How Matt Reeves Pulled Off The Batman's Show-Stopping Batmobile Chase

The newest version of the Batmobile only makes two appearances in "The Batman," but that first appearance is a hell of a debut. From the moment it fires up its massive engine/thruster to bursting out of a wall of fire, the Pattmobile has more than earned its spot has more than earned its spot alongside the various live-action Batmobiles. And director Matt Reeves put quite a bit of effort into crafting the chase scene between the Dark Knight and Colin Farrell's Oswald Cobblepot.

Reeves was a guest on CinemaBlend's ReelBlend podcast, where he delved deep into the making of the movie. When talk turned to the Batmobile chase, Reeves had nothing but praise for his stunt coordinator Rob Alonzo and cinematographer Grieg Fraser, who helped put the car chase together. Unlike most blockbusters, it turns out that a majority of practical effects were used to craft the car chase, including placing cameras in strategic places to make the audience feel like they were right in the cockpit with Batman.

The Chase Is On

The practical effects were critical to Reeves' vision — he was influenced by '70s-era action films including "The French Connection," which also placed the audience in the middle of a car chase. "I wanted it to be a practical thing that felt like a '70s chase," he said, "like The French Connection or Bullet. I wanted hard mounts, because when the car shakes, I wanted the camera to shake, and I wanted it to feel solid and locked to it."

What also helped Reeves craft the shot was VR technology, which he used to set up a myriad of shots that ended up shaping the final chase scene, with Alonzo helping him to place the various cameras around the Batmobile's engine.

"And [Alonzo] took me through every single possible place, and we took- we had scanned in the route, and we could play on a kind of loop, what the path of the Batmobile was, and I could look at the shots in VR before we ever shot them, and I set all of these shots basically beforehand, and we made this crazy storyboard that was made of screengrabs from VR, from the lenses we had found. And so, it was an incredibly involved process." 

At the very least, Reeves didn't have to goad his cast and crew into making the shot, unlike "The French Connection" director William Friedkin

Good evening, Mister Wayne

The VR shoots also helped craft one of the most iconic images of the film — an upside-down shot of Batman striding toward the Penguin, as flames crackle in the background. Reeves was also inspired by a legendary director when crafting the shots:

"And so, we found all those shots, and then- one of them, the one in particular with the upside down, I was like, well, I'm into this very Hitchcockian point of view — putting the camera in the subjective point of view of the character. So you can put the audience into that experience. So I thought it would be great if, at the end of all this propulsive, French Connection sort of craziness, to suddenly be in The Penguins point of view as he's lying upside down as you have this sort of mythic appearance of Batman with fire raging behind him."

From its title to its imagery, "The Batman" captures the mythic weight of its protagonist while managing to remind people that he drives a sweet rocket car. It's no easy feat, but Reeves and his crew were willing to put in the work.