For years, the Batman franchise has remained in the shadow of one film in particular, The Dark Knight. And while the film is certainly deserving of its success and the fan fervour that exists around it, elevating it to a kind of religious sanctity rarely enjoyed by artefacts of pop culture, Matt Reeves was bold enough to present a new kind of story. If you’ve seen The Batman, you’ll be familiar with the incredible opening scene that centred the premise of the film as one about fear as we meet an emotional and volatile Batman, only two years into his role. The Gotham we’re presented with looks desolate and hopeless, adding to the gritty and dark aesthetic that surrounds the film.
For all its success of catapulting Robert Pattinson into a superhero role that he fulfilled with incredible zeal, The Batman finally ended the comparisons to The Dark Knight. The stories were so vastly different, not to mention the feel and textures of the film, that it seemed ridiculous to critique them side-by-side. Still, the latest DC Universe adaption helmed by Reeves reinvigorated the franchise with a fresh direction that many were quick to heap critical acclaim towards. With a budget of $200 million, the film garnered $759 million in global box office receipts and if all that wasn’t enough, in its first week of streaming on HBO Max, it was viewed by 4.1 million households.
Not surprisingly, a sequel has been green lit. During the Warner Bros presentation at CinemaCon 2022, it was announced by studio chairman Toby Emmerich that The Batman 2 is indeed happening, with director Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson set to reprise his role as Bruce Wayne/the Batman. Speaking to a room of exhibitors, Reeves expressed his gratitude: “Thank you for all your tremendous support for The Batman. We couldn’t have gotten here without the faith and enthusiasm of all your teams around the world. I’m excited to jump back into this world for the next chapter.”
At the time of writing, plot lines for the upcoming sequel are not known and as many fans have expressed, it could take a number of directions. The final act of the film (and a certain five minute deleted scene) featuring the Joker (played by Barry Keoghan) suggests that we could see Batman face off against the Joker. There’s also the Court of Owls storyline, which centres around the organised crime group and secret society made up of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of Gotham, that act as antagonists and rivals of Batman.
Regardless of the direction, it seems clear that Pattinson and Reeves are intent on delving deeper into the psyche of Batman/Bruce Wayne and showing more of his maturation, both as a person and as the caped crusader. “I’ve made a kind of map for where Bruce’s psychology would grow over two more movies,” says Pattinson.
As for a timeline of release, Warner Bros is yet to release anything, but producer Dylan Clark has assured the public that Reeves would be taking audiences back to Gotham City by 2027 at the latest. “I will go on record and say that it will be less than five years,” he told ComicBook.com. In the meantime, there’s still plenty of superhero action around the Batman that will be arriving to streaming platforms. A spinoff series focused on Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin (portrayed by Colin Farrell) will arrive next, followed by another on Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum.
“We are already telling other stories in the streaming space, we’re doing stuff on HBO Max, we’re doing a Penguin show with Colin, which is gonna be super cool,” Reeves told The Independent. “And we’re working on some other stuff to.”