Most creators of fiction take inspiration from other sources for their work. For The Batman, director Matt Reeves has been inspired by movies from the 1970s, comic books from the 1980s, and the iconic rock band Nirvana. He talked about how the films, comics, and band influenced his upcoming motion picture in a discussion with Esquire.
While researching Batman’s character, Reeves was amazed by the classic 1987 graphic novel Batman: Year One. David Mazzucchelli served as the comic’s illustrator, while Frank Miller, who is widely credited with helping restore the superhero’s darkness, was the writer. Batman: Year One is regarded by many as the definitive origin story for The Dark Knight and one of the greatest comic books of all time. While The Batman film is not an origin story, both it and the comic book revolve around the Caped Crusader’s early days. The graphic novel brought Batman back to his roots, as he does not have a wide array of gadgets or a Batmobile at this point in his crime-fighting career. Reeves’s upcoming project will reportedly also have the character without the many gadgets he typically uses. While Robert Pattinson’s Batman will use some tools, he won’t have as big of an arsenal that he normally does in other adaptations. Both the graphic novel and the upcoming motion picture star a pretty realistic superhero.
One of the similarities between Year One and The Batman is the age of Batman. In his conversation with Esquire, Reeves explained, “Of course, the idea [to fit with the Year One story] was to make him a younger actor.”
Additionally, Matt Reeves looked to several 1970s classics to motivate his upcoming project. Some of the titles include The French Connection, Taxi Driver, and Chinatown. Like The Batman, all the mentioned films feature characters doing morally questionable things. In a scene where Bruce Wayne/Batman is looking for criminals, a frame seems remarkably similar to a part of Taxi Driver. Reeves made the point that “he’s dressed in what I thought looked like an image out of Taxi Driver.”
An interesting source to derive ideas from was the infamous 1990s grunge band Nirvana. Reeves went on to discuss how the group inspired The Batman when he said, “Early on, when I was writing, I started listening to Nirvana, and there was something about [Nevermind song] ‘Something in the Way’, which is in the first trailer, which is part of the voice of that character. When I considered, ‘How do you do Bruce Wayne in a way that hasn’t been seen before?’ I started thinking, ‘What if some tragedy happened [ie: Wayne sees his parents murdered] and this guy becomes so reclusive, we don’t know what he’s doing? Is this guy some kind of wayward, reckless, drug addict?’ And the truth is that he is a kind of drug addict. His drug is his addiction to this drive for revenge. He’s like a Batman Kurt Cobain.”
The Batman will arrive in theaters on March 4.