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Why Director Matt Reeves Thought The Batman Would Ruin His Career

Technically, the last time audiences had the chance to see Batman in a live-action, feature-length film was with "Zack Snyder's Justice League," which released on HBO Max in 2021. However, in that film and his past few previous appearances in the likes of 2017's "Justice League" and 2016's "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," he's a supporting player in a much larger ensemble. He hasn't graced the big screen in his own live-action solo picture since 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises," so suffice to say, anticipation was high to see what the Caped Crusader would be able to accomplish in another reality separate from the Nolan films and DC Extended Universe. The answer has proven to be ... quite a lot.

The newest film centered on the Dark Knight sees Robert Pattinson suit up in the cape and cowl, as he contends with some of the grimiest figures in Gotham history, like Riddler (Paul Dano), Penguin (Colin Farrell), and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro). He also has Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), by his side to lend a helping hand or get in the way depending on what mood suits her at the moment. 

Combine all of that with the fact you have "Cloverfield" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" helmer Matt Reeves in the director's chair, and one would surmise you have a surefire formula for a hit. And that's precisely what's happened if review sites are any indication. However, that didn't stop Matt Reeves from having some doubts, and at one point, he genuinely thought he made a mistake trying to make a movie of this caliber.

Matt Reeves once thought making The Batman his way was 'insane'

If there's any superhero who can work under the confines of "dark" and "gritty," it's Batman. Those adjectives sum him up to a "T," but still, this is a major motion picture that cost in the neighborhood of $200 million (via Screen Rant). The movie's also contending with the fact that it's fairly violent for a PG-13 movie and comes in just under three hours in length. It's unlike any Batman movie before, and it's also assumedly supposed to kick off a new series centered on the Caped Crusader. There's a lot riding on it, and according to Matt Reeves, he was worried about whether he could live up to those lofty expectations. 

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Reeves spoke about how he doubted himself at one particular point in the film's making. He explained, "There's a point with these kinds of movies where you have to put them in front of an audience to know whether or not they work. And I remember I had to show the head of the studio, [Warner Bros. chairman] Toby Emmerich, the first cut of the movie in front of a test audience. I wasn't anywhere near done with the cut, and it was much longer than it is now. And I thought, 'This is suicide. This is the moment where it becomes clear that the idea of challenging an audience in this way is insane.' And they loved it."

Reeves set out to make a Batman movie unlike anything that had come out before, and apparently, it's resonated with audiences. Reeves goes on to say, "It was incumbent upon us to do something different. And I was really excited that the test audiences actually really loved the parts of the film that they didn't expect. So in that sense I am confident." 

Matt Reeves wasn't the only one nervous going into The Batman

There are a ton of expectations that come with making a new movie about one of the most iconic characters of the modern era. Hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line, and one wrong move can earn the ire of fans for decades. As evidence, just look at the vitriol people still have toward 1997's "Batman & Robin."

As such, it's only natural that many of the people going into "The Batman" were nervous accepting their parts. Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz spoke with Entertainment Weekly about when they were first cast into their respective roles. Even after Pattinson had landed the role of Batman, he was still nervous about messing up, saying, "The camera's not even on me, it's on the back of my head, and I'm literally having this major panic attack, just looking for emotional support from Zoë, who's trying to get the part."

Meanwhile, Kravitz was still trying to become Catwoman, and she spoke about how her anxiety flared up when she tried to do the simple task of removing her motorcycle helmet. "It's wildly complicated to take off a helmet and look cool, not have it get stuck on your head, or your hair look funny," she said. "I was convinced that was going to be my downfall." As it turns out, all of those fears were misplaced as "The Batman" and all of the cast have earned rave reviews across the board.