Thoughts on The Batman 2022

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Introduction to the personal blog

Hello folks, this is the first-ever personal blog post. I debated a lot on what to write it on, and by a lot I mean a 15-minute shower and a 15-minute dog walk, so actually I thought about it for 30 minutes. I want to prefix the actual content of the blogs with a little introduction to the whole personal section thing. Essentially, if you are looking for scientific, factual, and objective information presented to you through an enriched vocabulary and complex sentence structure, you have come to the wrong place; what you’re looking for is in the academic section. Here, I plan to post stuff I am interested in writing, it could be rants, opinions, or just documentation on random events happening in my life. 

Introduction to the theme

With that said, I don’t wanna beat around the bush – The Batman (2022). Honestly, this movie felt very refreshing. It was not perfect, but God did I love it. I’m gonna talk about a few things to keep this short and plus some praise of the film. First, I wanna talk about the path that I think DC is taking with its films, then I’d like to talk about its similarities with The Dark Knight trilogy and why I think it sort of builds on it instead of outright copying it, I’d like to talk about my general impressions of the film, and finally the hyped-up Joker.

Impressions of the Batman & remarks + observations

Now let’s get on, I think The Batman is a very well-produced film. I really love what they did with Bruce and Batman and I think Robert Pattinson played the role perfectly. I view this iteration of Batman as the most grounded one. Previous interpretations of this character all sort of portrayed him as this reclusive, yet sort of still kinda smooth character if you know what I mean. In The Dark Knight we see him throwing parties, balls, running Wayne Enterprise, in Gotham he confronts a whole board of directors all with a sort of charisma to it. Bruce Wayne is very prominent in those iterations, yet looking at it realistically that simply seems improbable. We are led to believe that Batman is out every night, hunting for criminals. How does he have the time or energy to also run a company and social life? I mean, when I am on 4 hours of sleep I become a literal gremlin who just looks to get through the day and get to bed for a nap. And honestly, I think Matt Reeves and Pattinson portrayed that very well. Judging from the comments made by the associates of Bruce, we are led to believe that he rarely leaves his tower. In fact, even early on in the movie, he tells Alfred to cancel a meeting with some of his business partners I believe. I got the impression that he sleeps during the day (supported by his eyebags) and plays vigilante during the night. This schedule leaves no room for running a business, for nurturing a social or a healthy life, his paleness being a sign of the lack of vitamin D. Like, don’t get me wrong, I am willing to indulge in a suspension of disbelief to enjoy a movie or a show, explaining it by the fact that they’re just humans in different conditions. I mean, my favorite anime of all time is Banana Fish and Ash canonically sleeps only 2 hours, and I liked that. Even so, there is an argument to be made that Ash is not a billionaire and his lifestyle is not a choice, unlike Bruce’s. Anyway, back on topic, he is no Superman nor superhero, he is trained, and has equipment but is still human. I am referring to the moments in the movie where Batman’s limitations were very clear. The janky usage of the grappling hook, hitting himself along the way, and the hits taken during a fight all sort of reminded me and returned me to the grim setting of this movie. It is a show don’t tell to its fullest. I also liked the direction they decided to take the Wayne family. It only makes sense that in a city so corrupt and vile as Gotham, every rich man and woman would have dirt on their hands. It also, I think unintentionally, sort of adds to the ambiguity of the relations between the Wayne family and the Fleck family in the 2019 Joker. The fact that there were rumors about  Martha Wayne being in a mental institution means that Arthur Fleck’s mother could have caught wind of them and somehow, in her delusions, mistaken herself for Martha, hence her belief that Arthur is a Wayne and is Bruce’s brother. On a side note, I believe that if not done redundantly, an iteration where Batman and Joker are siblings could add an interesting spin to their dynamic. The Batman in this movie is great and I think the best Batman we’ve seen, but how does the villain hold up?

The Riddler

Great, he holds up great. They have successfully turned a traditionally very goofy character into a serious and grounded villain to fit the whole feeling of the movie. Even in the Arkham series of video games, there is still this goofiness to him, even when he is a terrorist. The new Batman takes that and straight chugs it out the window and turns The Riddler into a full-on radical extremist, an actual terrorist, not just a guy spouting riddles for the sake of it. It’s an interesting decision to make him an actual incel, 4chan /pol/ board type person. As MatPat from Film Theory in his video about the movie said, it is an interesting modern spin on the villain. Also, now I mean this in the least offensive way, and by no means am I correlating the Riddler’s violent actions with the mental illness I am about to say, but I feel that the original goofiness of the original character was compiled and iterated by having him on the autism spectrum. Like there’s evidence for it scattered throughout, for example, his lack of volume control, his extreme reactions to when things don’t go as planned, his social awkwardness also is charismatic in its own way, especially if he managed to get 500 twitch viewers to commit terrorist attacks, his obsession with riddles as a form of comfort, also the scene where he sings Ave Maria also sort of shows his rapid thought process. He probably imagined the dams of Gotham to blow up with that song in the background and in order for everything to go how he envisioned, he had to sing it. Agh, the final thing about him and we will move on. His name was mentioned only once during his arrest and never again. The arrest scene was also very erratic and fast and it was hard to miss. I had to Google his name to add him to this post, Edward Nashton. I think this plays into the idea of him being “a nobody trying to be somebody” type character. This quote by the way is from the deleted scene with the Joker and oh my god am I hyped for what they plan to do with him in hopefully upcoming sequels. 

Some opinions on the film

Anyway, it goes without saying the music and visuals were legitimately very beautiful. The color palette of the movie has a similar philosophy as the British Utopia, proving that thrillers and action do not need bleak colors to feel serious, and genuine aesthetic bright colors do not take away from the grim atmosphere, just make for better cinematography. One final thing to add though, I did not particularly like the car scene. This comes down to personal preference but it felt out of place. It sort of worked as a contrast to the movie’s slow pace, but I personally did not enjoy it, it felt too in your face. I think I understand why it is what it is but, meh, I don’t know, maybe on a rewatch I’ll like it better. It still doesn’t take away from the fact that half of what went into it was all practical including the fire. On its own, the batmobile is a great element of batman, as it is made loud, scary, and roaring, furthering the philosophical approach to the movie’s Batman as he is a tool of fear and deterioration.

The Dark Knight vs The Batman comparison

Now, many people compare this movie to Cristopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which is reasonable. They follow a similar premise, similar structure, and development. But calling it a copy is unfair. There are clear things that the 2022 movie did better, like Bruce’s character, colors all that jazz, and some that TDK did better like pacing and the villain. It is an expansion on the theme that Nolan’s trilogy tried to set. Also, Paul Dano was amazing and the Riddler was such a good villain, but Ledger’s Joker was iconic and mesmerizing. The Riddler had a very captivating presence but was not as prevalent as Joker. Still, both performances were astounding. While we’re on the topic of both movies, I wanted to point out that the Riddler seemed a bit more grounded as a villain than the Joker, and one of the examples highlighting this would be the fact that the Joker had no fingerprints, no ID, nothing in his pocket but knives and lint, while the Riddler was immediately identified as Edward Nashton. Both these decisions work wonders for their respective movies, The Joker is supposed to be a literal manifestation of chaos, he is an ideology, an entity, and his lack of existence in terms of identification works so well to create a level of mystique around him. On the other hand, The Riddler’s immediate identification after his arrest and the lack of importance of his identity serves its purpose to show that he is a nobody, an anyone, it could be your neighbor, brother, coworker, or stranger you passed on the street. More suiting, it could be the guy you downvoted on Reddit. His point is clear, a regular (slightly mentally ill) citizen, betrayed by his city and government that turned to radicalism. It’s nothing we haven’t seen. However, why this works for the movie is because there are 500 more people exactly like him. It shows a crystal clear image of just how bad Gotham is for the average citizen. 

The New Joker

Now, while we’re on the topic of TDK and the joker, I want to say some words on the joker in The Batman. Man am I excited for this villain. My opinions are based on the deleted scene. Here it is if you folks want to watch it. Basically, from what I can tell, the new Joker is a hyper-intelligent criminal, that deduced the Riddler’s motifs, reasons, and even profile based on the evidence case. Additionally, he understands Batman on a deeper level and a line of dialogue in that scene. The Joker says to the Barman: “You think they [the victims] deserved it”. He knows that Batman and The Riddler are opposite sides of the same coin, wanting to act out as vengeance for their trauma (coincidentally both of them involve being parentless). Additionally, it is a breath of fresh air to see the Joker not be a direct product of society, at least not at first glance. From the deleted scene, I feel as if the new Joker is just someone who enjoys causing havoc and utilizing his intelligence for the fun of it. Quite literally, getting off on it. Essentially, serving as a real-life joker card to Bruce, a trump card. However, I also see an alternate version where somehow he is jailed up, and helping out Bats is somehow all a part of his overarching 17D chess plan and for that, I am excited too. I love overly intelligent villains. 

Final thoughts + outro

Final thoughts, I loved the new Batman movie, I am excited for the future of the series, hoping it would become a trilogy like Nolan’s. Also, I think DC realized that people are very enticed by their villains and are drawn in by the darker themes. In this aspect, it’s almost as if they have stopped competing with Marvel in the superhero industry, but have doubled down on the psychology of their characters and the grittiness of their universe. Anyway, these are all just my thoughts after watching the movie once. I am genuinely interested in what you folk think of it, so please do not shy away from the comments. Oh, and a rating, it’s a solid. That’s it. Goodbye folks. 

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