With The Batman gearing up to enter production, DC fans are busy wondering whether Matt Reeves’ movie will measure up to the Dark Knight trilogy helmed by Christopher Nolan. However, going by what we know about the film at the moment, it looks like it would be more accurate to compare it to another Bat-franchise entirely. Specifically, Tim Burton’s Batman Returns.
First of all, The Batman is known to pit Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne against multiple villains. Sure, the Dark Knight films did this, too, but the trend was pioneered by 1992’s Returns. In that pic, Michael Keaton’s Caped Crusader battled Danny DeVito’s Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman and Christopher Walker’s Max Shreck, an original creation.
So, which villains have we got showing up in The Batman? Well, Catwoman (Zoe Kravtiz) and Penguin (possibly Colin Farrell), for one. Riddler (Paul Dano) and Two-Face will also appear, which connects it to Returns‘ direct sequel, Batman Forever. Clearly, both films will depict Gotham City as being overrun with freakish supervillains, much like the comics.
What’s more, Pattinson’s Bat-debut is reportedly set in the 1990s, thereby returning it to the then-present-day of Returns. The Batman will explore Bruce’s detective skills, with it looking like more of a mystery and a bit less of an action flick. Returns focuses on his crime-solving skills to some extent, too. It definitely also treats him as a hero who uses his brain as much as his fists and who spends a lot of time sifting through evidence and clues in the Batcave.
Obviously, you can only stretch these Returns parallels so far – don’t expect the Penguin to travel around in a giant duck, for example – but it’s interesting to consider them. Reeves is also said to be drawing on The Long Halloween, which makes a lot of sense considering these character and plot details. All in all, fans want something original that maybe also pays homage to comics and movies past. Fingers crossed The Batman delivers on that.