Batman is a character that comes with a legacy – a long line of meticulous comics, video games, animated and live-action features done by very talented people. I remember director Matt Reeves mentioning in an interview that he spent a lot of time trying to “find a gap”, something in the Batman lore that has not yet been explored – a fresh new take. Did he manage to find one? Oh yes, and he nailed it !!
‘The Batman’ is set in the second year of the caped crusader’s vigilantism. Gotham is perpetually drenched in rain. Crime is at an all-time high, despite a recent successful drug bust and a mayoral election looms around the corner in the month of Halloween. A series of gruesome murders of high-level officials invite Batman ( or “Vengeance” as he calls himself ) to team up with Lieutenant Gordan and solve the cryptic riddles the killer has left behind. In the process, Batman uncovers some disturbing truths about Gotham’s underworld and finds himself questioning his very being, his vigilantism.
This film does an excellent job at covering Batman’s origins without going through the usual route of his parent’s death. Here we see a young batman plagued with vengeance and rage and, by God, it is terrifying. This is a Batman I would be frightened of. He walks and moves slowly, deliberately as if to say “ Once I’ve decided to get you, I will”. He moves his eyes slowly and observes things, is silent, and truly is, “the world’s greatest detective”. In other words, this is the best live-action version of batman. The Bruce Wayne portrayal will be met with a lot of complaints. He is broody, silent and reclusive. But this is batman year two, where he has not yet realised the importance of keeping up a Bruce Wayne persona. So we will not see a playboy walking out of helicopters and yachts and it makes complete sense for this timeline.
The entire supporting cast has done a fantastic job and some of them look fleshed out from comic book pages. Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle, Jim Wright as Gordon, Paul Dano as the Riddler and Andy Serkis as Alfred are all remarkable. But the standout performance belongs to Colin Farrell as the Penguin. Barely recognisable as the Penguin, Farell brings surprising levity and a Godfather-Esque tone to the film. And finally, the casting choice that was met with the most protest, Robert Pattinson is THE BATMAN. His portrayal is so reminiscent of the long Halloween comic. Despite being masked for most of the film, his rage shines through, and boy, it gave me chills !!!! The true star of this film, however, is Gotham city. I have never seen the spirit of Gotham captured so perfectly on the big screen. The first 20 minutes of this film, might be the best introduction scene in a superhero film.
Greg Fraser’s cinematography has ensured that the batman is meant for the IMAX screen alone. His shots, with very little use of CGI, make for a visually stunning experience. Michael Giacchino’s music does not leave you even after the film ends. I can certainly anticipate a few nitpicks people might have with the film. Its 3-hour runtime is earned and I don’t see how the complex layered plot could be done justice in less time. It is also not a crowd-pleaser like ‘The Dark Knight’ but holds its own. A handful of people expecting a typical superhero movie, with action, jokes and colours will be disappointed but that’s ok. DC is best when it sticks to its dark roots. Matt Reeves has made this film a love letter to the Batman ethos and that is visible in every frame. The movie not only takes inspiration from the comics but does them complete justice. This is detective comics brought to life!!!
So, this weekend, clear your schedule, find the closest IMAX and go in not just to enjoy the spectacle but to put your mind to work because this is a complex plot, riddled (see what I did there !!) with cyphers and puzzles. This movie will not disappoint !!!
The Cinemawala Rating: 4.5/5
About The Author-
Anushree Periasami is an electrical engineer from IIT Madras, currently working as a financial analyst. But her pet project has always been writing. An avid reader right from school, her favourite exercise was essay writing on novels and stories and the critical analyses of plots, characters, themes, etc. That interest continued right through college and to work as well. She was the Regional Editor for the internal quarterly magazine of her company – a compilation of interviews, technology articles and fun puzzles. The only things she loves as much as writing is watching movies and shows, especially masterpieces that aren’t advertised much and largely ignored. As Bojack Horseman put it, “But isn’t art, less what people put into it, but more what people get out of it ?”
Also elle peut parler francais !