To extend the experience of Matt Reeves’ film.
Huge cardboard since its release, The Batman is considered an auteur film in its own right, far from the superhero titles that the Marvel and DC franchises have accustomed us to in recent years. An opinion claimed by Matt Reeves, its director, who wanted to sign a “definitive movie” on the Dark Knight and stand out from the traditional blockbusters. Carried by its director more than by its hero, The Batman is therefore part of a cinematographic history, that of thrillers and black films. Here is a non-exhaustive list of five feature films to see or watch again to immerse yourself even more in the universe of The Batman and, perhaps, wait for its sequel.
The Batman: Robert Pattinson reinvents the Dark Knight as a tortured detective [critique]
Chinatown : the narrative structure
In preparation for his film, Reeves viewed dozens of film noir films, the most influential of which is arguably the Chinatown by Polansky. Indeed, the journeys of the hero Jake Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson, and Robert Pattinson’s Batman are quite similar. The two are detectives tormented by their past plagued by a corrupt and vice-ridden city, fighting losing battles. It is therefore not surprising that the evolutions of the characters and the narration echo between the two films. We can for example compare the character of Gittes, who no longer cares about anything and who is hardened by the story of his stay in Chinatown, and Batman after the death of his parents. “As soon as what happens, happens with Evelyn and Hollis Mulwray [Faye Dunaway et Darrel Zwerling], he’s forced to try and save Evelyn in the end because that’s what happened to her in Chinatown. It brings it all back.” at explained Reeves on the mic of the Filmmaker Toolkit podcastIndiWire. Just like a certain Bruce Wayne facing the mayor’s son in The Batman.
The President’s Men : investigation
In search of inspiration for the investigation at the heart of The BatmanMatt Reeves turned to The President’s Men by Alan J. Pakula, fiction about the Watergate scandal and its implications (including Nixon’s resignation) after a journalistic investigation. In Pakula’s film, the main plot, namely the breaking and entering of CIA agents on the premises of the Democratic Party, has far greater consequences and exceeds the basic stake, reassembling the cogs of the state and American politics. Such a domino effect is found in The Batman, Bruce Wayne answering the riddles of the Riddler to end up bringing to light a mystery dating back to the founding of Gotham City. In an interview for SyFyMatt Reeves has also insisted on the fact that he “must have been a very deep conspiracy” in The Batmanthe more pertinent question being how far she goes and who has her hands dirty. “I knew where this story had to go. As he went down this path, to come to understand these crimes on which he is guided by the Riddler. It ultimately had to expand the story to begin to explain why this place was that way. While he seemingly starts out on an impersonal path, because he investigates these crimes, it ends up unexpectedly leading him to something that was incredibly personal.” says the filmmaker. Reeves even pushes the comparison between the characters of his film and the protagonists of the Watergate affair, creating a sacred mise en abyme. “Gordon [Jeffrey Wright] and Batman [Robert Pattinson] are like Woodward and Bernstein, the Riddler [Paul Dano] is like the most demented Deep Throat ever and it’s kind of talking about the height of corruption.”
Taxi Driver : the double of Batman
As for the character of Batman, Matt Reeves does not hide the certain influence of Taxi Driver in his approach to the character. It must be said that Scorsese’s masterpiece (Palme d’or in 1976) is a bit like the father of all cinema anti-heroes, Travis Bickle doubling up ad infinitum when it comes to representing the alienation from the cinema. And with that in mind, Batman is no exception. In an interview with EsquireMatt Reeves explained that he noticed, as soon as the comics came out Batman: Year One of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, the resemblance between Travis and Bruce. “He is dressed like in a picture taken from Taxi Driver“, says the director. An opinion shared by the authors of the comic strip: Frank Miller explained to Mazzucchelli in his notes that he wanted Batman “looks like you’ve won a look-alike contest Taxi Driver“. Let’s also not forget that Taxi Driver is a claimed influence of Joker by Todd Phillips. CQFD.
Se7en : riddles
One of the essential elements of Matt Reeves’ film is his desire to restore the Batman to his investigator cap in the face of the Riddler’s enigmas. And if we think of the Zodiac murderer, these riddles are especially reminiscent of the killer from another David Fincher film, Se7enreleased in 1995. If no official parallel was made by the director, fans of the two feature films rushed to the similarities to highlight the effects of staging specific to the Riddler and the unknown of Se7en to address the investigators, the parallels between the murders, the anonymity of the two killers, the pressing time to find the next victim… So many mirrors that make Se7en a thriller to (re)watch later The Batman.
Christina : the Batmobile
Finally, as a last influence (this time supported by Reeves), we can cite Christina by John Carpenter, released in 1984 and adapted from Stephen King’s novel, to inspire the visual (and the spirit) of the hero’s Batmobile. Emblematic car of the Batman universe, the Batmobile is often represented as a jewel of technology, at the cutting edge of mechanics and able to withstand all situations. One thing Matt Reeves wanted to leave out, instead focusing on the fact that his character would have made it himself: “The idea was to make a Batmobile that looks like you could have built it yourself if you were totally into cars. All the equipment is hardware that he developed himself, like a handyman obsessive”, has describes Reeves to IndieWire. The first appearance of the car shows it as a kind of scrap heap, making the vehicle an object “at the limit of control“, which could break down at any time. Become almost alive, as in Christina : “She has to make an appearance out of the shadows to intimidate, so I thought of it almost like the Christina by Stephen King”, explained Matt Reeves to Empire before adding: “I liked the idea of the car itself being like a horror figure, making an animal appearance to really scare the people that Batman is chasing”.
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5 films to (re)watch after The Batman: Chinatown, Se7en, The President’s Men…