Don’t know if it applies to Snyder, but most everything in that catalogue is obscure to Nolan, Burton, and Schumacher. Minimal required reading for Burton and Schmacher should have included the Englehart/Rogers 1970’s run in Detective Comics, but I’ll bet they were completely unfamiliar with it. I assume the Lego Batman guys were well-versed in Batman lore, but they weren’t referencing the less-famous graphic novels in that one.
Also, I assume I speak for everyone here in saying we’d like a writer and director that has read a ton of Batman comics to one that hasn’t.
Well, if those comics were published after they made their respective movies, then yeah. I mean, William Dozier probably couldn’t have told you much about A Death in the Family before he passed away in 1991, either. But that doesn’t mean that he didn’t know the Batman comics when he made his iconic 1960s TV show.
Early drafts of Burton’s film were directly based on that run, and it’s still a major influence on the final version of the film, both narratively and aesthetically.
Burton struggled to read comics because of their layout, but he consulted the then-new Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke along with all of the early Golden Age material that executive producer Michael Uslan provided. Schumacher, on the other hand, had read the Batman comics as a kid in the 1940s, and he had also read Year One. And Nolan became very familiar with Year One and The Long Halloween in preparation for Batman Begins, despite being unfamiliar with the comics before he began working on the films.
A writer, sure. Sam Hamm and David Goyer were of great help on their respective Batman films when it came to knowing the source material. But the director? Not really. Maybe it’s helpful if they’ve looked at a large sampling of artwork (preferably from a wide number of artists with drastically different art styles), but if the script is doing its job, then the director should be fine without having to read a big pile of comics.
So, prefer the more mainstream version?
Im still watching as i type this, but wanted to drop back onto the forums to say that there’s so much about this movie that feels ripped straight out of the Burton films, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and GOTHAM that I’d actually cite those adaptations as having been Matt Reeves and Peter Craig’s inspiration over anything from the Batman comics pantheon.
I’d also go so far as to throw Netflix’s Daredevil adaptation into the mix as inspiration too.
I… didn’t like it. I wanted to. Really, I did. I mainly avoid trailers, but the quick snippets that I saw made it look very cool, so I was looking forward to seeing it. But, ultimately, the movie just didn’t connect for me.
I think the major problem is: this wasn’t a Batman movie. Not really. Sure, it was about a guy who dresses like a bat and calls himself Batman. But that doesn’t make you Batman. You could easily swap out the Batman in this movie for The Shadow, or Crimson Avenger, or any other insert-mystery-man-here and you’d ultimately have roughly the same movie. Batman and Catwoman are culturally iconic characters, but Pattinson and Kravitz felt like they were playing at those characters, rather than playing those characters. Like they were putting on Halloween store costumes, and not particularly well-made ones at that. When Battinson strode out of the shadows on the train platform at the beginning, I nearly laughed, just like the thugs did. I don’t know if that’s the reaction that the filmmakers were going for, but I doubt it. Making a stripped-down, pared-back comic book movie seems like a good idea in theory, but in practice it ultimately came off as generic. The movie simply wasn’t “Batman-y” enough. The Batcave was replaced with a boring basement, the Batmobile became just a muscle car with little-to-no “Battiness” to it that I could discern. The movie needed to lean way more into the Batman iconography. Batman needs to be larger-than-life. You need that over-the-top iconography. Otherwise, what’s the point? Then he’s just a guy who happens to wear bat ears on his cowl instead of… not wearing bat ears, I guess.
For that matter, why was Batman Batman? I mean, I know why he’s Batman, you know why he’s Batman, but I’m not sure the movie knows why he’s Batman. I’m not saying that you need to rehash the origin again, but there needed to be some explanation as to why he was dressing like a bat, and why he was acting as a vigilante. Otherwise, his behavior comes off as a little silly. One line of dialogue would have sufficed. And why does Gordon trust him, seemingly implicitly? Again, no explanations given. We needed some kind of background to their relationship. Without this information, it feels like several important steps are skipped, like we’re watching a sequel to a movie that doesn’t exist. I do not expect such explanations in every comic that I read, of course, but movies are a different animal. In a movie, filmmakers need to give the audience an emotional hook and a reason for why the main characters are acting the way that they are. And it was especially needed in this movie, since it is establishing a new Batman universe, and a new interpretation of the characters. I think the movie could have gotten away with minimal explanation if it was presenting a mature, fully-formed, experienced Batman who just simply IS, but this was two-years-in, still-growing-and-changing Batman. There needed to be a reason to care about that growth and change. I didn’t get that here.
Paul Dano’s performance as the Riddler really didn’t work for me. Actually, he was fine for the first two-thirds of the movie, when he was still hooded, but everything that came afterwards was way, WAY over-the-top scenery chewing. Especially during the Arkham interrogation scene. When he started going “Broooooooooce Waaaaaayyyyyyyyne” and freaking out, and Bats was pounding on the glass, I was just rolling my eyes and the movie really lost me at that point. There are two interpretations of the Riddler that I find acceptable: flamboyant, maniacal goof (a la Gorshin or Carrey) or “I’m-smarter-than-you”, smug bastard with a superiority complex (a la Glover or Wingert). The Riddler may be crazy, but he’s not a looney toon, as he was depicted here. Just… not the right choice. And why-oh-why did they make the unmasked Riddler look like Cousin Oliver? Another strange choice.
Colin Farrell is about the only person who seemed to understand that he was in a comic book movie. I liked his performance, but as someone said up above, why so much makeup? And with all that makeup, none of it made him look or feel especially “Penguin-y”. He didn’t have a particularly large nose or anything. He was just kinda scarred up a bit. And he didn’t squawk or have an obsession with birds. So why was he called “Penguin”? No explanation given. The character felt like something more out of Dick Tracy than Batman.
I’ve seen a lot of praise for the cinematography and score, but neither clicked for me. I don’t know if if was that it was shot on digital, or at a higher frame rate, or if it was the Dolby processes or what, but something about the way it was shot made it feel a bit cheap. What was being shot was spectacular and grandiose, but the way that it was shot didn’t match the images that were being put on screen. The movie demanded to be shot on film, at 24 FPS, to give it that weighty “movie” feel. As for the score… whatever happened to movie scores having themes? Elfman’s theme is legendary, Zimmer’s and Howard’s scores are at least memorable, but Giacchino’s work here was plodding, monotonous and forgettable. It felt more like sound design than score.
OK, enough complaining. Some things that I did like: Jeffrey Wright gave the best performance in the movie. He had great chemistry with Pattinson. Frankly, I would have rather seen them in a buddy cop movie than this. Despite what I said above, Pattinson and Kravitz both gave good performances. Neither were bad by any stretch of the imagination. It just didn’t feel like they were playing Batman and Catwoman. And, mostly, the best part of the movie: I think that this is my favorite live-action Gotham. Jay_Kay said it better than I could above:
The car chase was cool, but ultimately pointless. And all I could think during the scene was “how many innocent people did these jerks just kill with their selfish car chase?”.
Catwoman’s line about “white, privileged a*******” was unnecessary, and just makes her come off as bigoted. It was a discordant note in an otherwise tonally-consistent movie. And it instantly dates the film to the early 2020s, whereas other Batman films are essentially timeless (as they should be).
I had trouble following what Carmine Falcone’s plan was. I mean, I’m normally confuzzled by noir twistiness, but I found this to be especially confusing. There was a lot of information being thrown at the audience and I’m not sure that I caught all of it, or that all (or any) of it mattered in the end. “Mob guy bad” would have been sufficient.
And with apologies to my esteemed colleague Vroom, it bothered me that they pronounced Falcone “Fal-cone”. Like “traffic cone” or “ice cream cone”. Blech. The proper Italian pronunciation, you need that extra syllable at the end. Otherwise, it just sounds silly.
I’ll be real here, the only reason I call him Fal-cone is because that was the first way I heard his name. I’ve said it like that since I started Gotham. And then I fell deeper into the DC rabbit-hole. Now it’s just habit to say Fal-cone
I think this needs to be seen by everyone.
One thing that has been noticeable in every big-screen version of Batman (going back to Adam West!) is the need to have the actor’s face out of the cowl for most of the running time. The working assumption in this film is that we’ve come to see Batman is the thing that immediately set this one apart for me.
Also, I get the feeling that Pattinson’s tech is far more limited that what the Nolan or Burton Batmen could pull out of the Batcave. So I personally felt I was watching an original take - in the case of the Riddler, a little too original for their own good
I mean, there was definitely some odd differences and limitations – one that comes to mind is how the Nolan Batman had the flowing cape he could glide around it from the start whereas Battinson has his weird flying squirrel get up. On the other hand, Nolan’s Batman never had a contact lense that recorded everything he saw, and his suit couldn’t tank an entire clip from an AR-15.
(I know someone on this thread earlier posted a video about automatic weapons and how it could make sense, but it’s still a hard sell for me.)
My full review:
By drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as Seven, Zodiac, the Tim Burton Batman films, the Dark Knight Trilogy, and even the Netflix adaptation of Daredevil, Matt Reeves and Peter Craig delivered a phenomenal story that serves as the perfect vehicle to represent DC Entertainment’s renewed commitment to the kind of multidimensional and Multiversal storying that separates them from Marvel.
That story, while excellent on its own, might not have had the same impact without the right cast, and boy did they find the right cast. From Robert Pattinson on down, there wasn’t a single actor in the film that didn’t feel right for their roles; having said that, though, the movie belongs to Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz, the latter of whom just might have dethroned Anne Hathaway from her position as having portrayed the best version of Selina Kyle ever.
Making Bruce both the reincarnation of Kurt Kobain and a doppelganger for Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was honestly a stroke of genius, and allowed us to see a Bruce/Alfred relationship unlike anything else we’ve ever seen. It also allowed the film to subvert expectations by making The Riddler Bruce/Batman’s ultimate foil instead of The Joker while still giving us an intro to the latter and the promise of more to come, including a possible teamup between the two characters.
Because Bruce was channeling Kurt Kobain here, the use of Nirvana’s Something in the Way was perfect, but the real standout musically, at least for me, was Michael Giacchino’s symphonic orchestration.
I’m giving the movie an A+, because there was almost nothing about it that didn’t work for me (and, yes, that includes the runtime and pace, which I had zero problems with).
Worst Batman character.
The director of the movie, Matt Reeves, has destroyed the Batman movie franchise by introducing the semi-boring Batman movie. This Batman movie, unlike all previous, has left me asleep in the theathers! It was slow, Batman had the same face than the movie Joker and seems that Batman needs to be in Arkham next to the Joker.
Nevertheless, in 2012, the best Batman movie came out (suprisingly because sequels are never the same as the original) and broke records; however; this one failed catastrophically and we all need to voice, letting DC Comics the Batman movies should be getting better and not worse.
Bring back the director Christopher Nolan for the next Batman movie, please!!! His directed movies are great.
You’re not alone.
Agreed, it’s what I look for in a Batman movie, as well. Though, I think we could potentially get some of that in a sequel that doesn’t focus on early Batman. Though not sure how they achieve it with this “grounded” approach.
I think this ties into your earlier point of the lack of Batman iconography. If we had that, than at least it would have felt like Batman, without the need to rehash his past. Instead it was just emo guy in a bat suit.
Hard yes. Man, the way you wrote Bruce Wayne there gave me goosebumps, and not in a good way. It was like nails on a chalkboard for me.
I mean, I can go on quoting your writeup, but you get the picture. You did a much better job than I ever could detailing what didn’t connect for you in the movie. Thank you .
Heck yeah I prefer the mainstream version. The mainstream version is the reason for it all. Thomas Wayne, scoin of a wealthy family, a renown doctor who despite his wealth and privilege worked to heal and poor and downtrodden beside leslie Tompkins. Martha Wayne nee Kane (Not Arkham) was a lover of the arts and not only donated to museums but helped children from lower income schools learn to appreciate art. These were the people who raised Bruce Wayne, these were the people he watched murdered in a dark alley. This was the raw materials that created the Batman, a force dedicated to combating the darkness. Nothing else would have driven him to dedicate his life to studying and learning everything he could to wage his war.
I prefer Thomas Wayne as written by creator Bill Finger: a man who lost his life because he opposed the mob.
and here i was thinking most people loved The Batman…
Same here. It doesn’t help that his costume looks like it belongs at Comic-Con, not in a big-budget motion picture.
The film is set during Batman’s second year, so I can give a little leeway for the iconography being in the development stage. I’d compare it to the first five or six arcs of Legends of the Dark Knight, which are set between the stories Year One (where very little of the iconography is in place) and Year Two (where he has fully established his iconography).
I’m fine with that. We already have Batman Begins, and while this film is not in direct continuity with that one, it’s fair to assume that this continuity is similar to those that have preceded it unless the film tells us otherwise. I don’t see this “new interpretation of the characters” as distinct enough from previous versions to require a lengthy re-establishment of the basic relationships, especially in regards to Jim Gordon.
Well, that’s kinda true of the Penguin in the comics since the mid-1990s. The introduction of the Iceberg Lounge somewhat sucked the fun out of the character.
Yes, I think the movie looks pretty ugly, to be honest. Visually, it’s the least-appealing Batman film since…I dunno, 1966?
See, I felt that line was completely appropriate. Since this take on Catwoman is largely influenced by her solo series by Ed Brubaker in the early 2000s, I would expect her to be very concerned with social disparities. And frankly, I found it far clunkier when she expressed her contempt for the rich in The Dark Knight Rises, but perhaps that’s because I couldn’t ever buy Ms. Princess Diaries as a person who knows what it’s like to not be privileged…
All of this is some pretty basic familiarity that they are coming by just as they are about to film the movie. Both Burton and Schumacher make direct references to the Adam West series, and noticeably NOT to the comics.
When you consider that the Lego Batman plot is the story a young boy creates for his Lego figure that includes Polka-Dot Man, Gentleman Ghost, Crazy Quilt and Detective #27, it’s hard to feel anything but pity for the collective knowledge demonstrated by the previous writers and directors.
It’s a good movie. It doesn’t have any rewatch value to me. I appreciate that he can actually move around in the costume, and I read it’s the lightest suit since Adam West.
(Dude! Same article mentioned Clooney’s suit was 90 lbs!)