The Batman Director Matt Reeves Explains Why Robert Pattinson Wears Eyeliner

Ahead of the release of The Batman in a little over a month, the film's director has gone on record explaining the decision to smear black eyeliner around the eyeholes of the Dark Knight's mask. The short version? It's always been done that way, and he thought he could make it cool. Star Robert Pattinson, of course, was made famous for his work in Twilight, so the idea of putting him in a lot of makeup inherently draws more jeers than other versions of Batman, but Reeves is not particularly worried about that part of the fandom.

The character's eyeliner became a joke following the release of the film's trailer. In it, Pattinson removes the mask and you can see a drippy mess of makeup all over his face. But that was part of the appeal to Reeves.

"You can't wear a cowl and not wear that," Reeves told Esquire. "All of the Batmen wear that. I just loved the idea of taking off [the mask] and under that there's the sweating and the dripping and the whole theatricality of becoming this character."

The Batman seems to be more of a character study on Bruce Wayne than we have seen in previous outings. Taking place after his training is complete and in the early days -- but not the very beginning -- of his time as the Dark Knight, The Batman will see a distinctly more low-fi version of the characters, and will lean less into the superheroics and more into the detective work. Pattinson's Batman won't just be stripped of the Justice League characters that Ben Affleck bounced off of, but also of the ostentatious use of the Wayne fortune that made Christopher Nolan's movies feel less like superhero movies and more like action tentpoles.

"He doesn't care about any of the trappings of being a Wayne at this point," Reeves told the magazine, adding later, "The Nolan films established the Batmobile as a tank, which was a brilliant idea, but I thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool if this guy is a loner and a gearhead and fashioning these things by himself, taking parts of other cars and kit cars?' So it's recognizable as a car this time. But it's like a muscle car. One that he's made himself."

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The Batman will be in theaters on March 4.