Batman is Back and In a Big Way!
Life in Ontario is seemingly returning to normal, for example, no more vaccine passports or capacity limits at movie theatres. This happens just as moviegoers are gifted with the first “blockbuster” film of 2022. On a side note, it really was nice to see a packed theatre, with very long lines at the concession stands. I think that brightened my mood and put me in the right frame of mind to watch this 3-hour spectacle.
On the drive to the theatre, I told myself it is unfair to write a review, which would most likely be scathing when watching a movie like this exhausted. I went out of the way to drive to a theatre 20 km further than the closest one to get decent seats. There was no way I could sabotage the experience even more if I sat in the first row, having to stare way up at a colossal IMAX screen for 180 minutes. I really wanted to give this movie a chance, as it was rumored to be the darkest Batman movie yet. Which begs the question, how could it be darker than Christopher Nolan’s 2008 masterpiece The Dark Knight? Let me tell you; it wouldn’t have mattered If I sat in the first row, and it certainly didn’t matter that I was exhausted; all of that went away the second the movie started. It’s a highly captivating movie, with amazing cinematography and a score that fits the movie to perfection. It’s definitely a Caped Crusader movie for the time we live in.
It’s been an entire decade since fans have had a stand-alone Batman story. Yes, fans were subjected to the forgettable Batman experience in DC’s Batman vs. Superman in 2016 and The Justice League a couple of years later. But Batman is back, and in a big way! I admit to being highly skeptical of this project since I learned that Robert Pattinson would be playing Bruce Wayne/Batman. Well, he nails the role of Batman, and I mean to perfection. On the other side of that two-faced coin, I find his version of Bruce Wayne to be uninspiring, and If I am looking to cut out some scenes to shorten this film, as it drags, I would start with any scenes where Pattinson is depicting Bruce Wayne. But that’s not entirely on him; part of the blame on Bruce Wayne’s role in this film has to go to director Matt Reeves for taking the character in the direction he takes it. The Riddler says to Batman at one point something like, “it doesn’t matter who you are under that mask, this is the real you. “Exactly! We could have saved the Bruce Wayne experience for the second movie, giving Pattinson more time to get that Wayne swagger down. I get it, it’s a dark movie, so even the Wayne character needs to be dark. Trust me, you’ll see what I mean.
To answer the question, yes, it’s the darkest Batman movie yet, and it’s not even close. Even Batman’s upbeat butler and guardian, who is played by Andy Serkis, an actor who has played some very dark and twisted roles of his own, brings that darkness through in his portrayal of Albert. The first two hours set up a really decent and well-thought-out story. It falls short with a fairly anti-climactic ending sequence. The stakes could have and should have been much higher. Again, I get it, maybe they didn’t want to run into the same problem Nolan ran into with the Dark Knight! A movie which set the stakes so high, the only way they could surpass them was a full-on nuclear device detonation in 2013’s The Dark Knight Rises. Still, this Batman and the supporting cast of the Riddler, Penguin, Lieutenant Gordon, and Catwoman have nicely set up this franchise for what I hope to be more than another 1 or 2 movies. I really do wish they had left the movie’s best scene out of the trailer as well; the Batmobile flying through the explosion was simply amazing. It just would have been better as a surprise, though!
Marvel movies are decent, and DC has always struggled with its Superman and supporting cast movies, but Batman again has set the bar high, and The Batman film might be the best comic book movie ever made. It’s a movie with so much depth you might need to see it twice on the big screen. For those of you still wavering on the notion of going out to a large crowd event or don’t need to see The Batman on a big screen, it will be available to stream on HBO Max on April 19th. 2022.
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