The Batman metal chest

Batman has seen a wide variety of big screen takes from directors Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, and Christopher Nolan. Now it’s time for Matt Reeves to take the Batmobile for a spin, and even though we’re getting a reboot of The Dark Knight franchise with Robert Pattinson stepping up to put on the cape and cowl, the director says The Batman isn’t an origin story. But the movie will still acknowledge Bruce Wayne’s origins, especially since we find him at a time when he’s “majorly struggling.”

Matt Reeves is one of the executive producers of the new Amazon anthology series Tales from the Loop (read our review here), so he took some time to speak with Nerdist while production on The Batman is on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. First of all, the director talked about his approach to the Caped Crusader. Reeves described the thought process behind his take:

“I’m going to pitch the version of Batman that I would do, which is going to have a humanist bent. And who knows if they’ll have any interest? If they don’t, then I won’t do it. And that’ll be okay. I was really lucky that they said yes.”

Without giving away any specific details about the story or whether any of the DC Comics storylines are being used for this new franchise, Reeves said he’s tapping into the emotional side of the story. The director explained:

“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. 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. Some people are incredible choreographers and they know how to create an incredible visual dance, or all of that kind of stuff. And I love that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, I have to understand it emotionally.”

One might think that in order to properly understand Batman on an emotional level, you have to go back to the beginning. Thankfully, we’re not getting an origin story for the superhero yet again. But that doesn’t mean the movie will be completely absent of origin details. Reeves said:

“I wanted to do not an origin tale, but a tale that would still acknowledge his origins, in that it formed who he is. Like this guy, he’s majorly struggling, and this is how he’s trying to rise above that struggle. 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.”

This sounds like a Bruce Wayne who is still dealing with the death of his parents, but hopefully we won’t have yet another flashback sequence. Even though he’s already become Batman, he’s still coming to terms with what that means, who he is when he wears the cape and cowl, and what he stands for. How much of Bruce Wayne is in Batman, and maybe vice versa?

As for what Batman will be confronting outside of his own head, it should come as no surprise that Gotham City is a corrupt place. Reeves said that The Batman will explore the emotional side of the superhero along with the darkness within the city:

“There’s something in there that feels very psychological, very emotional, and it felt like there was a way of exploring that along with the corruption in this place, Gotham. That feels very current. I think it always does. There’s almost no time when you can’t do a story about corruption. But today, it still seems incredibly resonant and maybe, from my perspective, maybe more so than maybe at other time.”

Indeed, the amount of corruption in our current political climate is staggering. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of parallels that Matt Reeves draws between The Batman and our current world issues. It likely won’t be on-the-nose, since Matt Reeves isn’t that kind of filmmaker, but he probably won’t be shy about making a statement.

As of now, The Batman is slated for release on June 25, 2021, but the production shutdown could change that.

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