‘The Batman’ director shares the real-life political scandal that inspired the film


Matt Reeves’ The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson, is not only inspired by the fictional worlds of comic books but events from the real world as well.

Previously, We Got This Covered discussed how Paul Dano’s take on Riddler seems to take much inspiration from real-life serial killers, such as the Zodiac Killer being one prominent example. But there’s a lot more to the story that is inspired by true crime, specifically the political corruption aspect.

Reeves explained in a recent interview with MovieMaker that he was inspired to take Batman back to his roots, specifically the character’s first appearance from Detective Comics #27 from 1939, in which the character is presented by creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger as a noir figure similar to other hard-boiled detective stories at the time.

“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.

“There had to be a very deep conspiracy going on. And so I watched All the President’s Men, I re-read the book, and I just started saying, OK, so how do we start to describe just how high the corruption went? It’s very much like All the President’s Men in that way.”

All the President’s Men is a book and film about the real-life Watergate political scandal, whose corruption went so high up in the societal chain of command, the unraveling of it in the press brought down the President of the United States at the time, Richard Nixon.

Unsurprisingly, Rupert Penry-Jones’ Gotham Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. and Peter Sarsgaard’s District Attorney Gil Colson, from the film, share the last names of key figures in the Watergate scandal, fixer Chuck Colson and campaign manager John N. Mitchell.

“I wanted bits of those names because I wanted the conspiracy to come with that forcefulness of history and believability for me,” Reeves said.

The director also explained that in terms of the plot of the film, it centers around Dano’s Zodiac-like Riddler killing supposedly legitimate, prominent figures in Gotham. In the wake of the murders, Riddler reveals “the ways in which these people were not everything they said they were, and you start to realize there’s some kind of association.”

Left to put together the clues of the conspiracy are Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne, AKA Batman, and Jeffrey Wright’s James Gordon, “in a classic kind-of-detective story way,” Reeves said. In this manner, the director compared the crime-fighting duo in the film to the real-life figures who broke the Watergate case, The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

See if you can put the pieces together when The Batman swoops into theaters March 4.

About the author

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'