Will Robert Pattinson’s turn as the Caped Crusader mean we’ll have to deal with Bruce Wayne’s family trauma, all over again? The director of The Batman — Matt Reeves — has straight-up said that the highly anticipated Bat-flick will not be a reboot, exactly. Here’s what’s going on.
After production on The Batman was halted over coronavirus concerns, director Matt Reeves sheltered in place with his family in London. With some of his unexpected free time, Reeves has been doing interviews, and he just revealed something huge about his first take on the Caped Crusader.
“I wanted to do not an origin tale, but a tale that would still acknowledge his origins, in that it formed who he is,” Reeves explained in an interview with Nerdist.
Reeves calls his filmmaking philosophy “humanism”; defined loosely as letting the emotional aspects of the story guide his formal choices as a director.
“It’s not even like that’s an approach that I take like it’s some kind of idea of, ‘Wouldn’t it be great?’ It’s sort of the only thing that allows me to understand how to do it,” he said. “I can only understand where the camera goes and how to talk about the story, how to write the story, how to talk to the actors if I understand emotionally what it is I have to do. Otherwise, I’d be lost.”
It’s an interesting approach that diverges from many other comic book films, which seem to rely on the machinations of an intricate plot and/or bold stylistic choices to entertain their audiences.
An origin story would honestly make a lot of sense given this approach — Bruce Wayne’s decision to become the Batman is famously emotional, connected as it is to the death of his parents — but Reeves is happy to avoid that trope and think about the emotions of the grown-up Batman. After all, the past two cinematic iterations of Batman — Christian Bale and Ben Affleck — have depicted the death of Bruce’s parents on-screen in a huge way. Even a movie without Batman, the Joquin Phoenix film, Joker, couldn’t resist inserting this parent-killing scene. But now, it seems like that trope will be avoided. Maybe.
“Like this guy, he’s majorly struggling, and this is how he’s trying to rise above that struggle,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that he even fully understands, you know. It’s that whole idea of the shadow self and what’s driving you, and how much of that you can incorporate, and how much of it you’re doing that you’re unaware of.
The Shadow is a concept originated by Carl Jung that referred to the uncivilized part of our nature. Interestingly, Jung also felt that there was a collective shadow that emerged in groups or societies. And honestly, the best Batman stories feature Gotham as a character more than a setting, something quite in line with this concept.
The Batman is still slated to hit theaters on June 25, 2021, but these production delays might mean we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out exactly what Reeves’s non-origin-story new Batman actually looks like.