The Batman is a 2022 film directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and starring Robert Pattinson (Twilight, Tenet) as Bruce Wayne / The Batman. The film is a reboot of the DC Films superhero action-adventure franchise that began in 1989 with Tim Burton’s film Batman.
The film also stars Zoë Kravitz (Big Little Lies, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald) as Selina Kyle, Colin Farrell (The Gentleman, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them) as Oz “Penguin” Cobblepot, Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Prisoners) as The Riddler, and Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, Westworld) as Police Lieutenant James Gordon. The Batman debuted in theaters on March 4, 2022.
Robert Pattinson as
Bruce Wayne / The Batman
Zoë Kravitz as
Jeffrey Wright as
Lt. James Gordon
Colin Farrell as
Oz “Penguin” Cobbelpot
Paul Dano as
John Turturro as
Andy Serkis as
Alfred J. Pennyworth
Peter Sarsgaard as
District Attorney Gil Colson
Jayme Lawson as
Alex Ferns as
Commissioner Pete Savage
Rupert Penry-Jones as
Mayor Don Mitchell Jr.
Plot and Themes
Unlike Batman Begins (2005) directed by mega-director Christopher Nolan, The Batman is not an origin film. We do not see Bruce Wayne’s parents murdered, nor his journey to learning how to fight criminals, nor the first time he dons the cape and cowl.
Rather, The Batman takes place during the lonely vigilante’s second year fighting crime in the gritty, neo-noir streets of Gotham City. His only allies appear to be his trusted butler Alfred Pennyworth, played by Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), as well as Lieutenant Gordon.
The film largely focuses on corruption in Gotham City’s politics and institutions and how this intertwines with Gotham’s criminality. In fact, the plot revolves around the emergence of The Riddler, a new serial killer working to take out and expose the political corruption in the city.
Originally, Mr. Jennifer Lopez / Ben Affleck was set to write, direct and star in The Batman. At this point, it was meant to be a continuation of the character he portrayed in the films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.
However, Affleck stepped down as writer-director, at first remaining on board the film as producer and star. When Reeves took over directorial responsibilities, he completely re-worked the story and script and essentially severed its connection to any prior incarnations of Batman on film. By 2019, Affleck completely stepped away from his involvement in the film.
Matt Reeves co-wrote the script with Peter Craig. Grieg Frasier (Dune, Star Wars: Rogue One) worked as the film’s Director of Photography. The Batman was produced by several production companies including Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Films, 6th and Idaho, and Dylan Clark Productions. And the film was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Reeves cast Robert Pattinson as the new Batman and this news leaked to the press by May 2019. The actor had only auditioned for the role five days before the leak was reported. Pattinson had been chasing the role for a long time.
At first, Jonah Hill was negotiating to play the role of The Riddler. However, he was unable to reach an agreement with Reeves and co. and stepped away from the project. This created an opening for Paul Dano to step in.
Further reading about the development of The Batman.
Sources and Influences on The Batman
Gritty, 1970s noir-type films heavily influenced Reeves’s new incarnation of The Batman. These films include Chinatown, The French Connection, Taxi Driver, and All The President’s Men. He also drew inspiration from newer serial killer films like Zodiac, Se7en, and The Silence of the Lambs. The Batman draws liberally from genres like suspense, thriller, horror, noir, action, adventure, and comic books films.
Matt Reeves also drew inspiration from a number of different Batman comic books for The Batman. These include Batman: Year One (1987), The Long Halloween (1996-7), Ego (2000).
How Much Did The Batman Cost To Make?
Hollywood trade magazines and box office analysts reported that The Batman had a production budget in the range of $185 – $200 million. Scott Mendelson of Forbes quotes $185 million as the figure in an article he wrote, published on March 15, 2022.
On the other hand, Rebecca Rubin wrote for variety that the figure is $200 million. It is unclear which number is correct, although Hollywood box office finance site The Numbers lists $200 million and Wikipedia quotes the entire range of $185 – $200 million.
Robert Pattinson reportedly made a $3 million salary for his starring turn in the film.
Where Was The Batman Filmed?
The Batman was mainly filmed in England, with additional filming taking place in Scotland and Chicago. Many scenes were filmed in studio sets built in hangers at Cardington in Bedfordshire and at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire. But many shots were also filmed on location and often supplemented with CGI effects.
Some of The Batman’s location shots were filmed at:
- St. George’s Hall, Liverpool, England – This is the exterior of Gotham City Hall
- Kingsway Tram Tunnel, Southampton Row, London, England – The entrance to the Batcave
- Royal Liver Building, Liverpool, England – Where Batman hang glides off of Gotham PD over the streets of Gotham
- Hartwood Psychiatric Hospital, Shotts, Scotland – The exterior shots of the Gotham orphanage
- Printworks Nightclub, Surrey Quays Rd, London, England – The interior of the Penguin’s Iceburg Lounge
- Necropolis Cemetary, Glasgow, Scotland – Batman and Selina Kyle leaving the ceremony on their motorbikes
- LaSalle Street Bridge, Chicago, Illinois – Batman riding his motorcycle on the streets of Gotham
While much of the filmmaking was done in the United Kingdom, it is fitting that Matt Reeves also used locations in Chicago, Illinois. It’s a great tip o’ the cap to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, much of which was also filmed in Chicago.
In fact, you can see some of the same exact locations in both The Batman and The Dark Knight trilogy. For example, the LaSalle Street Bridge, over which Pattinson’s Batman rides his motorcycle, is also used as the entrance to the narrows in Batman Begins. LaSalle Street is also the location of the Joker’s 18-wheeler truck that flips on its head in The Dark Knight.
Indeed, Chicago has been a major inspiration for the depiction of Gotham City in many Batman adaptations. This includes various comic books, television shows, and films. The architecture of Chicago, with its towering skyscrapers, dark alleys, and imposing gothic structures, has been cited as a major influence on the look and feel of Gotham City. And many of Gotham City’s iconic locations in various media, such as Wayne Tower and Crime Alley, have been modeled after real-life Chicago landmarks.
Release and Box Office Reception
The Batman premiered at Lincoln Center in New York City on March 1, 2022. It was released to the world three days later. Unfortunately, the film was already delayed twice due to COVID-19. Its original release date was supposed to be June 2021.
The Batman had a reported budget of approximately $175 – $200 million. And to date, it has grossed over $770 million globally. This makes it one of the most successful films of 2022 to date. It is also the second highest-grossing film of the year.
Will There Be A Sequel To The Batman?
Yes, there will indeed be a sequel to The Batman! WarnerBros. Discovery has officially announced the current development of “The Batman 2” – or whatever they wind up calling it. Matt Reeves is once again penning the screenplay and will helm the film. Robert Pattinson will once again star as the caped crusader although no other cast members have yet been confirmed. Stay tuned to Lil Ginge for more details as they come!
Read more about the development of The Batman here.