In an effort to create a Hitchcockian Batman movie, Matt Reeves filled “Batman” with the signature techniques of the Master of Suspense.
From the first year to “The Long Halloween,” Matt Reeves drew inspiration from classic Batman comics, completing his cinematic portrait of Bruce Wayne. But the previous films had the greatest influence on Batman. The dynamics of the Bat and Cat crime fighters who became lovers is a tribute to Klute, the vigilante’s voice acting is a tribute to the Taxi Driver, and the whole movie is played as a version of the Se7en comic (a movie that is already supposed to take place in Gotham City).).
Most of Reeves’ landmarks come from the edgy experimental New Hollywood movement of the 1970s. But the Hitchcockian tone and style of the film carry inspiration even further into the annals of cinema history. Reeves intended to make a Hitchcock-style Batman movie and incorporated many of the Master of Suspense’s signature techniques to drive him into the soul.
MacGuffins The term “MacGuffin” is often misused in today’s blockbuster landscape. From the “Ring of Omnipotence” to the “Infinity Stones”, it is often applied to the key elements of the plot that are thematically important. The original Hitchcockian definition of McGuffin describes an arbitrary plot element that facilitates external action, while internal conflicts take over the content of the film, and McGuffin ultimately seems insignificant. There are several Hitchcockian McGuffins in Batman’s three-hour crime story.
The Riddler leaves behind a series of riddles, ciphers and puzzles that act like little McGuffins, and for most of the movie Batman and Gordon are looking for a “rat”. Ultimately, as in the case of classic Hitchcockian McGuffins, these plot points turn out to be less important than the relationships that began along the way, like the doomed romance of a Bat with a Catwoman.
In the comics, Batman is such a talented detective that he is often called “The greatest detective in the world.” But films, as a rule, avoid tough detective work in favor of the action-packed spectacle of beating street thugs. In Batman, Reeves has his own pie, and he eats it too. There are a lot of thugs in the gigantic length of the film, but it also tells a simple detective story for the first time in a Batman movie.
“Batman” with an alarmed serial killer villain and an equally alarmed antihero fighting crime is both a psychological thriller and a superhero movie. This aspect of Bat-reboot is compared to Se7en and Taxi Driver, but it also resembles Hitchcock.
Sympathetic femme fatale
In the comics, Catwoman is the perfect “femme fatale” ripped straight out of a classic film noir (in keeping with the characterization of the Bat’s antihero, Bogart in the hood), but Catwoman, played by Zoe Kravitz in Batman, is a much more subtle and emotional take on Selina Kyle. She is not a straightforward traitor who cheats on the hero. She is a vulnerable person determined to avenge the murder of her mother and her roommate at the hands of her estranged sadistic father.
A bomb under the table
One of Hitchcock’s favorite techniques for creating tension was the “bomb under the table” technique. The idea is that the audience will be captured by a long scene of ordinary dialogue if they are told that there is a bomb under the table and it is about to explode. Quentin Tarantino used this image to achieve a star effect when Jewish refugees hide under floorboards in the opening scene of “Inglourious Bastards”.
Shocking plot twists
From revealing the identity of Norman Bates to revealing the identity of Madeleine Elster, Hitch liked a good plot twist. In this spirit, Reeves included a couple of unexpected plot twists in Batman.
Bruce finds out that his father was in cahoots with Carmine Falcone (although Alfred immediately refuses most of this), Selina reveals that Falcone is her illegitimate father, in a milder reinterpretation of his father’s Chinatown twist, and Batman finds a chat on the darknet in which the Riddler has assembled an army of masked political assassins ready to follow his orders.
The defining technique of Hitchcock’s filmmaking style is turning viewers into voyeurs. When Norman Bates watches Marion Crane undress in her room, Hitchcock presents his perverted point of view to the audience.
Reeves mimics this “audience as a voyeur” style when Batman spies on Catwoman in her apartment. Similarly, the Riddler spies on his murder targets from afar before sneaking up on them.