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The Batman is the First Real Batman Film; Here’s Why
By Fitri Razif|March 22, 2022|0 Comment
Across almost 40 years, we have yet to get a proper Batman adaptation until now, with Matt Reeve’s The Batman. Every film up until that point featured the Dark Knight but never truly understood the source material and almost all of them were focused on putting the director’s personal take on the character. There’s nothing wrong with that and we have many different iconic versions of the character as a result, but a full on, proper adaptation was never attempted which is what Matt Reeves understood.
This vacuum of a proper adaptation put Reeves on a mission, to create the purest form of Batman ever seen. Which is why Reeves just gets it when it comes to Batman.
From just the first opening minutes I knew that this movie was gonna be the one. The inclusion of a brooding, edgy monologue was perfect and I’m kinda dumbfounded that it’s never been done in previous films. Pattinson’s portrayal of the Dark Knight uses lines that can easily be seen as cringy or lame if not done well, but his line delivery manages to capture that vengeful abstract concept he’s going for. His performance is rather calm and not as rageful as his actions surprisingly, with a Batman voice that’s more whispery and natural. It reminds me a lot of Kevin Conroy’s stoic and steely voice in terms of performance.
Another thing that the movie just gets, is the idea of Bruce Wayne, because practically Bruce Wayne doesn’t even exist in the movie. There’s not a moment in this movie where Bruce is seen, because he’s simply not there. Batman is the true persona, and we see that when he goes out in public pretending to be Bruce. He’s there as the Batman, and we see him scoping out the entire scene, eavesdropping on everyone and even shrugging off people who want to talk to him, because he’s too busy being Batman.
I love this play on the dual personas, and it works well with the Year Two storyline it’s going for. The concept of Batman using the character of Bruce Wayne as a tool for his personal crusade is exciting to watch and Pattinson performs it believably well.
Reeves’ take on the iconic character focusing on his detective side was a great choice for a film that’s as personal as this and showed off the more interesting aspects of the Batman. Setting the stage as a noir crime thriller and having Batman just know the answers to everything on the crime scene was done in a way that was so natural and right for the character. Seeing how he’s 10 steps ahead of the police makes him look freaking cool and you understand why Gordon trusts him so much, why he even puts up with him at the cost of his potential career and respect of his peers.
The lowtech direction of the film does many things to expand upon the detective aspect, such as the video contact lenses. Seeing how he analyzes his footage every single night, writing on his journals and studying his prey makes the viewer understand what an obsessive nerd Batman really is at his core. The fact that Batman can do what he does, isn’t because of his physical chops or bulletproof gear. It’s thanks to his strategic mind and indomitable will which the movie perfectly understands and conveys expertly in its scenes.
The focus of the detective aspect also gives way for scenarios that don’t rely on heavy action, more to the enthralling mystery of the plot and how Batman can be interesting when he’s not beating criminals to a pulp. This also gives Reeves ample opportunity for beautiful set pieces and cinematography showcasing a grungy, rat infested world of Gotham that has never looked better.
Batman’s whole goal isn’t mainly to rid crime and clean the streets. Ultimately, Bruce wants to become an abstract concept, so deeply ingrained into the world of Gotham and unmovable just like gravity. He wants to become a force of nature, a concept of fear so that he can win the fight before it even starts. It’s a theme that is constantly played with in the comics and cartoons alike, but the opening monologue and the brutality of Batman’s actions captures it perfectly.
The use of the Batsignal as a warning was the cherry on top, seeing criminals just get taken aback from the mere sight of it, and mind you this is just Bruce’s second year as a vigilante which shows how driven he is to achieve that goal.
The scene with the Penguin chase scenes summarizes my point perfectly. When we see Batman emerge from the flames like a hellbat, imagine if the criminal was just slightly religious. Seeing that sight, the criminal would crap their pants thinking that maybe this is God’s way of punishing them personally, and would make them question their entire lives.
This could put them into the path of repentance and probably make them leave the life of crime, which is exactly what Batman aims to do. At least, that’s my interpretation of it.
A movie about a superhero wearing all black that uses the shadows to his advantage is a slippery slope to tackle and can limit what your film can look like. However, The Batman brings to life the city of Gotham and its dingy, litter ridden streets with the vibrant fluorescent orange of street lights and lamps, giving us countless beautiful scenes that fit the mood it’s going for.
Throughout the film, the orange tint can be seen for most scenes especially when Batman is overlooking the city skyline or prowling the streets. It gives us a spectacle to behold while still grounding it in reality, giving us a unique and believable world to inhabit. The city itself in its opening minutes has a distinct look, that looks similar to the overexaggerated look from the Burton film but still grounded enough to look like a place you can visit in real life.
The set design for the film is immaculate, featuring the luxurious gothic interior of Wayne Manor, the modern, grounded tech of the Batcave (with multiple TV monitors instead of a giant Batcomputer), to the decrepit abandoned buildings that the Riddler leaves clues for. The film had a distinct look in mind and Reeves carried it out flawlessly to give us a fresh new look to Batman’s world, while still achieving that mission of a true adaptation.
Long story short: we’re excited to see more of Matt Reeves’ version of Gotham. Seeing his take on Robin and how it turns Patman’s life upside down would be incredible. Did you enjoy the movie as much as we did? Check out our review, in case you missed it!
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