Look, the verdict’s out and it’s official that Robert Pattinson is going to be our new Batman. We’ve made our stance particularly clear in the past, much to the dismay of some netizens. Yes, we do in fact believe that Pattinson under director Matt Reeves’ vision would indeed make a solid Batman. As much as people are hesitant about Pattinson taking up the cowl, I can’t help but feel like those vehemently against the decision are basing their stance solely on his role in the Twilight Saga.
The man has done other projects in the past and has grown significantly as an actor. That being said, I do get where some people are coming from. Lest we forget the scourge of David Ayer’s strange creative liberties (or butchery) wrought upon the character of the Joker in Suicide Squad. Fans are probably not looking for too much of a reinvention of their beloved heroes or villains but rather faithful and soulful renditions of them. Recently, we’ve been assured that Reeves’ casting decision was not without forethought. Multiple factors were taken into account from how the actor would look in the costume to how they portrayed the character of Bruce Wayne and Batman to even eye language! Reeves and Warner Bros. is confident that they’ve found their Dark Knight.
We’re cautiously optimistic on the matter. Still, there are a number of things we’d definitely like to see in Robert Pattinson’s new Batman film. Things that go beyond merely Pattinson’s involvement with the character. These are the elements we believe are essential to either making or breaking the project.
1. An Original Angle To The Origin Story
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Son of wealthy philanthropists witnesses his parents get gunned down in an alleyway after a show; boy swears to avenge his parents and becomes an animal-themed vigilante. By now, people know this story as well as they know that the Earth is round. Thankfully Reeves feels the same way and is determined to give us the Bat’s story and origins from an interesting, and relatively untapped angle. According to a story with The Hollywood Reporter,
Reeves’ Batman is written to be around in his 30’s. This interpretation of the Dark Knight will neither be a redundant retelling of Bruce Wayne’s origins ala Gotham nor will we see a grizzled veteran Batman. Rather Reeves’ story will follow Batman learning to become the brilliant detective we’ve come to know and love. That’s wonderful news in my opinion!
We did get to see some of Batman’s detective skills in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins but the film mostly focused on him learning to become a ninja or master of fear. We don’t need to see another ninjutsu training montage. We want a meticulous but inexperienced Bruce Wayne studying criminal psychology, investigating crime patterns and diving into the deepest, darkest pits of Gotham. In lieu of major supervillains like Killer Croc or Mr Freeze, we should witness Bruce Wayne track down serial killers, sex offenders and potential terrorists. It especially helps if Wayne is a little bit freaked out with how far Gotham’s depravity runs. It only aids to solidify his resolve and reveal a darker, and I don’t mean Snyder’s definition of the word, side to the character and the city.
2. A Fresh Formidable Foe
While Nolan’s villains throughout his Dark Knight trilogy were iconic and memorable, to say the least, they’re more often than not ideologues. Yes, we get it the Joker is the walking embodiment of amoral nihilism and twisted social Darwinism. Ra’s Al Ghul is the dark pessimistic yin to Batman’s idealistic yang. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Nolan’s efforts to imbue the franchise with some compelling ethos and discourse but this is something unique to his style. Reeves should not try to recreate Nolan’s vision but rather put a more relatable and human twist on his own.
So far it’s been revealed that one of the villains featured in Reeves’ upcoming Batman movie will be one of Gotham’s most infamous crime bosses, the Penguin. Don’t let his goofy avian name fool you, Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin is a ruthless and sadistic piece of work. One need only looks at his savagery and cunning in 1992’s Batman Returns. Seriously, Danny Devito’s depiction gave me nightmares for a long time.
Beyond the novelty of his flipper-like deformities and criminal empire, the most interesting aspect of Cobblepot is his connections to the Waynes. We’ve seen in the TellTale Batman games that Oswald and Bruce’s family has had some history together. They ran in the same social circle and even had some dealings with one another. It would be a fascinating development to see how these two wealthy and eccentric socialites greet each other as friends by day and battle each other as their alter egos by night. This could inject some gripping family drama into the mix which could further develop the lesser known parts of the Batman mythos. Flippers’ crossed they do my boy right.
3. Bat-Cat Romance
Another member of the Bat’s rogues gallery making an appearance is the seductive and skilled cat burglar (all pun intended) Selina Kyle, otherwise known as Catwoman. In the world of comics, Bruce Wayne’s off-again-on-again relationship with villain/anti-hero Selina Kyle is a long and storied one. Fans following Tom King’s most recent run on DC Rebirth’s Batman were eagerly tracking the multiple issues leading up to their wedding day. Only for them to lose their collective shits when King pulled the rug from under us all with Kyle leaving Wayne at the altar. If this frustration has revealed anything, it’s that people care about the couple. It’s clear that Catwoman will always be a part of Batman’s world, one way or another. And we’re invested to see how Reeves will tackle the potential romantic relationship between Batman and Catwoman in his upcoming film.
The last incarnation of this relationship was seen in The Dark Knight Rises but honestly, it played second fiddle to Bruce’s romantic entanglement with Talia Al Ghul. Nolan and Goyer clearly had no intention of building up their relationship, you know seeing that it’s the final instalment and all. Reeves, on the other hand, can take his own sweet time at creating simmering chemistry between these two children of the night.
We definitely wouldn’t want to see anything as rushed or corny as Batman falling head over heels for her at first sight. We want to see organic growth between the two. Reeves could have the two start off as rivals having playful banter with one another, unsure of their initial feelings. Then it settles into begrudging respect with only ever the smallest possibility of romantic inclinations teased near the end of the film. Forget Edward and Bella, show us some Bat-Cat!
4. True Crimes In Gotham City
We know that his version of the Batman will be loosely based off Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One comics which sees Batman on street level adventures against Gotham’s criminal element. Miller’s work on the Dark Knight is a fantastic place to start, seeing that Reeves plans on steering the franchise into a noir tone. That being said, it’s highly unlikely that Warner Bros studios will sign off on an R-rating for the film.
Nonetheless, we want to see Reeves really push the letter here with the crimes we see on screen. The truth of the matter is that a good majority of Batman’s career isn’t founded on going after psychotic mutants and evil geniuses. It’s mostly the common strand of criminals we see in our world. From the highest echelons of the criminal underworld to the lowliest mugger, they all fear the Bat’s wrath. Before he establishes himself as the frightening legend of now, we should see an emboldened breed of criminals in Gotham city.
We’d like to see Reeves portray the realistic side of crime in Gotham. The aftermath of a bloody murder. The scars left on a slashed up prostitute after a job gone wrong. The homeless being preyed upon by corrupt cops. I’m not asking for gratuitous violence by way of Sin City, just a more grounded approach to life in Gotham city. Living there really sucks and we should feel that in the everyday lives of the working class Gothamites. Gotham is as much as a character as Batman and her stories deserve to be told. We should know her despair, her struggle and her salvation through the eyes of her people and her greatest defender.
5. A Barebone Batsuit
They say clothes make the man, no less can be said about Batman and his suit. One thing we definitely do not want to see is the Superman-buster armour we saw Batman V. Superman. This is a Batman that has yet to fully hit his stride, he’s still experimenting on what works and what doesn’t. His suit should be a reflection of his experience.
Ditch the Kevlar and the metal chest piece and just stick to something more practical and lightweight. Batman should definitely still have some of his signature gadgets and weapons in his arsenal but not anything too high-tech like a Bat-sonar or timed explosives. The Batarangs, grappling hook and smoke bombs would be the ideal setting to start with, leaving room for further expansion in the future. Oh, and of course, the Batmobile is non-negotiable.
In the past, writers and illustrators were hesitant to give Batman any real armour in the comics because they felt it would make Batman seem invulnerable. On that note, we agree. If this is a younger, greener Batman then we have to be able to believe it. Since Reeves is basing his depiction of the character on the Batman: Year One comics, he should consider lifting its Batsuit design as well.
It’s a simple grey and black colour scheme in lieu of the all-black, yellow centred suit would be a wonderful callback to the classic Batman of yesteryear. It doesn’t have to be an exact replica of the Year One suit but it should capture the basic essence it. And for Heaven’s sake, no Bat-Nipples!