After what feels like a really long time, The Batman is finally releasing in cinemas. The movie is quite special to me personally in many regards, but more on that later. The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves, has had a long journey from its announcement to its release this week. Starring Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader, the movie sees Batman in his second year of crime-fighting. Evil’s on the rise as Paul Dano steps into the shoes of the Riddler and tries to uncover the corruption deep-rooted within Gotham. Batman in his effort to stop him will also uncover some secrets that might tarnish the Wayne family’s name forever.
Starting off by saying this, I am a huge Batman fan! I always have been. The character was introduced to me when I was four years old. Ever since then, I have loved this character. There hasn’t been a single day where I haven’t thought about this character since I am surrounded by his comics or toys. Batman genuinely is my favourite fictional character. There is something so unique about a guy dressed up as a bat fighting for good that really sat with me throughout the years. In many ways, it felt hopeful and told me a story about a man who pulled himself out of darkness to do something good.
Weirdly enough though, when I was introduced to Batman, it wasn’t the Bruce Wayne interpretation of the character. My first introduction to him was through the film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. Watching that film, I was enamoured with this futuristic character and the presentation of it all. This then threw me into a rabbit hole of different Batman-related media.
Starting off with Tim Burton’s Batman, the film gave me my first true experience with the character. Although not a good film to show a young child, still, it was something that made me fall in love with the character. I would then spend the next few days watching all the Batman films from starring Michael Keaton to George Clooney, and then eventually ran out of Batman films to watch.
This led me to the highly acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series. This show in particular featured a perfect interpretation of the character that mixed in some more mature themes in a kid-friendly format. Not to mention the absolutely amazing Batman: The Mask of Phantasm, a movie that complements the show perfectly.
Well into my obsession with the character, I would then start collecting comics just in time to get ready for Batman Begins. Now, I won’t go deep into talking about Nolan’s films because it is my favourite film trilogy, but rather talk about the impact of it.
While all three films in his trilogy are great with their own unique merits, The Dark Knight, in general, is something that I hold the dearest to myself. It’s the movie that made me fall in love with movies. Having nostalgic memories of being seven seated in front of a screen at Fun Republic (Mumbai), the car chase in the movie started my obsession with this art form. Watching people cheer when Batman successfully flips Joker’s truck, made me realise the impact of cinema.
The Dark Knight Trilogy ended and then we were thrust into the story of Ben Affleck’s Batman a few years later. Starring in the highly divisive Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck soared high and gave an amazing performance as an old, jaded and even more brutal Batman. While I do take issues with some of his characteristics, as I do with Keaton’s as well, I can’t deny that he really encapsulated the tone of Frank Miller’s Batman.
It was an amazing performance and I wanted to see more of this character, so I was ecstatic when a solo film with Affleck leading and directing it was announced. It was a perfect opportunity to explore this character to his fullest and dive deep within the bat world, but things didn’t exactly go the way they were supposed to.
Come early 2017, rumours started floating around that Ben Affleck wants out of the Batman role, and while they were troubling he did reaffirm that nothing of the sort would happen. Sadly the first red herring was when he dropped down from the role of directing.
Enter Matt Reeves, who took over the project replacing Affleck. Hot off from directing War for the Planet of the Apes, Reeves seemed like a perfect candidate for the project considering his impressive filmography. Everything seemed fine until rumours of Affleck stepping down from the role surfaced again.
All of this became official in 2019 when Affleck officially stepped down from the role and Robert Pattinson took over the role of Batman. Not connected to the ongoing DC universe now, this Batman movie was confirmed to be set in its own continuity. The fandom didn’t necessarily take this news in a good way, but I was still optimistic considering I trusted Reeves with the movie.
Pattinson’s casting was also met with a fair share of vitriol as many still have an image of him in the role of Edward from Twilight, but those criticisms don’t really hold much weight considering his career trajectory following the franchise based on Stephenie Meyer’s saga.
After Pattinson, the extraordinary cast started shaping up including Zoe Kravitz (Catwoman), Jeffrey Wright (James Gordon), Andy Serkis (Alfred Pennyworth), Paul Dano (The Riddler) and Colin Farrell (The Penguin).
Seeing this cast was amazing and filled me with excitement for the film. Forward to early 2020, we got our first look at Pattinson in the costume set to the ominous tune of Michael Giacchino’s score. Things were starting to look great but… COVID hit and production was shut down. The film then got delayed from its June 2021 release to October 2021.
We hadn’t heard a peep about the movie until DC Fandome in August 2020. A day for celebrating everything DC, we got new looks at Zack Snyder’s Justice League and The Suicide Squad to name a few, but it was obvious that everyone was waiting for the new The Batman trailer.
The panel for the movie itself started out with Matt Reeves introducing himself and talking about the movie and how he was inspired by the comic Batman: Ego. That one line alone made me confident in the film. Cut to the trailer, and that’s when it settled into me that it was going to be something special.
Set to the grunge tune of Nirvana’s ‘Something in the Way’, the teaser gave me a glimpse of what I always wanted from a Batman film - a young, inexperienced Dark Knight trying to prove that he is the world’s greatest detective. Finally, I was extremely excited about a comic book film after a long time. Although, the final month of 2020 ended on a downer (besides a disappointing Wonder Woman sequel) that The Batman had been delayed again to March 2022. But I just thought if I have waited so long, what’s a few more months of waiting going to do?
Following the teaser at DC Fandome, we would be treated to two other trailers, both one-upping each other in many ways, but the second trailer for The Batman was just something special. The trailers showcased a dark, deep, gloomy and depressing Gotham that really brought out the looks from the comics. Every passing promo material gave me a great idea of what this film was shaping up to be like, and every passing day I got more and more excited.
Cut to today, in about a day’s time I am going to be sitting in an IMAX theatre finally watching this movie that I have highly anticipated for the last five years. I was 16 when it was announced, and after finishing my junior college and one bachelor’s degree later, I am 21 now.
Matt Reeves recently was quoted saying in an interview, “This is five years of my life” and I couldn’t relate more to that sentiment.
In those five years, I have grown, following every bit of information on this movie. I was a different person than I was before, and this entire journey feels more rewarding. Never has a moment felt more like out of my childhood. I have that same excitement for the film the way I had for The Dark Knight back in 2008.
Batman is the encapsulation of everything good, and the best humans can be, and that’s something really hopeful and optimistic to me. I genuinely can’t wait for this movie and for everyone to watch it. I can only hope it’s something special, something passionate, and Matt Reeves along with his talented team at WB truly has cooked up something amazing.
The Batman releases in theatres on March 4, 2022.
Check out The Screen Zone’s review of The Batman here.