Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” radically changed pop culture’s understanding of a superhero movie to such a degree that no other Batman movie (or comic book movie, for that matter) in the years since has been able to match that bar. Until now, maybe. As Variety film critic Peter Debruge writes in his rave review of Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” a darker and more serious Caped Crusader film has been made in the shape of a film noir and “it registers among the best of the superhero movie genre.” It seems like moviegoers are finally getting a worthy successor to “The Dark Knight.”
Just as Christopher Nolan drew from non-comic book films while imagining the world of “The Dark Knight” (Michael Mann’s action epic “Heat” is one of the film’s primary influences), so too do did Matt Reeves for “The Batman.” The filmmaker took a deep dive into several New Hollywood classics from the 1970s, including “Chinatown” and “The French Connection.” These were films that rebelled against studio system norms and depicted brutality onscreen with visceral force. “The Batman” more or less does the same with the comic book tentpole.
With “The Batman” swooping down into theaters, check out the 15 films and comics that most inspired Reeves and star Robert Pattinson during the making of the latest Caped Crusader epic.