Alright. I may be a little late on this but please hear me out. After much procrastination, I finally decided to step into the theater to catch Matt Reeves’ The Batman. It was a brave act considering how inconsiderate some people can get in theaters in a time like this
Anyhoo, so yes, I finally did it. And yes, I also had popcorn. And yes, the movie is as enjoyable as Todd Phillips’ Joker. Note: enjoyable is not the same as entertaining. Entertaining is just, well, entertaining.
The movie stretches an ungodly long 2 hours and 56 minutes but it does feel that it was that long, TBH. The show may be dark (literally) but not gloomy like you know which Batman movie. And it is most certainly less apocalyptic than Christopher Nolan’s take by miles.
It is worthy to mention that this version of Batman is a little more violent than we were used to (and I dig it). I am a long-time Bat-fan. Though I’d say I fall short of being a hardcore fan but still I love what Reeves did with this version of, ermmm, coming-of-age Batman. Robert Pattinson’s portrayal as the young cape crusader was spot on, IMHO.
After being treated to a series of “serious” Batman movies by Christopher Nolan, Reeves’ take felt like a refreshing change. For once, Batman actually felt like a star of the show as opposed to the bad guys taking the spotlight. You know what I mean.
Villains are not gods and so don’t make them be (I am looking at you Nolan). Having said that, Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne/Batman is certainly more involved throughout the film as he should.
He is definitely more involved than Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (played by Zoë Kravitz, star of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald), and Lieutenant Gordon (he is yet to become the commissioner of GCPD) played by Jeffrey Wright. And he is certainly more involved than the movie’s main antagonist, The Riddler (played Paul Dano, star of Swiss Army Man) as, again, he should.
The movie just felt very well balanced. After all, this is a film about the hero and how he realizes he is the beacon of hope for the people of Gotham and he actually should act like one.
It is worthy to mention that there was more screentime of the crimefighter in his suit which, to me, is kind of the whole point of a Batman movie. Most importantly is, it has none of the board squabbles (thank you!).
And oh, can we just acknowledge the fact that Gotham City’s symbol of hope actually uses the detective skills he is most noted for and he was involved in the police work intimately like the good’ol Cape Crusader?
That said, the whole movie was more grounded than recent live-action Batman. And also, as Bruce Wayne, he does not zip around town in fancy exotic cars. Instead, he drives a 1963 split rear windscreen Corvette.
Speaking of cars, the other star of the show would be his Batmobile. Now, here’s the thing. Before I watched the movie. The new Batmobile is just another Batmobile. It is cool, sleek and all. But it is only after watching the movie that I felt the significance of this seemingly nondescript ride of choice of Batman (‘nondescript by modern-day Batman’s standard).
This has to be the most “normal-looking” Batmobile after Adam West’s. But do not let the look fool you. This is in fact a very angry ride. While we were treated to the work in progress Batmobile in the Batcave under the Wayne Manor a few times, its menacing presence is only felt in its crimefighting debut scene when the hero is in pursuit of Penguin (played by Colin Farrell).
The car chase scene was, like the entire movie, very grounded but yet it does not lack the adrenalin rush expected of any car chase scene. The car chase also highlighted how violent the young hero was.
Prior to that was the scene when the car was revealed to the Penguin with the “I am going to hunt you down” written all over it (figuratively speaking, that is). All Penguin sees was a silhouette of a car that was growling angrily with blue fire spitting out of the sides, and the back, in the dark alley, seemingly ready to pounce.
The menacing vehicle struck fear in Penguin who panicked and he took off leading the protagonist on a heart-pounding high-speed car chase. It was this pre-car chase scene that set the tone and rewrite what a Batmobile should be: it should strike fear in the bad guys which none of the Batmobile in previous movies did effectively.
The new Batmobile may not look as fancy as its predecessors and may not be loaded with gadgets but it is one tough machine, escaping a chain collision on the highway and launching itself through a raging inferno (by a stroke of luck, if I may add).
The man and machine together instill fear in Oswald like a cold-blooded killer do in a horror movie. It was unlike anything I have seen before in any Batman movies.
The moment when the crimefighter stepped out of the machine, the slow-walked towards Penguin’s car which had turned turtle after being rear-ended by the Batmobile, against the inferno in the background. The scene was even more imposing when combined with the haunting The Batman theme soundtrack by Michael Giacchino. Absolutely brilliant.
But that is not to say there is nothing I don’t like about the movie. I can pick up a few things that I thought could have done better. It includes better fight scene choreography, especially with Catwoman (who is less than convincing in general) and her headgear. Then again, the moviemaker is probably trying to convey the DIY nature of the costume. And maybe a little less rain, perhaps? Just saying…
If you ask me, The Batman is perhaps the best Batman movie in recent times and so is the Batmobile. It is definitely worth the watch if you haven’t already. The Batman is screening in theaters nationwide.
Images: Warner Bros.