In The Batman, audiences are being introduced to a brand new big screen incarnation of the Caped Crusader – but the film isn’t an origin story. Described to be taking place in “year two” of Bruce Wayne’s fight against the scum of Gotham, the blockbuster is purposefully not retelling the story of how Batman became Batman so that it can tell its own original story with the beloved character at its center.
Of course, just because we aren’t seeing the origin tale on screen doesn’t mean that it wasn’t something that star Robert Pattinson and co-writer/director Matt Reeves had to think about in the making of the movie, and both recently revealed some fascinating thoughts about where this version of the hero comes from, and why he does what he does.
A special press event for The Batman was held last week on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles, and during a panel with Pattinson and Reeves I asked the two men about how they personally considered and approached the origin story for their new version of Bruce Wayne. The actor admitted that it was something that he not only thought about frequently on set, but that he actively infused into his performance. He explained,
At present we don’t know exactly what kind of path Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne took to become Batman, or the kind of training he received so that he can beat criminals to a pulp – but what the star did make clear is that this version of the hero is not a perfect warrior as a result of that training. Instead, he is using his secret identity to hide from persistent memories of the greatest trauma in his life: the death of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Digging into the psychology of Bruce Wayne, Robert Pattinson says that the character in The Batman has failed to move past that pain, and he feels it constantly whenever he is going about his normal life. The only thing that puts the hurt on pause is putting on his cape and cowl:
Once Batman is done with a night of crime fighting, however, he has to go back to his unmasked existence… and that’s when the pain flows back in. Robert Pattinson continued,
Expanding on Robert Pattinson describing Batman as an addiction for Bruce Wayne, Matt Reeves took the conversation one step further by suggesting that “hero” isn’t a properly fitting moniker because there is an key amount of selfishness that plays a part in his motives. It’s obviously a good thing that he is using his honed skills and resources to try and stop criminals, but he’s not really doing what he is doing because of a noble mission to save Gotham.
In Matt Reeves’ words, his actions as a vigilante all come down to Bruce Wayne dealing with his personal issues:
The origins of Batman are some of the most well known in pop culture, and in approaching a new iteration of the character Matt Reeves had the challenge of finding a fresh angle. He found it in Bruce Wayne’s persistent trauma. Said the filmmaker,
Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell, Peter Sarsgaard, John Turturro, Paul Dano, and more, the epic three-hour long The Batman arrives in theaters on March 4 (tickets are on sale now at the movie’s official website). Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for a whole lot more coverage of the film as we get ever closer to its release, and check out our Upcoming DC Movies guide to learn about everything that is presently cooking when it comes to feature films based on DC Comics.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.