The Batman is upon us, and we couldn’t be happier. Dark, gritty, and all the usual adjectives that go with a Batman movie, the thing that impresses us most about Matt Reeves’ new take on the Dark Knight is how it dares to be different (it’s not even set in the DCEU).
Sure, it may look and sound like a Batman movie, but this tense thriller does things differently. Set just two years into Bruce Wayne’s (Robert Pattinson) crusade on crime, The Batman sees the Caped Crusader encounter the deadly serial killer The Riddler (Paul Dano) and question how much of a difference he’s really making.
We were lucky enough to talk to Dylan Clark – the producer who worked with Reeves on The Batman and the Planet of the Apes trilogy – about the Dark Knight’s new movie. We spoke about how Clark felt when Reeves approached him with the action movie, if they think Batman’s dark reputation is fair, and got into the nitty-gritty of the Riddler.
The Digital Fix: You’ve worked with Matt Reeves for a number of years now. How did you feel when he first came up to you and said, ‘Listen, I’ve got an idea to make a little movie called The Batman?’
Dylan Clark: [Laughs] Well, he said it in a little bit a different way. Because when they reach out to say, ‘Would you be interested in Batman?’ your first reaction is, ‘this is a big undertaking. Can you do it?’
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So it was more of an investigation ourselves, which was, is there a way to do this movie differently with a unique take on this character. [Matt] went away and did some thinking, and then said, ‘I think I have a way in’. Once I heard, ‘I think I have a way in’, I have such faith in Matt as a writer-director, at that moment, I was in.
You know, as a producer, it’s, it’s such a great opportunity to have a chance to make a Batman movie. You never think you’re going to be given a chance to make a Batman movie. So it’s one of those things that five years later, I’m still a little bit shocked that here I am talking about this movie that I produced. And that’s going to be seen on the big screen very shortly.
TDF: I don’t want to go into specifics and spoil anything but something this movie does that’s different to any other Batman movie is that it dares to be hopeful. Do you think that The Batman is an optimistic movie?
DC: I do, and I love that you feel that way too. Matt’s intention was to take Batman on this journey that shook him to his core so that the audience could see this great arc where he goes from a vengeance-driven vigilante to something more. Batman has to represent more to the world. He has to represent justice and hope.
Seeing him go through this emotional journey and feeling pain and darkness, you know? It means that once you arrive at that ending, you feel we have a hero amongst us. That, to me, is optimistic.
TDF: Let’s talk a little bit about the Riddler. I realise this has been in development for a while, so it can’t have been directly inspired by watching the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, but he feels like if he existed, he’d have been there; he’s a real homegrown threat. Can you talk a the Riddler and his real-life inspirations?
DC: In order to feel the emotional journey of Batman, you need to ground it in a contemporary setting. You know, we wanted our Gotham to feel like something that we’re experiencing in our American cities.
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Matt’s not interested in just representing a bad guy. He’s interested in seeing how a person becomes a bad guy. What drives somebody to become a villain. I think he was just tapping into a lot of things that we’re all experiencing in the world.
Obviously, we wrote this movie years before certain events happened. We weren’t trying to make a political movie. We were just trying to create something that felt authentically the things that were happening in our world.
The Batman swings into theatres on March 4.