Sometimes there’s a lot of story in a little bit of news. This is very much the case with a recent revelation regarding director Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman, which will see actor Robert Pattinson suit up as Bruce Wayne for the first time. It’s hard to get a feel for what sort of movie this is going to be, especially with the flurry of casting announcements in recent days. So far we know this movie will feature Catwoman, The Riddler, and Penguin. There may even be more additions yet to come. However, a seemingly small piece of news may offer a major clue about the direction of this film — which looks to be one we legitimately haven’t seen before.
Over the course of the last few decades it’s been notoriously difficult for filmmakers to create a Batsuit for actors that allowed them to move freely. While the bulk of the suit doesn’t help, much of it comes down to the famous cowl, which almost always has restricted head movement for actors (the bit in The Dark Knight about Bruce needing a cowl that didn’t attach to his neck armor so as to allow for movement was actually more or less true in real life, with the film marking the first time a Batman actor could move their head somewhat freely).
As you can imagine, this has made fight choreography rather difficult to pull off over the years. It’s why while we’ve seen glimpses of greatness here and there, though there’s yet to be a film that was able to truly portray Batman as a master combatant. It looks like this might be changing in The Batman.
A (now-deleted) photo posted to Instagram recently revealed that Pattinson is training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with Rigan Machado. Machado, an acclaimed instructor in the discipline and the man who trains Keanu Reeves for the John Wick franchise. It’s a submission-based combat sport that requires full mobility and isn’t easy to fake for a film. It’s a huge step up from stunt or boxing training, which can easily be stripped down and sanitized for filming a combat sequence.
While it’s far from a guarantee that the Bruce Wayne of this new movie will have a black belt in BJJ, it does seem to imply that the combat will be far more complex and potentially realistic in this film than we’ve seen it in the past. Furthermore, for this to be true we’ll likely be seeing an extremely modern take on the Batsuit. There’s no telling what that entails but expect it to provide Pattinson with a far greater range of mobility than we’ve seen in the past (though he’s already spoken to how much of a pain it is to put on).
The Batman comes to theaters June 25, 2021.