The Batman: Matt Reeves Addresses Why the Movie Doesn’t Have an R Rating

Exclusive: Director Matt Reeves opens up about The Batman's PG-13 rating and why it's not rated R.

The Batman Matt Reeves
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Batman introduces a new, grittier take on the Dark Knight, one who definitely doesn’t mind beating criminals to a pulp. In the trailers released thus far, we’ve watched as Robert Pattinson hands out all manner of savage punishments, from turning a gang leader’s face into mush to electrocuting henchmen and knocking them out with their own guns. There’s no telling just how far he’ll go to deliver his brand of justice.

As we learned from Pattinson himself in our The Batman cover story for the new issue of Den of Geek magazine, this version of the character definitely sounds a bit more unhinged than what’s come before, someone who loves to unleash his vengeance on the villains stalking the darkest corners of Gotham City. Indeed, the film looks so violent that some fans were genuinely surprised to learn that The Batman had actually been given a PG-13 rating. After all, it seemed like Warner Bros. was finally about to deliver the mythical R-rated Batman movie some fans had long begged for.

But according to director Matt Reeves, the truth is that PG-13 was always the plan for his vision of the Batman mythos.

“In my mind, the movie was always going to be a gritty, edgy, noir, thrilling spectacle that was PG-13,” Reeves tells Den of Geek. “That was always what it was, but I always knew that we’d be pushing the limits of what that could be, and so we didn’t really have to cut anything. The promotional materials that you’re seeing, they’re fully reflective of the tone of the movie.”

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And before the rumors start, Reeves wants fans to know that no, there isn’t an alternate version of The Batman put away in the WB vaults because it was too dark to hit a PG-13 rating.

“There isn’t some special cut of this movie where it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, here’s the R rating that you’ve been desperately wanting,'” Reeves says. “I didn’t have to suddenly start drastically cutting the movie or anything like that.”

Reeves, who has long been a purveyor of PG-13 blockbusters – whether it’s Cloverfield or his Planet of the Apes films — is ultimately pleased with the cut of the movie fans will get to watch next month.

“I’m happy we got the rating because I want people to be able to come to see the movie. But as far as people being excited about the tone that they’ve been seeing in the promotion materials, that is totally faithful for the tone of the movie.”

The Batman arrives in theaters on March 4. You can read plenty more exclusive details about the movie here.