Robert Pattinson helps a new Batman emerge from the darkness

Now after several release delays, The Batman film is finally coming to theaters worldwide on March 4. The anticipation is always high for a Batman film, but the film is carrying more than the weight of a normal blockbuster on its shoulders.

Robert Pattinson isn’t morally opposed to superhero films. But he wasn’t exactly seeking them out before The Batman came along, either. The 35-year-old who seemed to emerge as a fully formed superstar in mega franchises like Harry Potter and Twilight has for the past decade or so found himself chasing edgier fare, smaller movies with interesting directors and roles where he could stretch and disappear behind an archaic New England accent, as in The Lighthouse, the unkempt beard of an explorer in The Lost City of Z or the shock of messily bleached hair that accompanies him on a never-ending chase in Good Time, to name a few.
The strange thing is that it was Good Time, a $2 million movie, and its frenetic, freefall energy that convinced director Matt Reeves that Pattinson needed to be his Batman. It was 2017 and Reeves, the man who brought freshness and grit to the last two Planet of the Apes films, had raised his hand to usher in a new iteration of the dark knight while Ben Affleck was in the process of hanging up his cape. Reeves started writing the movie for Pattinson, not having the faintest idea whether it would hold any interest.
Luckily, in Pattinson’s mind, Batman preceded and existed outside of the “superhero craze.” Growing up in England, he remembers watching the cartoon, the Adam West series (which he swears was still running replays in the UK when he was a child in the 1990s) and coveting his costume and Happy Meal toys. Then there were the films.
“No other movie has been so thoroughly reinvented in so many different ways,” Pattinson said. “Tonally, it’s kind of they’re not part of the same series. It exists as as a different kind of legacy.”
The idea Reeves had was to go back to Batman’s detective roots, crafting a 1970s style noir a la Chinatown or The French Connection meets classic “Warner Bros. gangster pic” where Batman and Gordon hunt for a Zodiac-like killer who leaves riddles addressed to Batman at the crime scenes around Gotham.
“Not wanted to not reinvent the franchise, but in some ways, take it back to its origins, which is in mystery and detective work,” said Jeffrey Wright, who plays Gordon. “He wanted to celebrate Batman as the world’s greatest detective.”
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Reeves knew he couldn’t do a straight origin story — the public has seen Martha Wayne’s scattered pearls more than enough times — so he decided to drop the audience in a place where Bruce has only been Batman for a little over a year.
“You have to fulfill what people love about Batman,” Reeves said. “You’re going to have a Batmobile chase, you’re going to have spectacle, fights, he’s going to come out of the darkness in the suit… all of that is critical. But you have to do something that’s fresh, too.”