7/10 The best solo Batman film since “The Dark Knight” (which remains #1 by a mile), “The Batman” is a largely successful reinvention of Batman, wisely skipping out on the origin story and taking us into the second full year of Bruce Wayne being Batman. I saw this film twice and made sure the second time I saw it on IMAX, which is always the best way to see any film. Director Matt Reeves is able to accomplish several things that have never been done this well in other Batman films. For example, this is easily the best version of Gotham put to film. While earlier versions of Gotham were extremely cheesy and even Christopher Nolan’s Gotham just looked and felt like Chicago/New York City, Reeves’ Gotham feels like a completely new character in and of itself. The production design is fantastic and the cinematography blew me away. The entire film is darkly lit, with minimal sunshine or bright lights ever popping up. As our world has gotten darker, so has Gotham and our Batman films overall. The 1990s were largely carefree (at least when compared to the world events of today) and Joel Schumacher’s movies were bright and silly. Then, just four years after 9/11, Nolan’s Gotham/Batman were much grittier and darker as the world had forever changed. Flash forward to today post the China Virus, a fresh war breaking out and impending economic downfall/recession and we have the darkest Gotham/Batman yet. The film is well cast with Robert Pattinson being a great Batman (although this new take on Bruce Wayne yields mixed results and this Batman is essentially Rorschach from “Watchmen” down to the narration of his journals) and the supporting cast being fantastic too. Another thing only this film has accomplished is portraying a fantastic, realistic version of The Riddler, one of my personal favorite villains. Paul Dano, who often plays total creeps, is pitch perfect as this psychopath. Since Batman is known as the “world’s greatest detective”, getting to see him actually do some detective work was a welcomed sight to behold. Despite being almost three full hours, the pacing worked well as you will be entertained from start to finish and there wasn’t much fat to cut from the running time. The action choreography was well done with Catwoman kicking ass in a realistic manner and Batman’s brutality coming through. When it comes to Michael Giacchino’s score, overall it was solid but noticeably repetitive, which did bother me a bit. He repeats the same three notes that sound exactly like the beginning of John Williams’ Imperial Death March from “Star Wars”. As for the problems, “The Batman” certainly does have some. While being inspired by other film makers is only natural, this film almost takes too much from the films/shows of David Fincher. This feels more like if Fincher made a Batman film, as opposed to if Reeves did. Even an interrogation scene between Batman and the Riddler felt way too similar to the conversation/car ride into the desert near the end of “Seven”. The Riddler being inspired by the Zodiac killer is also subject matter that Fincher deeply covered. The influence becomes too much past a certain point. There was also a bit of woke politics unnecessarily inserted into the film. Catwoman remarks about “rich, white assholes” and I couldn’t help but think if a movie replaced “white” with “black” or any other color or rich assholes, how the blue checkmarks on Twitter would simultaneously have their heads explode. All of the villains in the film are all straight, white males and individual scenes have anti-white hatred hanging over them (a mostly white gang attacks an Asian man except for the black gang member who refuses to). While Nolan and past Batman directors were smart enough to keep politics out of it, Reeves and co-writer Peter Craig clearly aren’t as smart. Individual moments in the film are also either ridiculous or over the top. During a great chase scene, a large vehicle with a ramp just happens to be perfectly lined up in front of the Batmobile at the right moment for Batman to drive up it. In the same scene, the Penguin’s car crashes, flipping dozens of time, yet the Penguin doesn’t have so much as a scratch on him and is jumping around in the next scene, after what would have clearly killed or at least seriously injured him. Finally, Batman watches a video about The Riddler’s plans and the second the video talks about bombs going off in Gotham, they just so happen to go off at that exact moment, which was quite the convenient timing. At one point the police have an unconscious Batman but no one thinks to take his mask off and see who Batman really is. During some flooding in Gotham, people seek shelter in an arena and immediately hang out on the lowest level, which is actually below street level, instead of going straight to the top of the arena to avoid the flooding which was insanely stupid. Bruce Wayne is also an intelligent man, until the film calls for him not to be. After jumping off of a building to make an escape, he pulls his parachute at the dumbest moment possible. Even worse, he stands right next to a bomb going off without even attempting to move away from it, even though he can visibly see the timer counting down. News channels are used for either exposition dumps or they show things like The Riddler’s live stream, which no news program would ever show for multiple, obvious reasons. The final scene in the film also had me unintentionally laughing out loud since it was straight out of “Furious 7”. Overall though, this is still a good film that most Batman fans will enjoy since despite a fair number of flaws, they don’t take away too heavily from the enjoyment factor. Just don’t buy into the overhype that this is the greatest Batman film ever, as some woke politics, ridiculous moments and a repetitive score hold the film back from greatness.

#RiddledWithCraziness / #DirectedByTheMattman / #TheDarkTwilightKnight / #2YearsACave / #AfterWayne / #AllDayAndAKnight

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