Film: The Batman (2022)

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In complete contrast to our recent outing to see The Duke – a rather light-hearted affair – here we are once again at the local Odeon (sans Meerkat) to see the new Batman film – by comparison, it looks like a much, much darker offering!  🤔

It seems only yesterday that we had Director Chris Nolan’s interpretation of the Batman story as a trilogy – Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight 2008 and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). For me, they were THE definitive interpretation, and consequently have pride-of-place in my 4K DVD collection (remember DVDs?). I’d prefer to forget both of Ben Affleck‘s stabs at the role (in 2016 & 2017) but some people liked his portrayal. This latest iteration was filmed in Chicago, London, Liverpool and Glasgow.

I guess after all this time, another adaptation was inevitable! How many Batman films have you seen? And can you name the actors who played the title role on the silver screen?

1966: Batman (Adam West)
1989: Batman (Michael Keaton)
1992: Batman Returns (Michael Keaton)
1995: Batman Forever (Val Kilmer)
1997: Batman and Robin (George Clooney)
2005: Batman Begins (Christian Bale)
2008: The Dark Knight (Christian Bale)
2012: The Dark Knight Rises (Christian Bale)
2016: Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice (Ben Affleck)

2017: The Lego Batman Movie (Will Arnett)
2017: Justice League (Ben Affleck)

2022: The Batman (Robert Pattinson)

Have I forgotten any? 🤔

In my mind, this latest outing is going to have to work really hard to topple my current fave.

To help this production look and feel immediately different from anything that’s gone before it, it’s actually called THE Batman in all the promotional material – apparently, the use of the definite article was definitely part of the plan! 😲

The movie is directed by Matt Reeves who is also known for Cloverfield (2008), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) amongst many others. It stars Robert Pattinson (nope, me neither, but apparently, he was in Harry Potter as well as The Twilight Saga!) playing Bruce Wayne/Batman with Zoë Kravitz, Rupert Penry-JonesPaul DanoJeffrey WrightJohn TurturroPeter SarsgaardAndy Serkis, and Colin Farrell in support. The film was eventually released on 3 March in Australia and 4 March here in the UK and the US, after being delayed by you-know-what.  One other important note: sort out your bladder before settling down, as this one clocks-in at a mighty 2 hours 55 minutes!

Audiophiles are well catered for too, with the following audio tracks – SDDS, IMAX 6-Track, Dolby Digital, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Surround 7.1 and even Auro 11.1. Picture-wise, don’t sit too near the front as this one is shot in a 2.39:1 ratio, aka (almost) 21:9 – it’s therefore wider than your bog-standard 16:9 widescreen telly-box.

The Setting

Matt Reeves has created a new iteration of the titular hero, in which actor, Robert Pattinson reinvents billionaire Bruce Wayne as a bit of a fop. It feels like a 80s murder mystery in places (no bad thing) and the Riddler takes centre-stage as our hero’s nemesis. We all know that Batman is a dark story – and this production interprets things literally – no fear of your eyes being seared watching this one. If it were Sesame Street, it would be sponsored by the colour BLACK! 🤔. This production somehow manages to assemble all the familiar characters, locations and gadgets associated with the Dark Knight – and make it feel very, very different! Make no mistake, first and foremost, this is a VERY tense psychological thriller. This was not-so-much a ‘reworking’ of the Batman story, as a ‘take the essential ingredients, mix them up, re-assemble some of them and then give the whole thing a respray’.

“The Dark Knight on a very dark night!”

The Story

Bruce Wayne in his alter-ego guise of ‘The Batman’ has spent two years scaring the bejesus out of the bad guys – mostly in Gotham City. In the Bat’s corner, we have his loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth; good cop, Lt. James Gordon; and love-interest Selina Kyle/Catwoman – so far, so normal! Meanwhile, in the opposite corner, we have a lorry-load of corrupt officials – and a mysterious character who is bumping-off Gotham’s said officials, leaving cryptic clues. Think (initially anyway) Sherlock Holmes in spandex vs. Moriarty in a mask! 🤔

On second thoughts, don’t! 😲

Other by-the-book-Batman foes are all present and correct, including Edward Nashton aka the Riddler, Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin and super-villain, Carmine Falcone. By the closing act, Batman has forged some interesting relationships, unmasked the culprit and dispensed with that lorry full of ‘suits’.

The Verdict

!!! WARNING: MILD SPOILER ALERT !!!

As a psychological thriller, it was a great story
As a Batman movie, for me, it failed on all accounts

We saw it on Screen 3 at the local Odeon, which was still quite busy inside even though the film was being shown every 30 minutes!

The tension was set to maximum pretty much from the start  (phew!) but somehow, in the final scenes, the story managed to find a secret dial and turn it all up to ’11’. It was a deeply dark, nerve-shredding, depressing, bleak, creepy, menacing, frightening and in places, horrific and violent story – and definitely not the ideal way to spend three hours on a Sunday evening if you want cheering-up for the week ahead. If you are of a nervous disposition, you’re going to need therapy for years! It’s been given a 15 certificate, so obviously, 15-year-olds, are a lot tougher these days! 😜

Has it toppled my favourite Batman interpretation by Director, Chris Nolan, that starred Christian Bale and Michael Caine? No, no really! Although it was a good story in itself, I don’t think it played out as a respectful interpretation of the Batman mythology.

See this if you
…prefer rats to bats
…like rain!
…enjoy your thrillers slightly on the creepy side
…just bought an OLED TV and can’t wait for this to be on the TV

Avoid this, if you…
…want to see a familiar take on the Batman story
…think happy-smiley films are your thing
…went to see an uplifting story of hope over helplessness; good over evil
…think that mucking about with the Batman canon is a travesty

For me, definitely NOT one for the 4K collection!! ☹️

But what do I know? The closing scenes suggest there is going to be a sequel. ☹️

Two jobs tomorrow then:
1. Write to Citizen’s Advice about bringing a claim against Warner Media for implying it was a Batman movie

2. Ring my therapist for an unscheduled session as a result of the trauma brought about the film!

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