The Batman ~ An Ambition with no wings
The Batman Review
Star Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell
Music Composed by Michael Giacchino
Cinematography by Greig Fraser
Directed by Matt Reeves
It is Christopher Nolan who had decided that Comic Book Superheroes will be “Real”. The fictional stories that had to be treated as just some schoolboy fantasies started being treated as stories of people with extreme or super abilities. Batman though did not have any additional abilities than that of a human being. He doesn’t have super strength, he doesn’t have Krypton powers, he doesn’t and cannot have anything that money cannot buy. His technical prowess, his brilliance in crime-solving, his strength, his agile fighting abilities, and his attitude all are developed over a period. Since his childhood is almost forced to be alienated from normalcy, he had to find his own identity and establish himself as just in an unjust world. This is what Nolan crafted out of a superficial genius Playboy philanthropist‘s story that borders on a self-indulgent, extremely cocky, unrelenting sense of pride of not for his vision.
For him and his style, that story worked. With each film, from his trilogy, he created a man that can be easily related to. A hero that we all think we deserved and needed to grow to be. A human whose decisions had consequences but all got resolved with his sacrifice and him inspiring others to do the same. Yes, the Dark Knight theme was to rise and ultimately inspire through sacrifice. In the first film (Batman Begins), he sacrifices his love and grand life for his duty. In second film, he sacrifices his image and honor for the city’s prospects. In the third one (The Dark Knight Rises), he sacrifices himself to become a symbol that people can identify with and a legend from whom the future can learn. Can depend on. If DC can never understand this, at least we hope it won’t ruin it.
The legacy of Batman is not about how he grew up to be a symbol of something. It is about how a normal human being with a great sense of honor and with all funds, sources at his disposal decided to make it all worthy. Rather than spending his time in self-loathing Bruce Wayne decided to use his riches for great use. He is not a silly kid who loves his mother so much that at the mention of her name from some random alien’s mouth he would stop himself from doing what he feels is right. He is not a man who is obsessed with a beautiful lady or so prejudiced that he will try to impose his will on her. He is not a brooding old man filled with regret and painful memories that he won’t speak even a single word.
If DC can never understand this. May Martha Bless them. Matt Reeves is a sensible director but a man who is consumed by visuals and technical brilliance. He loves to create visual poetry that stands out and has great command over technology. But he lacks depth in the most basic level of filmmaking, that is, Writing. His writing in this The Batman doesn’t rise from basics. Either it goes beyond the usual level or falls to a low that you cannot recover. He is so consistent in being inconsistent as a writer that one feels his fixation with achieving a certain visual has overpowered him as almost like a possession state. If he had really thought through he would have understood that people watch Batman because they connect with him being a hero who is better than James Bond with no jurisdiction and better character values.
Nolan differentiated Batman and Joker, Batman and Bane, Batman and James Bond by showing the basic level difference between government agency-appointed skilled spy to a driven man with a sense of responsibility. It is not about how big stunts he can pull off and how he can be a symbol of something. It is all about how he brings justice to the unjust. How can he bring balance to an unbalanced imperfect world that borderlines on the dementia of democracy? His inability in doing so makes him more human but the excitement in watching him achieve something cannot be robbed off with style. His choice to remain silent until needed makes him the genius that everyone wants to be but not someone who struggles to mouth a word. Matt Reeves just gets it all wrong.
He delivers on visual style. He delivers on Technical standards. But story? There is one case with four different angles. But that case doesn’t lead to anything that Batman cannot know by sitting at his company’s old archives or going through any “fund transfers” in five to ten minutes. There are no “big secrets” that a session with himself trying to know his family’s history wouldn’t help him find out. With a villain who is overdelivering every line and delivering simple 6th standard kid-level riddles, you cannot create interest among audiences. You need a style to dance with content like a duet not like a parade. You don’t want pictures to just flow and then flow with no real connection established for you to feel.
No dialogue is served for us to grasp the ideology that the director is going for. If scarring imagery of parents’ death, forced loneliness, self-loathing consumed Bruce Wayne to an extent to be disrespectful to even Alfred, then he should have been asked to learn to value people around him. If he thinks fear will make him stronger and serve vigilante justice then he should have been forced to see his reflection in more than just one at a random catastrophic event. He should have seen how children are taking his example to grow into someone who extract’s vengeance in unjust means. Not some grown-up asses who cannot differentiate between vengeance and terrorism should be showing Batman his filthy reflection. Even if they do, then they should be as deliberate and as menacing as Joker.
This film made me think that Matt Reeves can make a good film but cannot write one. He needs writers who can create moments. Who can differentiate between comic book panels storytelling to visual storytelling on a large than life canvas. Marvel succeeds because it tries to play on its strengths and then stretches its leading characters to travel into the unsolicited territory. DC just depends on those filmmakers who bring to them style but not substance. If you want to catch a rat, then your trap should be placed at the right spots with the right imagination and a unique set of lures. You cannot depend on the popularity of your lead character to help you catch a rat that never seizes to a cage.
The Batman Review