When it was first announced in 2019, Matt Reeves’ The Batman was always tipped to be the film of the year, in whatever year it was eventually released. A gothic, atmospheric take on ‘The Caped Crusader’, it features a strong cast and some incredible cinematography.
Stylistically, the movie contains marks of The Crow, Sin City, Watchmen and Tim Burton’s very own version of the Batman franchise. Closely recreating the darkness of Gotham City in the graphic novels, Reeves took inspiration from Batman titles such as 1987’s Year One and 2000’s Ego, and for hardcore fans of the crime fighter, it’s the most faithful representation of the bat that we’ve ever had on the big screen.
Visually stunning, the plot is ballasted by the way Reeves heavily leant on in the style of a Se7en-style police procedural. Like the source material, it moves at a rapid pace and has you on the edge of your seat as you try to work out The Riddler’s next clue.
Wanting to hit on the key facets of Gotham City, Reeves turned to the world’s most prominent sin-infested hellhole: the UK. Aided by the gloomy weather and oppressive looking buildings that date back to the days of the Industrial Revolution, it was filmed in two of the UK’s most famous cities that are decked with Neoclassical monoliths of concrete and stone, Glasgow and Liverpool.
Here, we’ve put together a guide to the filming locations of The Batman. Be prepared to see a side to the UK that goes far beyond that of the Queen and rolling fields that tourists are typically used to.
The filming locations of The Batman:
The Royal Liver Building, Liverpool – Oppressive Gotham Building
Location: Pier Head, Liverpool, Merseyside, L3 1HU.
The Royal Liver Building was another perfect location for The Batman. About as domineering as British buildings go, it is located at the Pier Head, alongside its siblings the Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building. It’s the largest of Liverpool’s ‘Three Graces’, which line the city’s extensive waterfront.
Opened in 1911, it was purpose-built to be the home of the Royal Liver Assurance group, which was founded in 1850 to provide the locals with assistance when losing a breadwinning relative. During the film, The Royal Liver Building hosted one of its most breathtaking stunts where we see the bat perched atop it, in all his nocturnal glory, about to jump into the murky depths below. Locals were blown away when they saw Robert Pattinson’s stunt double hoisted above one of the building’s clocks.
The Necropolis, Glasgow – The Cemetery
Location: Castle St, Glasgow G4 0UZ.
A key location in The Batman, there was nowhere better to use than Glasgow’s Necropolis. Built in 1832, it’s situated on a low but prominent hill to the east of Glasgow Cathedral. It is estimated that 50,000 people are buried here. Typical for the Victorian era, only a small percentage are named on the monuments, and not every grave has a headstone.
Reflecting the eerie feeling of Gotham City, walking around the Glasgow Necropolis, you feel as though you’re in a different land. It’s otherworldly and mysterious, fitting in perfectly with what Matt Reeves needed from this location in The Batman. There was no better place for the graves of Martha and Thomas Wayne.
St. George’s Hall, Liverpool – Gotham City Hall
Location: St George’s Pl, Liverpool L1 1JJ.
Perhaps the most central location in The Batman, Gotham City Hall, AKA St. George’s Hall, Liverpool, was a perfect choice on the part of the cinematography team. Here is where the funeral scene for Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. takes place before it’s hijacked by the Riddler and one of his more sinister schemes. It’s during this scene that we see many of the main characters coalesce, including Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne, Jeffrey Wright’s James Gordon and John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone.
An imposing Neoclassical masterpiece that was first opened in 1854, it contains concert halls and law courts. It is regarded as one of the finest Neoclassical buildings in the world, drawing heavily on the might of ancient Grecian and Roman architecture.
Anfield Cemetery, Liverpool – The Cemetery
Location: 238 Priory Rd, Anfield, Liverpool L4 2SL.
First established in 1863, Anfield Cemetery also doubled up as Gotham Cemetery for The Batman, combining with the Glasgow Necropolis to form a gargantuan monument for death. The resting place of many of the area’s greats, such as Liverpool FC hero Joe Fagan, Anfield Cemetery is a real idiosyncratic delight.
In The Batman, we see the titular hero ride his motorbike here towards the end of the film when he links up with Catwoman to ride into the sunset and, presumably, the second film. Brimming with haunting gothic architecture, the looming gates of the Cemetery were perfect for the film, as were its creeping fauna and weather battered gargoyles.
Dunsfold Aerodrome, Surrey – Batmobile chase scene
Location: Stovolds Hill, Cranleigh GU6 8TB.
For the action scenes, Reeves was keen to depart from the “kinetic, quick-cutting” sequences utilised by other Batman auteurs such as Christopher Nolan and Tim Burton. He wanted audiences to “actually see what’s happening… in a way that is utterly convincing”, and he succeeded.
Plans were initially formed to film the hectic Batmobile chase scene, where he’s hot on the pursuit of Colin Farrell’s Penguin, on a highway in Liverpool. However, he opted instead to film it at the Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, as it would give him more creative freedom. Shot from Batman’s perspective, this part of the film is a wonder of cinematography, helmed by the celebrated Grieg Fraser, who also worked on Dune.
Dunsfold was built by the Canadian Army and civilian contractors as a Class A bomber airfield in the Second World War. It was commanded by the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942 to 1944 before being declared inactive in 1946. Interestingly, it was also used as the main site for the BBC2 flagship programme Top Gear.