The Batman

(there will be spoils)

Yes it’s true, comic book super heroes hold too much of a monopoly on movies and television right now. I agree, we get it, but also I enjoy the genre. And of all the ongoing super hero franchises the one I get most excited about is Batman.

Tim Burton’s 1989 BATMAN was a foundational movie for me, and I believe it kicked off the first real era of comic book movies, since SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE didn’t have many riding its coattails. I don’t think it could’ve happened with another character. There was something about the zeitgeist at that time, that the world was ready to see Batman on screen, and the marketing ingeniously took advantage of that. More importantly, the specific psychological and visual qualities of the “dark” Super Friend and his evil clown nemesis attracted Burton and gave him a weirdly perfect canvas on which to fuse his particular talents with blockbuster filmmaking, and create something that felt simultaneously of our past and completely new.

Because that was the first one, a distinct, stylized look was an expected element of comic book movies throughout the ‘90s, paving the way for the likes of DICK TRACY, THE CROW, TANK GIRL… I’d even throw in gaudier digital age ones like SPAWN and THE MASK for at least having their own looks. And Burton’s followup, BATMAN RETURNS, is still one of the most beautiful looking comic book movies to date. It only makes sense, being adaptations of an illustrated medium, but it’s a tradition somewhat neglected in the era of shared universes and realistic CG. I think THE BATMAN is one of the ones that brings it back. It looks stunning, and completely unlike other movies of the same genre, or even about the same character.

(Here’s a piece I did for Polygon ranking all of the ‘90s comic book movies except a couple I forgot)

One thing I love about Batman movies as opposed to other super hero movies is that their interpretation of Gotham City is just as important as their Batman. It can be cool to see the Dark Knight in other settings, but it’s not the same. Gotham is an extension of him and so are its other inhabitants. In Burton’s films the villains are psychological mirror images of Batman. In Christopher Nolan’s they’re an escalation of his own activities. He also has the best and best-known rogues’ gallery of any super hero – in fact, I’d wager the term “rogues’ gallery” is used to refer to Batman villains more than for all other usages combined. The Joker, the Penguin, Catwoman and the Riddler were all known to non-comic-book people before they were even in movies; Bane, Two Face, Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy have great awareness because of the movies; and there are plenty more so-far-unused ones with great cinematic potential.

Therefore, the world of Batman lends itself to varied cinematic interpretations. As much as I recognize and appreciate the differences between the three SPIDER-MAN series’, they pale in comparison to the spectrum of the two Burton BATMANs vs. the two Joel Schumacher BATMANs vs. the three Nolan BATMANs. (I leave out Zack Snyder because he never made a full-on Batman movie, but he did his own thing with the character too.) Each director found a completely different tone, look and world, each unlike any comic book movies that had come before. And there’s plenty of room for other takes, so I get excited for new ones.

There are two ways in which THE BATMAN seems specifically aimed at me. #1, when it was reported that Ben Affleck had decided not to direct it I thought, “I’m not even sure who I would want to direct a Batman movie” and then, “Oh yeah! The DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES guy!” I swear it was announced like a week later that Matt Reeves (co-writer of UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY) was in talks to direct. #2, I thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if the new Batmobile was a Dominic Toretto style muscle car?” And then it was!

Despite that, the overall approach Reeves chose – a non-sci-fi oriented quasi-realistic world closer to Nolan’s take than most comic book versions – is not what I’d wish for. That bench of villains isn’t quite as deep after you eliminate monsters, super powers and characters who can’t be reduced to gangsters, serial killers or terrorists. Fingers crossed that freeze rays are fair game in sequels, but I’m not holding my breath for man-bats or clayfaces. Putting a high premium on verisimilitude also reduces the likelihood that the movies will bring in Robin the Boy Wonder, much less multiple Robins who would grow up into their own different personas, reflecting on Batman more than even his villains do. That’s a major element of the comic books that seems ripe for cinematic exploration – how many different Jokers can we have before we ever have a decent Dick Grayson?

But we are not here to discuss a Batman movie that doesn’t exist yet, we’re here to discuss the one that Reeves chose to make. I think what he made is very good, and in some ways truly great. That’s partly because he fully embraced that other Batman strength I mentioned, Gotham City.

Reeves’ Gotham (production designer: James Chinlund, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, 25TH HOUR, THE FOUNTAIN, THE AVENGERS, THE LION KING) is a malevolent nightmare world. In the space between Burton’s expressionistic gothic atmosphere and Nolan’s gritty realism-ish-ness you find an eerie hellscape reminiscent of THE CROW. There’s no industrial/goth soundtrack like it’s the ‘90s again, but I would not have predicted a Batman movie with a prominently placed Nirvana song. Somehow it works for me.

That brings up another strength of Batman movies: very high musical standards. Danny Elfman’s BATMAN is to me one of the best movie scores ever, Hans Zimmer’s for Nolan’s trilogy, particularly THE DARK KNIGHT, are outstanding and paradigm-shifting, and even Schumacher’s have a really good theme by Elliot Goldenthal. So I’m very impressed that Michael Giacchino (MY BROTHER THE PIG, SPEED RACER) lived up to that tradition with his simple but evocative music, which sounds like a funeral march, is likely the most memorable theme of the modern super hero age, and adds several extra coats of gothic menace to this Gotham.

“Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot. So my disguise must be able to strike terror in their hearts,” goes writer Bill Finger’s famous 1939 explanation of Batman. I was happy to play along with Burton and Nolan’s illustrations of this concept, but the opening scenes here are the first time I really bought it. In noir style first person narration, Batman (Robert Pattinson, the guy from the Cronenberg movies) explains that “We have a signal now for when I’m needed. But when that light hits the sky, it’s not just a call, it’s a warning to them.” He can’t be everywhere, he says, but we see how criminals all around the city see the bat signal and become convinced that The Batman is watching them from the dark shadows across the street.

It’s legitimately chilling! It also doesn’t stop any of them. An armed robber gets distracted and bumped by a car, that’s about it. To his credit, Batman recognizes that he’s not changing anything. All he’s accomplishing is vengeance. And to the credit of Reeves and co-writer Peter Craig (THE TOWN, BLOOD FATHER [book and movie], apparently plays somebody named “Pete” in HOOPER!?), the story is about him realizing that vengeance is not enough.

Some time in his two years as a vigilante, while not occupied with smashing subway station assaulters’ faces in, Batman has developed a relationship with James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright, LADY IN THE WATER), still a lieutenant. They’re close enough that Gordon made that bat signal and brings Batman to a murder scene. The other cops are not happy about it, think Gordon is out of his mind, and look at him with absolute disgust. But Gordon has one pretty good excuse to bring him: the killer left a note for him. As a bonus, he’s way better at solving riddles than they are. (Later, when it becomes clear that Gordon shouldn’t trust other cops, it makes more sense that he’s working with this guy.)

The killer is The Riddler, in a new interpretation transparently based on the Zodiac Killer. This approach is very effectively creepy. I’m not comfortable with real life serial killers being used as inspiration for a Batman story, but maybe turning that asshole into a comic book villain (with an action figure! And a Funko Pop!) will take away some of the fear power he still has over us. I don’t know. A weird thing about this movie that I haven’t seen acknowledged is that about 15 to 20 years ago in the pre-BATMAN BEGINS days the #1 internet nerd wish for Batman movies was for David Fincher to do one. My feeling was always, “That would be awesome… if he’s interested.” In those days it was fair to assume that most directors who were already getting movies made would not be interested, and it didn’t seem wise to force them into it. Anyway, now we have a different director making the movie I’m sure many of those internetters were imagining. With its older/younger-Black/white duo following the cryptic clues of a preachy mastermind journal-scrawling gimmicky sadist serial killer in a rainy city it seems more inspired by SE7EN than by ZODIAC or any other movie.

One kind of silly topic of debate around the movie is whether or not it lives up to Reeves’ promise of a detective movie. No, it’s not the first time this aspect of the character has been on screen – BATMAN has Bats figuring out how the Joker’s poisoning scheme works, and THE DARK KNIGHT has some good C.S.I. shit with that bullet. But yes, this puts more emphasis than previous Batman movies on following a trail of clues, trying to get ahead of this killer and discover his identity. It also has a bit of a noir feel with its narration and beautiful night time cinematography (director of photography: Greig Fraser, LET ME IN, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, ZERO DARK THIRTY, ROGUE ONE). Batman’s work with Gordon is largely just playing the game that the Riddler wants him to play (in that sense it’s a little like DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE too), but on the side he has a whole undercover agent infiltrating corrupt officials with mob ties.

That’s because one of the Riddler’s clues leads him to an underworld club run by The Penguin (Colin Farrell, DEAD MAN DOWN), where he notices waitress Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz, reprising her role from THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE) reacting to the photo of a woman he’s trying to find. So he follows her home, one thing leads to another, next thing you know she’s Catwoman robbing a safe and he convinces her to wear contact lenses with cameras to work and get information for him. That is detective work! Or maybe espionage.

I think Pattinson (THE ROVER) is an exciting new Batman because he balances a different spin with strong tradition. He does not do “billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne” – he’s more like sensitive, quiet weirdo Bruce Wayne – but he’s still the last person anybody would expect to be Batman. This might sound like a joke, but I think one tiny example of Pattinson’s acting prowess is that he has two different scenes where he gets into The Iceberg Lounge by asking, “Do you know who I am?,” but he doesn’t sound like an entitled douche either time. The first time he’s Batman, the second time he’s Bruce Wayne, both times he’s asking the question sincerely, just being practical, trying to discern how many words or blows will be required to get inside.

An interesting, believable touch to this Batman is that he says the nights have started to blend together so much that he has to go home and watch his recordings of what happened and write journals to keep track of things. That’s where the narration comes from. I was thinking it was gonna be that he records tapes about what’s going on in his life to send to his high school French tutor, but I’m not sure where I got that from.

Other reasons he’s a good Batman: he has a square jaw, he knows how to remove the bat symbol from his chest and use it as a knife like some cool action figure gimmick, Selina’s cats seem to like him.

In BATMAN BEGINS we got to see Bruce Wayne coming up with the idea of Batman and trying to make it work. I love how this starts two years in and doesn’t let us know at first just how much he has his shit together. Gordon doesn’t seem clear on it either. He gives Batman an opening to escape police custody and seems to assume he knows what he’s doing more than he actually does. Batman flees the interrogation cell, discovers that he’s on a high floor and has to jump. He leaps but is clearly scared, uses inflatable squirrel wings to glide to the ground, but they look silly and he totally bites it and is grunting in pain when he gets up. I think he even looks around to make sure nobody saw him. He’s good at other things – more than one bathook rappelling technique, for example – but I suppose there’s gotta be a first time for every trick in the bag and it’s not always gonna be a success. Not at this point, anyway.

I’ve never really liked that the Batman costume in movies is always armor. BATMAN’s being rubber was a clever conceptual choice – Keaton’s Bruce Wayne is an everyman, not a muscleman, so the suit transforms him. But since then we’ve been stuck with that even when the actors are buffing up. In the Nolan movies it became tactical, which bled into the comics as artists added visible seams, plating, traction on his boots, grip on his gloves, and other details. THE BATMAN continues the armor approach (batsuit designed by David Crossman & Glyn Dillon, SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY) but brings back a comics tradition these heavy suits have always robbed us of in movies: he carries the suit around and changes into it when needed! Of course, he has to wear baggy clothes and a backpack to do it, but that’s a pretty good disguise for this local celebrity.

Andy Serkis (wearing a mocap suit to control a CG model that looks identical to his actual self [citation needed]) plays Alfred, which seemed like kind of odd casting, but it really works. I love that he takes it upon himself to start solving the Riddler’s cyphers. He also has some great emotional scenes with Bruce, discussing their not-quite-father-and-son relationship. They’re going for the tough guy Alfred and I’m not sure if he’s even supposed to be Bruce’s butler – he’s implied to have been a spy turned bodyguard for the Waynes, and said to have taught Bruce to fight. I hope in a sequel we see him do Batman’s straddle-a-guy-and-punch-him-in-the-face-a-ridiculous-number-of-times move so we know that’s where it came from.

The fight scenes are handled really well – generally shot pretty close up, but framed and cut in a less chaotic fashion than Nolan’s fights. You can generally see what’s happening.


And often there’s some clever staging, like the shot where he’s taking out gunmen in a dark hallway and we only see him when he’s lit by muzzle flashes.

As in Nolan’s trilogy, my favorite action scene is the car chase, but Reeves’ approach here is very different, keeping us mostly inside or close to the cars, surrounded by trucks, darkness and rain. It’s not BOURNE-style shaky or anything but it’s a similar philosophy of using some amount of disorientation and limiting of perspective to heighten the sense of danger. There’s a car crash that I believe is shot similar to the memorable one in Reeves’ LET ME IN. The atmosphere is more like a horror movie than THE FRENCH CONNECTION or some shit.

Earlier I mentioned Batman’s supporting characters having parallels to him. With these versions of Batman, the Riddler and Catwoman we have three orphans acting out against ways they feel they were wronged in life. Batman is fighting street criminals, believing someone like them killed his parents, recognizing that this isn’t getting him anywhere, but not yet knowing what else to do. Catwoman is trying to steal ill-gotten gains from her deadbeat dad (John Turturro, EXTERMINATOR 2) that she believes can repay her for his neglect. Riddler is exposing the genuine corruption behind a system he feels cheated by (but murdering people to do it).

The Riddler explicitly compares his life to Bruce Wayne’s. He lost his parents too but didn’t have any money to fall back on and no one knew to feel sorry for him. He doesn’t know that they also have creepy journals in common. Reeves’ filmatic language also points out similarities between the two; in the opening scene we take on the perspective of the Riddler’s binoculars spying on the mayor from across the street, and at first we’re not sure if it’s him or Batman watching. Later, we get a similar shot that’s Batman watching Selina Kyle in her apartment, changing into her Catwoman costume, important information for him and a violation of her. They’re both taking justice into their own hands, but Batman doesn’t killing anyone, while Riddler works primarily in the medium of killing.

The thing is, Riddler is the evil/psychotic one, but likely doing more good for the city than Batman by exposing police and politicians and ending their corrupt schemes. Batman recognizes this and it fucks him up. In fact, Riddler’s attempt to murder Bruce Wayne has a huge effect on the world because it causes Batman to see his late father, and therefore his whole mission in life, in a more complicated light than before and decide to evolve beyond his quest for vengeance.

I’m a little wary of these villains who are right but evil (see also environmentalist Ra’s Al Ghul in BATMAN BEGINS and revolutionary Bane in DARK KNIGHT RISES). It’s meant to make them more interesting, but has an accidental South Parkian “well, best to do nothing about this” taint to it sometimes. I’m more into Catwoman, who is right and not evil. I love that this actually has a scene where Batman realizes she was right about something and apologizes for what he said about it. Some Patrick Swayze shit right there.

I already loved Kravitz from FURY ROAD, High Fidelity, GEMINI and KIMI, but she’s a perfect Selina Kyle, from the very down-to-earth characterization to the more pulpy touches like the cat-inspired fighting style and just the way she looks, whether in the costume, out of the costume, or in silhouette. Selina pointedly calls people “honey” or “baby,” knowing the effect it will have on them. We see her employing it as a waitress, as an undercover investigator, we also see her being flirtatious with Batman. And in the great tradition of Catwoman stories we want it to be real but remain cautious that it could be manipulation. I love that the truest expression of love between these two is in their costumes, riding their motorcycles through a graveyard together before splitting off FURIOUS SEVEN style. A beautiful moment between two weirdos who are kind of exactly the same and kind of exact opposites, but whose lives don’t quite fit together right now.

The whole cast is really great. Dano was of course the most natural actor to cast opposite a Batman whose favorite move is punching somebody in the face. He’s hidden behind the mask and a voice distorter for much of the movie, but is even skeevier when they catch and unmask him. He stays reserved enough to take advantage of his authentic creepy nerd face (reminded me of his role in TAKING LIVES) before going a little over-the-top. And all of it is perfectly balanced by having Pattinson in the scene silently reacting to him.

Special shout out to Wright, who makes a perfect Gordon. They have a good buddy-movie vibe at times, like when Batman tells him “No guns” and he says, “That’s your thing, man.” Turturro is also doing top notch work as a more subtle character than anyone around him, while Farrell is really funny as his exasperated and as far as we know not particularly interested in birds or umbrellas gangster character. Yes, it’s weird that Farrell has to wear makeup to look completely different from himself, but its seamless. It looks real but not too real – you wouldn’t find a real guy who looked quite like that.

There’s only one scene in this movie I didn’t like. After the Riddler has been captured another inmate at Arkham Asylum, whose face we don’t clearly see, starts giving him a pep talk, and we’re clearly meant to understand that he’s the Joker. He’s played by Barry Keoghan (THE GREEN KNIGHT), who I think is a really good actor and interesting choice for that character, but I really don’t think he works in this scene, and it’s the only thing in the movie that plays like a standard franchise-building teaser. I was relieved to read that Reeves did not intend it that way and does not know if he’ll even bring back The Joker. An earlier scene with him was filmed but cut as redundant, and this almost was too until they realized without it it would seem like everything was better in Gotham now and Batman is a fool not to leave town with Catwoman. (I mean, he still is, but…)

So other than that I was loving the movie the whole time. But when it ended I did feel there was a little something missing. As has been widely discussed, the movie is almost 3 hours long, and though everyone I’ve talked to about it liked it, they all say it’s a little too long, it doesn’t earn it. I see it a little differently: I like the length, but I don’t think it quite gets the payoff it earns – the action/disaster climax is cool, but feels a little underwhelming compared to the sorts of feats Batman has to pull off in the Nolan movies. Could use a little more triumph.

At least that’s how it feels on a first viewing. What it does have is this journey of Batman learning and changing through the course of the investigation. At the beginning he approaches his mission by trying to scare the shit out of people, and he’s such a mystery that the guy he rescues from being jumped by a gang begs, “Please, don’t hurt me.” At the crime scene, and later the funeral, Batman/Bruce stares at the deceased mayor’s son, obviously relating to him, helpless to do anything for him. In the end he comes out of the shadows to carry people from the flooded ruins of a stadium, and literally reaches his hand out to the mayor’s son. Using hands to help his fellow man instead of as fists of fury.

I enjoy most of the modern comic book movies, but usually I just see them and then forget about them and wait for the next one. THE BATMAN doesn’t feel disposable or episodic like that to me – I’m already itching to go see it again, dig into it deeper, get immersed in its Gotham again. But I sure won’t complain when they greenlight THE BATMAN THE RETURNS, where he goes into dark territory, gets a haircut, etc. Keep the bustin.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 11th, 2022 at 12:57 pm and is filed under Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

137 Responses to “The Batman”

  1. I know Vern’s been a bit bummed out on us tending to be down on modern movies, but… I’m a bit down on this movie I’m afraid.

    I wouldn’t say it was a bad movie, but I was surprised by how uninspired I found it. I certainly think it plays it safe; this could be an utterly sincere expression of Matt Reeves’ and Peter Craig’s very souls for all I know, but it plays to me like a pretty calculated approximation of what Warners thought the public wanted from a Batman film in 2022. Felt a little like an ashcan film like THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Certainly, I felt like there was little here that wasn’t something of a rehash of themes and tropes from the Nolan trilogy (it pretty much could have been a midquel between the first two Nolan films), BATMAN V SUPERMAN, the JOKER movie and the GOTHAM TV series. Maybe I’m just Bat-ed out, but I was quite enjoying this for the first half hour or so before all the bloat set in, so I think I could have been into this if it had taken a fresher approach.

    I won’t say Pattinson is bad in the role, but somewhere between the performance and conception I’m pretty sure this is currently the version of the character I’ve found the least likable and/or interesting. To each their own, but I’m honestly amazed there are so many people already willing to plant the flag on this being their favourite ever interpretation of the character

    While his new getup epitomises the films’ “so desperate to be serious it becomes risible” aesthetic, Dano is pretty good as The Riddler but he feels closer to both the Ledger and Phoenix Joker than any version of The Riddler I’m familiar with, or anything particularly fresh. Much as it didn’t seem to me like Pheonix’s Arthur Fleck would be capable of becoming a criminal mastermind like The Joker we’re familiar with, I’m not sure I buy Dano’s Riddler being capable of his schemes in this film

    Still, this is pretty much exactly the film it advertised itself as being. If you’ve been pretty sure you’ll like this all along you’ll probably find your instincts have been right.


    I’ve been chewing on this movie all week, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I was extremely hyped for this, so I probably set myself up to be let down. The opening scenes, with the noirration and all that, initially had me thinking this would be too self-serious. I got used to the tone and ended up enjoying it during the watching of it. Overall I think I liked it, but the more I think about it, the less it works for me.

    I did love Giacchino’s music– one of the more memorable film scores of the last several years. As far as the look of the film: I was stuck sitting too close to the screen and my small town movie theater is bad at projection, so everything seemed slightly fuzzier and duller than it should’ve. This will probably look better to me at home on HBO Max. For example– I had a hard time comprehending the car chase sequence. And all the best shots can be found in the trailer.

    In terms of acting: This, like the Green Knight, is one of those films where everybody speaks in a serious whisper, and most of the cast are underplaying their scenes. Someone definitely NOT underplaying the part is Paul Dano, who I found to be utterly terrifying. I haven’t been so creeped out by a Batman movie since I was a kid watching BATMAN RETURNS. (This is a compliment.) Colin Farrell is also clearly having a blast, and is completely unrecognizable– not in the face, the eyes, the voice, nothing. He could’ve done this under an alias like Tilda Swinton in Suspiria and no one would’ve caught on. Jeffrey Wright is so well-cast that it seems like he’s not putting in the effort, but I’m sure that’s not the case. Between this and KIMI, I’m definitely a newly-minted Zoe Kravitz fan, and I would like to see a Catwoman spinoff directed by Steven Soderbergh, please. As for Robert Pattinson– in some scenes he reminded me of Peter Weller in ROBOCOP, which is the highest of compliments. He’s in the suit nearly the whole movie, but there’s some really subtle things he does under the cowl which show his strengths as an actor.

    In regards to the story: I have some concerns, mainly with the third act. My main problem is that Batman loses. The Riddler outplays him at every turn. Batman doesn’t catch the bad guy, and he doesn’t stop the bombs. He admits that crime has gone up since he showed up. Riddler explicitly cites Batman as the reason he became a costumed maniac. And we even find out Wayne money is funding Gotham crime! So it’s made abundantly clear Batman is just making the city worse. And I get this ties into the theme, which overall I like– Batman learns that hope and justice are stronger than fear and vengeance. But I agree that moment of triumph is missing. A bit where we reveal Batman outsmarted the Riddler and already defused the bombs. That would mean we’d lose the action climax, but– that part already feels tacked on. Like it’s only there because this is a superhero movie and we need a fight scene at the end.

    I also think the movie tees something up and then doesn’t pay it off, which hurts the overall story. We see Bruce Wayne is a recluse. He’s ignoring his company and accountants. The mayor-elect says he hasn’t bothered with any charity. We learn his father’s Renewal foundation has been co-opted and corrupted by the bad guys. So I’m surprised there isn’t a scene at the end– it wouldn’t take more than 60 seconds– where Batman realizes he has to use the Bruce Wayne persona as a tool in his crusade, and devote more of his fortune to solving social ills via the Wayne Foundation, thereby fulfilling his father’s promise. In fact, I wish the movie had committed to having Thomas Wayne turn out to be a bad guy, yet having Batman resolve to continue his mission anyway, atoning for the sins of the father or whatnot.

    As for the tone and length– yes, it’s a deliberately paced, dark movie. I felt bad for the parents and kids in the audience, especially when it opens with a gruesome murder. If I was a kid now, I don’t know if this movie would capture my imagination or hold my attention like Burton’s first film did. And if I didn’t know much about Batman going in, I don’t know if I’d be compelled to learn more. And I’d prefer the Batman movies swing back more toward the fantastical, rather than getting even grimmer and grittier and more realistic than the Nolan movies (which I love). Because I’d love to see Pattinson battle Man-Bat, or Killer Croc, or Clayface, and I’d like to see a new version of Robin onscreen.

  3. I really loved this one. I felt bad when Vern said he was down because we’ve been ragging on movies more than raving about them because sometimes I don’t chime in when I like a movie because Vern’s already laid out all the reasons I liked it, so it feels like I’m a toady to just post something that repeats Vern. But here goes. I love that this is noir Batman. That opening scene with the voice over and cutting between the different criminals getting scared was great. I knew immediately I was going to be all in. I get your point, Vern, that Batman has done detecting in the past, but I still think this delves into it quite a bit more. He’s following clues, which take him places that because he’s there turn into an action scene. The others feel more like he stumbles into an action scene about to start, or in progress, or goes there because action is happening. If that makes sense.

    I love that there were so many small choices made either by Pattinson or Reeves that explained things better than if they’d had a speech about it. Like when he runs out and is on that roof and he just screeches to a halt for a second with a horrified gasp. That’s all I needed to realize he’s flying by the seat of his pants half the time and terrifying shit pops up but he just grits his teeth and goes for it. I also loved that he was a weirdo, anti-social Bruce Wayne, rather than playboy Bruce Wayne. He has a bad hair cut that looks like he either did it himself or made Alfred do it and his funeral suit doesn’t look like he can go to a GQ cover shoot afterwards. The chemistry between Pattinson and Kravitz was sizzling and Bruce seemed completely flummoxed when she kissed him. He doesn’t have any idea what to do with a girl or feelings in his pants. He only touches people to punch them.

    Anyway. I loved it. Oh, and how the Batmobile is basically screaming when we first see it roaring out of the shadows – that was awesome.


    Bill – I guess I just assumed from his ending voiceover talking about realizing he can’t just be vengeance and has to be more about hope and then literally comes out of the darkness, into the light to help the people all trapped that he would be doing more as Bruce Wayne to help people going forward.

  5. I’m sure it will help your enjoyment of repeat viewings immensely to realise that you can sing ‘here comes bat-man’ along to the four notes of the main theme.

  6. This movie has probably my favorite moment of a superhero being superheroic of all-time. It’s during the scene on the roof of the stadium, post-flood, with the Nirvana song and the narration making their reprise. Batman is no longer “the shadows,” he’s out in the sunlight, right there in the thick of it with the public, carrying a little girl to a life flight. He gets her on the stretcher, she panics and grabs his arm. He takes a hold of her hand, locks eyes with her, and he nods as though to say “it’s ok. You’re going to be ok’ and she calms. The stretcher lifts off and he doesn’t let go off her hand until the last possible moment.

    Cue me trying not to sob. I loved this movie.

  7. “He leaps but is clearly scared, uses inflatable squirrel wings to glide to the ground, but they look silly and he totally bites it and is grunting in pain when he gets up. I think he even looks around to make sure nobody saw him…”

    That sounds atrocious. It sounds like that fashionable “modern” garbage that parasites love putting in their “modern” flicks. “Ooh, look at my brilliance, I’ve just made your outdated concept of a superhero realistic!” No, moron, all you did was take away the allure and turned the concept into dirt.

    Superheroes are supposed to be invincible. They’re not real. They’re a fantasy for kids to look up to them and imagine meeting them. If I watched a superhero flick, I didn’t want to watch a moron wonder what to do with his newly discovered superpower, then trip on his sex-shop cape and get stabbed to death by the first criminal he faced, although that definitely would be realistic.

    A 6-year-old me faced with a choice of Burton’s Batman and a goddamn Fatman who’s scared of jumping and falls on his ass would not wonder whom to choose.

    Also, to hell with the hateful moral relativism of “the serial killer is actually the misunderstood hero, it’s the cop who’s really evil”, if that’s really what this flick goes for.

  8. Parasites, huh. Well, I disagree. Obviously you are determined to find offense in this movie, and I don’t think you should see it, but I do think seeing it should be a prerequisite to writing a furious screed that likens human beings to vermin for having a different interpretation of super heroes than the specific one you’re set on.

  9. I LOVE that in this movie Batman jumping off a very tall building is not taken for granted. He looks nervous as hell, but he doesn’t hesitate. He looks like he’s practiced this deployment before and his hands know what to do, but he’s never had to actually do it before in the field. It’s so badass to see a guy do something that feels genuinely dangerous, that he’d probably rather not have to do, but go thru it anyway and just BARELY make it.

  10. Exactly! And I have no doubt that we’ll later see him doing it with ease (and cooler wings). If we do it will be even cooler specifically because we were there for the first try.

  11. I was thoroughly unprepared for how much I was going to love this movie. I went into it expecting to enjoy it and was fucking gobsmacked by how much better it was. Like Vern, I am itching to dig back into it when I can. My main thought throughout the whole thing was basically: Holy shit.

  12. The more ‘grounded’ approach to the action only serves to make crazy Batman moves like jumping off the building more awesome.

    I had no expectations for this movie from general superhero fatigue but am happy to say that I loved it. Robert Pattinson conveys a surprising depth of emotion with a simple stare, and I appreciated the palpable sense of romantic yearning from a singleminded, emotionally stunted weirdo who we see open up more through his interaction with Selina. The fallibility of Bruce is in line with the noir influence, though I think it’s fair to say that by the end he’s a better person and more genuinely heroic.

    Vern makes a very good point about the impressive look of Gotham in this one, it was wonderfully immersive with it’s beautifully shot rain, rot, and neon, though I can imagine seeing it in a theatre that lowers the brightness of the projection bulb would wound it, as dark as it is.

    Overall a very satisfying, well-balanced blend of pulp styles, my favorite romantic cyberpunk crime mystery epic of the year so far.

  13. The Franchise Fred

    March 11th, 2022 at 8:24 pm

    The Vern’s The Review was the good. I know you worked hard on it.

    Is videos for a French tutor a reference to something? I missed it but even if it’s just random it’s hilarious.

  14. Not sure I want to wade into a discussion on parasites, but I will say… I don’t see the point of a three-hour movie that skips the origin story because it’s already been told, then makes everyone kinda lame anyway. Why do I have to sit through three hours of the Penguin just being a fat guy and Catwoman just being a lady who wears a ski mask and Batman has a doofy wingsuit? If we’re skipping to the good stuff and leaving out Martha of ‘Save Martha!’ fame, why can’t we just have a world where the Penguin dresses like the Penguin, Catwoman dresses like Catwoman, et al? This is what, the tenth or eleventh Batman movie? How many more Batmans do they need to go heavy on the Batman shit instead of “Uh, oh, he’s like the Zodiac Killer, he has a sniper rifle!”

  15. Like, didn’t we see a beginner Batman eat shit jumping off a roof in Batman Begins? Do we need to see him eat shit another way? Is this gonna be a ‘Spider-Man in high school’ thing where people refuse to see the character doing anything other than one small fraction of their career?

  16. “Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot. So my disguise must be able to strike terror in their hearts,” goes writer Bill Finger’s famous 1939 explanation of Batman.

    Awesome, Vern. You rock.

    I’m looking forward to seeing this one on HoBo Max in a month or two (as the theater-going days for yours truly are sadly a thing of the past). I was stoked about the casting of Pattinson, as he was really impressive as a sparkly vampire in THE ROVER, but adding Kravitz and Wright made this a day one must-see.

    Day one of streaming, that is. Sigh.

    Great non-spoiler review!

  17. Whoops, sorry. Spoilers.

  18. I loved it! Others here seem to have a problem with it being even further nudged into realism than even the Nolan movies were, but that was my favorite aspect! The wingsuit scene seemed like the very first time Batman tried that and it nearly killed him, and he got downed several times by gunshots to his body armor (the walking-into-machine-gun-fire scene in the hallway seem to undercut this, sadly). It’s like he’s still alive by the time of this movie simply through blind luck. Made it feel really dangerous and most of the action scenes were tense as hell because of it. I really appreciate they made Batman more of a brooding crazy person after the ultra-pragmatic Nolan version. I mean, he’s Batman and he should be super-smart and have his shit together, but there should always be the unresolved psychological trauma aspect to him, which I feel the Nolan ones didn’t much bother with.

  19. Can anyone kindly direct me to where Vern said he was bummed about people ragging down on new/modern movies? Thanks!

  20. I doubt there are many fellow “Zodiologists” here, but if some of us are, then we know that Zodiac was a film and comic book geek – the Holt comics, the westerns, the Exorcist, the Mikado, the Groucho record… all that he copied, all that he kept referencing.

    And we know that he most likely imagined himself as a supervillain. Koko, comic book characters… he saw himself there.

    Why am I bringing this up? Because it’s quite repulsive to see that he is now rewarded by having his fantasy realised in a Hollywood film.

    This is far more than a reference. “Dirty Harry” made only a reference. Don Siegel did not celebrate Zodiac. It’s also different from a crime picture based on Zodiac’s crimes. No, this film ACTUALLY makes Zodiac a supervillain. A genuine Batman supervillain. It takes his fancies and delusions, and puts them on the screen. What an honour, what a treat. What a reward.

    Yes, he is almost certainly dead – personally, I suspect he died in or around 2010 – but the principle stands. He would have been thrilled and pleased to see himself depicted and honoured in “The Batman”.

  21. @Dr.Giggles – leaving aside the . . .uhm, uncomfortably intense tenor of your comment, I’ll just say – it’s Batman, dude. The entire point of the character is that he’s human, but succeeds in spite of his fears and weaknesses. He has a long history in comics and movies of moments like this, stretching very, very far back.

    If you take moments like this away from the character and make him just another invincible superhero, you’re missing the crux of what makes Batman who he is.

    He’s the hero that gets shot, stabbed, beaten and broken, who makes mistakes (especially early on, as he is in this film), but always gets back up.

  22. Why aren’t more people talking about the trailer and how it did a tremendous disservice to this move?

    So basically the entire movie is about how can we find and catch this serial killer. I get that the question of who the killer is was going to be answered by the casting. We see the riddler in the opening scene and know it’s Paul Dano.

    But holy shit the first shot of the trailer is the Riddler, out of costume, surrendering in the diner. As the movie went on, I kept thinking that had to be a fake out. There has to be some more dramatic capture scene. There is no way they let us know how the Riddler would get caught at the 2:30 mark a year before the movie was released. When they were in the Riddler’s apartment, all I can think is, well, he downstairs in the diner playing with his latte. Making a ?.

    And they basically took all the piss out of the car chase as well. And the opening fight scene.

    I get this kind of a slow, talky movie. There weren’t a ton of super actioney highlights to show. But showing the Riddler surrendering to the police was borderline shocking to me as the movie rolled forward.
    Maybe it’s just me.

  23. Daniel – it was on the latest Texas Chainsaw movie thread.

    Outpost 31 – is there more than using a cypher in a letter to the authorities that makes him more like Zodiac than any other super villain/serial killer, be they real or fictitious? That’s not me being a dick. I am honestly curious. That was the only similarity I saw.

  24. I didn’t think much of this one, although it was a little better than Nolan’s pretentious “I’m so dark and gritty, and sooo serious” Mothman the Gothman, but I do have to admit that there was one moment which I thoroughly enjoyed: the Penguin yelling at Batman and Gordon about the grammatical errors regarding the definite and indefinite articles in a communiqué from the Riddler.

    “Loot atcha…! World’s greatest detectives! I’m the only one here who knows the difference between ‘el’ and ‘la’? Jeezus!”

  25. No, it’s not only you, JeffG – I had the same problem. When the car chase began so late in the movie (and was arguably the biggest action scene) my heart sank a little bit because it was already spoiled. And: I think they ruined this scene in the movie with the last shot of Batman coming awkwardly in the frame, looking sideways into the car, accompanied by the bombastic Batman theme. At least for me that moment was unintentionally funny.

    In general I loved the introduction of Batman, the noir atmosphere, Gotham City, the style and the music of the movie so much that for the first two hours I was invested in the movie despite some problems with pacing and storytelling.

    It’s no problem for me when a movie is slow, but in my opinion many scenes just went on for too long after anything of importance was said and done.

    But the last hour was rather hard to watch. I have a lot of sympathy for ambitioned but messy movies, but barely anything in the last hour made sense, paid off anything that was setup before or was really connected to the storylines and themes that were presented until then.


    I liked the idea that the narration was actually a diary that Batman had to use to stay focussed and sane – until the movie forgot this completely for most of the running time. So when he started narrating again out of nowhere in the end, I actually laughed.

    I also would have enjoyed more detective work – was it a comedic idea that Batman solved every riddle instantly?

    But for me the most annoying part of the movie was that all the storylines didn’t help me feel what the movie told me it was about: Batman realizing that vengeance isn’t enough, he has to be a hero. Everything felt unconnected and didn’t add up to much for me.

    So Batman follows the Riddlers game and find’s out his father was actually murdered by a man that is unceremoniously killed off later by the Riddler and Batman realizes he was only there to bring the man out of the building so the Riddler could kill him because the Riddler wanted revenge for the involvement of the man in a corrupt scheme but the man left the building before and could be killed by a sniper then so maybe it was also about teaching Batman something… and what? Catwoman wants revenge for the murder of her mother by the same man but then it seems she wants even more revenge for the woman that was her friend and/or lover that was also killed by him but it’s also about stealing money from him and then she kisses Batman out of nowhere… and what? Riddler has a lot of riddles, kills some people that where part of a corrupt scheme but then he becomes the Joker for some reason and it’s about explosions and flooding Gotham City but the most important part of the plan is that the flood forces some people that are guests of a political event together so they can be shot by some followers of the Riddler that look like him (instead of, I don’t know, put one of the bombs there) so Batman fights these people we never met in the final battle (!) and manages to win but then one of the never-seen-before bad guys says the same sentence he always says and for some reason that is acceptable as a reason for a huge change of mind while having mothers of the same name isn’t…

    So in the end I was frustrated – but on the other side I loved so many parts of this movie that I still want to see it again.

    A very strange experience.

  26. Just saw this on the big screen and of course had to come rushing straight to this site to read Vern’s review and everyone’s reactions. I think I’m on the “kind of loved it” end of the spectrum – not without flaws, as well observed in all the above, but overall super stylish and cool, with great performances throughout. I really liked Emo Rorschach Batman, with his psycho journaling. I don’t know if I needed the Wayne family to be pulled into the convoluted conspiracy storyline, but I did enjoy Riddler’s conviction that he and Batman had a shared mission.

    Two small things that did make me crack a smile during a fairly relentless 3 hours [both spoilery]:

    The Wayne “manor”. I loved the elaborate wood-paneled multi-story sitting area in the Wayne house… and then later in the movie you find out that’s actually in an apartment building, like 60 stories up! I like the idea of the Waynes telling some architect, “make our condo look like it’s in a haunted house movie.” Then when Bruce Wayne has to throw all the furniture aside to make his brainstorming board on the floor… he writes in freakin spraypaint right on the hardwood floor of his OWN HOUSE. Kind of makes Riddler’s point about privilege – is Robert Pattinson going to clean that up somehow? Maybe install new hardwood floors with the carpeting tools bagged as evidence in Riddler’s place? You know Alfred’s going to have to take care of that shit when he gets home from the hospital.

    And, if there’s going to be a big setpiece at the end where Batman has to cut a hanging electrical cable – dude, you know he should have popped that already-established-as-bladed symbol off his chest and THROWN IT LIKE A BATARANG. That would have been awesome.

  27. I liked everything about the movie for the most part except I thought The Riddler was pretty stupid and it was too long at 3 hours. The problem with The Riddler is party my fault because I’ve seen enough movies with that kind of villian that it just felt like a carbon copy of better movies. Plus he looked pretty stupid. The other problem is that I’m sure whatever villian they use in the sequels will also be “real world” and that’s just starting to get really boring, Can we please just make a movie that is a combo of this one and Batman Forever? You can have a silly villian like Mr. Freeze in all his Mr. Freezeness and still be able to have as serious movie around it.

    Also, why even cast Colin Farrell if you’re going to make him completely unrecognizable other then giving a job to a really good make up effects person.

  28. I thought your review was pretty spoiler-free, Vern. Sorry if it sounded like I was indicating otherwise.

    And for what it’s worth, the Mr. Freeze villain, if taken from the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm cartoons, would be a great movie villain. He has a tragic backstory, and the potential for a nice melodramatic story hook.

    Or you could play him silly. That’s cool (HA!) too.

  29. I’m sure whatever villain they use in the sequels will also be “real world” and that’s just starting to get really boring

    It’s about the story, the psychology, the drama. To me that’s more compelling than freeze rays. So I kind of like the approach.


    Mr. Freeze is just a usual science dude doing something nefarious, but with a really cold personality.

    Two Face is just extremely duplicitous in his dealings.

    Poison Ivy is just one heck of a toxic personality.

    The Joker is genuinely completely insane, no neat monologues or deep thoughts, and just commits heinous crimes with a smile on his face. And the story would have this blank force in it and be about the effects and the why rather than the who. Not any explanation. Which is kind of what Nolan did but I’m saying even more abruptly tabula rasa than Nolan.

    Bane is just a muscled thug who growls a lot. Wait Schumacher already did that. OK, bad idea, scratch that version of Bane.


    But my point is “more realistic” and diving into a pulpy tense story with deeper emotional resonance might just be what we need. I think we have CGI and zany super power overload.

    It’s just another style. A style I think that there is an appreciative audience for.

    Then after we can go watch Guardians of the Galaxy 3 with the technicolor superduperpowers and the requisite expected tempo of comic beats.

    Plenty of room under the sun for all different approaches.

  30. To me the question is always if you’re going to strip them down that far, why are you making a film based on funnybook characters in the first place? I actually quite liked Egdeland McLord’s JOKER, but I wouldn’t have ever asked for it, nor do I think I would miss it much if it suddenly disappeared from this timeline.

  31. I’ve been staying out of this because I am on a mission of positivity (or at least shutting the fuck up every now and then) but I cant contain myself anymore. Frankly, I find Batman kind of embarrassing at this point in my journey. I love childish bullshit, but I’ve grown weary of childish bullshit that insists it’s actually super grownup and serious and about stuff. GODDAMMIT I AM A BIG BOY NOW AND I WILL DYE MY HAIR BLACK IF I WANT TO MOM I HATE YOU!!! Like Pac-Man said, I don’t see the point of taking this ridiculous thing like a grown man who wears something he tells you is a bat costume even though it looks nothing like a bat and spends billions of dollars on bat-themed gadgets to save his phony Art Deco city from evil clowns and crocodile monsters and turning all that into SEVEN. I truly do not get it. I can’t take Batman seriously when there’s all this super serious glowering in dark overcoats happening around him, and I can’t take the glowering seriously when fucking Batman is standing there in his goofy little gimp suit. The elements need to balance each other out. You put original recipe Riddler next to Batman and they look like they belong together. You put this art school reject in his Slipknot headsack next to Batman and they both look like try-hard idiots. There is a ceiling on how seriously I can be expected to take this bloated, self-impressed juvenalia, and I think I reached it like four Batmen ago. I’ll check this out some night on Maximum Hobo when I have nothing better to do but I don’t have much hope.

    I mean, honestly, how the fuck does it take three hours to tell a fucking Riddler story? HE WANTS TO GET CAUGHT THAT IS WHY HE LEAVES RIDDLES!!! World’s greatest detective my ass.

  32. Serious question for the folks who liked this: do you ever see yourself watching this from start to finish again once it starts streaming?

  33. @The Franchise Fred – The French tutor reference is from a television program Vern has never seen, starring an actress who does not cause hearts to appear in Vern’s eyes every time he sees her. This program was created by Matt Reeves and J.J Abrams and aired in the late 90s/early 00s, and I understand it’s a very nice show, from those who’ve seen it (Vern is not one of those people).

    Anyway, I really dug the movie.

  34. I just saw it again and I still love it. One thing I don’t love, which I noticed this the first time but I bothered me even more this time, was how frequently they aimed flashlights and headlights right at the camera.

  35. I do not care about this movie. I will not see this movie. But in a Majestyk-esque attempt to Stay Positive, I will say that I am glad all of you who enjoyed it, enjoyed it, including our host.

    I watched a movie I was not expecting to enjoy last night. I just kinda wanted something to fill my eyeballs for two hours, so I watched DOCTOR SLEEP, the sequel to THE SHINING that nobody asked for. And…it was pretty good! (Turned out to be two and a half hours, actually, but it moved pretty quickly.) The villain was genuinely creepy (and the actress playing her, Rebecca Ferguson, has never looked hotter), her main henchman was played very well by Zahn McClarnon, a dude I’ve started to like quite a bit after seeing him in LONGMIRE and RESERVATION DOGS, and it was legitimately scary in parts. As someone who does not hold THE SHINING in any real reverence, I didn’t view the idea of a sequel as inherently sacrilegious, just kinda money-grubbing and dumb. But the story, while it left some major plot threads just dragging on the ground, was interesting. It could even have been done without tying it ties to the first movie; it could have just been about a psychic who encounters another psychic and they go on a quest together.

    That’s all. As you were.

  36. Hahahaha…a Majestyk rant is always worth the time reading it, and this time it faintly echoes Alan Moore’s gripe that comics are a medium designed for children which have been hijacked by adults to put an ever more grimdark spin on tales designed to keep an 8 year old occupied on a Saturday afternoon.

    And I will agree that more than any other character, Batman is overdue a slightly sunny and more silly comic-book-y treatment. It just needs a really deft hand to pull it off (James Gunn comes to mind).

    Because the last time a couple of Batman flicks tried to lighten the tone, we got a miscast Val Kilmer & George Clooney, Bat-nipples, production design so lurid my eyeballs bled for a week and Hall Of Fame Over-Acting by the likes of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones and pinnacles of wit like “Ice to see you”.

  37. Well, as far as the Riddler being a copy of Zodiac, these were some of the most obvious things which I noticed and remembered. I’m sure there are many more that I didn’t see during the watch, or didn’t recall afterwards.

    – The costume – almost a copy of Zodiac’s Berryessa attack costume, just painted green, with a rounded hood and a bulky jacket

    – The protruding glasses – an infamous part of the Berryessa costume

    – The skeleton card – a copy of Zodiac’s Halloween card

    – “From your secret friend” – a copy of Zodiac’s “From your secret pal”

    – The long cypher, arranged in a diagram – a carbon copy of Zodiac’s 408 and 340

    – The small cypher – a copy of Zodiac’s 13 and 32

    – The car covered in handwriting – a copy of Zodiac’s writing on Hartnell’s car

    – Riddler’s dialogue copying Zodiac’s words verbatim – “What’s the price tag?”

    – “This is the Riddler speaking” = “This is the Zodiac speaking”

    – The odd manner of saying “Good byeee!” – a copy of Zodiac’s farewell to Nancy Slover

    – The targeted question mark – a copy of Zodiac’s target symbol (although I won’t personally bet that it was a target reticle in his case – it’s a common symbol, which may have references astrology, or the watch, or the car… or a hundred other things)

    – Riddler’s sniping and assassinations – Zodiac’s threats to do those

    – The bombs – Zodiac’s famous threats, realised

    As I said, I probably forgot plenty of others.

    I have to say, however, that for all those attempts to copy Zodiac, someone there had a terrible lack of understanding of his psychology – Riddler kept suddenly screaming out and screeching hysterically at various points, which went completely against Zodiac’s well-known manner of speaking and demeanor, which reflected his emotional emptiness and obsession with control.

  38. As for my meandering 2 cents….

    In answer to my question which was…Is there anything fresh left to be mined from yet another Batman reboot?

    The answer was a surprising..YES, because The Batman is in a word…terrific!

    Matt Reeves gives us a Batman flick constructed as a Grim, Dark, Suspenseful Psychological Thriller.

    Think Batman…in the world of David Fincher’s Se7en

    Structured as a taut, tense procedural, The Batman may disappoint those looking for high octane action and mega spectacle set pieces (there is action, much of it well staged but it’s sprinkled sparingly and serve to drive the narrative) but for those who’ve long wished the Batman movies utilize another one of his talents, frequently depicted in the comics, that of a skilled Detective, this version should be an absolute blast. This is a moody, sprawling, character driven thriller with an undercurrent of social commentary on Class and Wealth Distribution. While I could have done without the line on White Privilege, I loved another scene where Bruce is schooled on what it means to be a Real Orphan; sharing a room with 30 other boys, falling prey to sickness and malnutrition and frequently offered hope but more often than not, receiving broken promises in return, something a Billionaire’s son in a mansion protectively watched over by a paternal butler never had to experience. And yes, there is no more incisive commentary on class when The Batman needs to fight his way in to an exclusive nightclub, and Selina Kyle is looked at condescendingly when she asks to see the boss, but Bruce Wayne is reverentially led in.

    The cast is uniformly excellent. Jeffrey Wright is simply effortless in any role, Zoe Kravitz brings equal parts of vulnerability and toughness to her Selina Kyle aka Catwoman, Turturro is menacing as Mob Boss Carmine Falcone and Farrell’s Penguin, though under-utilized here, steals the show whenever he shows up.

    And then there’s Pattinson, who plays Bruce Wayne like a reclusive Rock Star, erasing any lines between his 2 alter-egos, moody ,brooding and intense, in or out of the Bat Costume, which should go a long way in helping you forget his OTHER Famous Role (that is, if Good Time, The King and Tenet haven’t convinced you what a good actor this guy can be).

    And Dano’s Riddler is simply unlike any other version you’ve ever seen, a deeply disturbed individual who should have been double straight-jacketed and tossed into a padded cell before he was out of his teens. In other words, a role Dano can do in his sleep.

    There are things that don’t quite work. Andy Serkis’ Alfred isn’t given enough screen time to adequately flesh out his relationship with Bruce(which comes across as a little more antagonistic here). And while this movie needs to be experienced on the big screen (spring for an IMAX if you can), it’s punishing 3 hour length also makes me wonder if this wouldn’t equally play out better once it hits streaming and you can experience it at home at your pace, unpacking the movie’s Byzantine plotting at your leisure.

    But these are minor nitpicks at best.

    The Batman is proof you can traverse well trod terrain with fresh eyes. All it takes is rock solid writing, the right actors and a director with vision.

    So is The Batman the movie we need, or the one we deserve?

    Thankfully, for me at least, it’s both.

  39. KayKay, if you really wish that there was a more light-hearted cinematic take on Batman, you will be pleased to learn that THE LEGO MOVIE and its spinoff THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE exist, both of which are quite funny.

  40. If at all possible (and if it’s not, I’m not gonna lose sleep over it) I would prefer a recipe that’s somewhere in between “This is all just a goof, here are some funny montages and in-jokes” and “This is the most serious thing that has ever happened. SCHINDLER’S LIST was a gay romp compared to this.” A straightforward adventure with some humor and color but and legit danger and thrills. I realize this is too much to ask and feel silly for even suggesting it.

  41. Well, there is BATMAN RETURNS, which is a dark psychogram of a bunch of broken characters, that takes place in a surreal German expressionism world and at one had tries to distance itself from the “Bang! Pow!” of the 60s Batman as much as possible, while at the same time doesn’t bother to convince the audience that Danny DeVito commanding an army of smart penguins while wearing disturbing ghoul make up is some kind of deep and mature take on the classic funnybooks. So I would say it’s not exactly impossible to do.

  42. It’s far from impossible. Marvel does it four or five times a year. I just don’t think WB will ever do it for Batman.

  43. Eh, at some point a young, acclaimed hotshot director will pitch them his take on Batman, which is more Burton and THE ANIMATED SERIES than “grounded and realistic” and both the studio and the nerds will love it.

  44. That does sound plausible. TOO plausible. Forget I said anything, universe. We don’t need anymore Batmen out here gumming up the works.

  45. We will NEVER get a Thor Ragnarok, Antman, etc. type of Batman film. Just never. Even a Wonder Woman 84 spin on it.
    Majestyk makes a really good point, Batman has almost become its own genre at this point.
    The Affleck Batman actually had some sort of a sense of humor to him, although all those movies are just not very good.

  46. Oh, I agree that we will never see a colourful and funny Batman movie (that isn’t animated and aimed at kids and their parents who are able to catch all the meta jokes). Joel Schumacher definitely killed that cinematic take on the dark knight forever! But I don’t think that every cinematic Batman is now forever doomed to be “realistic” and we never get to see him fight Killer Croc or Manbat in a movie that is more aimed at tickling the nostalgia for the Burton movies and the 90s cartoon shows. We had now almost 20 years of the “realistic” and “gritty” Batman in our multiplexes. I’m sure within less than 10 years we get a good old fashioned popcorn fun Batman, which is then seen as a “new and refreshing take” on the character.

  47. Well…if you want adventure Batman movies that aren’t Burton’s with jokes why not watch Nolans? The first one has plenty of globe-trotting shit and big action scenes and enough quips and Gordon driving a Batmobile and wisecracking. The second opens with big bank robbery scene and has Batman going to China and busting into a building and swooping out a dude via plane and then a huge truck chase.

    I don’t think these movies are as self-important and serious as people think they are. They’re not played as silly but they’re still big popcorn movies and feel like it.

  48. That’s the dictionary definition of what I don’t want in a Batman picture.

  49. I don’t know, that seemed to match your description of what you wanted pretty much head on I thought. Adventure, has jokes, serious but not Schindler’s List. I know creating anything you like has a .01% chance of success but for me it works.

  50. I also asked for color and crocodile men. But if we’re going to be exchanging personal insults over a children’s cartoon character, I’m just gonna bow out of this discussion out of respect for our host.

  51. Just leaving this here:

    Adam West reads 20 seconds of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns.”

    Adam West reads The Dark Knight Returns

    A short part from PBS's documentary/mini TV series 'Superheroes'. If this doesn't convince you, that Adam West IS Batman, I don't know what will...(With Germ...

  52. I really dug this one, more than I expected even. A noir Batman wouldn’t be my first choice for a new take on the character, but if I’m being honest, it would be my second or third. But I’m not sure how “realistic” this movie is. Sure, it’s not Guardians of the Galaxy with its spaceship of misfits and colorful sets, but it does kind of exist in its own world. The set design and the atmosphere sell this as a city that doesn’t exist in our plane of existence. In some ways it’s more similar to Streets of Fire than Nolan’s film, which mostly just made Chicago as a substitute for Gotham. (And even his “realistic” approach had an international gang of assassins).

    I’m sympathetic to some of the criticisms of the movie, but too many of them sound like a variation on “Not my Batman!” And it’s not. It’s not my Batman either. If I had a choice, then I would have the same group responsible for the Animated Series do another animated movie. But it is Matt Reeves’s The Batman, and I think it’s unique enough that it won’t be confused with any previous iteration. And that’s why despite being somewhat over superhero films, I was still excited to watch another Batman movie.

  53. I saw someone on Twitter say that it’s not trying to put Batman in the real world; it’s that it is trying to make Batman’s world real. I liked that way of looking at it.

  54. I found the racial politics of this one pretty… obnoxious. They’ve been making these movies since the 90s and the criminal underworld is still portrayed as zoot-suited Italian mobsters? Really? Then we have the other side, the disenfranchised poor people who are resorting to terrorism, and they are……. also white. The only black character we see in the entire movie who’s not an incorruptible politician, incorruptible police lieutenant, or incorruptible cat burglar-who-only-steals-from-criminals is… the reluctant black man who’s being peer-pressured by the other (white) members of his gang into committing a hate crime on an Asian man.

    Yes. I’m sure that’s exactly how so many hate crimes have happened in the real world, Batman movie. Congratulations on your gritty realism. Next, maybe Batman can take out some of those drug dealers who are going around offering free cocaine to school kids.

  55. This is the least jokey Batman movie so far, but it still has plenty of humor in it. Still, I’m enjoying seeing people yearn for the days of joke cracking Nolan Batman after years of everyone swearing up and down that they/Nolan are humorless.

  56. The humor in this is so understated you’re liable to miss it. Only the Penguin’s dry sarcasm seems like a more visible attempt at some levity.

    The Nolan movies, especially Batman Begins have more instances of readily identifiable dry wit. (Alfred telling Bruce trapped under a giant wooden beam “What’s the point of all those bloody push ups if you can’t even lift this?”)

  57. Batman’s always been my favourite masked vigilante, and I hate to bring THAT English agent into this, but I know that Nolan holds THE SPY WHO LOVED ME pretty high. And my guess is that that’s the style he was going for: Keep the main character as grounded and business like as possible and go overboard with the world around him. It’s the only Bond movie who manages that.

  58. I think you are all kinda mixing up “fun” with “funny”.

    Sure, some of the characters drop a few quips in Nolan’s joyless movies for the post 9/11 patriot act age and I’m sure even this one has a few good zingers too. (The roof jump sounds like a good chuckle, that doesn’t betray the suspense of the moment.) But there is a reason people compare them more to movies like HEAT or (Insert David Fincher thriller here___________). The current Batmen, yes even the one that hangs out with Aquaman and fights Parademons in slow motion, are more obsessed with being adult thrillers than fantasy movies for a fun popcorn evening.

    I’m not saying they are inaccessable arthouse dramas and I’m DEFINITELY not saying I want Batman to be played by a stand-up comedian who improvises a bunch of one-liners in every scene. Batman isn’t a funny character (although as several cartoons for different age groups have shown, he works well in a comedic surrounding), but it doesn’t mean that you can’t go for big adventure and popcorn fun with him.

    Honestly, I think we have reached or are at least pretty close to the end of what you can do with a “realistic” Batman, who lives in a Gotham that looks like an average American big city and whose villains or at least their crimes are ripped straight from the headlines. Again: I don’t think the next guy who will take over the franchise will bring it back to the 60s or even the Schumacher movies, but I guess at this point there will be a generation of film makers that HAS a nostalgia boner for the more fantasy-esque adventure of the Burton/THE ANIMATED SERIES era and this is what we will get. (The less than 10 years that I predicted earlier might be a bit optimistic on second thought, considering that they will probably do one or two sequels with this incarnation first, before Reeves and Patterson move on.)

  59. I think the point made above is that Batman is basically his own subgenre now. And for the idea that the Nolan movies are grim dramas…I mean isn’t that basically what Burton’s Batman is? It’s dour, a drama with some humor…only difference is the amazing sets and of course Jack brings humor but it’s usually fairly grim humor. People longing for the days of Returns is wanting a return to sewery, wet, slimy, vile characters eating raw fish and spewing black bile while I guess the humor is really shitty puns. And I even like that movie, but the reaction to it gave us Jim Carrey…who I think did a good job, they just needed to cut about 10% of the really dumb shit he did.

    I’ve seen some of the cartoon, and I guess it’s more humorous in a sense of funnier Joker. But I don’t know, aside from fighting a Clayface or having more over the top villains, is the tone of them that different than Begins? Probably, most likely I’m talking out of my ass but they were kind of dramatic and darkish. I don’t really want Batman fighting monsters personally, I prefer the weird villains but not parademons and not eve sure of him fighting lizard men.

    Also gotta say I don’t care if people don’t like this Batman or that Batman, if I like it that’s fine. But my last comment to Mr M was less about arguing over a children’s cartoon character and more for an observation about his attitude toward everything…movies, life, food, whatever.

  60. Like I said, the Burton movies ARE dark, grim and psychologicial. But they also have gangs of criminal circus clowns and villains whose plan it is to make people laugh themself to death or command a swarm (Flock? Murder?) of penguins with rockets strapped to their back to steal the children of Gotham. And most of all, they were entertainment first, without any allegories to real world serial killers or terrorism. They didn’t need any real world influences to catch our attention.

    Also Batman movies have been aimed at adults and “serious” critics since 2005, so I doubt there would be much of a backlash over “too scary for children” villains like DeVito’s Penguin these days. I mean, I didn’t hear any parents group protesting over Two Face making their kids cry.

  61. There was actually a pretty significant backlash from parents and others against THE DARK KNIGHT in the UK, who objected to it receiving the then fairly new 12a certificate which allowed younger kids to attend with an adult rather than the restrictive 15+ or 18+ rating, a decision which supposedly led them to receive a greater number of complaints than any other film. (A complaint which, at the risk of being a square, I am at least sympathetic towards). Now bear in mind even with that “honour” out of the millions of people who saw the film in cinemas, only 364 formally complained, so we’re not talking a great uprising here, but it did make the media and inspire at least one high-profile politician to hitch his wagon to the cause.

    I think there was a bit of a (more international) parental backlash to grumpy branding iron vigilante Batman in BATMAN V SUPERMAN too.

  62. Also, somewhat oddly with the movie being what it is, Warners is licencing (and in some areas, marketing) it like it’s BATMAN & ROBIN with Lego sets and a prequel novel (how 2007!) explicitly aimed at readers from 8 to 12. Probably a bit awkward here in particular where it’s the first Bat movie kids in that age group can’t get in to see since BATMAN RETURNS 30 years ago.

    I really liked THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE but thought it was a missed opportunity that we got what will almost certainly be the only post-West movie that has all the great Bat villains goofing around together and it relegated most of them to glorified cameos so they could make room for villains from other WB-owned films. I know that it’s literally the only chance to have Batman sniffed by a Mogwai or faced by a Dalek or in battle with whatsisdick from the wizard boy movies but keep your eyes on the prize! Yeah it’s cute that you finally have Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face and you give him two lines, ha ha, one line for each face, funny, but YOU FINALLY HAVE BILLY-DEE WILLIAMS, this is not a time to be cute, this is a time to use him for all he’s worth!

  63. Hah, Arsefleck was such a great Batman that I forgot about him until I saw those comments above. I still remember almost nothing about him, other than looking, ahem, very well-fed, and yelling: “Marthaaa! Where didja hear that naaame!” at some point.

  64. @Mr. Majestyk
    “I can’t take Batman seriously when there’s all this super serious glowering in dark overcoats happening around him, and I can’t take the glowering seriously when fucking Batman is standing there in his goofy little gimp suit.”

    To be fair, the subtle humor of this movie (although maybe it’s wrong to call it that) is that in almost every scene someone acknowledges how out of place Batman is, until at some point the characters in the movie, and by extension, you the viewer, shrug their arms and accept that an antisocial goofy weirdo in gimp tactical gear is just gonna hang with us on this SE7EN-esque caper that is unfolding on screen.

    For the record, I enjoyed the movie a lot, but I also chuckled at every CSI and interrogation scene. I’m leaning towards it being intentional humor because Pattinson, for the most part, plays The Batman as weird and awkward, and not a full-on gritty badass.

    It’s like the movie goes so far and fast into grimdark that it comes back around into being kinda funny and lightish. It literally starts out with Batman being Rorschach from Watchmen and ends with him going: I think I’m gonna chill a little bit, be friendlier towards people, seems like it’s a healthier way to be.

  65. Maggie–I really like that formulation. I would also point to the “drops” drugs as something that tells us this is a comic book world, not ours. I actually could see future movies getting a bit more fantastical. I could see Killer Croc make an appearance, for instance.

    But if you want a lighter take on Batman, I would recommend Adam West’s last two appearances, Return of the Cape Crusaders and Batman vs. Two-Face. They’re direct to video animated movies, but they absolutely nail the tone of the ’66 movie and TV show. The fact that these movies exist at the same time as Nolan’s and Reeves is why I’m still not sick of Batman like I am with most of Marvel’s output.

  66. I watched them, they were pretty good as I recall. From memory the first was like a slightly arch take on the 60s show, the second was closer to the actual feel of the show, with William Shatner as the 60s Two-Face* we never got, and they even threw King Tut in there as well! I should watch them again some time.

    *Is it really true that Clint Eastwood was going to play Two-Face in the original series at some point? It sounds too good to be true, but the truth is about something that eventually didn’t happen, so I guess it’s exactly good enough to be true.

  67. I’d almost say the Burton movies are closer to Adam West Batman than this new Batman. Those movies are insanely campy, winky at the audience (not as much as the Schumaker ones, but not that far away either). We got the Joker spray painting a museum to Prince. We have the Penguin saying “just the pussy I’m looking for” to Catwoman. Catwoman “life’s a bitch, now so am I.”

    And I think it is a stretch to say The Batman has ‘plenty’ of humor in it.

  68. Both Burgess Meredith Penguin and Danny Devito Penguin ran for Mayor too.

  69. I haven’t even seen this one yet so I’m talking out of my ass, but the movie doesn’t look “real world” to me. That gang with painted up faces, the Penguin wearing that ridiculous looking suit…it’s like saying The Warriors is the real world. Well no, but it’s not full on fantasy either.

    I REALLY wish Burton ha tackled Two-Face, that’s a villain tailor made for him and I would have loved to see what he did.

  70. I did see that Batman vs Two Face cartoon…not something I’d normally watch but friends liked Adam West…and I don’t remember it feeling like the 60s Batman at ALL. Really more like the regular animated series but they just switched out Batman, But Dent getting horribly mutilated and cackling, the fighting at the end, it’s not played funny and even the music was off. No easy moral lesson from Batman at the end.

  71. This shit was kinda wack to me to be honest. The only thing that really hit hard was the Batman and Catwoman shit. At least till the end with that extra cheesy fanboy bait line and the Fast and Furious good bye. I’ll give the sequel a chance even though I wish I never had to see this Riddler or Penguin ever again but if that doesn’t really cut it either I’ll stick with the Justice League Batman till the next reboot. Whether that’s Keaton or Affleck.

  72. JeffG – This movie had a lot of humor to me but I don’t think any of it was intentional.

  73. I am hoping to see this on cinematrically and make up my own mind. In the meantime, I’ll jibber jabber about adjacent issues and/or speculate out of whole cloth.

    I like Robert Pattinson, he’s earned my respect; and I think he seems wrong for Bruce Wayne; and I like that they’ve deliberately chosen someone who seems emo and wrong for Bruce Wayne. Michael Keaton was also kind of an odd choice for Bruce Wayne, and he was brilliant. To me there is a tonal surreal weirdness to this film that looks like SEVEN meets BATMAN BEGINS in aesthetic and sensibility, and, as Vern mentions, THE CROW looks like another influence.***

    In general, I am encouraged by this post Synder-verse DC phase, which seems to be going a bit further in on weird auteur shit and playing very loose with the shared universe stuff — i.e., the shared universe is only and exactly whatever characters they want to link up across films, and it might be purely one-off or case-by-case. Like, having the capacity for Michael Keaton to come back or for THE ™ SUICIDE SQUAD to sort of link to the Snyder-verse but also sort of not, or for Bat-fleck to make another appearance. Most importantly, you can have a film like JOKER, which maybe just exists in its own world and may never get a sequel or, who knows, maybe it does get a sequel or even crash into some other corner of the DC-ography at some point. In between that and the new MATRIX (which I also haven’t seen, b/c I was never a huge MATRIX geek), I like the idea of these films shaking off or opting out of the baggage of their broader franchise mythology trappings and just feeling free to fuck shit up a bit.

    I did not particularly care for JOKER, but I did like that it showed a willingness on WB’s part to do different things with their IP cash cow. Say whatever you want about JOKER, it’s an intentionally weird, “un-fun,” unremittingly uncomfortable film that pays zero fan service to anyone except fans of TAXI DRIVER and KING OF COMEDY, which is certainly a niche species of “fanboy/girl.” So, between that and some of the weirder aspects of this new THE ™ BATMAN, I appreciate that they are playing it a bit less safe or at least a bit more weird. There’s the strange-ness of Colin Farrell’s oddball-but-well-crafted casting, costume, and characterization, which is my kind of strangeness. And then there are types of strangeness that I will only be able to appreciate with time or many alcoholic beverages and layers of irony — such is the singular awfulness of Jared Leto with a “damaged” tattoo on his forehead or the otherwise very talented Jesse Eisenberg turning in a career-worst and just generally befuddling performance.

    The serialized, shared world aspect of the MCU can be comforting or ominous, depending on one’s mood or viewpoint. “[Hero x] will return.” Is that a reassuring shoulder rub or a reminder that you’re in the cinematic Hotel California? Fan servitude hell. Boba is not only still alive but now a hero. Deep fake Luke is so much better now, but still unreal. Beautiful but vacuous and shoe-horned. Rancor as Godzilla-style titan. What a great idea! for how to re-purpose that IP. Competent and intermittently fun IP couch cushion dumpster diving.

    What I’m saying is we need a world where baffling, pseudo-avant garde films like JOKER can make $1B and then not get sequels, and we need a world where there can be up to 3 concurrently active big screen Batmen and Jokers (each), and we need a world where Sylvester Stallone is a CGI shark in a hard-R film, and where Colin Farrell is made to look like a caricature of late-period Al Capone in a David Fincher-esque emo Batman film that doesn’t necessarily connect to any other DC film that we know of but might someday, who knows?

    ***Starting in TDK and especially in TDKR, Nolan pivots to a much more “Gotham as Chicago-meets-Pittsburgh” cinematography and set/production design, but BATMAN BEGINS is pretty cartoony and out there and has a pretty surreal look and feel, especially all that Rhas-al-gul and Scarecrow and The Narrows fear toxin stuff.

  74. I mostly liked this movie quite a bit but it kept making me think about the Nolan films which I like better. I can’t think of any other experience I’ve had where the shadow of a prior iteration loomed so large over what I was watching. I liked Jeffrey Wright and Andy Serkis, for example, but I still found myself really missing Gary Oldman and Michael Caine. The car was cool but I prefer Nolan’s crazy tumbler, etc.

    Pattinson was a great Batman but I found his Bruce to be kind of dull. I do get what Vern’s saying about him having an interesting “severe introvert” approach that we’ve never seen before, but I think that runs out of gas after a while—there’s only so long you can watch a guy glaring morosely at stuff.

    This was my favorite Batman costume. I think it looked less like armor and more like leather. And this is by far my most favorite Batman musical score. When this shit was amped up all the way, the score was tearing the roof off the place. So, all in all this was cool, but I don’t see it surpassing the Nolan movies for me.

  75. I would have preferred Nolan stick to the aesthetic of Begins, it was a nice compromise or making it more realistic and bridging Burton’s world, with that cool elevated train and like you said the Narrows. When they went to Chicago I felt it just looked more bland but it’s not like Nolan ever shoots die shots anyway so you can’t see it.

    But also a thought to the idea of wanting Batman to be fighting monsters and more cartoony shit…I remember seeing Rises with 3-4 friends and afterward we were all talking about the scene where Batman and Catwoman are on a roof fighting hordes of henchmen while a gigantic monstrous hulk who breathes through a gas mask watches, and then they escape by jumping in the Batcopter…and we were all like that was like watching a modern version of the 60s show.

  76. Maybe not “plenty” of humor if you’re looking for enough to supply you for the next two years, but “plenty” in the sense that most of the Penguin’s scenes, many of Gordon’s scenes, some of Selina’s scenes and at least one of Batman’s on his own have laughs in them. My point just being that calling it “humorless” in the sense of “void of humor” is demonstrably false.

  77. I know my man Vince has totally discarded this aspect, but I think what attracts those of us who aren’t THAT into superheroes is the detective angle Batman brings. And if you can pare that with a director who kind of knows his visuals, a lot will fall into place. For myself I judge Batman movies more on how they portray Bruce Wayne. But that’s another debate, I guess. As for humor, that’s a very subjective thing. I haven’t seen THE BATMAN yet, but I trust Vern when he says that there are humor there.

  78. I agree that THE DARK KNIGHT RISES gets pretty cartoonish, but I’m not sure how deliberate that was (to be fair it does, from memory, also have more one-liners than the previous couple of films put together, so maybe there was a conscious effort to lighten the tone in some areas), to me that’s more a sign of how far you can take “grounded Batman” before it snaps into silliness, intentional or otherwise. It also has real Saturday Morning-level plotting like “whoops, I just found this speech this guy wrote but never intended to use where he confesses everything”. It’s a fun movie but I do wonder if that’s necessarily because it worked on the level it’s supposed to.

  79. And I think it is a stretch to say The Batman has ‘plenty’ of humor in it.

    I dunno, the audience I saw it with was HOWLING every time Dano showed up

  80. Starting in TDK and especially in TDKR, Nolan pivots to a much more “Gotham as Chicago-meets-Pittsburgh” cinematography and set/production design

    I’m pretty certain a lot of that is because at least the last one was shot in Pittsburgh. I deduced this by the sheer amount of trees in the background of every shot. I always say Pittsburgh is visually the strangest town I ever been in, because you can stand dead center in the heart of it’s downtown, look in any direction, and see woods less than a mile away.

  81. Nolan’s favourite thriller is HEAT, and I think that’s why the visuals of his last two bats are what they are.

  82. JoJo
    I did get a good laugh out of the Riddler, just wasn’t sure how intentional that was. If it was meant to be as funny as some of it was, I guess the movie has a better sense of humor than I thought.
    I mean the movie starts with Riddler bludgeoning someone to death. The movie really tries to play up the fact that he is a serial killer and, basically, the Zodiac. I kept thinking of the 911 call with the Zodiac saying “goood…….bye” that is recreated in Fincher’s movie.

  83. I saw this opening Thursday night in a packed house. i wanted to love it, I love Batman, and I love Reeves at a director. But I think this is a movie that will not age well. Even the people who loved it, I just cannot imagine someone sitting down and watching this movie again from start to finish. and there just aren’t a ton of great scenes that you would want to fire up and watch again. I mean, I don’t see anyone firing up one of the dozen scenes with Batman investigating a murder scene or talking to a gangster about who the rat is. The car chase is fine, there are a few nice fight scenes. We will see, not trying to be a hater.

  84. Despite my story gripes above, I do think they got Young Batman’s character right. He’s weird, obsessive, spooky, tough, occasionally funny, in over his head a bit and traumatized up to his eyeballs. He seems to be nursing a death wish– he lives only to be The Bat and he doesn’t care what happens to him. But he’s learning. And I like that the movie focuses around Batman investigating stuff, via a couple different pathways, even if I didn’t love the conclusion of the mystery. I’ll be interested to see where they take it from here.

    And I wasn’t joking that Pattinson reminded me of Peter Weller as RoboCop– and not just in the jawline. He’s this off-putting creature that stands out in a crowd of cops or crooks, who has this deliberate sense of movement that differentiates him from normal humans. And he likes wandering into nightclubs and kicking ass.

    (But also: How is the Penguin not in jail after the events that transpire in this movie?)

  85. Forgot to mention this in my comment above. One part that really surprised me, in a good way, was Batman vs the Active Shooter Creeps during the Madison Square Garden scene. I was amazed that Batman’s boss fight, basically, was against something so real world and recognizable: extremist losers conspiring on the internet to meet somewhere and cause violence. It’s like Batman vs the Proud Boys or Batman vs the January 6 assholes. At least that’s how I read the ink blot. I’m pleasantly surprised the studio allowed it.

  86. Aren’t all the bad guys in this universe kinda like the Proud Boys..?

  87. Boy, it’s not easy being comment… 86? It took me a good half an hour to read the review and all previous comments!

    So, technicals first =
    If you didn’t see this on IMAX, Dolby Cinema or a cinema with a brightly lit bulb, you easily lost half the movie. I loved the cinematography, however “seven-y” it was, and traveled to a whole different city 600km away to see it in the only imax of my country to be sure I would really see and hear it. Great soundtrack and ingenious use of only 4 notes to create a theme / Gothic atmosphere / sense of dread.

    Movie =
    I was engaged till the last hour where I felt the whole “riddler essentially wins by the bombs going off” and “he now has an army of Incels doing his bidding” was tacked on, not as well shot as the rest of the movie and diminished it greatly.
    I didn’t mind the lack of action (as a percentage of running time) and for the first two plus hours atmosphere and “crime drama” style / feel kept me on my toes despite it. But the movies went “2 grades down” on my imdb rating in the end, because the last 45 minutes felt exhausting if not out of place.

    Last but not least, I’m 100% with Kaplan somewhere around 30 comment before this on this movie’s borderline parody racial politics.

    The 4 people of color in this movie where =

    1. The ONLY NON CORRUPT and ONLY CAPABLE not just cop but public servant in general in the whole 20 million at least city.

    2. The ONLY NON CORRUPT politician who’s also equipped somehow with bulletproof skin in the ending battle.

    3. THE MOST RIGHTEOUS Robin hood-esque villain.

    4. The ONLY GANG MEMBER who really doesn’t want to be there and was forced because of social circumstances and he really wished he was in college studying.

    After these 4 everybody else in this movie,and I mean EVERYBODY is white people being. ABSOLUTE HUMAN GARBAGE. Except for batman that is, but even he comes from HUMAN GARBAGE / CORRUPT lineage too.
    My God the ending is literally the white trash Incel community of the darkest places of the internet getting out of their moms basements and taking up arms to assassinate the good woman of color mayor and her followers.

    Even so, all this would not bother me since it’s “de riguer” for almost every movie imaginable these days. What REALLY bordered on comedy was, after all that hammering of the “white is bad” theme, when cat woman LITERALY said the words “white privilege” while explaining the problem with Gotham or something.

    I sincerely felt that the mailman from “don’t be a menace to South Central while drinking your juice in the hood” was gonna roll by the camera at that exact moment and shout = MESSAGE

  88. If they cast Kravitz and Wright to push a heavy handed racial message (that was not heavy handed enough for me to pick up on) they sure lucked out that they happened to be so perfect for the roles! If “maybe people aren’t excited to keep lionizing white cops in movies all the time” really was a consideration, I think that was very astute. And if race was a consideration for Catwoman I imagine it was more about honoring Eartha Kitt.

    I don’t deny that some of what you point out might be intentional, but your interpretation required assuming you know the races of an army of masked people and a gang of people shown in the dark wearing clown makeup, as well as interpreting a backstory for a character who I don’t believe has any lines? So I don’t know. But also I don’t think there’s anything wrong with white people having to be the bad guys in movies for a while. We had a good run.

  89. I just hope someday someone will please think of the white people snd start making movies with them as the heroes.

  90. That comment of mine was kind of bitchy. Wish I had made the same points in a nicer way. Sorry about that Petro, I appreciate your comment. I wish the Imax theater near me was open (it’s finally reopening in the Spring, they say) but our multiplexes here usually have good presentation other than my pet peeve of no masking when the aspect ratio doesn’t fill the screen. So it looked great when I saw it.

  91. No worries Vern.

    I was not in any way shape or form denigrating the casting of two great actors that I loved in this and other movies. They were in this, the movies they did before this (no time to die and Kimi) and everything before, great. They are both super talented and to my eyes deserve the roles and make them their own.

    My “beef” was with the laughable “binary” of the racial component. I don’t have a problem with the “one cop in the WHOLE FORCE is not corrupt” cliche. But there wasn’t another black detective to be found, good or bad, anywhere.

    The gangster club had to have the bouncers / middle men / upper management / hired guns / sex industry workers / bosses AND clientele solely white with ONLY the exception of our heroine.

    Amid all this, enough to hammer the point home from a mile, having catwoman specifically say to Batman “it’s time for white privilege to end” is overkill. My (Greek) full cinema let a collective sigh, as in “we get it, we got it from the pictures, SHOW DONT TELL”

  92. No masking is the pits. It’s like watching a 2.35:1 movie on a TV! Most cinemas here don’t do masking and I hate that too.

  93. @Johnny Utah the standard of excellence on this site is Blade, and I worship at its altar since the first day it came out.
    From Sidney Poitier in “In the Heat Of the Night” to Wesley snipes in “Blade” to this year with Zoey Kravitz in Kimi and everything in between, I’ve loved 100’s of movies with “not white” heroes.
    That doesn’t mean I can’t point out something I feel does a disservice to a movie (AND it’s heroes).

  94. “White privilege dies tonight!!”

  95. @PetrosMT
    Last but not least, I’m 100% with Kaplan somewhere around 30 comment before this on this movie’s borderline parody racial politics.

    I sometimes roll my eyes at that sorta a thing, but I also haven’t noticed it while watching this movie. There’s that one scene when they bring Falcone out of his club, and it’s like: not all cops are corrupt. I’m assuming some of those cops were white.

    And I kinda loved the incel-youtube-terrorist ending. It helped me wash the bad taste of JOKER out of my mouth. Ever since THE DARK KNIGHT, Batman movies have kinda been about lionizing a rage-against-society nutbag. I don’t think that was Nolan’s intention. I would say he very much tried to avoid that, but that’s where fans took it. THE BATMAN addresses that, it’s all like: you can have a Batman movie that riffs on a big boy movie director, but the nihilistic character that gets a cult following is sometimes an asshole. Travis Bickle, John Doe, Joker, Riddler, even The Batman, who’s a bit of a incel. But, you know, he talks to a real girl, she sorta likes him, despite him being a creep with issues, and he decides to change his ways.

  96. There was that mustached cop who also serves the purpose of telling the audience, “Not all cops!” He was white. I noticed that most of the “good guys” were people of color, but that clunky “white privilege” line aside, I really don’t care. It’s okay if white people are shown as corrupt, especially since we’ve largely controlled the corridors of power for most of this country’s history.

    Besides, there are so many stereotypical portrayals of people of color as gang members and corrupt politicians that I think it’s just reasonable to avoid those for a superhero movie. There’s just no reason to further those stereotypes in this particular situation.

    And in response to JeffG, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Batman becomes popular on streaming and Blu Ray. The movies I watched over and over again as a teenager largely emphasized mood and atmosphere over plot and action, Alien and Blade Runner in particular. That’s really what I loved about this movie–you spend three hours immersed in this world.

    It sounds like people have been down on a lot of recent releases, but I feel like we’ve gotten a lot of good to great movies after a couple of years of studios holding back. Because I’ve got a kid, I rarely make it out to the theaters these days, but looking back on the newer movies I’ve seen in the last couple of months, I’ve enjoyed a lot of them: Turning Red, Matrix 4, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story, Dune, The Power of the Dog, The Last Duel. Those are all highly visible movies made by big studios in the last year or so that were guided by a director’s specific vision.

  97. Wait aren’t all the mobsters Italian, Carmine Falcone? Has no one seen True Romance?

    And wait if all the other white people were bad guys was Alfred a twist villain? Have I been spoiled??

  98. RBatty – I don’t think that mustachioed cop was white. At least, his name was Martinez, so I’m guessing he’s Hispanic, but I couldn’t say for certain. I actually didn’t even notice that most of the good guys were Black and also the only Black people. I’m not sure if that’s on me or because it’s not actually a point the movie was making or what. If it is a point the movie is making, I don’t care. Make the good guys Black and the bad guys white all day long, doesn’t matter to me.

    I thought making the bad guys at the end a bunch of radicalized internet goons attempting a mass shooting to be almost uncomfortably true to life and therefore quite affecting.

  99. “I was thinking it was gonna be that he records tapes about what’s going on in his life to send to his high school French tutor, but I’m not sure where I got that from.”

    If this is supposed to be an oblique reference to the Donald Barthelme short story “The Joker’s Greatest Triumph,” then bravo. And if it’s not, well, go read the Donald Barthelme short story “The Joker’s Greatest Triumph” as soon as you can.

  100. Love this movie but the Joker design in the deleted scene they released the other day looks absolutely awful imo – it’s just fussy, over-detailed and overworked.

    The Joker’s lasted as a character because he’s just lowkey a design classic and this version is (along different aesthetic lines) making the same mistakes as Leto’s debut in the role – over-complicated, over-thought.

    Hope they pull it right back if they centre a sequel on him. Love or hate JOKER from a few years back, I think they nailed the look. High bar to clear imo.

  101. Yeah, I think I tried to be non-specific about it in the review, but I also didn’t like him from the more obscured look we get in the movie. I really like the idea of just using him as a supporting character and not lead villain, but I think it’s very wrong-headed to build off of the fucked up Heath Ledger version instead of the traditional comics version that had already existed for almost 70 years by the time that specific spin on it came along. They try to remind us of Heath Ledger and it will never live up to him. If it’s going to work I think they have to abandon absolutely anything added by Ledger and Nolan and go back to The Clown Prince of Crime. Even in this quasi-realistic world that would be creepier than this try-hard stuff.

    Keoghan is a good actor though so if they do bring him back I hope he gets a better handle on it. And that the character gets plastic surgery first.

  102. I agree with Steven on that new design, it was a mess and trying too hard. Glad they cut it or if they decided to use that character he’d have to look like that. But then again sort of seems like they have no desire to use him again, unless he busts out which WOULD be a plot I guess. Actually they’re doing a show about the asylum I think? Wonder if Joker wil be in it.

    I do sort of disagree about Joker though…he just looked like a clown, not Joker to me at all. Maybe if he just had his face white with a little around and eyes and the grin, but the other stuff is just regular clown stuff.

    I don’t know how you’d do Classic Joker in this new series as much as I’d like…I mean, look at The Riddler and even Pengun. Basically the villains are going to be just hideous and realstically gross in this series. Not even a criticism, just observing. I would like a classic Joker again though, something closer to Nicholson who I think was probably pretty close, although I don’t read comics so don’t know. But he did macabre jokes, had the look, was funny but killed people and joked about it. I think he could have used better motivation but that was the 80s were that seemed par for the course.

  103. I would not in a hundred years have guessed ‘the Joker’ if you just showed me the character design. Maybe he’ll look better in a purple suit with white facepaint, but at the moment, I get ‘Hyper Realistic Homer Simpson’ way more than anything else.

  104. I think the funny thing about the new Joker design is that the inspiration and thinking behind it is really obvious – it’s a mix of some of the newer Joker designs debuted on paper in recent years with a bit of original Joker-inspo Veidt from TMWL. The way it mixes very old and new is clever as a pitch but not actually very good.

    Maybe it’s because my intro to Batman was the 80s and 90s comics floating about when i was young but the Neal Adams Joker design’s probably not going to be beat. And the Miller beefy Joker too!

    I think Reeves’s Joker being fussy and overworked does actually reflect where the comics have been at lately. I think Ledger’s Joker created a feedback loop in a way – the additions to the classic look – the scars – were a solution to the fact of Joker’s look being simple on page but deceptively hard to realise on screen – because you can’t convincingly enlarge someone’s mouth like that without it looking dumb or inhibiting the performance, you have to find another way to suggest it. But the design became iconic
    on screen and artists started working the scars into the comics – leading to more and more ott grotesque drawn Jokers – a problem solved on-screen got carried back into the source where the practical hurdle doesn’t exist imo. Reeves’ design reflects that drift and compounds it, translating 15 odd years of riffing on Ledger’s look.

    I’m probably over-thinking it but I just think it looks bad to an unusual degree. Think part of why JOKER-joker is my favourite on-screen take on the character is the lack of prosthetic – it’s a case of going ‘fuck it’ and trusting the actor to communicate it on their own, accentuated by the make-up rather than carried by it. It’s the most simple solution. The trick is to keep the visual simple and just cast someone unusually expressive.

    Interesting match-up ahead if Joker 2 moves forward (also strange to think that JOKER will beat The Batman commercially). You can imagine Joker 2 riffing on Goodfellas/Casino empire-building crime epic Scorsese the way Joker 1 did the Scorsese of the 70s. Joker 2 and TBM2 could in theory land within a year of each other. I just think they’ve shot their load too early and should have held off, saved it for Pattinson’s exit story.

    Think like everyone in the world (or so I imagine, haven’t checked) time is ripe for Mr Freeze.

  105. Finally caught up with this one. Definitely a ‘thumbs up’ for me. My only complaint is that it gets hella choppy for that last 25 minutes, like 10 separate “catching up with” mini-denouements. But it was a fresh and engrossing take with a great overall aesthetic and lots of great, inspired individual elements. I loved the Batmobile, the Penguin (everything about him!), and the main theme, among other elements. And I thought this angle on the Riddler was unique and compelling. Good!


    Nah, I’m just fucking with you. It’s fine. Shrug. There is some Very Good Filmmaking on display here. But Very Good Filmmaking does not an Awesome Movie make. And Batman kinda needs to be awesome, so I can’t see myself coming back to this one very often, if at all. The main point of interest was the mystery (which I’ll admit started to get a little monotonous somewhere around the third “standing around reading a birthday card” scene) and that’s not gonna amount to much the second time around. It needed some spectacle to warrant a return trip, but instead Batman fights like six dudes and calls it a day. Mediocre.

    It really felt like four episodes of a pretty good TV show. It looked nice, solid production values, decent car chase and fight scenes (for TV, anyway), and the plot was interesting enough to keep you watching to the end, even if it all goes on way too long, but hey, that’s TV for you. They gotta fill all that time somehow. But after it’s over nothing really sticks out in your memory as particularly amazing. You’ll probably check out next season if you remember but you’re not exactly champing at the bit to find out what happens next. And you’ll certainly never go back and watch these episodes again because you already extracted their story nutrients and there are no individual moments you’re dying to see again.

    I hate to say it because I know we got some Matt Reeves fans around here…but he’s a TV director and it shows. There’s nothing BAD about his work but nothing that stands out either. His work is good but not interesting. That quality is perfect for TV but a little anemic for cinema. Me, I’ll always prefer interesting over good.

    As an example, I would like to try to elaborate on my much-misinterpreted comment that I don’t care about cinematography. Of course that’s not true: a shitty look will kill a movie faster than just about anything other than shitty sound, and a great look can make a mediocre movie better. But what cinematography CAN’T do is make a movie great. You can’t just show me pretty colors and deep shadows and blow my doors off. WHAT you’re photographing matters more than HOW you’re photographing it. THE MAN WHO IS BAT has some very lovely shots, but they are shots of what, exactly? Sunsets and buildings. Wood-paneled mansions. A handsome guy looking sad. The same shit you could see in any movie that’s not about a lunatic in a batsuit who fights clowns and crocodile monsters with gadgets he built in a cave under his house. They got this beautiful (fake) golden hour lighting on this panaramic shot of…a boring downtown area of any generic North American city. This shot is very GOOD but it is not INTERESTING.

    (It’s even less interesting when you know it’s all shot on that LED pod thing. Which is fine. I got no beef with that. But it infuriates me to the core of my being whenever anybody says they use it to get shots “in-camera.” What, it’s not CGI if you make the overworked and underpaid animators composite the background in pre-production instead of post? I bet it’s a whole lot more fun for the cast and crew to work this way than with green screen but, to the viewer, the results are identical.)

    Other examples: The Batmobile. Very cool car. Certainly the one I’d most want to drive in the real world. But we’re not in the real world, so it’s just a generic muscle car with a jet on the back. Good, but not interesting.

    The Penguin. Marvelous makeup work. Completely seamless. Colin Farrell is unrecognizable without being a Dick Tracy villain. And that’s the problem. If he’s just gonna look like Richard Kind, why bother? Once again, they utilized the finest of craftsman to show us something pretty mundane. Good, but not interesting.

    The Riddler. I mean, do I even need to mention how unexciting it is to give us some bullshit gas mask as a supervillain costume? In 2022, no less? Yes, he’s creepy–he’s played by Paul Dano, of course he’s creepy–but he’s creepy in a way we’ve seen a thousand times before in a thousand movies that are constrained by realism in a way that a superhero movie doesn’t have to be, so a solid performance comes off as a lack of inspiration. Good, but not interesting.

    I could go on, but I think I’ll stop here. The movie was a painless watch for something so long, but, again, that felt more like binging TV than a movie. I even figured out where the episode breaks would be. There’s some potential in here if they really kick it up a notch next time, but that doesn’t seem to be Matt Reeves’ deal. I thought WAR OF THE APES would be escalation of DAWN OF THE APES but instead the whole thing was just longer, slower, and more dreary. That’s the song his heart sings, apparently, and good for him for following his dirgey, mid-tempo bliss, but that’s not my scene.

    I did kinda like how the “I am vengeance” line is some risible “angry 32-year-old virgin who collects decorative swords” horseshit, but instead of it being treated as some badass shit to say, everybody else in the movie makes fun of him for it. (“Hey, Vengeance, settle down and have a creme soda or something, heh?”) I’m glad Batman looks suitably embarassed by it by the end of the movie. But man, the raspberry I blew when he said that line could probably be heard three houses over.

    Also I will admit that the theme song is pretty dope, and I was definitely singing “Hey, it’s The Batman! Here comes The Batman! Oh my God, The Batman! HOLY SHIT THE BATMAN!” when he was walking up to the Penguin’s car and the music just kept getting louder and bigger. Nice to have an actual melody in a piece of score. Feels like we haven’t had one since the Avengers theme. But Reeves comes from an era when all TV shows had memorable theme songs so I guess that shouldn’t surprise me.

  107. The Batman Theme = A re-tooled Imperial March

    If not a full meal, I hope Michael Giacchino at least bought John Williams a couple of beers.

  108. It’s like half the Imperial March. But still, I thought it was badass enough to immediately remix it.

    Sorry for the quality of the vocals, but I had to make the acapella tracks myself and DIY acapellas are never great, full of weird watery noises. But when you know there are at least two pretty decent rap tracks out there specifically about Batman and no studio acapellas available, you do what you have to do. Hopefully it’s not too distracting.

    In the spirit of the film it comes from, the track is also way too long. Enjoy!

  109. Well, that didn’t work.

    One more time…

    The Batman: The Remix

    Movie was okay but the theme song deserves special attention.

  110. It would be cool if the next Batman makes the Digital Native Dance sound when he reveals himself, and I do mean as a diegetic element within the story. Like someone would be cracking a safe or something, and they hear a sound and go “huh? Is that the well know Digital Native Dance synth patch introduced by Roland in the late 80s?” and then they turn around and WHAM! There’s Batman!

  111. Batman has always been my guy. And after a few years of the “rich guy playing some new gadgets” style it’s was really nice seeing him being sinister and using his fists most of the time, again. I could go on about the look of the movie, but at the same time I know that that’s something most of you don’t give a rats ass about, so I won’t.

  112. I just got to see this and it was really good. It was a different kind of Batman movie, but after this series ends (if there are sequels) they need to do something more Burtony again, a little bigger with more flash. But it was cool to see a film noir detective Batman and I liked the the look of Gotham was realistic but still looked juuuust a bit over the top.

    The goofiest comment in this thread was the dude whining about too many black people being good guys in this, while counting Catwoman…she kicked a bound man off a fucking building!

    Jesus all of those good guy black folk…one day we’ll certiainly have a white man play the lead in a Batman movie.

  113. I agree with Majestyk. You look at a lot of these characters–from Catwoman to Penguin to Riddler–and design-wise, they’re a severe downgrade from the visuals in Burton and Nolan’s take. Even Jim Carrey’s Riddler at least looked like the Riddler and not like a Zodiac Killer cosplayer. (Which is a pretty out-of-nowhere parallel to draw for a character that’s a political revolutionary.) Credit where credit’s due, Batman looks appropriately Batman, and they finally figured out that they don’t have to Autotune him, they can just have the actor speak in a Snake Plisken voice, but you’re still spending three hours watching the equivalent of one (1) Stan Winston creation stroll around with the cast of a Star Trek fanfilm.

  114. I’m so torn about this one. There were so many things that I liked, and yet overall I don’t think I enjoyed the final product too much. The 3 hour run time really didn’t feel earned to me, especially the final hour, and even though I liked that they tried to focus on him doing more detective work, there really didn’t seem to be much payoff to that. There wasn’t really any mystery involved… I suppose you could say uncovering Thomas Wayne’s not-so-idealistic truths could be considered a mystery but it also felt so telegraphed that I wasn’t even slightly surprised by it. A few days now after watching it, the memories which really sort of stand out is that it’s sort of 2 1/2 hours of Batman standing in a room looking at stuff and then 1/2 an hour of some good action beats and whatnot. (I know that isn’t an accurate representation of what happened, but that’s how it has gelled in my mind). I also can’t see myself being able to sit through this whole movie for any future viewings. So, I dunno. I didn’t necessarily dislike it, because there were some really great moments here and there, but I can’t really say I liked it either. Oh well.

  115. I don’t know, sure this Riddler is a far cry from Frank Gorshin or Evan Stone, but I don’t think you can say that he is bland and forgettable. And making him the Zodiac Killer is sorta smart in a way that it avoids the BLACK PANTHER problem. In that movie, instead of the king, his royal family, and their goofy CIA pal played by Martin Freeman, Killmonger should’ve really been the hero. In THE BATMAN, by the end of the movie, your thoughts align with the Batman. Yes, the Riddler might have had some good points, but fuck that guy. I’d rather be on the side of the ridiculously young politician lady and Jim Gordon with his good cops.

  116. What’s up with those two racist guys earlier who wanted to bad guys to be POC?

  117. I have a theory the Reeves movies have a plan to explore Bruce confronting his parents’ killer without that guy being The Joker or anything grander, and that it’s already underway. I think the “I’m Vengeance” guy who was also at the memorial (named in credits as “Bitter Nobody”)who talked about his daughter dying and rich scum suckers getting what they deserved before recognising Bruce is Joe Chill and we’ll be seeing them cross paths again in sequels.

  118. Sternheim

    We are both readers / admirers / commenters of outlawvern.com for many many years. We all hear have sometimes different opinions on movies.

    Do you really feel I deserve to be called a RACIST for my comment? Do you know me personally? Who I am what I do who I associate and what my beliefs are?

    Did you deduct all that and found what I AM from my comment?

    Have you MAYBE been so polarized in YOUR environment, that whoever says something you don’t like about a MOVIE, however factual / right / wrong, you feel the need to call him names? And “racist” is a pretty tall order.

    I was very saddened by your post. Some before you criticized or even mocked the 2-3 posts that talked about this, but it was all in good faith and good spirit.

    You are resorting to your baser insticts, dismissing a fellow movie lover as “racist”, a vile word and epithet, because of how he interpreted a movie (and “white privilege dies tonight” was verbatim in it, no interpretation needed).

    I feel my 2-3 comments before this one sufficiently explain what I saw as a disservice from the picture to P.O.C.

    If you dissagree fine.
    But flat out calling me a “racist” goes, for me, beyond the line. You sir should apologize.

  119. I’m not apologizing for anything. Who even thinks “man, this movie would be better if the bad guys were black” Sorry but that’s some racist ass shit.

  120. NOBODY thought OR wrote what you just said. Nobody. And I don’t have to re-iterate what 2-3-4 people wrote because it’s right here for everybody to find and see for themselves.

    I’m ashamed for you right now.
    It’s so easy to speak like this to somebody you don’t know through the internet, but this site was (way) above name calling and outright attacks on people for many many years. It was until now a safe space for everybody to talk about film.

    I LITERALY choked and she’d a tear a when I read your first attack cause I always felt something like that would never happen HERE. Reading it floored me. I was ashamed to see something like this HERE.

    It’s Easter for the Orthodox people, of which I am a part of. So for us it’s a time of forgiveness. Hope you too find it in your heart sometime to see that you can’t call people vile things “just because” and change your mind.

    Polarisation to the extreme is the new normal in all platforms but Vern’s place was not one of them till now.

  121. I don’t want to start anything here. But as a person who’s probably less woke and liberal than most people commenting on this sight. And someone who sometimes said to himself “Oh, come on! Not all white guys are garbage, you know” while watching a new-ish movie. I think what the two ‘racists’ are saying is that the movie’s message is in-your-face and heavy-handed, and not that it would be better if black people would be bad guys.

  122. I’m pretty sure you just started something there…

  123. Glad we can all agree this movie is awful and there’s not a single positive thing to say about it. At least ONE single good thing cane out of it:


  124. I think you have to read all the comments one more time, young man…

  125. So out of all the live-action versions of Batman, from Burton’s comic-booky version, to Nolan’s more grounded take, to Snyder going full comic book style, to this most realistic possible version…sounds like THIS is the series that finally introduces Clayface.

  126. So BATGIRL. What’s up with that?

    I don’t believe that movie will never be released, but a studio saying: “Fuck it, we won’t even dump it on our streaming service, because its budget was too low.” is…new. And you all know that there will be one hell of a shitstorm going on if they actually release THE FLASH, despite its star apparently being a pedophile with a rage issue.

    Poor Michael Keaton. His return as Batman is royally fucked.

  127. What a way to flush 90 million dollars.

  128. Serves WB right for what they did to Cassandra Cain.

  129. Seriously, though, I’ve never seen a movie studio self-own like Warner Bros. is self-owning right now. I honestly think you could grab some rando off the street and he or she would make better basic filmmaking and storytelling decisions than the confederacy of Ellises that have been running that clown car into the ground for the past few years. Watching these desperate corporate hacks synergize themselves right out of existence has been far more entertaining than anything they’ve actually managed to release. I eagerly await them getting bought out by the Sheinhardt Wig Company and shuttered for tax purposes in three years.

  130. This is the weirdest, and stupidest fucking story. But WB will do it, I think they own CNN and dumped it DAYS after it opened because not enough subs…fuck trying to grow, throw that money in the shitter! WB has NO IDEA what they’re doing with comics properties, it’s insane.

    All I wanted was Keaton back in his suit with the big ears the way Batman should be and both of his properties are royally screwed.

  131. From the current reporting, it sounds like the best we can hope for is a leak of the current test screening cut without FX that the directors just referred to as “far from finished.” The problem is that they’re killing it for a tax write off, so if they released it in any form they’d have to pay up and lose even more money.

    Everything about it is asinine, but I’m most offended on behalf of Michael Keaton. I doubt he was itching to get back into the suit but he did it and they just throw it in the garbage.

  132. Man. This sucks. Wasn’t there a Fantastic Four movie they did years ago which also never saw the light of day for similar reasons? Or was that so they didn’t lose the rights? Some absolute shit still gets an unceremonious dump on streaming while a film helmed by the guys who did BAD BOYS FOR LIFE with Keaton, Fraser and Simmons is killed for a tax dodge. Lesson 295 on the unforgiving nature of Show Biz. Pour every ounce of passion, dedication and creativity onto a project and see it flushed because of an accounting decision.

    The DCEU can’t catch a break. MCU Phase 4 and SW continue to disappoint me but they roll out with the regularity of a well oiled machine. DC which have characters I like a lot more continue to be stuck in a quagmire of strategy shifts, corporate myopia, lack of vision and toxic talent (Miller, Heard).

  133. Yeah, the FANTASTIC FOUR movie was made just to hold onto the rights. I’ve heard that people worked on it for little or no money just because they were fans, having no idea it was going to get dumped. It does exist as a bootleg, but Avi Arad (the head of Marvel films before Feige) bragged in an interview that he destroyed the negatives! What a fucking asshole.

    And as for the last word in your post OF COURSE you’re one of those guys but in the interest of peace let’s let that one go.

  134. hahahaha…yes Vern I AM one of those guys and your last sentence confirms you’re one of those OTHER guys. But it’s ok, just because we catch different buses sometimes doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy visiting the station. The company is good and the food’s decent.

  135. I know this really won’t turn out to be the case, but I kind of wish that this whole Batgirl thing is some elaborate guerilla marketing.

    Exec #1: “These test screenings are terrible. The movie is irredeemable!”

    Exec #2: “Unless, now hear me out here… We cancel the movie and tell everyone it’s irredeemable. After months of internet outrage and possibly some sort of petition, we so ok we’ll put this out for two weeks. People will be so curious to see this train wreck that we might make more than if it were actually decent!”

    Exec #1: “Brilliant!”

    Like I said, it’s not going to happen… I think. I also thought (and hoped, frankly) we’d never see the Snyder cut of Justice League so what do I know?

  136. It’s unbelievably disrespectful to all the talent involved to simply toss a finished movie in the trash, but, selfishly, my bigger concern is what this means for HBO Max, which up til now has been basically the only streaming service worth a damn, and the only one that had a significant catalogue of noteworthy movies from before 2010.* If this is the beginning of the end for that service, we might as well give up on streaming altogether.

    *Not so fast Amazon Prime, I said “noteworthy.”

  137. So HBO and Discovery are merging in 2023. More confusing bullshit for us i guess!

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