'The Batman': A Deep Dive into the Gritty New Version of the Caped Crusader

We're looking into the influences and origins of the new film

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Feb 10, 2022

Batman certainly has come a long way since he first appeared on the screen in the campy '60s TV show, with its "POW!" and "BAM!" and "nah nah nah nah Batman!" These days, the Caped Crusader is the opposite of his comedic former self, having transformed into the grittiest, darkest superhero franchise of all.

Now, The Batman is continuing down this eerie path. Robert Pattinson takes up the mantle of Bruce Wayne and, alongside Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, defends Gotham City against the Riddler — whom Paul Dano portrays as a menacing villain.

The Batman swoops into theatres on March 4 via Warner Bros. Pictures — so we're taking a look at some of the key elements that make this a gripping and ominous-looking new chapter in Batman's evolution.

And who knows — look closely and you might even find some clues to the riddles found in our The Batman contest.

Batman's Grungy Inspiration

When looking to bring the appropriate amount of grit to The Batman, director/co-writer Matt Reeves turned to music to set the mood. In a recent interview with Empire, Reeves revealed that he worked on the screenplay while listening to Nirvana's "Something in the Way" — an acoustic ballad about living underneath a bridge and befriending the creatures that live there. Reeves said, "That's when it came to me that, rather than make Bruce Wayne the playboy version we've seen before, there's another version who had gone through a great tragedy and become a recluse. So I started making this connection to Gus Van Sant's Last Days, and the idea of this fictionalized version of Kurt Cobain being in this kind of decaying manor."

Reeves cast Pattinson in part because he bore some similarities to Cobain, particularly in the Safdie Brothers' 2017 film Good Time. Said Reeves, "In that movie you could really feel his vulnerability and desperation, but you could also feel his power. I thought that was a great mix. He's also got that Kurt Cobain thing, where he looks like a rock star, but you also feel like he could be a recluse." Appropriately enough, a haunting version of "Something in the Way" appeared in the trailer for The Batman.

Robert Pattinson's Ambient Hobby

During the shooting of The Batman, the set was bubbled due to the pandemic, with nearly all of the shoots taking place at night and star Robert Pattinson spending time alone in an on-set tent. He had his suit and wasn't allowed to leave, so he passed the time by making music — ambient electronic music, to be exact.

He told GQ, "I'd be in the tent just making ambient electronic music in the suit, looking over the cowl [the mask]. There's something about the construction of the cowl that makes it very difficult to read books, so you have to kind of almost lean forward to see out of the cowl."

Riddle Me This

In The Batman, our hero squares off against the Riddler, a menacing villain targeting the elites of Gotham City. He's sadistic and frightening — and he presents Batman with enough tricky ?uestions to remind us of a certain drummer for the Roots.

This iteration of the Riddler dons a creepy mask and a smock-like overcoat. He's played by Paul Dano, an actor known for his wide range of roles, having appeared in films like Prisoners, 12 Years a Slave and There Will Be Blood. He also earned a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson in the 2014 biopic Love & Mercy. Dano is bringing some serious edge to the character.

A Real Cool Cat

Joining Bruce Wayne in The Batman is Catwoman (a.k.a. Selina Kyle), portrayed by Zoë Kravitz. This is actually the actor's second time in the Catwoman role, as she previously voiced the character in 2017's The Lego Batman Movie.

Outside of the Batman universe, Kravitz is familiar to audiences for his wide range of roles including Mad Max: Fury Road, the Fantastic Beasts series, X-Men: First Class and High Fidelity. And, of course, anyone with an interest in '90s rock probably recognizes her last name, since she's the daughter of Lenny Kravitz — the rocker behind hit songs like "Are You Gonna Go My Way" and "Again." Zoë is carrying on Lenny's legacy as an "American Woman" who is going to "Fly Away" with Batman.

The Batman is in theatres on March 4. In the weeks leading up to that date, you can win some great prizes — including gift cards, Batman merch and tickets to see the film. Head over to our contest page to solve the riddles (and don't forget to look for hints in the article you just read).

The Batman © 2022 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved. TM & ©DC

Latest Coverage