Yesterday, director Matt Reeves made waves when he shared Robert Pattinson’s costume test for The Batman and showed off RPatz in the Batsuit for the first time.
With the red filter and moody atmosphere, along with the homemade aspect of the Batsuit (remember, after all, this is a movie set much earlier in Batman’s career, when he’s but a young crime-fighter) plenty of fans compared it to the look of Daredevil, Batman’s counterpart in brooding vigilantism over at Marvel, especially thanks to the cut of the cowl. One guy even layered the Daredevil theme music over the costume reveal video:
The Batman Batsuit reveal with Daredevil theme song.
You’re welcome. pic.twitter.com/vA4tcavZjN
— Jimmy Folino (@MrNiceGuy18_58) February 14, 2020
In general, most fans appeared to be pumped for the reveal and are deeply digging the details and the rougher, more homespun look of the costume. It appears The Batman will be utilizing the storyline equivalent of Tony Stark’s first Mark 1 Iron Man armor or Spider-Man’s hoodie-and-goggles getup before he got his official gear.
Still, there’s one detail of the suit that was divisive within the fandom (because internet), with some loving it and other up in arms: The Bat-symbol on Bruce’s suit:
Fans quickly pointed out the symbol appears to be made of guns, likely the guns that criminal Joe Chill used when he cornered Thomas and Martha Wayne in an alley and murdered them. Granted, this is deeply speculative and it might not be those guns at all. But plenty of fans certainly seemed to think they were. Criticism of this choice ran from some thoughtful “this is dumb” takes to others arguing it was disrespectful to the memory of the Waynes, to others saying it was dark – real dark. As the theory gained traction, DC comic book writers and artists had a field day riffing on it, including a suggestion from Birds of Prey and Batgirl writer Gail Simone that made me laugh aloud at my desk.
I think Batman’s codpiece should be adorned with the pearls recovered from the alley floor.
— GAIL SIMONE (@GailSimone) February 14, 2020
Dark as hell? Yes. Hilarious? Also yes.
For the people arguing that the bold choice for Batman to incorporate Joe Chill’s guns into his armor is too far-fetched and off-base, entertainment journalist Eric Fransisco reminded them that it’s not without precedent. It already happened in the Detective Comics #1000 anniversary issue last year courtesy of Kevin Smith:
People are freaking out about Batman using the gun that killed his family as armor — yet it happened in the comics last year in the Detective Comics anniversary from @ThatKevinSmith. https://t.co/AtUwK4B7qC
— Eric Francisco (@EricFrancisco24) February 14, 2020
In the issue, Batman’s decision to melt the guns and use them as his Bat-symbol came with a poignant and sound (albeit somewhat melodramatic, because Batman) bit of reasoning: “I’m going to make that metal pay for its sins. I’m going to burn the metal that killed my parents, and forge it into something useful. So the metal that broke my heart as a child? Will protect my heart as a man. And that is justice.”
But even if the comics hadn’t already set this precedent, it would still be entirely within character for Bruce Wayne to use the guns that murdered his parents as part of his Batsuit. This is, after all, the man who borrowed his vigilante name from a dark part of his psyche, who took the thing that scared him most – bats – and made it his codename. He forged himself from young and scared Bruce Wayne into The Batman, taking his fear and using it to make him stronger, to conquer the dark things in his head and in the world.
Batman also has a history of keeping memorabilia from his bloody battles with some of Gotham’s villainous denizens. The Batcave is filled with a number of war trophies taken off his enemies. His most famous ones were all taken in his early days of crimefighting, including the Giant Penny (from his fight against the Penny Plunderer), the Giant Joker Card (taken from one of Joker’s hideouts), and Batman’s T-Rex (a mechanical dinosaur Batman fought on Dinosaur Island). Along with those most famous trophies, Batman has also acquired, among other things, Deathstroke’s sword, Two-Face’s first coin and a giant Scarface mask. And the bats. Of course, the bats.
What I’m saying is that the man has literally built his entire crime-fighting career on a cairn of violence and pain. He’s incorporated the trophies of his enemies and the things that terrify him most into his everyday life. It all formed the foundation of his Batman persona, especially in the early days when his character was still forming. He channeled his grief and self-loathing into the sole driving force behind him becoming Batman. It is the most “Well…yeah. Of course.” thing in the world that he would take the guns that took his parents and forge them into part of his armor. That’s literally what he was all about early in his career, taking the things that hurt him and reclaiming them as his own.
I’ll be the first to admit that of the entire Bat-family, Batman is my least favorite character as I find the others so much more interesting (Seriously, can we get a Batgirl or Nightwing movie already?). But if Matt Reeves has as good a grasp on Bruce Wayne’s psychology as he appears to, what we could get is an intimate character study and portrait of a deeply conflicted superhero whose psychological depths have only been explored on a very surface level in movies to date. Going back to Daredevil, imagine if Reeves were to set up a film series that dove into the demons that haunt Bruce Wayne and how they’ve shaped him with as much depth and nuance as Marvel did with Matt Murdock. That I would sign up for. That would get me fully back on the Batman train.
The Batman doesn’t hit theaters until June 25, 2021. But at least we can have fun catching our first glimpses of characters in costume in the meantime.