Matt Reeves Reveals How ‘The Batman’ Was Inspired by ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Taxi Driver’

     August 22, 2020

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The Batman director Matt Reeves spoke at length at DC FanDome about his grounded comic book movie, and when he was asked which non-Batman movies inspired his new film, he singled out Chinatown, Taxi Driver and The French Connection.

Chinatown was a key one, because in Chinatown, Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), in investigating the series of crimes that were part of that story, he discovers the depth of corruption of Los Angeles. So in that way, [The Batman] is like a classic noir. This series of murders that Batman is investigating are very much in that mode,” said Reeves, who stressed that Batman doesn’t have superpowers. He’s just a man — albeit a man on a mission of vengeance.

“Because the movie is a detective story, because it is a thriller in this sort of cop world, and because it’s about corruption, we’re treating this Batman story as if this could’ve happened. Batman doesn’t have the ability to have super-heroic powers, he just has super-heroic focus and super-heroic drive,” explained Reeves. In other words, don’t expect any giant shining portals opening up in the sky like half the comic book movies I see these days.

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Image via Warner Bros.

In addition to Chinatown, Reeves said that the gritty, flawed humanity of The Batman “was very much inspired by those kinds of movies like French Connection, and cop movies like that… A lot of ’70s street, grounded stories.” The director also cited Taxi Driver and the way it describes a place and takes you inside the twisted head of its main character.

After all, Bruce Wayne is a guy who likes to dress up as a bat and fight people at night. He may fight on the side of justice, but he also clearly has a screw loose, and at one point, one of Batman’s enemies exclaims “this guy is crazy” while locked in a high-octane car chase with the crime-fighting vigilante.

In my write-up of The Batman trailer, I said that the film reminded me of the work of David Fincher, but I can clearly see its ’70s influences as well, even if those influences are reflected in the story more than the visual look of the movie. Click here to watch the trailer, and click here to check out a ton of new images from Reeves’ movie, which has me beyond excited.

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