Saturday, March 5, 2022

In Theatres: The Batman (2022)

 Each auteur, or, filmmaker, has his own vision when it comes to franchises such as DC's "The Batman".

Ten years after Christopher Nolan had completed his Bat-trilogy with "The Dark Knight Rises", and after Ben Affleck walked away from this project, Matt Reeves took over as co-author & director, with Robert Pattinson ("Twilight") stepping into the cape & cowl.

Set two years into the hero's career, "The Batman" is built around a demented serial killer, the Riddler (Paul Dano), but it's not really the Riddler we all knew. Of course not. Reeves used the real-life Zodiac case as an inspiration for turning Riddler into a psychopath far removed from previous iterations of the character. In truth, Riddler, as we see him in the movie, is actually a mash-up of the Prince of Puzzlers and a more recent add to the Batman's Rogues Gallery, Hush, subbing Hush's bandaged face covering with a mask & goggles, Whereas past screen Riddlers have been cunning, but not crazy, Dano's Riddler is both. His cover as a forensic accountant recalls a similar path taken in the Gotham series.

Because modern fandom and WarnerMedia suits practically demand it, Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), is inserted as a waitress working at the Iceberg Lounge, currently under the management of one Oswald Cobblepot, aka Penguin (Colin Farrell). The romantic tension between Bat & Cat is there almost instantly. Cobblepot has a more pronounced limp than he had on Gotham, but the how & why of the limp has never been revealed. It's early enough in Batman's career where police Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright, What If?) is working hand in glove with the Caped Crusader, over the objections of his superiors.

Clocking in at a shade over 2 1/2 hours, "The Batman" does feel as though it was padded at the end with the flooding of Gotham Square Garden after Riddler had been captured. The fact that he has followers will lead some to suggest a political allegory involving a certain demagogue.

Let's check the trailer:

While the soundtrack is sleep inducing to some, I could recommend a retro soundtrack, a la Marvel's movies, to wit:

"I Love a Rainy Night", Eddie Rabbitt.
"November Rain", Guns & Roses (because most of the movie is in the rain).
"Are You Gonna Go My Way?", Lenny Kravitz.

And that's just for starters.

Rating: A-.

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