Matt Reeves Explains Why There's More Batman, Less Bruce Wayne in The Batman

Playing a reclusive Bruce Wayne in The Batman, actor Robert Pattinson's caped crusader spends more time in the cape and cowl than out of it. Set in the second year of the rebooted Batman's crusade as the embodiment of vengeance, The Batman is a detective-driven thriller emphasizing the "World's Greatest Detective" over Batman's other mask: the billionaire playboy. Speaking to Total Film, co-writer and director Matt Reeves explains skipping over Year One and telling a new tale with a suited-up Batman for most of its three-hour runtime: 

"I knew that I didn't want to do an origin tale and I didn't want to do a story where you saw Bruce going through the trauma and then becoming Batman because that has been done brilliantly many times. But I still wanted to make sure that we had Batman at the center, whose story was the main story, so that it was his character arc, but he had not already mastered himself," Reeves explained. "And so you could see him evolve, and we could see him rise to the challenge. In doing that, I wanted to lean into the idea of making this a 'World's Greatest Detective' thriller. That meant putting Batman more than Bruce Wayne right at the center, because that's the person who would be trying to solve this mystery."

The Dark Knight detective investigates the trail of cryptic clues of the Riddler (Paul Dano), a serial killer targeting the corrupt and the Gotham City elite. Batman's investigation brings him out of the shadows but rarely out of costume: Pattinson spends much of his screentime beneath the Bat-cowl. 

"In a way, it was like a thriller and a horror story, a serial killer story. That meant that we would require the actor, Rob, to have subtleties of performance that you wouldn't normally ask an actor to do with half of their face covered," Reeves said. "It was certainly challenging, the idea that he is wearing that cowl. And yet, you're not just getting that visceral Batman rage, you're also getting him in an intuitive state, seeing the clues, piecing it together, trying to solve the mystery." 

One of the few trusted do-gooders in Gotham is Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), Batman's ally in the corrupt GCPD. Together, Batman and Gordon partner to unravel the mystery of the Riddler and his plot to "unmask the truth" about Gotham.  

"There was a lot more dialogue as Batman than in any of the other Batman films," Reeves said. "He has to have long conversations, he and Gordon, they're like [reporters] Woodward and Bernstein and All The President's Men trying to figure out just how high this conspiracy goes. That was a particular challenge."

Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell, The Batman is now playing exclusively in movie theaters. 

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