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Robert Pattinson, Matt Reeves, & More Talk About ‘The Batman’

Are you excited to see the new Batman on the big screen?

“I am vengeance.” The first time that Robert Pattinson uttered these words in The Batman trailer, fans knew that we’re in for quite a different ride in Matt Reeves’ iteration of the Caped Crusader.

That trailer was a year ago. Now, we’re just a day away from seeing the film in all its glory on the big screen! This March 2, we’ll see the Dark Knight as the world’s greatest detective who must track down a masked killer targeting Gotham’s elites. With the killer called the Riddler fond of using deadly contraptions and leaving behind riddles and ciphers for the Batman, the budding hero of Gotham is sought to crack the case and put a stop to the killings with the help of his newfound allies, James Gordon and Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman.

Before the official release of the film, members of the Philippine press were given the chance to attend the film’s global press conference virtually, which was joined by director Matt Reeves, producer Dylan Clark, its cast members Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, and more! Below are a few things you need to know about The Batman, according to its creators and cast.

When the Knight is young

There have been different takes on Batman on the big screen, but what sets this new movie apart from the past adaptations? For one, The Batman is set just over a year after Bruce Wayne decided to put on the cowl. This means that just like everybody else going into a new job, he is still learning the ropes. This also gives the viewers a glimpse of his early dynamics with Gordon and Selina.

“I knew that I wanted to take this iteration of a younger Batman who was early in his arc– that there was room for growth, room for an awakening, and put him at the center of this mystery that would pull us into the path of all of these characters,” explained director Matt Reeves who also worked on the script.

Director Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson in the Batman suit. (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Robert Pattinson also said that it makes up for a more interesting Batman for him to play.

“Normally for Batman, he goes away, trains, and he comes back fully realized. He’s confident that his abilities have changed, he’s confident and he’s heroic. In this [film], I love all the kinds of frailties he has– like when he was using the cape for the first time. Batman has always been fallible, he’s just a man in an armored suit, but this really embraces that. It makes it more interesting to play,” said Pattinson.

Of course, behind the mask, this Batman is also quite different from being the admired billionaire of Gotham. The Bruce Wayne in this film is a total recluse who is far more focused on being the Batman, rather than putting on the facade of a socialite.

Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne. (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Cat’s chemistry with the Bat

As mentioned, The Batman gives us a look at the Dark Knight’s relationships in its earlier days. In the case of Batman and Selina Kyle, the film already bares some romantic chemistry between the two as questions about a city-wide conspiracy put them both on the same path.

Zoë Kravitz who plays Selina Kyle talked about the chemistry between the two characters, saying that slipping into it was very easy.

“Me and Rob had been friends for a long time and I think a lot of [the chemistry] was on the page,” said Kravitz. “It’s really what Matt wrote, the emotional states of both of these characters were so clear and the connection that they find in each other and why they connect was so clear, so I feel like it was kind of built-in.

“These people, they’ve both felt alone their entire lives, and to meet somebody who has a similar way of thinking, and that grabs you the way that they grab each other, I think it really is in the heart of the story and it’s really a big deal for both of these characters to feel this way. So if you’re attached to your character emotionally, it’s really easy to play that part of it.”

Zoë Kravitz’ Selina Kyle and Pattinson’s Batman. (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Partners in fighting crime

Meanwhile, the dynamic between Batman and James Gordon– who is still a police lieutenant in this film– also stands out in this film. Asked why and how this team-up came to be, James Gordon’s actor Jeffrey Wright believes that the partnership stems from the police officer’s desperation.

“Two isolated characters in a sea of mistrust that is Gotham,” Wright began. “For Batman, there’s something within the core of the character that we’ve come to know that he’s honorable– troubled, and all of that– but there’s something honorable there. I think perhaps he recognizes that maybe there’s a strand of that within Gordon despite the company that he keeps.

“But I think for Gordon, ‘there’s something very useful about this guy, I’m not quite sure what it is.’ Again it’s early days in the relationship, but when he has so few tools of his own and so few partners of his own that he can trust, it’s really out of a sense of desperation that he says, ‘well, bring him on board.’”

Jeffrey Wright’s James Gordon investigates alongside Batman. (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Riddler and a city riddled with crime & corruption

The Riddler also gets a revamp in the film– far from the image of an energetic Jim Carrey in green spandex or Frank Gorshin clad in a green suit. In this film, we get a merciless manhunter in a creepy leather mask and a grungy green jacket.

Paul Dano plays this film’s Riddler which director Reeves actually based on the real serial killer known as the Zodiac, who is infamous for not being caught and taunting the authorities with ciphers and phone calls.

Paul Dano suited up as the Riddler. (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Asked how he brought the Gotham villain to life, Dano said “I spent a lot of time thinking about the Batman.

“I love the idea that you can’t really have Batman without his rogues’ gallery, but I love that you can have this Riddler, without the Batman. I think that the dynamic between them, [in] the storytelling and with the camera, there is some boundary there that I think is beautifully explored.

“There’s more murkiness to the morality, it’s less just hero and villain, and black and white. There’s not just protecting the status quo, there is something wrong in the city, and it’s really complicated to have a villain who– some of his ideas are not wrong, but the execution is a little off. But I found that to be really complicated and compelling. It’s Batman, it’s Gotham, there are these incredible archetypes at work in its history. But I think the contact with reality in this character, [it comes] from an as emotional and psychological place as possible, but the contact with reality is also what makes it, I think, potentially really scary,” explained the actor.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Inspirations from pages and films

During the press conference, director Matt Reeves also mentioned the many comics and films that inspired The Batman.

“In the comics front, I did a deep-dive and read so many comics. I would say that tonally, [Batman: Year One]. There was something in the tone of that. It was grounded in a way and also felt cinematic in a way that reminded me of an American 70s movie[…] And then Ego by Darwyn Cooke was really important because it was really dealing with the psychology of being Batman, the idea of the beast within and [his] internal struggle, which I thought was really captivating. And I would say The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, that was super important because it was this idea of a serial killer who has a series of crimes and the idea of Batman getting caught up as the world’s greatest detective. Drawing from those, I think the comic book front was really important.

“As for the movies that were so inspirational, to me, there’s a way in which Gordon and Batman in this movie are Woodward and Bernstein, with all the corruption and how high does it go. And so it’s kind of like All The President’s Men, and there’s a bit of French Connection, and there’s a bit of Taxi Driver. You know, it’s neo-noir, it’s like Alan Pakula’s Klute– the relationship between Klute and Bree Daniels very much informs the relationship between Batman and Selina. So there are a lot of 70s movies that were, to me, are the movies that really inspired me to make movies in the first place,” Reeves explained.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Batman also stars Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jayme Lawson. Distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, this film opens in Philippine theaters this March 2. Tickets are now available.

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The Batman
Crime, Mystery, Thriller
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