Friday, March 4, 2022

The Batman [2022]

 Matt Reeves
Writer(s): Matt Reeves, Peter Craig
Genre: Superhero/Crime/Action/Thriller
Rating: General

Set in the early days of Batman's vigilantism, the Caped Crusader roams the streets at night, spreading fear and inflicting pain on the evil that has taken everything away from him. When Gotham's key political figures are methodically taken out by a serial killer, Batman's investigations will force him to confront the city's dark past - and perhaps also his own - before he could even hope to save its future.

The definitive Batman movie for me...
The Batman is what you get if Chinatown [1974] grew up chained in the basement of Burton’s Batman [1989] and Nolan’s Batman Begins [2005], and the latter two abused each other to no end upstairs. What we then end up with is a feral animal of a movie with its own unique voice; noirish, moodier and grittier than the other two could ever hope to become.

And as if that's not enough, there's more. We finally we get to see Batman as the detective instead of a "mere" one-man SWAT team.

I’ve had a good feeling about The Batman since before the first trailer even came out, when I read somewhere that Matt Reeves wrote the screenplay while Thank God for the Rain from Taxi Driver [1976] played on loop in the background. That struck a chord and sent me down this rabbit hole, thinking, "Are we? Are we gonna get a noirish Batman movie? Less Conan and more Sam Spade?" There was even a remark somewhere that Reeves looked to crime thrillers in the '70s for inspiration - which also happened to be the "golden era" of serial killers, if it can be called that.

From then on, I couldn't help it. Excitement and expectations began to snowball until I got worried that The Batman wasn't gonna live up to it.

I was dead wrong.

The Batman ended up being so much more than what I thought it was gonna be, that I was already overwhelmed with emotions with like 40 minutes left in the movie. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I shed some tears after that car chase sequence, which I can only describe as Bullitt [1968] on steroids and a bad acid trip.

This movie is just so perfectly done, that if it just so happens that I was working on my own Batman story, I'd have set it on fire, flushed the ashes down the toilet, then track down where those ashes ended up so I can recollect them and feed them to pigs.

Sounds like I'm fanboying, but I really am just a casual fan of superhero movies. Which means I don't read the comics (save for like 3 Batman and 1 Superman comics), I pledge no allegiance to neither DC nor Marvel, and I only consider a superhero story "canonical" if it's made into a movie. Also, I don't set them to a different standard as I would to movies of any other genre.

So where does that leave us with The Batman? Let's just say it's a superhero movie for fans of cinema, yet it doesn't exclude audiences that only wish for entertainment. It gives and gives and gives, and all it asks in return is for you go in with an empty bladder.

or you might find this scene extra torturous...

Yes, it's nearly three hours long - but there's no fat to trim here. Every scene is impactful and they lead seamlessly to the next one. What you'll witness here is everyone - writers, director, the cast, crew, composer, editors - all at the top of their game, coming together under a singular vision that gets executed beautifully.

Watch it on IMAX if you have the privilege to do so. Otherwise you're just shortchanging yourself.

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