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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Matt Reeves
Cast:
Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano
Writing Credits:
Matt Reeves, Peter Craig

Synopsis:
When a sadistic serial killer targets key political figures in Gotham, Batman must investigate the city's hidden corruption and question his family's involvement.

Box Office:
Budget:
$185 million.
Opening Weekend:
$134,008,624 on 4417 Screens.
Domestic Gross:
$369,242,517.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Portuguese
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 176 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 5/24/2022

Bonus:
• “Vengeance in the Making” Documentary
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• “Anatomy of the Car Chase” Featurette
• “Anatomy of the Wing Suit Jump” Featurette
• “Becoming Catwoman” Featurette
• “Looking for Vengeance” Featurette
• “Genesis” Featurette
• “Vengeance Meets Justice” Featurette
• “The Batmobile” Featurette
• “Unpacking the Icons” Featurette
• “A Transformation” Featurette
• DVD Copy


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RELATED REVIEWS


The Batman [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 18, 2022)

After Christopher Nolan’s trilogy ended with 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, Batman didn’t spend too much time on the sidelines, as he returned in 2016. However, that year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice acted less as the character’s “reboot” and more as a prologue to lead us toward 2017’s Justice League.

Ben Affleck donned the cowl for those two films and apparently planned to make his own standalone Bat-film. However, that didn’t come to fruition, so the Dark Knight’s next effort waited until 2022’s reboot The Batman.

Two years into his career as a masked vigilante, Bruce “The Batman” Wayne (Robert Pattinson) confronts a new menace. A mystery man who eventually reveals a pseudonym as “The Riddler” (Paul Dano) kills various Gotham City officials and leaves puzzles along the way.

The Batman works with Gotham Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) to solve the case and stop Riddler before he murders again. Along the way, the Batman becomes immersed in a tangled web, one that apparently reflects on his dead parents’ past actions as well.

Back in 1989, Tim Burton brought Batman to the big screen with a hugely successful film that gave the character a foreboding tone absent from prior Caped Crusader films/TV. After many thought Burton’s 1992 flick Batman Returns went too far into grime and muck, this eventually changed, as Joel Schumacher brought a lighter tone to 1995’s Batman Forever and 1997’s Batman and Robin.

The last one severely disappointed at the box office, as its campy vibe turned off many viewers. This left the franchise dormant until Nolan’s 2005 reboot Batman Begins restored the series to its former glories.

Nolan’s “Dark Knight Trilogy” – which also included 2008’s massively popular Dark Knight - went deeper into a serious, gritty feel than Burton’s two movies. Given how far Nolan took things, the question became whether the next version of the character would continue that trend or retreat to a lighter tone.

The Batman answers that question with a resounding “continue the trend”, though the 2022 movie pursues such a relentlessly grim feel that I hesitate to say it “continues” anything. While the Nolan flicks got known as humorless, that wasn’t accurate. Though they didn’t offer laughfests, the Nolans came with reasonable dollops of dry comedy.

Compared to The Batman, the Nolans look like Caddyshack. One finds the occasional slightly wry/witty line – such as when the Batman states the obvious about Selina “Catwoman” Kyle’s (Zoë Kravitz) plethora of feline pets – but in general, this feels like an exceedingly serious film nearly devoid of lightness.

And I mean that literally, as The Batman takes place in a Gotham City almost perpetually immersed in rain and gloom. Nolan’s Gotham didn’t exactly offer a sunny paradise, but he didn’t go so far into dreary atmosphere as The Batman director Matt Reeves does.

Not long after the film’s release, a meme made the rounds that showed screenshots from a bunch of Batman movies over the years and it illustrated how the franchise emphasized darker photography over time. The punch line comes from a totally black frame as representation of a theoretical 2025 film.

Jokes aside, The Batman really does go a bit crazy with the murk, though it doesn’t become impenetrable visually. The cinematography always allows the viewer to make sense of the action.

Still, all of this feels a bit contrived, as if Reeves believes “dark photography equals drama!” Throw in the persistently super-serious tone I mentioned and The Batman tends to take itself very, very seriously.

Look, I like “somber Batman”. I don’t want a return to the camp of the 1960s Adam West material or the Schumacher flicks from the 1990s.

That said, the ultra-serious nature of The Batman can become a little overwhelming, as it simply beats the viewer over the head. This Gotham seems so relentlessly miserable that one wonders why the Batman bothers to attempt to save it.

Reeves also wears influences on his sleeve. We get some nods toward the notorious “Zodiac Killer" and also lean toward David Fincher’s 1995 classic Se7en.

And by “lean toward”, I mean “shamelessly evoke”. I won’t call The Batman an actual remake of Se7en, but it seems abundantly obvious that Reeves took major cues from Fincher’s work.

This becomes especially clear in the film’s third act. No spoilers here, but what seem like general Se7en subtext becomes text along the way.

The film’s running time also illustrates how seriously Reeves takes this project. Granted, Dark Knight Rises boasted an extended length too, but The Batman’s 176 minutes goes 11 minutes farther than Rises, and the 2022 film seems to need that space less.

After all, Rises acted as the finale to an epic trilogy, whereas The Batman exists as an opening chapter. 176 minutes just becomes an awfully long slog for the story at hand.

One will likely feel those 176 minutes as well. While I can’t claim The Batman truly drags, it does come with scenes that seem unnecessary and semi-redundant. These add to the length in a way that makes the end result sputter a bit at times.

All this griping aside, I do find a fair amount to like about The Batman, and that includes its cast. We get a fine array of actors here, as in addition to Pattinson, Wright, Kravitz and Dano, we find talents like Colin Farrell, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard and Andy Serkis.

They offer solid performances, with particular credit to Pattinson and Dano. Many questioned the choice of Pattinson, as plenty of folks just viewed him as the mopey pretty boy of Twilight.

However, Pattison proved himself much more than that over the last decade, as he took on a variety of challenging roles. As the Batman, he becomes a brooding, introspective presence who fills the cowl in a satisfying manner.

In an unusual creative choice, The Batman largely removes Bruce Wayne from the equation, and when we do see the Batman sans cowl, he still maintains a dour tone. This contrasts with the playboy persona Bruce usually cultivates.

As such, Pattinson doesn’t need to play a “dual role” like Christian Bale, Michael Keaton and the others did. Still, he portrays the part as written in a positive manner.

Of all the Bat-villains seen in the flick, The Batman’s Riddler differs most from his traditional incarnation. Instead of the usual green-clad imp, this Riddler becomes a grim, malevolent spirit.

His mission clearly hearkens back to that of Se7en’s John Doe, but Dano doesn’t play the part as a clone. He communicates a good variety of attitudes throughout the film and puts a strong stamp on this reinvented Riddler.

Another positive comes from the use of the Batman’s sleuthing skills. Though known in the comics as “the world’s greatest detective”, the prior movie’s usually didn’t do much with that aspect of the character, for they favored brute strength and vengeful determination.

In this flick, the Batman devotes much mental energy to Riddler’s puzzles and other bits of detective work. These give the movie a story that deviates from the usual action in a pleasing way.

As a big fan of the character, I want to love The Batman, but instead, I just like it – and even there, I only like it in a moderate manner. Still, I look forward to the next chapter and hope that The Batman 2 manages to capitalize on this one’s positives and diminish its negatives.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

The Batman appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall this became a pleasing presentation.

Sharpness seemed strong. Some softness came from all the murky visuals, but these didn’t distract, and the majority of the flick felt well-defined.

Jaggies and shimmering remained absent, and I also saw no signs of edge haloes. Print flaws failed to appear.

Like so many modern movies, The Batman opted for orange and teal – a grimy sense of orange and teal, but orange and teal nonetheless. A few reds cropped up as well. Within stylistic constraints, the colors felt well-reproduced.

Blacks were deep and dark, and shadows appeared clear – well, as clear as the often intentionally murky photography allowed. Given the movie’s cinematography, the film didn’t offer a visual showcase, but the Blu-ray offered a good representation of the source.

Though not among the best of the superhero soundtracks, the Dolby Atmos audio of The Batman still did nicely for itself. The movie came with a good general sense of atmosphere and showed smooth delineation of the score as well.

Of course, the film’s action sequences gave it the biggest kick, and those added a lot of spice to the proceedings. The material filled the speakers and created a dynamic sense of these elements.

Audio quality seemed good. Speech remained natural and distinctive, without edginess or other issues. Music came across as full and rich as well.

Again, effects demonstrated the strongest aspect of the mix, as these added punch. The elements sounded accurate and dynamic, with clear highs and intense lows.

Bass response seemed powerful and contributed a solid presence throughout the film. In the end, the soundtrack created a quality impression.

All the set’s extras appear on a second disc, and there we start with a documentary called Vengeance in the Making. It spans 53 minutes, 41 seconds and offers comments from writer/director Matt Reeves, producer Dylan Clark, Batsuit costume designer/chief concept artist Glyn Dillon, Batsuit costume designer/costume supervisor David Crossman, HOD costume effects Pierre Bohanna, director of photography Greig Fraser, production designer James Chinlund, set decorator Lee Sandales, assistant set decorator Anita Gupta, makeup designer Naomi Donne, costume designer Jacqueline Durran, visual effects associate supervisor Malcolm Humphreys, VFX supervisor Dan Lemmon, special effects supervisor Dominic Tuohy, and actors Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, Jayme Lawson, and Peter Sarsgaard.

The documentary covers story/characters and Reeves’ take on the material, costume and makeup design, photography, sets and locations, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the production, cast and performances, various effects, and music.

With nearly an hour at its disposal, “Vengeance” manages to become a fairly good production diary. Despite some of the usual happy talk, we learn a lot about the flick.

Nine featurettes ensue, and Looking for Vengeance runs four minutes, 57 seconds. It brings notes from Reeves, Pattison, Clark, 2nd unit director/supervising stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo and stunt coordinator Samuel Le.

The reel looks Batman’s fighting style. Though brief, it comes with useful insights.

Genesis goes for six minutes, nine seconds and features Reeves, Pattinson, Kravitz, Wright, Donne, Clark and hair designer Zoe Tahir.

“Genesis” covers the influence of the comics and aspects of the film’s take on the material/characters. A little of this repeats from the longer documentary, but we get many new thoughts.

Next comes Vengeance Meets Justice, an eight-minute, four-second reel with Reeves, Pattinson, Dano, and Clark.

“Justice” examines the movie’s treatment of the Batman/Riddler characters/relationship. Expect some nice glimpses of the filmmakers’ viewpoints.

Becoming Catwoman lasts eight minutes, 36 seconds and delivers info from Kravitz, Reeves, Pattinson, Clark, Wright, Alonzo, Sarsgaard, Tahir, Chinlund, Sandales, Durran, and costume cutter Jennifer Alford. We learn about the flick’s version of the character in this engaging reel.

After this comes The Batmobile, a 10-minute, 51-second program with Reeves, Tuohy, Wright, Pattinson, Clark, Chinlund, art director – vehicles Joseph Hiura, stunt coordinator Stephen Griffin, stunt performer Rob Hunt and visual effects producer Alex Bicknell.

Unsurprisingly, we hear about the movie’s main vehicle in this one. It turns into another informative segment.

Two similar featurette follow: Anatomy of the Car Chase (6:08) and Anatomy of the Wing Suit Jump (6:29). Across these, we hear from Reeves, Alonzo, Tuohy, Bicknell, Farrell, Hunt, Lemmon, Clark, Dillon, Fraser, 2nd unit 1stAD Tom Edmundson and stagecraft operator Charmaine Chan.

As expected, these segments cover aspects of their respective scenes. They give us nice notes about these domains.

Unpacking the Icons takes up five minutes, 47 seconds and gives us statements from Reeves, Durran, Dillon, Dano, Kravitz, Farrell, Clark, property master Jamie Wilkinson and graphic designer Laura Dishington.

Here we examine costumes/props and attempts at realism in these areas. The short program offers useful informant.

Finally, A Transformation fills seven minutes, 59 seconds with material from Farrell, Kravitz, Pattinson, Reeves, Fraser, Clark, prosthetics designer Mike Marino, prosthetics makeup artist Mike Fontaine, “Transformation” looks at the techniques used to turn Farrell into Penguin. It covers the topic in a positive manner.

Two Deleted Scenes finish the package. We find “Scene 52 Joker/Arkham” (5:53) and “Scene 56 Selina Gets 44 Below Keycard” (1:54).

Fans might already have seen “Arkham”, as it made the rounds online to promote the home video release. It gives us a glimpse of the Clown Prince of Crime as played by Barry Keoghan.

It hints at the history between the Batman and Joker but feels like a ripoff of the Clarice/Lecter relationship from Silence of the Lambs. If The Batman 2 uses Joker, I hope the filmmakers find a better way to do so.

“Keycard” just offers some shoe leather of Selina as she investigates inside the club. Given how long the final film runs, “Keycard” would’ve just made it drag, though it does allude to Penguin’s crush on Selina as well as his aspirations.

We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Reeves. He tells us about the sequences as well as why he cut them from the final film. Reeves delivers some useful notes.

Speaking of commentary, the iTunes download of the film includes a full-length track from Reeves. I’ll update the review after I get a chance to screen it, though I think it stinks that folks who drop money for the disc can’t access it there.

Another reboot of the franchise, The Batman brings the darkest, grittiest – and most pretentious – version of the character to date. Aspects of the movie succeed, but it lacks the consistency it needs to become one of the best superhero flicks. The Blu-ray brings very good picture and audio along with a mix of bonus materials. The Batman becomes a generally engaging but spotty adventure.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main