When Robert Pattinson was announced as the new Batman in the Warner Bros. reboot “The Batman,” fans immediately began speculating as to how his take on the Caped Crusader would differ from what came before. With such an iconic character, it’s impossible not to compare different takes on the role – especially in the immediate wake of Christian Bale’s iconic (and beloved) performance in The Dark Knight Trilogy.
But one area in which Pattinson’s Batman diverged from the pack is his masked vigilante doesn’t attempt to mask his speaking voice when conversing as Batman. This stands in direct contrast to Bale’s growl and Ben Affleck’s tech-altered voice, both of which were used to mask Bruce Wayne’s identity in previous films.
As it turns out, the choice to not change Batman’s voice came about for a very good reason, as co-writer and director Matt Reeves explains on the director’s commentary to the film. “I knew I didn’t wanna do a Batman that had been done previously, that had the growl that we’d seen,” Reeves says on the Apple-exclusive commentary track. “Because I knew that in this version, if you’re gonna do a detective story, Batman is gonna have a lot of dialogue scenes. Which, when you actually look at all the movies, Bruce may have a lot of long dialogue scenes but Batman’s dialogue scenes, he has dialogue but it’s controlled. This, by literally the necessity of solving this crime, was going to require him to have to have long dialogue scenes in that suit and some of them are very emotional. If he was growling, we wouldn’t be able to connect to him emotionally. So there was a real exploration to figure out how to make that work.”
That exploration involved making an adjustment to Pattinson’s performance, as the actor previously admitted he had to change his approach to the character’s voice after a couple of weeks. “Everyone does this kind of gruff, gravelly thing, and I’m like, ‘I’m going to do the opposite, I’m gonna go really whispery’,” Pattinson said on the Jimmy Kimmel Show earlier this year. “I tried to do it for the first two weeks, and it just looked absolutely atrocious, and they told me to stop doing it.”
Pattinson’s Batman doesn’t have much need to hide his real voice, considering that in this iteration of the character Bruce Wayne is a recluse and not the celebrity playboy of the comics. But Reeves is correct in that “The Batman” finds Batman himself doing significant detective work, and working closely with James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and other members of the GCPD to solve The Riddler’s series of clues.
So there you have it. There’s a good reason why Robert Pattinson’s Batman doesn’t have a different voice.
“The Batman” is currently available to purchase on Digital and is streaming on HBO Max, but it’s also still playing in theaters. The film hits 4K Blu-ray and DVD on May 24.