If you have watched Matt Reeves’ The Batman in theatres already, then you know that a quite less-known Nirvana track ‘Something In The Way’ plays a key role in the movie. The Kurt Cobain-penned song was in the trailer too. But how did rock recluse Cobain and a Nirvana deep cut lay the foundation for Reeves’ take on the caped crusader?
Batman has swayed through our screens over generations. Be it the critically acclaimed Nolan trilogy, the classic animated series of ’92, the hideous George Clooney as Batman attempt, or the camp-comedy of the Adam West years — every take on Gotham’s knight has been done. So what would a new reboot bring to this story?
That was probably the burning question on Matt Reeves’ mind when he sat down to write the first draft. And it was then that Cobain’s words led him to the Bat. “When I write, I listen to music, and as I was writing the first act, I put on Nirvana’s ‘Something In The Way’,” Reeves revealed in an interview with Empire. “That’s when it came to me that, rather than make Bruce Wayne the playboy version we’ve seen before, there’s another version who had gone through a great tragedy and become a recluse. So I started making this connection to this fictionalized version of Kurt Cobain being in this kind of decaying manor.”
‘Something In The Way’ isn’t exactly a Nirvana magnum opus. It doesn’t have the iconic fame of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, the Pixies-esque vibe of ‘Come As You Are’, or the brooding angst of ‘Heart Shaped Box’. The track sits at the end of the 1991 Nevermind album and is known only by Nirvana nerds. But its lyrics seem to fit perfectly into the narrative of Robert Pattinson’s rendition of Batman.
“Underneath the bridge
Tarp has sprung a leak
And the animals I’ve trapped
Have all become my pets”
Pattinson dons the dark knight’s cowl in a Gotham that’s in the midst of urban and social decay. ‘Underneath the bridge’ in his bat cave is where a young Bruce Wayne finds solace and plans his vengeance. While the ‘and the animals I’ve trapped’ line sits as an apt reference to all the criminals and psychopaths that the Batman has sent to Arkham Asylum already. And as for the ‘Tarp has sprung a leak’ line we thought of revealing the Riddler’s plans but decided to save you from major spoilers and keep the decoding to yourself.
Kurt Cobain’s writing has always been dipped with emotional desperation, angst, and longing. You browse through a few Nirvana tracks and those themes appear quite frequently. A troubled quiet soul in rock n roll’s braggadocious cacophony, Cobain was a misunderstood recluse who changed the realms of music and youth culture. Look closer and these words could also be used to describe Batman.
Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is an emotional and angst-ridden character who has too many questions but very few answers. Who killed his parents? Should he pursue being Batman? Whom can he trust in Gotham? Is vengeance enough? These questions and self-doubt haunt him more than his great fear of bats.
“Here we are now, entertain us.”
Other than introducing a new Batman, the movie has also handed Nirvana and Cobain to a whole new generation. Used prominently in the movie, streams of ‘Something In The Way’ have now gone up by 1200% on Spotify. Nirvana has also found its way on streaming charts, for the first time ever! The Cobain candle may have flickered away 28 years ago, but Gotham’s newest knight may have found a great ally in grunge’s biggest hero.