The Batman…or is it?
Ok, full disclosure. I am a Batman fanatic, which is why it took me a while to while to get this up. As I walked out of the screening a little over a week ago, I had mixed feelings about what I was going to be writing about. But the longer I thought about it, those feelings kind of turned to confusion, then anger and finally acceptance. I figured out that I was grieving…and that was not good. I had hopes for this film, even though I did not agree with Robert Pattison being casted as the caped crusader. Although I have liked several films from director Matt Reeves (Planet of the Apes, Cloverfield) he might have bit off more than he could chew. So lets get to it…
From the opening frame the film hints at a throwback to DC’s original detective comic roots, which if you are a fan of Batman, you know what his approach was to battling crime. The gritty 1960’s era look of the film and introduction of our hero it’s clear that Reeve’s wants us to view this film at the same level as 2019’s “Joker”. Here is where the problems begin. Unlike the latter film, The Batman has no artistic courage and further more it has no originality. From the opening scene and line, a direct rip-off 2005’s “Sin City”, the rest of the film is a mush of lines, ideas and pieces of films and things that have happened or are currently happening in the world today. Todd Phillips brought mental health awareness to the forefront. However, director Reeves doesn’t really explore the idea, but rather creates a vengeful character using perhaps a mental disability to villainize and kill using mumbled references throughout. Opposed to past Batman films, The Batman assumes the audience knows the original story and completely bypasses it, thus we catch up with Bruce Wayne 2 years into his masked avenger persona that seems to live in a solid bleak rainy vortex that never stops.
While Batman is hunting down small-time criminals though out Gotham, a serial killer is targeting the city’s powerful which includes the mayor, the district attorney and the chief of police leaving riddles behind for our hero at each grisly scene. As Bruce Wayne tracks down the clues, he’s drawn into the cities criminal underbelly, crossing paths with waitress Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravits) in a gangster’s nightclub.
The film unfolds like a predictable police procedural as Batman and Lieutenant Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) follow the killer’s trail trying to prevent him from killing again. Eventually, we get to the predictable superhero staple where the bad guy’s plot to destroy Gotham, but it’s a long, really long…three hours long route with some stops that never rise above mediocre.
There are many problems in this films lack of originality. From character development to lackluster script, the A level casting never really shine. It holds them captive in a slow, boring Law and Order style story. In the end, Matt Reeve’s The Batman falls well short of what it was intending to do which was create a more artistic stylized film. Visually, it does have its high points, but it is vastly clouded by the unnecessary long takes and pauses that slow it down to a crawl.
***I will revisit this in a few weeks as to discuss in more details as I cannot do this without spoilers…