- Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “The Batman.”
- “The Batman” is now in theaters and contains nods to the comics, “Taxi Driver,” and “The Godfather.”
- Insider rounded up details about gadgets, characters, and the Batmobile you may have missed.
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The Bat symbol on Batman’s chest isn’t made from the gun that killed Batman’s parents. It’s a knife.
When the first footage of Robert Pattinson’s batsuit was revealed online in February 2020, many fans thought the Bat symbol on Batman’s chest was a nod to the gun that killed his parents.
Director Matt Reeves told London-based entertainment blog, HeyUGuys, that’s not the case. It’s a folding Glauca knife.
“I wanted it to be not just an emblem but I wanted it to be something tactical and functional,” Reeves said.
“The knife had been written into the script, so the idea was is there a way we can take that knife and make it the bat symbol, and that was what they set out to do,” he added.
Batman surprisingly removes the symbol from his chest and uses it in the film to slice through tape and a wire.
This version of Gotham City isn’t meant to be New York City or Chicago.
“It was very important to me that while Gotham not be New York, not be Chicago, not be any particular city, I wanted you to feel like, ‘Wow, this is a place we’ve never been before,'” Reeves explained during a Q&A for the film Insider attended in February.
“But it feels absolutely like an iconic American city, a really corrupt, messed up place,” Reeves added. “I wanted it to be much of our world.”
Despite Gotham not officially taking place in New York City, there are two areas of Gotham that may feel very familiar to those in the Big Apple.
The film features its own Times Square-inspired center with massive billboards. Late in the film, Gothamites converge in a building called Gotham Square Garden that highly resembles Madison Square Garden down to its signage.
According to the film’s production notes, most of Gotham was actually shot in London after Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and New York were scouted for the film.
Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York did serve as inspiration for overhead shots near the movie’s end where you start to see Gotham underwater.
Stephen King’s “Christine” served as inspiration for the Batmobile’s introduction in the movie.
The first time we see the new Batmobile in “The Batman” it roars to life.
Four versions of the car were built for the film, including an all-electric Batmobile.
The movie’s production designer James Chinlund told Insider the non-gas version was designed to make the car feel like a living thing as it was introduced on screen.
“Early on in conversations with [‘The Batman’ director] Matt [Reeves] we were talking about ‘Christine,’ the Stephen King book, and were figuring out ways to make the car actually feel like it was breathing,” Chinlund said, referencing the fact that King’s book, and its movie adaptation, follows a possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury.
The main Batmobile in “The Batman” was built from the ground up with a Chevy V8 627 horsepower engine.
The Batmobile also has a subtle nod to Adam West’s vehicle from the 1960s TV series.
According to the film’s production notes, the red lighting and wings at the car’s rear are nods to the red accent and shape of the Batmobile in Adam West’s Batman TV series.
That’s not the only nod to Adam West. The cowl’s nose is a nod to West’s former Batsuit.
Reeves told the crowd during the film’s Q&A Insider attended that Adam West was the Batman he grew up with.
In the upcoming “The Art of the Batman,” it’s briefly noted that Pattinson’s nose piece is a reference to West’s classic cowl from the TV series, something which is more obvious when you see the two side by side.
The new Batcave is partially inspired by an abandoned rail station in New York City.
If you were wondering where the Batcave is located, it’s deep underneath Wayne Tower in an out-of-service private rail station that’s accessed through secret tunnels.
Production designer James Chinlund explained it was inspired by one in New York City in the film’s production notes.
“I remembered there’s an underground train station at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York and the myth, which I think is true, is that there’s a train parked there all the time for whenever the President is in town and if there’s ever an emergency, they could take him through this secret tunnel at the Waldorf,” Chinlund said. “It would get him out of town discreetly.”
“I thought that if you were the Waynes and you had created this city, you would probably have your own secret train terminal under the tower,” he added.
Bloomberg reported in 2016 that Roosevelt, who was diagnosed with polio in 1921, used a railcar to discreetly travel between New York and Washington. But the history of the famous train car has been contested over the years as more of a myth than fact.
The Riddler’s mask and persona are inspired by Batman.
Bruce Wayne/Batman and Edward Nashton/the Riddler are supposed to be two sides of the same coin, sharing many parallels.
Both orphans, Bruce Wayne takes the pain of losing his parents at a young age and decides to become the Caped Crusader, using his family’s wealth to fund his vigilantism and build his tech, suit, and gadgets.
The Riddler, without a large family inheritance like Wayne, also believes he’s serving a greater good by killing and ousting corrupt officials in Gotham.
Batman doesn’t realize that his presence inspires Nashton to become the Riddler.
“The mask was very powerful. It allowed a person who felt completely powerless in their life to feel powerful, his inspiration coming from the Batman,” Dano said in an electronic press kit interview Warner Bros. made available to press.
In the film’s production notes, Dano further explained: “It’s one of those transcendent moments where he suddenly sees a hidden piece of himself. Without Batman, you would never have The Riddler; there’s an emotional connection between them.”
The Riddler’s diner scene was inspired by the painting “Nighthawks.”
“Edward Hopper’s painting ‘Nighthawks’ was very much in my mind when I designed the set because I love the way the diner acts as a lamp in the center of a dark world,” Chinlund said in the film’s production notes of the scene when the Riddler surrenders to the police.
“I love the idea of it being a sort of fish tank with The Riddler encased in glass, in this glowing space in a dark and rainy world,” he added.
Inspiration for the diner scene can also be seen in a panel from “Batman: Year One” where the restaurant is named Hopper.
The serial killer aspect of the Riddler was inspired by the Zodiac killer
Like the Zodiac Killer, who murdered at least five people in the late 1960s, the Riddler leaves behind coded ciphers with clues for Batman to find throughout the film.
“I thought, ‘Wow, that actually sounds like a horrifying version of the Riddler because he was leaving all these puzzles,” Reeves told the press during the film’s Q&A of how he came up with using the character as the film’s main villain. “The Riddler was part of the conception very early on in trying to figure out which of the Rogue’s gallery characters would communicate in that way with Batman.”
Batman’s gauntlets were partly inspired by the sleeve gun Travis Bickle wears in “Taxi Driver.”
In the film, the gauntlet covers up a grapple gun that shoots into Batman’s hand so he can fire the grappling hook.
According to the film’s production notes, the gauntlet design was partly inspired by the quick-draw gun sleeve that Travis Bickle designs in “Taxi Driver.”
Fredo Corleone from “The Godfather” inspired Oswald Cobblepot, the early version of the Penguin.
“I took inspiration from some older gangsters as well as the original comics and put them all together,” prosthetics makeup designer Mike Marino said in the film’s production notes.
“I sculpted Fredo’s brow onto Colin as closely as I could, and after tweaking, he developed into this strange mob character: a scarred, grizzled heavy guy with maybe an insecurity or two,” Marino added of using “The Godfather” character as a reference.
Colin Farrell told MovieMaker magazine the older brother served as a reference for director Matt Reeves.
“Fredo was frowned upon as less than the other brothers, and maybe Oz as well, in his life, was looked upon as somebody who wasn’t capable,” Farrell said, adding, “That’s one of the things that fuels Oz.”
The Riddler’s head is wrapped in cling wrap underneath his mask.
It’s tough to make out in the film, but Dano’s Riddler wraps his head in cling wrap so he doesn’t leave DNA at crime scenes while carrying out murders.
Dano told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” that it was his idea, adding: “I wrapped myself in cling wrap, which kind of looks scary with the light.”
Production wound up poking some holes in the cling wrap so he could breathe.
This version of Bruce Wayne is supposed to be a cross between Kurt Cobain and Howard Hughes.
“I wanted him to have almost a recluse rock-and-roll vibe, a cross between Kurt Cobain and Howard Hughes,” Reeves says in the film’s production notes.
“Bruce has retreated from being a Wayne and if you see him, it’s like seeing a rock star, but instead of going out and playing gigs at night, his gig is to be Batman,” he added.
Reeves told Esquire that in his early writing of the script, he listened to Nirvana’s “Something in the Way,” which is featured in the film and its first trailer. The song helped inspire his darker take on the character.
“I started thinking, ‘What if some tragedy happened and this guy becomes so reclusive, we don’t know what he’s doing? Is this guy some kind of wayward, reckless, drug addict?'” Reeves told Esquire of listening to the song.
“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,” he added.
Bruce Wayne’s “drifter” persona is a nod to the comics and Robert De Niro’s “Taxi Driver” character.
Before donning the Batsuit, Wayne stalks the streets of Gotham at night in a disguise Reeves refers to as “the drifter” so he’s not recognized as a celebrity.
The look we see in the film is borrowed from Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One” comic in which the character wears jeans and a green army jacket.
“There’s actually a moment in the comic where Bruce, before he’s Batman, goes to the East end and he puts a scar on his face,” Reeves said on the “Happy, Sad, Confused” podcast.
“He needs another disguise because he’s not Batman yet and he also can’t go as Bruce Wayne…so he puts on what looks like a kind of army jacket that looks like it could be Travis Bickle’s,” Reeves added.
Reeves recalled finding a note from Miller to comic artist David Mazzucchelli in the commemorative edition of “Year One” where he referenced the “Taxi Driver” character.
“[Miller] said, in this panel, it looks like Bruce has won the Travis Bickle look-alike contest. And, so, I was like, ‘Yeah, OK,'” Reeves said, explaining that, in a way, the two shared some similarities in that they’re both trying to find their own way in the world.
If you thought you heard the sound of spurs when Batman entered some scenes, you’re right.
You can hear the spur sounds as Batman is walking towards the Iceberg Lounge to confront the Penguin.
During the film’s Q&A, Reeves said the idea came from a discussion with the sound team on how Batman would stalk out of the shadows throughout the film like something out of a Western.
“It’s gonna be like the opening of [Sergio Leone’s] ‘Once Upon a Time in the West,'” Reeves recalled. “And I said, could we have a spur sound with no spurs? They go, ‘Well, there’s metal on those boots.’ And so they did create kind of a spur-ish sound.”
There’s bullet indentations on Batman’s cowl as a reminder that he’s not super human.
This Batsuit has wear and tear from previous fights to show that Batman’s just a guy in a suit. He’s not invincible.
Batman sees every single criminal he goes after as the person who murdered his parents.
This version of Batman isn’t afraid to be a bit more brutal and hurt the criminals he’s fighting. Pattinson said that’s because Batman’s making every single fight personal.
“Every time he’s fighting a stranger it’s as if they have personally harmed him,” Pattinson said in the film’s production notes. “In a way, he’s imagining that his adversary is the person who killed his parents.”
Jay Lycurgo’s appearance in the film is interesting since he appears in another DC title.
Lycurgo plays Tim Drake, an iteration of Robin, on HBO Max’s “Titans” series.
In “The Batman,” he’s part of the mischievous Halloween crew Batman beats up at the film’s start.
It’s hinted that Selina Kyle is bisexual in the film.
In the film, Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz) addresses her roommate, Annika, as “baby” a few times.
The character was first announced as bixsexual in the comics back in 2015. The film never explores whether or not there may have been more to their friendship.
When asked about the moment, Reeves told the outlet that while the film is “very true” to the character, “I don’t think we meant to go directly in that way, but you can interpret it that way, for sure.”
At the film’s end, Selina Kyle tells Bruce she’s heading to Blüdhaven, the home of another DC hero.
In the comics, Blüdhaven’s famously the city that Dick Grayson/Nightwing, aka the first Robin, protects.
The website shown at the film’s end leads to another Riddler cipher and a countdown.
The Riddler website that Bruce goes to during the film, www.rataalada.com, is a real website that flashes again at the film’s very end.
The site, which was updated after the film’s release on March 4, leads to a new Riddler cipher. When solved it reads, “You think I’m finished, but perhaps you don’t know the full truth. Every ending is a new beginning. Something is coming.”
If you head to the site, it currently has a loading screen that’s slowly updating.