“The Batman”: New Movie, Darkest Yet

Newest iteration of decades-popular Batman available on HBO

Batman is now available to stream on HBO Max app (as well as in theaters as of March 2022).

Disclaimer: possible spoilers/opinion

I suggest you try to watch The Batman in the best theater scenario you can manage. The Batman story will be good on a small device regardless, but is one of those classics in which visual details are an important part of the experience. You want to feel you’re in Gotham: seeing the sights and action up-close is the best experience, and in this case it all takes place mostly in the dark. Not a lot of light shines in Gotham.

The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves, did not fail to satisfy my appreciation of realistic superhero portrayals. By “realistic”, I mean human: no superpowers, no other worlds involved (except movie setting—wherever Gotham happens to be—but most people generally accept that Gotham is representation of our own world in a different time) no mysticism, no morphing. Instead, the Batman relies on a drawer of tangibles to support his needs of service . . . kind of like James Bond.

Only, Batman works for himself and not the government, and is set in an alternate reality, which results in a completely different set of circumstances and behaviors. While I’m not generally a superhero or comic book follower, Batman in popular culture does reach my interests and I watch every theater release.

What strikes me most about each subsequent Batman movie is the care that is given to character traits, and the streamlining of the different actor portrayals of each Batman story in a way that audiences perceive and recognize. This attention to detail and continuity helps us—the audience—to be in full recognition of the familiar icons and instantly able to identify with them (in our imaginations, of course) as if the story were actually ongoing. Pay close attention to the Riddler, who also is young in his ambitions. Any who’ve seen Batman Forever are bound to recognize in The Batman common traits and inflections despite two different actor portrayals. I’m saying, just pay attention overall. This Batman movie is full of character-building technique that makes one fully appreciate the thought and skill involved in such a production . . . such dedication to the craft.

There are many moments of recognition which may or may not be easter eggs, planted on purpose. For example, Robert Pattinson seems at times to channel Brandon Lee’s The Crow performance in his own portrayal of Bruce Wayne. As Wayne, Pattinson’s character is psychologically dark. He still reels from the deaths of his parents and underneath everything is determined to find the culprit of the unsolved crime. As Batman, the character exhibits fight scenes that particularly showcase the hero’s martial arts skills known in the comic backstory of the caped crusader.

Pattinson (and Reeves), do much more to support the evolving face of Batman for the 21st-century audience, and I’ll leave it to you to identify any other techniques (in the interest of a fresh experience).

How Old is Batman in The Batman?

The Batman 2022 appears to take place in Wayne’s earlier adulthood, before we met the Riddler in Jim Carey’s green garb or Jack Nicholson’s Joker during their heydey in later iterations brought to theaters in years past.

This time, it’s clear that Bruce Wayne has birthed the Batman, but he’s yet to meet his first masked foe. As Batman, Wayne has cultivated a kind of starter relationship with certain members of local law enforcement, but is still too young in his passions to have had opportunity to build any long-term trust with most who hear of him. In essence, this time around, we the audience are watching Bruce Wayne mature into his alter-ego role.

I’m not going to spoil too much here in the way of plot. You’ll be familiar with basics if you follow Batman, or comics, but of course the production is new and different and there are many points to relish that I will not spoil for you who’ve not yet seen the film. This includes familiar faces, which is why I don’t mention many names besides the most obvious. Isn’t it best to go into movies not in expectation of seeing so-and-so as such and such character?

However, I will say: do expect dark. There are points of humor, but an effective sense of oppression gets in the way of much beyond the most desperate attempts for these characters to find laughter in a world so besotted with the worst criminal elements. There are moments, though none too gruesome, that truly disturb. It’s my opinion that The Batman of 2022 is best viewed by adults.

However, it is rated PG-13 and these are times when teens are commonly aware of the kinds of things that happen in the world. After all, shouldn’t they be?


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DC Comics Characters: Batman

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