On August 22nd, 8:30 pm EST for me, I waited patiently to view The Batman Panel. The newest Cape Crusader film is directed by Matt Reeves and has an all-star cast consisting of Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Colin Farrel, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Dano, Andy Serkis, and John Turturro. Robert Pattison will be the one donning the cape and cowl in the titular role. When Reeves presented the first official teaser trailer, I was immediately captivated and smitten with his vision. Emo Batman and all.
The costume design for The Batman leans heavily into a darker and more gothic aesthetic. We see Pattinson having black eyeliner smeared all over his eyes under his mask. He sits over and is thinking pensively with his long, messy hair covering his face. The tone and atmosphere imply a grim and isolated Bruce Wayne. From Reeves’ panel, it is clear there will be a lot of inner turmoil used as a vehicle to make this a more character-focused Dark Knight. All of this brings me to the notion that Reeves is fully embracing the goth and, dare I say, emo nature of our tragic vigilante.
Here are seven songs that I feel that Robert Pattison’s emo Batman would listen to.
Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus
As the title implies, Bela Lugosi is a prime focus of this nine-minute song. To those unfamiliar, Lugosi’s most famous role was of Dracula in 1931. Peter Murphy sings about the famous actor’s funeral with his tantalizing, deep vocals over melodramatic guitar wailing, and a slow-rising drum beat. Murphy paints the scene with mentions of “black capes” and that “bats have left the tower”. The image of bats swirling around the coffin of one of pop culture’s most significant horror film icons reminds me of Batman.
Bruce Wayne’s affinity for bats is no secret. He is Batman. He has Batarangs. He has a batmobile, a Batcave, and a batcomputer. His lonely Batcave is often portrayed as a giant, empty space that is effectively his real home with bats flying in and out. The myth of Gotham himself will forever be immortalized with his bat symbolism. Batman may never die but Bauhaus’ goth anthem sure reminds me that Batman is forever.
Dead Souls – Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails’ cover of Joy Division’s Dead Souls is the fourth song off of the original motion picture soundtrack for The Crow. Twitter very quickly sparked the conversation about emo Batman’s eye make-up to Brandon Lee’s from the latter mentioned film. Our EIC Kate tweeted out how they have the same energy here. The lyrics to this song I feel can be reinterpreted within the context of Bruce Wayne. When Trent Reznor sings, “Someone take these dreams away/ That point me to another day/ A dual of personalities”, I feel as though I can imagine the inner turmoil Bruce Wayne is depicted to feel. He has these dreams of making Gotham a better place through his vigilantism. However, his identity or “personality” if you will, are at odds with one another. This “other day” for Bruce is the death of his parents that set him forth on this path for justice and in Reeve’s vision, vengeance.
A Forest – The Cure
Atmospherically and tonally, I feel as if A Forest by The Cure captures that sense of isolation depicted within the trailer. The song starts off with just droning keys, at 18 seconds in, we hear a slow guitar melody. At 44 seconds, the bass keys only to vanish. Then, the song lets those sounds fade out until it brings everything together. It feels empty and brooding. I have listened to this song repeatedly with my eyes closed and I am always amazed that I always feel transported into an empty place. Robert Smith paints a picture of being in a forest running towards the voice of a woman. Only, by the end of the piece, there is a realization that there was no woman at all. There was only him, alone in a forest, surrounded by trees and nothing else. This song is probably the best example of The Cure’s gothic rock period.
These feelings of isolation and chasing something that isn’t there is still a troupe we witness from Pattinson’s Batman. The stills of him, alone in his cave with no Alfred hangs heavy with a dark grey color palette. Pattinson’s facial expressions indicate that this is a man, brooding with his trauma and his loneliness. The character, himself, simply decided that he was going to rage against the war on crime in Gotham all by himself. I am happy that Reeves is embracing something so central to the Batman mythos and A Forest really helps me feel it.
The Difference Between Medicine And Poison Is In The Dose – Circa Survive
Circa Survive is one of my all-time favorite bands and this song, in particular, is one of my absolute favorite emo jams. The mood of this song is conflict. Again, there is so much anguish, trauma, and brooding that comes with the Batman territory. The Difference Between Medicine and Poison Is In The Dose explores this brooding turmoil. With lyrics like “don’t call me by my first name”, “accomplishments are transient”, and “did you ever wish you were somebody else”? pull forth inner conflict.
The idea of who you are to others may not be who you actually are. In fact, when Anthony Green wails, “Well don’t talk about it; Write it down but don’t ask for help can’t be honest with even myself” I can feel his distress and his angst. This torment eats away at Bruce Wayne from his film adaptations (Nolan’s trilogy) and comics (Tom King’s run). At the DC Fandome panel, Matt Reeves made it clear that this is a Bruce still in pain but still figuring out how to be the best Batman. His search for justice is still seeped with the sorrow of his trauma making his crime-fighting personal, hence his “I am Vengence” line.
The Ghost of You – My Chemical Romance
This may be the most on the nose pick from me. Plain and simple, MCR’s The Ghost of You is a song about grief. It is a powerful, raw, and sad anthem about losing a loved one. Batman’s existence is born and shaped by the death of his parents when he was young. Bruce never has truly reconciled with that. In every live-action adaptation, we have seen Martha and Thomas Wayne lose their lives to a fateful shooting. Gerard Way’s lyricism and vocals cut to the core in this one. The chorus never fails to gripe me.
“You are never coming home, never coming home!
Could I? Should I?
And all the things that you never ever told me
And all the smiles that are ever gonna haunt me
Never coming home, never coming home!
Could I? Should I?
And all the wounds that are ever gonna scar me
For all the ghosts that are never gonna catch me”
I feel like Bruce is always haunted by the ghosts of his parents. His mansion never feels like home. His persona of billionaire, playboy is directly at odds with his crime-fighting heroism. He has so many scars both literally and figuratively born out of mourning and grief.
Policy of Truth – Depeche Mode
I arrived at this song for two reasons. One: it is a song about accepting your choices and living with them. Two: this song sounds sexy and I think Emo Robert Pattinson’s Batman is that too. This is the seventh song of their gothic album, Violator. It starts with tantalizing guitar strums and rhythmic bass.
Dave Gahan’s voice introduces a layer of smokey romanticism over the dark atmosphere established musically. “It’s just time to pay the price/ For not listening to advice/ And deciding in your youth/ On the policy of truth” I feel as if this chorus is just Bruce coming to terms with his choice to become Batman. In his youth, he realized nothing would give him fulfillment until he enacts his own “policy of truth” (or justice) in Gotham. Between Robert’s eyeliner and seductive vibes of this song, I say this must be a winning pick.
Something In The Way – Nirvana
This is the song that film composer, Michael Giacchino, tweaked to create the tone of The Batman trailer. While the trailer version adds in some piano riffs and a heightened orchestra, the original Nirvana song is very hollow and simple. It is just Kurt strumming and solemnly singing in a more hushed tone. Lyrically, I cannot really see anything I can view through a “batlense” so to speak. However, the trailer really was elevated by the music choice and allowed for the concepts of Bruce’s tragedy, isolation, and anger to get across.
Overall, I am madly in love with what Matt Reeves presented to us via the DC FanDome. I am so excited to see this particular version of the Caped Crusader on the big screen. I put all of these songs into a Spotify playlist that you can listen to here and I know I did emo Batman proud. The internet may have a lot of mixed reactions to this gothic side of Batman but I for one am revealing in it. The Batman is slated to hit theatres on October 1st, 2021.
YouTube videos used in “Songs Robert Pattinson’s Emo Batman Would Listen To” were all available at the time of writing.