This isn’t an origin story. If anything, it’s Batman: Year Two. (No, not the one where he almost shoots Joe Chill.)
Talking yesterday at DC Fandome, Matt Reeves, the director of The Batman starring the very gothcore Batman stylings of Robert Pattinson, shed some intriguing light on what kind of Batman, precisely, we’ll be getting, and what differentiates him from his counterparts in other adaptations of the avenging hero.
“The idea is that we’re in Year Two, it’s the Gotham Experiment. It’s a criminological experiment. He’s trying to figure out sort of what he can do that can finally change this place. And in our story, as he’s in that mode, that’s where you meet him…and he’s seeing that he’s not having any of the effect that he wants to have yet, and that is when the murders start to happen,” Reeves said. “And then the murders begin to describe sort of the history of Gotham in a way that only reinforces what he knows about Gotham, but it opens up a whole new world of corruption that went much farther. But as that story starts to come out, without being an origin tale for him, it ends up being something that touches on his origins. So you start to see that, as it starts to describe this epic history of corruption in Gotham, that you start to understand, ‘Well, where did my family sit in that?’”
This is Batman beyond the origin story mode, then, one who’s deep in his work and trying to understand it as he goes. Most Batman we’ve seen on screen have, once they put on the cape and cowl, appeared mostly fully formed. Once you’re Batman, you’re Batman. Reeves is suggesting here a slower, more complex evolution into the character and into learning to actually help Gotham. Instead of just, you know, punching guys a whole bunch, which this Batman certainly seems to be good at.
“I think, you know, as we said, it’s not an origin tale, and you’re meeting him in the early days. And, for me, what’s really important about this iteration is that, you know, a lot of the other stories are very much about how he had to master his fear, and master himself, in order to become Batman. And that in that Batman state, he’s sort of in his best self. And I think, for me, what was exciting was not doing that—not doing the origin, not doing what we’d seen done so beautifully in other movies, but instead to meet him in the middle of this criminological experiment, to see him in the becoming of Batman, and to see him make mistakes as Batman, and see him grow and fail and be heroic, do all of the things that we associate with Batman, but in a way that felt very human and very flawed,” Reeves said later in the interview.
This isn’t necessarily new territory for Batman as a character, but for the films, which have often been limited to origin stories, Joker stories, and, uhh, whatever The Dark Knight Rises was? It’s an exciting space to be in.
The Batman hits theatres whenever it’s done, I guess, I don’t know anymore.
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