Robert Pattinson’s Batman can embrace Nolan’s Dark Knight mistake by instead creating a superhero who hasn’t perfected their moral compass.
Matt Reeves’ The Batman should embrace a mistake made in Christopher Nolan’s epic Dark Knight trilogy. Starring Robert Pattinson, The Batman promises an even darker, grittier stab at the superhero’s early years. Pattinson will be taking on the role of a young Bruce Wayne who’s still constructing Batman’s moral code while he battles crime and villainy in a Gotham City that looks, from trailers, to be unforgiving as ever. Given what’s known about the upcoming movie, it would seem like the perfect opportunity to address the problematic “loophole” Nolan introduced in his trilogy.
While a fine film in its own right, Nolan did make the choice in Batman Begins of giving Batman a loophole in his morality: The film ends with Batman choosing not to save Ra’s al Ghoul (Liam Neeson) from dying in the crashing subway car. By not intervening, Batman can maintain his “no kill” rule and continue to be morally righteous, while also being rid of a villainous adversary. Although the comic book, archetypal Batman does often characterize Bruce Wayne as a deeply moral individual, audiences have also historically been interested in exploring the corruptible and sadly more human side of Batman, especially the rage and guilt within him, and how he comes to gain control (or not) over the darkness that ultimately drives him.
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The loophole in Batman Begins was a problem for the trilogy: although Batman letting Ra’s al Ghoul die technically doesn’t contradict the “no kill” rule associated with the character, it wasn’t exactly an ethical choice either — which undermines Batman’s characterization as a moral paragon in the subsequent movies. Pattinson’s Batman may not have the same concerns: as a new vigilante, the character could still be developing his moral compass. This would permit Reeves a fresh way to explore the character’s darker side without creating contradictions — something the marketing hints is part of the plan already.
In The Batman trailer that released in August 2020, Pattinson, as Batman, describes himself by saying, “I’m vengeance” before brutalizing an unarmed thug. Not only that moment, but the whole The Batman trailer, features Robert Pattinson as the brooding, snarling, frightening Batman that really is the stuff of nightmares. That isn’t to say Batman should become a killer, as that’s always what separates him from his nemeses, but a move away from the morally superior version from pop culture is a very intriguing characterization shift.
There are two lines of dialogue in the August 2020 trailer spoken, it seems, by the new Riddler (Paul Dano), that hint that Pattinson’s Batman will be a far cry from the moral paragon featured in Batman Begins. The Riddler says, “If you are justice, please do not lie,” and, “what is the price for your blind eye?” Assuming these quotes are leveled at Batman, he is being accused, by a malevolent killer no less, of both lying and ignoring something he potentially should have addressed. Audiences will have to wait and see just what the Riddler’s referring to, but if The Batman does feature a version of the superhero without a well established moral compass, deliberately avoiding certain responsibilities and being deceitful, then fans will be in for one hectic ride with Robert Pattinson’s fresh rendition of the world’s greatest detective.
- The Batman (2022)Release date: Mar 04, 2022
- The Suicide Squad (2021)Release date: Aug 06, 2021
- DC League of Super-Pets (2022)Release date: May 20, 2022
- Black Adam (2022)Release date: Jul 29, 2022
- The Flash (2022)Release date: Nov 04, 2022
- Aquaman 2 (2022)Release date: Dec 16, 2022
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)Release date: Jun 02, 2023
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