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Robert Pattinson will be unveiled soon as the new Caped Crusader in the highly anticipated movie The Batman, which promises to be a gritty and dark interpretation of the superhero which will explore his roots as the "World's Greatest Detective".
The director and cast of The Batman spoke to reporters at a virtual press conference on 18 February. Director Matt Reeves shared his thoughts on the research he did on Batman comics and how they inspired the movie.
"On a comics front, I did a deep dive and read so many comics," said Reeves about his preparation for The Batman.
He cited the grounded tone of Batman: Year One (a comic book arc based on Batman's first year as a superhero) as one of his key inspirations.
"It felt cinematic in a way that reminded me of an American '70s movie," said the 55-year-old director.
Inspiration from Batman comics
Given that The Batman is ultimately a comic book movie (in an era of superhero movies), what better way to approach this reimagining of the classic character than by going back to its roots — the comics?
Unlike Batman: Year One, the upcoming movie The Batman is actually set in the second year of Batman's career as a crimefighter. The film was originally going to be part of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) with Ben Affleck reprising his role as Batman. However, Reeves later took over the project, seeking to explore a different side of Batman.
The film stars Robert Pattinson as the titular character, with Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, and Paul Dano as the central antagonist, the Riddler.
In the film, Batman must unravel a series of murders orchestrated by the Riddler, even as he struggles with his identity and the impact of Batman on Gotham City.
Other comic books that Reeves took inspiration from include Batman: Ego (also titled Ego: A Psychotic Slide into the Heart of Darkness), a character study of the Batman and Bruce Wayne personalities within Batman.
"[The comic] deals with the psychology of being Batman, and the idea of the beast within and him in an internal struggle, which I found really captivating and informed it," said Reeves.
Reeves also looked at Batman: The Long Halloween, a comic book series that takes place after Batman: Year One about Batman's early days as a vigilante. "That was super important because it [had] this idea of a serial killer on a spree of crimes and Batman being caught up in it as the World's Greatest Detective."
"Drawing from those on a comic book front was really important."
Immersing moviegoers in Batman's POV
Reeves is no stranger to the gothic horror that is the trademark of Batman films (except 1997's Batman & Robin). Having directed 2008's Cloverfield, Reeves had the same sound designers work on The Batman.
"The whole idea was to put you, as much as possible, in the point of view of the characters, specifically, the point of view of Batman. And sound is one of the tools to do that."
"You sit there in the theatre with Dolby Atmos sound and it literally moves your hair. When you have that Batmobile chase, you feel like you're just in it. And that was the intention, to make sure you felt the visceral quality of it."
One of the key differentiators of The Batman from other Batman films is that it focuses on Batman's flaws and vulnerabilities, rather than having him be the experienced, confident hero that we're familiar with.
"I loved all the kinds of frailties he has. I mean, the scene when he's jumping off and using his cape for the first time," said Robert Pattinson. "Batman has always been kind of fallible.
"He's just a man in an armoured suit. And this embraces it so much."
The Batman will be out in cinemas in Singapore on 3 March and in the Philippines on 4 March.
Comics you might want to read before watching The Batman:
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