Central to the mythology of Batman is the idea of the secret identity: Beneath his fearsome mask, he is really Bruce Wayne, the billionaire scion of grimy Gotham City, and beneath that, he is still the traumatized child who saw his parents murdered in front of him.
At first glance, it’s not clear that Matt Reeves has any secret identity. The 55-year-old filmmaker is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get guy; with his slicked-back hair, neatly trimmed mustache and affable manner, he’s like a friendly mirror image of Batman’s hard-nosed police ally, James Gordon, if Gordon traded his cigarettes for Sweetgreen salads.
But Reeves is now the guardian of Batman’s formidable cinematic legacy. On March 4, Warner Bros. will release “The Batman,” the latest attempt at a foundational adventure for its vengeful vigilante-by-night. Directed and co-written by Reeves, the movie, like its title, promises a back-to-basics approach, disconnected from previous Bat-franchises and starring a preeminent film vampire, Robert Pattinson.
“I could just feel his desperation, his intensity and his vulnerability,” Reeves said of those performances. At that juncture in his career, Pattinson said, “I’d been doing really fun, interesting movies — to me, anyway. It didn’t seem like the obvious progression is to go and play Batman afterwards.”
All the while, Reeves said, he was pushing himself to find new ground that hadn’t been covered in the Batman films that still dominate the pop-cultural consciousness, particularly Burton’s and Nolan’s movies.
“Where the story goes, for sure, I’ve had a lot of thoughts about that,” he said. “But as I said, I need a nap.”
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