The Batman was never meant to be R-rated, director says

Robert Pattinson as Batman
A close-up of Robert Pattinson's Dark Knight in The Batman. (Image credit: Warner Bros. Studios)

The Batman was always intended to be a PG-13-rated movie, Matt Reeves has revealed.

Speaking to Den of Geek ahead of The Batman's release, Reeves explained that the Dark Knight's latest big-screen outing was never going to be a violent, mature offering. Instead, he said, it was intended that the DCEU flick would push the boundaries of what's possible for a PG-13 film in the US (that's a 12A rating in the UK) without overstepping the mark.

“In my mind, the movie was always going to be a gritty, edgy, noir, thrilling spectacle that was PG-13,” Reeves said. “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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Reeves' comments come a month after The Batman's age rating was revealed. 

In mid-January, Warner Bros. confirmed that the Caped Crusader's latest cinematic adventure would be a PG-13 offering. That rating means some scenes may be unsuitable for people under the age of 13, and that it may contain strong language, extensive violence, scenes of a sexual nature, and/or drug use.

Despite the fact that The Batman won't be a gratuitous take on the legendary superhero, we don't think the film's PG-13 rating will prevent it from being as dark as previous live-action incarnations. After all, judging by the footage we've seen so far, Robert Pattinson's Batman isn't going to go easy on any criminal, regardless of their reputation.

The Batman launches exclusively in theaters on March 4.

Analysis: don't expect an R-rated Reeves Cut of The Batman

Robert Pattinson in The Batman

Batman's trusty Batmobile will be on show in the Dark Knight's latest movie. (Image credit: Warner Bros. )

While some fans may have been disappointed to learn of The Batman's official age rating, there are some who are still praying for an R-rated cut.

Don't hold your breath on that front, though. In the same Den of Geek interview, Reeves categorically stated that there isn't an alternate, more violent version of his movie – the Reeves Cut, if you will – that Warner Bros. have secretly locked away. 

“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 added. “I didn’t have to suddenly start drastically cutting the movie or anything like that.”

So The Batman's theatrical cut is the only version of the movie that exists. Given Reeves' denial that an R-rated cut exists, and that he always intended for The Batman to be a PG-13 superhero flick, there shouldn't be any fan-led campaigns calling for the Reeves Cut to be released.

The Batman, then, won't follow in the footsteps of the Snyder Cut – aka Zack Snyder's Justice League – which finally saw the light of day in March 2021. The director's original, four-hour cut of the movie landed on HBO Max after a lengthy campaign by fans who weren't happy with Joss Whedon's reworked theatrical version of the film persuaded Warner Bros. to let Snyder complete his vision for his final DCEU movie.

Despite fan power winning the day on that occasion, a similar campaign for Warner Bros. to release the David Ayer's original vision for his critically panned Suicide Squad movie was unsuccessful. Speaking after The Snyder Cut's release, WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff confirmed that The Ayer Cut would never see the light of day. Ayer has since washed his hands of the Suicide Squad's theatrical cut that was released in August 2016.

Based on Sarnoff's comments concerning The Ayer Cut, if a director's cut of The Batman did exist, it's unlikely that it would ever be released. It's a good job, then, that one doesn't.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

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