The Batman (2022)

To be honest, I wasn’t desperately fussed about this movie. It feels like we’ve had at least twenty Batmans (Batmen?) in the past couple of years, and superhero fatigue has long since set in – even for me – more generally. But then people started raving about this a bit, and I allowed myself to at least feel a little intrigued about how they were going to handle it. Again.

First off: no origin story, except perhaps with a little background mention. Thank goodness! Instead we meet a … practising?… Batman (Robert Pattinson), all moody and “I am vengeance” going around trying to stop relatively petty crime in his home city of Gotham (like an emo not-so-friendly neighbourhood SpiderMan, hah), which frankly is falling apart. A lot of the dialog here – oh yeah, voice over of the Bat Diary? – felt very appropriate to the state of the real world these days. In other words, welcome to a very dark and quite depressed kind of a take on the character that was once done in dayglow lycra costumes.

It’s actually refreshing not to have Bats be a ‘superhero’, or at least to have spent a decade training at some mountaintop cult. He also doesn’t seem to be quite so flash with the cash. Indeed, Bruce Wayne is a young recluse, so we don’t have to put up with the deflectingly dickish playboy side of the character. The greasy emo fringe might be a bit much, but whatevs. Instead, we have a sharp mind and a bruiser of a fighter, going around trying to stop crime, the suit purely a ‘tool of fear’. Underneath is mostly a real guy, with a few quite low-key tools at his disposal. In other words, all very ‘realistic’ as far as these things go.

Likewise, the storyline itself is very grounded. Lone psychopath going on a Saw-like serial killing spree. Gangsters and corruption in the city. Cat burglar (Zoe Kravitz) getting involved in it all. Cases are solved with ‘proper’ detective work – and I don’t think we’ve fully seen Detective Batman before, so that was cool.

A little unfortunately, some of the ‘realism’ translated to scenes (flying squirrel, anyone?!) that made me laugh, and I don’t think I was meant to. I also got totally thrown out of suspension of disbelief when the many scars etc on the ‘oh look I’ve been down the gym a lot’ naked back obviousness is not carried through consistently. We’ve literally just seen this guy punch about 50 times, and those lily white soft hands on display are not going to have been involved in any of that, gloves or not.

Which sounds like a minor point, but just to say that if you’re going for moody dark and above all ‘Realism’ (TM), then silly little mistakes are not going to cut it, sorry 😉

I will give a huge shoutout to the cinematography, which was absolutely excellent. Dark and grimy, but a really nice take on Gotham as a location (and always great seeing bits of Glasgow masquerading as nasty places elsewhere ;)). But again, the over-gothic frilliness of Wayne Manor felt overdone and out of place in an otherwise so serious kind of a piece.

All in all, it was a decent enough movie, but the meme of the 2025 Batman movie just being a black screen feels all too likely! I’m bored of the dark and brooding, and the ‘realistic’ – looking forward to the sheer daftness of Thor 4, tbh. Yes, comic bros will undoubtedly tell me how much better this is, and they probably have a point. But for me it was just okay, entertaining enough, and sure, a bit different from some other takes. But while it might be a bit on the ‘arty’ side, it’s also borderline pretentious if it doesn’t admit to just being A.N.Other comic book movie.

Still worth the watch if you have 3 hours (!) to throw at it, but seriously – very very seriously – it’s a remake that’s being churned out every few years. Actually, yeah, it’s probably one of the better takes, but overall I remain largely unfussed.

The Batman movie posterReleased: 4th March 2022
Viewed: 22nd April 2022
Running time: 176 minutes
Rated: 15

My rating: 7/10

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