Over his 80-plus year history, Batman has largely been defined by the artists creating him. Each person telling the story changes the character in some ways, and in the upcoming film The Batman, that’s not just happening again, it’s happening in some ways film audiences may not be ready for.
“Normally, in all the other movies, Bruce goes away, trains, and returns to Gotham believing in himself, thinking, I’m gonna change things here,” Robert Pattinson, who stars in the film, told GQ magazine. “But in this, it’s sort of implied that he’s had a bit of a breakdown. But this thing he’s doing, it’s not even working. Like, it’s two years into it, and the crime has gotten worse since Bruce started being Batman. The people of Gotham think that he’s just another symptom of how shit everything is.”
A Batman that’s not helping? That seems like a rather dark story to tell but Pattinson says that was writer-director Matt Reeves’ pitch from the very beginning. “I watched a rough cut of the movie by myself and the first shot is so jarring from any other Batman movie that it’s just kind of a totally different pace,” the actor said. “It was what Matt was saying from the first meeting I had with him: ‘I want to do a ’70s noir detective story, like The Conversation.’ And I kind of assumed that meant the mood board or something, the look of it. But from the first shot, it’s, Oh, this actually is a detective story. And I feel like an idiot, because I didn’t even know that Batman was ‘the world’s greatest detective’; I hadn’t heard that in my life before—but it really plays.”
Pattinson even revealed that his psychology as the Caped Crusader is specifically different from what fans have come to expect from the other movies. He’s driven by the death of his parents, but not in the typical way.
“All the other stories say the death of his parents is why Bruce becomes Batman, but I was trying to break that down in what I thought was a real way, instead of trying to rationalize it,” he said. “He’s created this intricate construction for years and years and years, which has culminated in this Batman persona. But it’s not like a healthy thing that he’s done ... almost like a drug addiction.”
So let’s get this straight. Batman is not helping Gotham City, he’s addicted to being that character like a drug, and the movie looks like a ‘70s noir. It sounds... what’s the word? Oh, Pattinson has it. “It’s a sad movie,” he said. “It’s kind of about him trying to find some element of hope, in himself, and not just the city. Normally, Bruce never questions his own ability; he questions the city’s ability to change. But I mean, it’s kind of such an insane thing to do: the only way I can live is to dress up as a bat.”
Read much more from the actor over at GQ. The Batman opens March 4 and tickets go on sale later this week.
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