Tim Burton has seen the new Batman movie from Matt Reeves, and he had a pretty dramatic reaction to it. Batman is a cinematic baton, passed from one director to the next, with each imbuing their version of the superhero movie with their own twists.
First, there was the ’60s Adam West Batman movie, which was known for its comic-book accurate ‘Kerpow!’s and ‘Biff!’s, and for Wests’s rather unflattering batsuit. Then, the character was revisited by gothic master Tim Burton, who took over for Batman and Batman Returns in the late ’80s and early ’90s, with Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne. Director Joel Schuacher finished that action movie series, and then Christopher Nolan rebooted the property and created perhaps the most famous – and successful – cinematic version of the Batman story.
Now, Batman is back once again. Matt Reeves, who previously worked on two of the new Planet of the Apes science fiction movies, teamed up with Robert Pattinson to create the latest cinematic iteration of Batman. His movie was the darkest, and grittiest yet, exploring Gotham’s underbelly with a thriller movie inspired twist.
Now, ex-Batman director Tim Burton has reacted to Reeves’s take on the superhero. Speaking at the recent Lumière Festival in Lyon (via IndieWire) the director reflected on the movie, and shared some thoughts about it. Most remarkably, he said that the dark action movie makes him start “laughing and crying”.
Burton said “The thing that is funny about it now is, people go ‘What do you think of the new Batman?’ and I start laughing and crying because I go back to a time capsule, where pretty much every day the studios were saying, ‘[my Batman movie was] too dark, it’s too dark’. Now [my Batman movie] looks like a lighthearted romp.”
The director’s comments are an accurate reflection of how expectations around superhero movies have changed, and how the cinematic landscape has evolved more broadly. When Burton made him Batman movie, he was coming off the back of the Adam West version, which was as far from ‘dark’ as it’s possible to be. So, it’s understandable that the huge change in direction raised a few eyebrows.
But, arguably, Burton’s darker take on Batman completely paved the way for where we are now with Reeves’s version of the story. He showed that Batman could work as a darker story, which is how we’ve ended up in a place where a Batman movie is now expected to be dark and gritty. For more Batman movie fun, check out our guide to our picks for the Batman 2 villains, and who should take on Pattinson’s caped crusader.