Robert Pattinson on the Psychology of The Batman and His No-Kill Code

Robert Pattinson is vengeance in The Batman, and the Bat's bloodlust is curbed only by the Dark Knight's no-kill code. In his second year of stalking the crime-infested streets of Gotham City as a dark creature of the night, this reclusive and grungy Bruce Wayne "practically lives in the gutter," Pattinson says in the latest issue of French magazine Premiere. Explaining the psychology behind Batman, a vengeful vigilante out to brutalize the bad guys of the city that gunned down his parents, Pattinson says his caped crusader takes pleasure in punishment: venting his rage on the criminal element of Gotham.

"There is this rule with Batman: he must not kill. It can be interpreted in two ways. Either he only wants to inflict the appropriate punishment, or he wants to kill and his self-control prevents him from doing so," Pattinson told Premiere Magazine. "I imagined it that way from the rehearsal of the first fight, I thought it was funnier: something in him just wanted to slit the guy's throat! I told myself that if he spends his nights chasing criminals, it is impossible that he does not take pleasure in it. He suffers and it is a desire that overwhelms him."

Pattinson added, "And by dint of knocking, his mind clears, he calms down, he reaches a state close to plenitude. I'm sure in this first fight, he manages to convince himself that every guy in front of him is the one who killed his mother (Laughs.) And so that allows him to vent all his rage."

In the reboot from director Matt Reeves, this Batman "practically lives in the gutter," Pattinson said. "He's nowhere at home except on the street when he's wearing the suit. He lives a criminal life, but without committing crimes! I felt like I could get something out of that. Anyway, I could only play a superhero if he was really dirty!"

With the enigmatic Riddler (Paul Dano) out to unmask the truth about the corruption of the rotten Gotham City, Batman's mission sees him crossing paths with such rogues as Selina Kyle/aka Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), Oswald Cobblepot/aka the Penguin (Colin Farrell), and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro). 

First-time DC filmmaker Reeves has described The Batman not as an origin story but a noir detective tale that will "refer to [Bruce's] origins and shake him to his core." In a behind-the-scenes featurette going under the cowl of his shadowy-eyed superhero, Reeves said he cast Pattinson in the role because the actor was "always that version of what I saw in the page, and that was about trying to create a new version of Bruce."

"He doesn't have as much control over his personality, like the delineation between when he's Batman and when he's Bruce is not so clear and other kinds of iterations of it where he really knows what he's doing when he's putting on the cowl," Pattinson said at DC FanDome 2021. "And I kind of really like this idea of it's a little bit out of control. He hasn't completely defined what Batman is. I mean, he gets lost in it whenever he's putting on [Batman] every night. He's not sleeping and he's becoming this quite sort of odd creature." 

The Batman is playing exclusively in movie theaters on March 4.