The Batman: Looking into the Movie’s Comic Book Accuracy

Warning: Article contains spoilers

Matt Reeves’ long awaited The Batman has finally come to screen, reintroducing us to a beloved cast of characters. Let’s take a look at the comic book inspirations and accuracies for this new detective film.

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My first introduction to Batman, and the beginning of a life-long obsession, was in 2005 when I watched Christian Bale don the titular caped crusader in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. Now a decade after Bale’s Batman saw his last appearance in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), we have finally gotten another Batman film series that may live up to its predecessor, although only time may tell.  

I have a great fondness for Christian Bale’s Batman, but Robert Pattinson has made the character his own in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Much darker and somewhat emo, Pattinson’s Batman, has seemingly forgone the identity of philanthropist and socialite, focusing on the title “World’s Greatest Detective.” Matt Reeve’s version strays from the classic superhero movie filled with good vs. evil, separating itself from its predecessors. As a result, The Batman feels much more like a western at times. For what are superhero movies, if not our modern westerns? 

Additionally, a brooding Bruce, a new concept to the silver screen, which many may dislike, brings a fresh perspective to the character of Bruce Wayne. Batman has often considered the party animal and playboy Bruce Wayne to be his alter ego, a mask he is forced to wear to keep people from knowing his true identity. In The Batman, we see a more traumatized Bruce who struggles with his past as it starts to crumble while learning to manage the two identities. This version of Bruce was refreshing and helped Pattinson carve a new path and refrain from redundancy. 

The movie pulls a lot from the comics. Its most significant influence seems to be Jeph Loeb’s 1996 The Long Halloween, where we see Batman, Jim Gordon, and Catwoman work together to uncover who is behind a series of murders relating to Carmine Falcone, A.K.A. “The Roman, Gotham’s untouchable Crime Lord.” Multiple scenes and references are lifted from The Long Halloween, such as young Bruce’s first encounter with Falcone and Batman’s rooftop moments with Catwoman; however, there are noticeable differences, as the movie pulls from other Batman comics.

Infamous for his bright green suit and flamboyant style, Paul Dano’s performance is very different from prime earth Riddler and even more so from Jim Carrey’s portrayal in Batman Forever. Riddler’s physical appearance is a cross between Batman: Earth One and the Zodiac Killer. Plot-wise, we see familiarity in Zero Year, where the Riddler causes a flood into Gotham City and follows the beginning of Batman’s career as a vigilante.

In addition, we see further reference to Batman: Earth One and Batman: Hush in the Wayne-Arkham family history, taking Martha Wayne and Arkham’s backstory from volume I of Earth One and the reporter that releases the information to the public shares the same last name, Elliot, as the Batman villain Hush.

Reeves continues to reference Loeb’s run with his portrayal of Selena Kyle’s Catwoman, played by Zoë Kravitz. In Loeb’s Catwoman: When in Rome, we see a Selena Kyle visiting Italy in hopes to confirm Falcone as her biological father; though left open-ended, readers are to assume this is the correct assumption. From her feline movement to the way she was able to embody Kyle’s vengeful and selfish, yet vulnerable and tender nature, Kravitz’s acting shines through, convincing us that she was the right cast choice for The Batman and one of the best live-action versions of Catwoman.

Image via Variety

Finally, let’s get to the ending. At the conclusion, we got our first glimpse at Reeve’s Joker, played by Barry Keoghan, except it doesn’t quite seem like your typical Joker. In an interview with Den of Geek, Reeve’s explained that he was going further than Joker’s origin story and starting with the conceptualization of Joker himself:

The idea is that what you’re seeing is a pre-Joker, Joker actually. The conception that I wanted was that we’d go back to the Conrad Veidt, The Man Who Laughs inspiration, which is the Bob Kane, Bill Finger reference [for the character]. And in that, obviously, that guy has a congenital disease. He’s like the Phantom of the Opera, he can’t not smile. So I was like, ‘wouldn’t it be interesting if this origin was not like, you know, a vat of chemicals or some unexplained sort of scars like the Nolan Joker? What if we did something where he had a congenital disease?’

Den of Geek

If you want more Batman Bookstr content, click here. I also suggest looking into the post-credit scene. The post-credit quickly shows a flash to the website, the same one Batman uses in the film, and where you can continue the adventure and play along in the Riddler’s game.

Featured Image VIA Den of Geek