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From cartoonishly overdramatic self-parodies to self-serious and appropriately dramatic cartoons, the Batman movies have shown us several different shades of the Dark Knight on the big screen in the many decades since Bill Finger and Bob Kane introduced him to DC Comics in 1939. However, signs show that we may be getting one of our most unique cinematic portrayals yet with Robert Pattinson as Batman in director Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which is slated to hit theaters in March 2022. We still have a while before our burning questions regarding one of the most anticipated upcoming DC movies are finally answered, but the little information we do have about this new take on the character is enough to keep us calm and confident amid our excitement, such as what stage of the Caped Crusader’s life we are destined to see.
Robert Pattinson Plays A Younger Bruce Wayne In The Batman
We have seen Bruce Wayne (as played by Christian Bale) at the very beginning of his crusade against crime in 2005’s Batman Begins - the first of Christopher Nolan’s influential Dark Knight trilogy. We have also seen Ben Affleck play a version who is well beyond his years and a little burnt out by the job in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - the second of Zack Snyder’s vision for the DC Extended Universe. Reportedly, The Batman will be neither an origin story nor a glimpse at his later years.
Thirty-five-year-old Robert Pattinson is likely playing Bruce Wayne in his mid-to-late-20s as modern day Gotham City is still getting used to the idea of a man dressed as bat protecting its streets. According to comments by director Matt Reeves during 2020’s DC FanDome, his film will essentially take place in “Year Two” as opposed to Year One, which is the title of Frank Miller’s own take on Batman’s early years. However, Reeves has cited a different comic as his main inspiration for The Batman.
Robert Pattinson’s Batman Is Inspired By The Comic Batman: Ego
Also during the 2020 DC FanDome, Matt Reeves revealed he had done his homework by revisiting comics. Evidence has suggested that Batman: The Long Halloween (Jeph Loeb’s acclaimed arc that was directly adapted into a two-part animated feature in 2021) is a source of inspiration for The Batman. However, the title the director cited by name, as quoted by ScreenRant, was somewhat unexpected.
The Batman is influenced by Batman: Ego - a 2000 graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke in which Bruce Wayne comes at odds with his vigilante alter ego, who literally becomes a separate entity within his broken mind. Robert Pattinson would somewhat reflect Matt Reeves’ FanDome comments about Bruce Wayne “confronting the beast that is Batman” when he described the character as one who lives in “two states at the same time” to Vanity Fair (via RobertPattinsonAU) in November 2020. It sounds like this film will be the deeply immersive psychological thriller Batman Forever almost was and that fans have been waiting years for.
Robert Pattinson’s Batman Is Intrigued By Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman
Batman is not without his weaknesses, but his true Kryptonite may be the tempting femme fatale known as Catwoman, who is portrayed by Zoë Kravitz in The Batman. Kravitz promises in the following quote from a video found on Twitter that the romantic connection between Robert Pattinson’s Batman and Selina Kyle's alter ego in the upcoming film is uniquely rooted in a mutual desire for justice:
Lenny Kravitz's talented daughter also has a few words about her co-star as well. While promoting her Hulu original series High Fidelity in 2020 on Variety's The Big Ticket podcast, Zoë Kravitz dished on how Robert Pattinson fits inside the cape and cowl (both literally and figuratively):
While Bruce Wayne has shared the big screen with his anti-heroic love interest before (as played by Michelle Pfieffer in Batman Returns and Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises most recently), less often has Hollywood nailed her traditional comic book portrayal as an elusive burglar. Judging by a glimpse of Zoë Kravitz breaking into a penthouse safe from the trailer, it appears that The Batman is bringing that image of Catwoman back to the mainstream.
Robert Pattinson’s Batman Is Tormented By Paul Dano’s Riddler
I wonder if Robert Pattinson’s Batman and Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman will also bond over a mutual hate for the Riddler. There are actually a few notably villainous characters in The Batman (such as Colin Farrell as a pre-Penguin Oswald Cobblepot and John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone), but Academy Award nominee Paul Dano’s enigmatic Edward Nashton (the villain’s original last name before it became “Nygma”) is the main antagonist.
The official trailer for The Batman opens with a murder investigation, at which a note with a riddle is found inside an envelope addressed “To the Batman.” This is the just the first of several notes associated with gruesome crimes in Gotham City that will likely serve as one confusing thorn in Robert Pattinson’s side. The sneak peeks so far strongly suggest that we are in for a grimmer take on The Riddler than we have seen on the big screen (and Jim Carrey in Batman Forever is not my only source of comparison).
The Batman Is Bringing The Detective Out Of Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne
I could, however, use every live action Batman movie so far to argue why Hollywood still hasn’t really nailed the character. While Michael Keaton beautifully captured his brooding inner turmoil, Ben Affleck matches the aesthetic and fighting style perfectly, and Christian Bale honored the no killing rule, Batman’s reputation as “the world’s greatest detective” is not something that has been recognized to its full potential on the big screen. It seems Robert Pattinson may be the one to break that curse.
After Matt Reeves took over to direct The Batman in 2017 (when it was still a Batfleck movie), he told New Trailer Buzz that he was aiming for a “noir-driven, detective version of Batman,” which immediately had comic book purists trembling in their capes. Later, Jeffrey Wright dished on the film’s grounded portrayal of crime in Gotham City, meaning we may already have all the evidence we need to assume this Batman is as committed to solving crime as he is to brutally destroying it.
I have said before that the beauty of a character as iconic and enduringly popular as Batman is that he can have many different sides to him and, therefore, there is an endless amount of ways that one can portray him. Robert Pattinson is only the latest, and probably not even the last, to don the cape and cowl, but I have a bold feeling that whatever he brings to the character will be nothing like the actors before him or after. I cannot wait to see the nature of this new take come to life when The Batman (one of the most highly anticipated 2022 movies) hits theaters on Friday, March 4 of that year.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.