Director Matt Reeves has shared his approach to Bruce Wayne’s persona in The Batman. Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is in his second year as the Dark Knight, and as revealed by the director, a great deal of thought went into how this version of the man behind the mask was being portrayed.
In an interview from KCRW, Reeves went into detail about the character’s evolution and revealed that he wanted to do something Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan hadn’t already done in their versions of the caped crusader.
“ I wanted to do an early years “Batman” and Bruce Wayne. And it was important to me that while it wasn’t an origin story, he was, in the early years of what he was doing, and was still trying to make sense of himself, was still a young man trying to put himself together and find a way to function. This idea of not yet understanding even the asset that being Bruce Wayne could be, the way that other iterations of the character have where they realize, oh, I can be Bruce Wayne, and that can be another kind of mask. He’s just not together enough yet to even understand how valuable that’s gonna be.”
I was interested in the idea of him being at a stage where he couldn’t bear the weight of the history of being part of the Waynes. I thought he could be kind of like a member of the Kennedy family like American royalty, or what a British royal would be in the wake of a tragedy and how there was a lens being put on you because of a family tragedy that you could never escape. And so his response would be to want to withdraw from all of that and not understand that in the mission of what he was trying to do to try and make sense of his life, he might be able to use that as a kind of mask or or guise, that might be useful. He can’t figure any of that out yet.”
Pattinson’s Batman is a decidedly different Bruce Wayne than what fans have seen before. Typically, Bruce Wayne presents himself as the billionaire playboy who throws extravagant parties and dates the hottest celebrities to throw people off his trail. That’s not the case in The Batman.
In Reeve’s film, Bruce wears his trauma on his sleeve and he’s more of a recluse who’s devoted only to his mission. When he is out in public, he’s gloomy — it matches his stark worldview of crime and those who are involved in it. He has just started out as Batman and trying to fix the crime-ridden Gotham City as best he can, but he’s clearly missing some essential tools.
The director relates Bruce Wayne to Kennedy and British royalty, and it’s an apt description. The Wayne family is essentially Gotham’s version of a royal family, complete with all the drama and conspiracies that come with it.
It’s revealed that Thomas announced his plans to run for mayor in the hopes of changing the city for the better, but in true political scandal fashion, he and his wife Martha are killed before that ever happens. Martha isn’t free from the drama either, and Bruce finds out that she secretly suffered from mental illness and paid visits to Arkham Asylum for help.
As the story continues in future sequels and spin-offs, it’s very likely that Bruce will adopt a more convincing persona to operate efficiently. It remains to be whether Reeves’ version will soon embrace his traditional playboy image or work out a different mask to blend into the world of Gotham.
The Batman is currently playing in theaters.