The Batman's Badass Hallway Scene Was More Real Than You Think

This post contains minor spoilers for "The Batman."

That hallway scene in "The Batman," (yes, the one where Batman is being shot at in pitch darkness but effortlessly manages to take down all the goons) was more practically shot and conceived than one might imagine. Matt Reeves' "The Batman" is sprinkled with a plethora of standout moments — some being subtly hilarious like the Penguin waddling like, um, a penguin, while others being hauntingly beautiful like the red flare shot towards the end — and the hallway sequence is easily one of the best-crafted parts in the film. 

In a conversation with CinemaBlend, Reeves discussed the practicalities of the scene at length, talking about how the genesis of the idea sprung forth from a similar sequence in "War for the Planet of the Apes."

The anatomy of a standout sequence

Reeves clarified that something similar to the hallway scene in "The Batman" was done by him in "War for the Planet of the Apes" with a CG character, which also involved a dark space lit by muzzle flashes. Admitting his fascination with the idea, Reeves described why he incorporated the sequence in the noir-detective narrative. After all, the caped crusader is one with the shadows, has access to technology that facilitates night vision, and has the drive to fight all odds to protect others. In this case, Selina. Reeves said:

"You know that Batman can see into the night, and that he's wearing these contact lenses, and I felt, well this will be interesting. How's he going to save Selina? I thought, well what if he kills the power so the only one who can see is Batman. And how do we know that? That we'll be in this point of view, and the only way we'll know that is that they're taking shots at this guy coming like a horror figure, and the only time you can see where he is is that each time one of the muzzle flashes goes off, you'll see him getting closer and closer, and beating somebody, and then it goes black, and in and out and in and out."

Reeves' vision is translated onto the big screen remarkably well, as the scene in question looks seamless and is effective for many reasons ... key being that it just looks so cool. The idea blends well with Batman's "I am the shadows" proclamation during the film's opening narration and demonstrates the lengths to which he will go to stop Selina from doing the morally wrong thing, reinforced by his unshakable "no-kill" rule. Reeves also remarked that he spoke with Robert Pattinson at length about this particular sequence, given that it was important to understand the character's psychology better. 

'We can do it for real'

Interestingly, Reeves had initially decided to work the scene with a CG Batman being shot at, just like the sequence in the "Apes" movie. But "The Batman" stunt coordinator Rob Alonzo convinced Reeves that the scene would be pull off by practical means by breaking it into carefully-choreographed parts, and touching it up with VFX post-shoot:

"And what was so interesting is, Rob Alonzo goes, no no no. We don't need to do that. We can do it all for real. And I said, you're kidding me, and he goes, no, we'll have to break that shot up into pieces- I had wanted to do it in one piece and just film him coming out of the elevator and getting closer and closer and closer. And he said, 'But I can do it, I think I can do this for real.' And so we did it for real. He got the guys to train, and they were really careful with those guns, and these were, like, the absolute best at what they do. And what you're actually seeing is a scene that was lit with the muzzle flashes. And I can tell you it was broken into three shots. And we broke them into these little sections. And so one thing had to go to the other, the whole thing was very carefully choreographed, and we had the whole thing planned out. And we just kept doing each piece until the piece worked, and once we had the piece work we said okay, that's piece one. And then piece two. And then piece three. And then [VFX artist] Dan Lemon took it, and did some adjustments so we can get the bullets ping off the sides of the building, and off the sides of the interior, and as they ping off of Rob's chest and all of that. But we did do it practically."

Frankly, the seamlessness of the sequence is a testament to Reeves' team, who worked with disparate elements and brought them together to create one fluid moment. Needless to say, the payoff is bonkers, both from a narrative and an aesthetic point of view.

"The Batman" is currently playing in theaters.