The Batman is one of the most anticipated movies of recent times. The recent success of Joker, and the long history of the Batman franchise winning accolades as well as the box-office have placed a lot of expectations on filmmaker Matt Reeves for his new Batman movie to measure up to. During an interview with Nerdist, Reeves revealed his thought process going into the film's creation.
"I thought, 'Well, there's been some terrific Batman movies,' and I don't want to be part of a long line of Batman movies where this is just another one. I feel like they've been really distinctive. The best ones have been incredible. What Nolan did was incredible. What Tim Burton did was really singular."
The 1966 Batman tv show seemed to have doomed the caped crusader to a lifetime of camp and cheesiness. But Tim Burton took the world of Gotham and turned it into a brooding, gothic fairy tale about loss and vengeance. Burton proved Batman could be dark and edgy, and a few decades later, Christopher Nolan wiped away the last vestiges of camp from the world Burton created, to introduce the world to a Batman whose mythology is deeply grounded in the real world. For Matt Reeves, both Burton and Nolan provided him with valuable insight into what makes for a great Batman film.
"I love Batman Returns. Michelle Pfeiffer was incredible. I love it, I love it so much. It's so incredible and she's so incredible in it. I just think it's such a beautiful movie. I love the Penguin stuff when he's going down the sewers as the baby. It's just like, wow. This is the beautiful thing about Tim Burton at his best in that way that he's got that connection into the fantastical that feels very, very personal."
"The Dark Knight is so incredible and I think that Heath Ledger's performance and their conception of the Joker in that movie is indelible. And the battle that he engaged with, you know, with Batman/Bruce is incredible."
But the thing you take away from it more than anything is that conception, specifically, I think of the Joker. That movie is so much about how it's a horrifying thing to stare into the abyss, that idea of that level of nihilism. The whole idea that there was nothing you could do because even in the destruction of him, you were fulfilling his aims. It was just a terrifying notion that speaks to an aspect of human nature and that was really profound."
The excellence of the previous Batman movies is what prompted Reeves to find a way to make his take on the character stand apart from what had come before.
"I just felt like well, what I'd love to do is to get a version of this Batman character where he's not yet fully formed. Where there's something to do in this context with who that guy would be in this world today, and to ground him in all of these broken ways. Because at the end of the day, this guy is doing all of this to deal with trauma in his past."