Christopher Nolan compares “father of the nuke” Oppenheimer to Batman

Daisy Phillipson
Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer

Ahead of the release of his next movie, Christopher Nolan has compared the “father of the nuke” J Robert Oppenheimer to Batman.

Anticipation is building for Christopher Nolan’s next epic, one that features some of his most ambitious set pieces yet as he looks to tell the true story of World War II’s nuclear Manhattan Project, leading to the development of the atomic bomb. 

At the center of the story is the man who helmed the project, J Robert Oppenheimer, who is being portrayed by Cillian Murphy, while his wife and mistress are played by Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh, respectively. 

Though fans might compare the film to his previous WW2 flick Dunkirk, Nolan has instead drawn comparisons to his past work in the world of DC

Christopher Nolan compares Oppenheimer to Batman

In a conversation with Total Film, the filmmaker compared Oppenheimer to Batman, saying he’s the most “paradoxical” person he’s had to portray on the big screen. 

“I think of any character I’ve dealt with, Oppenheimer is by far the most ambiguous and paradoxical,” said Nolan. “Which, given that I’ve made three Batman films, is saying a lot.”

The description is fitting – no, Oppenheimer didn’t zip around in a bat costume trying to fight the bad guys. But there’s much duality to his character, making him difficult to define. 

His leadership and knowledge as a physicist made him instrumental in the creation of the nuke, which is why he’s known as the “father of the atomic bomb”. And yet, after the war, he used his position as the chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission’s advisory committee to campaign for the control of nuclear power and against its growth, and later strictly opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb.

Oppenheimer looks set to explore his private life too, including his relationship with mistress Jean Tatlock, who was a communist, as were many of his associates. 

There’s an air of mystery and ambiguity to the scientist’s life, just as there is with Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, the Caped Crusader Nolan explored in his Dark Knight Trilogy. 

Oppenheimer drops in cinemas on July 21, 2023. You can read about the movie here, and check out our other TV and movie hubs below:

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About The Author

Daisy is a Senior TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's a lover of all things macabre, whether that be horror, crime, psychological thrillers or all of the above. After graduating with a Masters in Magazine Journalism, she's gone on to write for Digital Spy, LADbible and Little White Lies. You can contact her on