Batman in Batman: Jekyll & Hyde Issue No. 5

There is a lot of speculation about the villain and who will actually be playing the Caped Crusader in Matt Reeves' Batman film, but clues about what this film will actually be have been few and far between. The director just turned in the script recently, so that's to be expected. Despite the mystery, Matt Reeves has said some things that paint a vague picture of what he might be aiming for; including invoking the word 'Hitchcockian' and talking about a noir-driven tale that embraces Batman's status as the world's greatest detective. It seems that Matt Reeves may also be borrowing from Robert Louis Stevenson to explore the dichotomy of Bruce Wayne and Batman, as the director explained:

One of the things that I've found interesting, just as we're working on the story, is looking back at Jekyll and Hyde, and the idea of your shadow-self, and the idea of, we are all multiple things. It's different aspects of who we are, and I think there are times when maybe the surface of Bruce is not really who he is, but that's his disguise. There are times when Batman's the disguise, but there are times when his true essence comes out, because by being veiled, a kind of instinctual side comes out that's very pure.

Classic literature is classic for a reason, so if you're going to borrow from something, the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde isn't a bad way to go. In his comments to IndieWire, it sounds like Matt Reeves really wants to explore the psyche of who Bruce Wayne is. Nobody is just one thing, either the respectable Jekyll or the violent Hyde, and we're not always what we appear to be. The way Matt Reeves is describing it, Bruce Wayne's identity is a fluid thing. Sometimes Batman is just a costume and a means to an end, whereas other times putting on the mask allows Bruce Wayne to become his true self, who he really is. This is reminiscent of David Carradine's take on Superman in his monologue at the end of Kill Bill Vol. 2.

That's part of what has always made Batman such a fascinating character: the deeper he gets into crime fighting, the more he becomes the Bat, so that the lines between Batman and Bruce Wayne are increasingly blurred. We saw some of this in the Christopher Nolan films, with Bruce struggling to put down the cowl and clearly despising the superficiality of his rich playboy Bruce Wayne persona. But does that mean that Batman is who Bruce Wayne really is? Matt Reeves isn't sure, but is interested in exploring that, as he said:

It's not an easy question to answer, in that I think that we are all made up of so many different aspects of ourselves that make the whole. I don't know if you could ever reduce anyone to one part of what they express. That's what's fun about his character, is that there's a very bright light that shines on his shadow side. The idea of all of that is incredibly exciting. It's part of what makes it fun for me to work on.

If we're to take Matt Reeves comments as a clue to how he will approach Batman in his movie, there is a lot to be excited about. Batman has a light side and a very dark side, and the two aren't always easy to distinguish. That makes him interesting and that's the thing that Matt Reeves wants to explore, making it sound like this movie will a true character study and perhaps give us something we haven't seen before from this long-tenured cinematic figure.

Another interesting thing to note with the Jekyll and Hyde reference is that there is actually a Batman limited series of comics called Batman: Jekyll & Hyde. The series, released in 2005, was written by Paul Jenkins and focused on the DC's own Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Harvey Dent, better known as Two-Face. The psychological story retells Harvey Dent's fall from grace and the internal war between his two personalities that manifests itself on his face. The 6-issue series also touches on Bruce Wayne's pain of loss and the internal fracturing that created in him. I don't think this means Two-Face will be the villain in The Batman, but it is clear that Matt Reeves is interested in the psychology of the Dark Knight.

We don't yet have a release date for Matt Reeves' Batman film, but it could start shooting as early as next summer. There are plenty of movies to tide you over until Batman returns (pun slightly intended), so check some of them out in our 2018 release guide. For all the latest on why man is not truly one, but truly two, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.

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