Is Matt Reeves’s The Batman with Robert Pattinson Going to Match Fans Expectations?

by Will Johnson

After many delays, March 4th sees the release of The Batman, with Robert Pattinson becoming the 9th man to play the caped crusader on the big screen. But what can we expect from a film that could be the most divisive iteration of Batman yet?

Who Is Involved?

Along with Robert Pattinson taking on the Bruce Wayne mantle in The Batman, Paul Dano will be playing The Riddler, one of Batman’s most underutilised foes. Zoe Kravitz will be playing Catwoman and hopefully will be given a better version of the character to work with than Halle Berry. Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell are all in the supporting cast.

Originally, The Batman was to be a continuation of Ben Affleck’s tenure as Bruce Wayne, with Affleck set to star, direct and produce. Between 2017 and 2019, however, Affleck’s role gradually reduced for a variety of reasons to the point where he has now had no involvement at all. Matt Reeves, who directed the two most recent Planet Of The Apes films, is in the chair instead, and has co-written the screenplay with Peter Craig.

What Do We Know About the Plot?

The Riddler is the main villain, with The Penguin, Catwoman, Albert, Commissioner Gordon and other well-known Batman associates also involved. However, these associates are tied intricately into the story, with corruption from within Batman’s own circle playing a big part in the plot.

Judging by the trailers, The Batman will be dark and moody, playing into the defining traits that have stuck with Pattinson from the moment he first appeared in Twilight. It’s a gothic characterisation that appears to be a world away from the movie Affleck might have envisioned, particularly considering how different Pattinson and Affleck are as actors.

According to Matt Reeves, his Bruce Wayne was inspired by Kurt Cobain and in particular the fictionalised version of the Nirvana front-man portrayed in Gus Van Sant’s Last Days. However, it’ll be tricky to translate Cobain’s very real strife into the abstract emotional turmoil of Bruce Wayne with authenticity. Conflating an addiction to crime fighting and an addiction to heroin perhaps seems a little tasteless, and this type of appropriation is one of the things Cobain himself disliked about the commercial arts.

How Will It Compare?

The Batman will inevitably be compared to The Dark Knight, and the trailers certainly show a similarly sophisticated take on the hero and villain to Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece. The Dark Knight changed the nature of what superhero films could be, and it’s wake is still being felt in cinema today. As such, it will be hard for The Batman to have a similar impact, but where it could score points is with its villain.

The Joker was immortalised by Heath Ledger, and despite having just as much potential The Riddler has not yet had the same kind of treatment; Jim Carrey’s performance was certainly memorable, but for very different reasons. Interestingly, none of the trailers show The Riddler’s face at any point, and if Paul Dano is really given room to make his character a distinct and intimidating villain then The Batman could end up being a very unique film indeed.

What do you think of the trailers? Do you think Robert Pattinson will make a good Batman? And who is the ultimate villain; The Joker or The Riddler?Let us know in the comments!

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