’ legendary portrayal of Penguin. Jones helped bring pathos to the character, shedding light on the loneliness that comes with being a superhero.
Nearly 20 years later, Jones reprised his role for the 2019 sequel, Batman Begins. While the first film only had a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience response was much better with the second installment. According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a 7.3 rating, which is one of the highest scores awarded to an installment in the DC cinematic universe.
The production of The Batman was undoubtedly complicated. Not only did the director have to find a way to bring the character to life without using computer graphics (or at least make them look as good as possible), but he also had to tackle some of the unique challenges that come with shooting a cinematic version of a famous comic book character. Take, for instance, the issue of weight gain. Since Batman is an adult in real life (he’ll be 42 at the time of the film’s premiere), Matt Reeves wanted to see how the character would play up against the Hollywood stereotype of a jaded and washed-up superhero. The solution? Give him a little bit of baby fat!
It was also challenging to find an actor who could embody the duality of both the character’s dark and light sides. For Reeves, it was a no-brainer to reach out to the biggest name in Hollywood. With a star of such magnitude, he knew that he could get the part.
The Dark Knight Returns
While Reeves was able to pull off a major coup in landing the role of Batman, it wasn’t easy convincing the famously guarded actor to put himself on the screen. After years of refusing multiple offers, it was finally time for Pattinson to say yes to the big screen. The actor, who is known for his reclusive nature, had previously expressed interest in playing Batman, but only after he finished shooting Inception, the director’s dream project. That was almost 10 years ago, and today, the wait is over. He’ll be appearing alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names, and for good reason.
With so much speculation surrounding the role, it comes as no surprise that fans are already comparing Pattinson to other famous Batman adaptations. While he hasn’t officially confirmed these rumors, it’s clear that he’s a fan of the character. As the actor himself pointed out in a recent interview with Collider, “When you’re a kid, you just want to be friends with Batman.” The comparison to Heath Ledger’s Joker, which is widely expected to be one of his first big-screen duos, shouldn’t come as a total surprise either. Not only do they share the same menacing laugh, but they’re also both eccentric individuals who live and die by their wits. For better or worse, these are the types of characters that make Batman (and, to a lesser extent, the Joker) interesting and memorable.
A Whole New Dimension
While it’s fun to compare these films to other superhero adaptations, it’s important to remember that The Batman is something else entirely. The film is an origin story that follows several months in the Batman’s (Pattinson’s) life, and as a result, it has a more mature (and, at times, gritty) tone.
This is evident in the cinematography, which ranges from snowy landscapes to gritty urban shots that put the viewer right in the thick of it. The film also delves into Batman’s (Pattinson’s) dark side in a way that previous movies haven’t, which will undoubtedly thrill his fans and thrillers alike. Most importantly, The Batman marks the theatrical debut of the Dark Knight in 29 years, which means that Matt Reeves and company have given the character and his fans something to celebrate.