The Batman Still Has Wings

An argument can be made that anything “Marvel Cinema Universe” is the same movie with 27 different titles. The formula never fails: Arrogant, grumpy, or emotionless hero + desensitizing CGI +/- obligatory love interest + forgettable villain who always possesses one less level of power = box office points.

The DC Comics movies are no different, and I’m not sure how many more Batmans and Jokers and Supermans we need and why their origin stories have to get rebooted ad nauseum. (What about making a movie about Batman nearing retirement and looking forward to babysitting grandbats?) 

I know I’m old school. My “Batman” was Michael Keaton in a movie stolen by Jack Nicholson and directed by oddball Tim Burton in 1989. It was okay; kind of cartoony. Danny Elfman’s music was the best part.

I realize these comic book/superhero “theme parks” (Martin Scorsese clears his throat) aren’t going away for a very long time, and some of them can be brainless fun, but human connection is a tough thing to come by when dealing with grumpy men in tights.

Having said that (Larry David clears his throat), I appreciated The Batman in all its grungy, Seven-esque glory. Like, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, it places neo noir over caped schtick. Like Seven (1995), The investigations and clue solving in the city’s dingiest places allure in a guilty pleasure sort of way. We want to see what’s behind the creepy locked door and wince as it’s being opened. If anything, this gumshoe type of suspense – the kind that is often replaced by computer-generated imagery in most superhero movies – is refreshing, and when it is executed sparingly, it makes the epic car chase scene in the Batmobile even grander.

Robert Pattinson as our dozenth Batman is predictably one-toned but successfully holds the weight (and length) of the movie on his shoulders. Paul Dano plays the antagonist in The Riddler with such an ickiness, it reminds you of Scorpio in Dirty Harry — twistedly fun to root against. As per usual, Gotham is a gigantic shower and whispery gravel voices are required by all actors and actresses. This was all to be expected.

Sick Paul Dano, Status Quo Robert Pattinson, Stunning Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, and Colin Farrell as Penguin so caked in makeup, he might as well be a different actor

What isn’t expected is Michael Giacchino’s incessant film score. At times, it cleverly incorporates themes from Schubert’s “Ave Maria” into both the drama and the action. At other times, its Batman motif fringes on being one interval away from John Williams’s “Imperial March.” (Darth Vader becomes a second villain in the audience’s subconscious, and Giacchino tears out the page in the dictionary that contains the word, “plagiarism.”)  

The last 30 minutes aren’t expected either. No movie needs to be 176 minutes long. That is an insult to movies of this trope, The Godfather, and all human butts.

Other than these flaws, The Batman still has wings. It’s nothing original, and it’s no Dark Knight, but there’s enough entertainment with one bathroom break to fulfill a 21st century movie theatre experience. This Batman might be too dark for some, but the lack of campy appeal and CGI actually contribute to a more relatable, human connection than most comic book/superhero movies out there. I think the DC Comics movies have a leg up on the Marvel movies, but I also don’t think that’s saying much.

The Batman ***1/2 out of *****

19 thoughts on “The Batman Still Has Wings

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  1. At a 50,000 foot view, it looks to me like Marvel has done too much too soon and doesn’t have much of a direction right now. DC has an opening here, and I think this movie is a start in the right direction. Gotham should be a dark and moody atmosphere and this film is just that. The running time didn’t even bother me, which was a surprise also. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and am looking forward to the next one…and a re-watch very soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m realizing I’m more a DC Comic movie fan because of the reasons you mentioned. Even my younger friends who prefer Marvel are starting to acknowledge MCU’s quick cashgrab approach and its result in less quality and more predictability!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, Marvel had Iron Man as an anchor, surrounded him with a few other characters…and off we all went. Now, they look a bit rudderless without a true “next Phase leader.” They are unleashing way too many characters n my opinion…and still have that annoying, egotistic attitude of “we’ll connect all this for you when we feel like it.”

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not going to lie: Since having a baby daughter, my tendency to watch darker films has dwindled. I’m okay with this. Bring on more Disney. At the same time, an occasional creaking open of the ugly or dismal side of life grants me a short amount of time for guilty pleasure escape and empathy – both being virtues of watching the movies in the first place. Albeit, The Batman was absolutely way too long for anyone with a life.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. ‘I think the DC Comics movies have a leg up on the Marvel movies, but I also don’t think that’s saying much. ‘

    I’m coming to the same conclusion. The Batman works well, for the reasons you describe, and the Marvel thing seems to have lost direction. No amount of nostalgia could being me back to The Eternals for a reassessment….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To me, they are unremarkable, bleed into each other, and justify a horrifying truth: Surface-level entertainment for the TikTok Brain will continue to make the most money and maintain the cycle. In the same light, most of my students would rather see Marvel than any of the Oscar-nominated material. I can’t blame them here either. For 20 years, the Oscars disappointed me to a boycott level. I hear I missed a slap of some kind…


  3. I Think Carey Mulligan would be good choice as Harley Quinn In Matt Reeves The Batman (2022) Sequel


  4. Marvel heroes – all have daddy issues too. 🙂 … maybe not Scott Lang, or Carol Danvers. 🙂
    Agree with you about Michael Keaton’s batman – it was fun! 😀
    I haven’t got to this one yet, but I don’t know if I need batnoir in my life at the moment … maybe a late night viewing a couple of years from now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A late night viewing a couple years from now is just right for this one. Yeah, I agree with the daddy issue diagnosis. I’m just sick of the lengthy cookie-cutter formulas and suspending disbelief to death. Seriously, I’d rather watch Batman cooking in his kitchen in his batsuit. That sounds amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I love “off topic.” I often go back to your reviews that you wrote years ago as if they were written today, and you always respond with kindness and an open mind.

      Regarding Jurassic Park, no, I haven’t written an official review. I should. That movie is legendary. I wish they wouldn’t keep adding “sequel” or reboots because they dilute what was one of the most groundbreaking experiences in movie history: Spielberg’s solid directing and campy sense of humor, the epic (and brand new) CGI effects that worked both in context and simply stunning visuals to drop your jaw to, and John Williams’s music! Absolutely phenomenal!

      Did you see it recently?

      Also…off topic…have you reviewed the song, “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The interaction is the whole fun of blogging to me. Some close their comments down when a post is a week old…where is the fun in that?

        Yes I saw it again. It made me remember how groundbreaking it was at the time. I took my Dad to see it twice because before that..we saw no realistic dinosaurs…ever. I love claymation but with dinosaurs…this was jaw dropping. Not only that but the sound…the T-Rex scared the hell out of you…and yes the movie was good by itself.

        No I haven’t…I need to do that. It gets looked over at times…I’ll make a point of that in the coming weeks…promise.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I totally agree: The interactions are the main reason I do this, and I keep them comments open forever!

          I’m so glad Jurassic still holds up! Yes, anything claymation is going to cause unintended laughs every time.

          Please do! – I’m having my all-boys choirs sing “Beautiful Boy,” and I know there will be tears in the audience 🙂

          Happy week this week! We got this!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. See I like long movies…I wanted IT to be twice as long lol. Now if they don’t have a point then no…but I like as much detail as possible.
    Bailey loves this one…he didn’t think he would. Maybe his second viewing will change his mind. I agree about the origin story…must we see it over and over? I have not seen this one yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your my long movie fan. I can handle them from time to time – A classic like Lawrence of Arabia or 2001 or Gone with the Wind. But these superhero movies? Nah, they should be no longer than 120 minutes for good popcorn ingestion and rest 🙂

      Loved IT, the book. The movies were decent.

      And, yeah, if I see another origin story, I’m gonna diagnose Hollywood with insanity.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ok…on Super Hero movies I can somewhat agree with you.
        With IT…they should have made it an HBO series and they could have done it right….I want the book shown on the screen.

        Bailey bitches about that…dad I hope they don’t show yet another origin story.

        Liked by 1 person

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