Over Batman’s long cinematic career, we’ve seen him in some awesome fight scenes, using his stealth training to terrorize criminals and develop a ton of wonderful toys. But he often doesn’t get a chance to use the deductive skills that earned him the title of ‘World’s Greatest Detective’.
Sure, in Batman ’89 we saw him figure out the Joker’s Smilex plan and in The Dark Knight he did some nifty (if completely nonsensical) ballistics reconstruction, but those are isolated scenes tucked away amidst an action-focused adventure. That’s all set to change in The Batman, with the core of the story him solving the enigmatic Riddler murders.
Director Matt Reeves opened up on this in a new interview with Movie Maker:
“I wanted to do a story in which the corruption of Gotham was one of the most important aspects of the story, because Gotham is a sick place. Bruce is desperate to try and make a change. He’s still stuck, to be honest, emotionally stunted at being 10 years old, because that’s a trauma you don’t get past—witnessing your parents murder in this place.
He’s looking to create meaning, right? This is the only meaning he can find. …I think he imagines that if he can do this, somehow he can reverse what’s happened, which will never be reversed. This is a very human impulse, right? To try and relive something and remake it.”
He went on to note that Batman debuted in ‘Detective Comics’ and was in keeping with the 1930s noir trends for hard-bitten and intelligent men driven to do good at the expense of their health and social lives:
“This idea of a place that is corrupt, and you try to swim against the tide in order to fight against it and make a difference, is quintessential Batman. And at the center of those noir stories is almost always the detective, right? And that’s why he is the world’s greatest detective. And so this story is, in addition to being almost a horror movie, and a thriller, and an action movie, at its core, it’s also very much a detective story. It’s very narrative.”
Pattinson agrees, saying that:
“In the first meeting, he was saying, we want to lean into the ‘world’s greatest detective aspect,’ and be a detective noir movie,. And, you know, normally when directors say that, they just do like a mood board, and it’s just about the imagery. But I read the script, and it is! It’s a detective movie. It happens all the time in the graphic novels, but it’s always kind of on the backburner in the movies.”
If Reeves really can dish up a satisfying mystery for Batman to solve with some fun twists along the way, we could be in for a real good time. The trailers have hinted that the Riddler is out to expose the buried secrets of Gotham’s elites, and I suspect those revelations will come to haunt Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne.
The Batman hits theaters on March 4.