Batman: An adequate reboot that gives Batman a refreshingly new inner struggle and style

撰文: Michael | 發布日期: 2022年04月21日


Rating: 8/10
Genre: Action
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell.

The new Batman movie is an adequate reboot that gives Batman a refreshingly new inner struggle and style, nonetheless anticlimactic finale.

The story of Batman has been told and retold many times in film. The premise of the Batman is an attractive one with many potential to explore and develop the character of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Wayne is a vigilante with a tragic past and determined to take revenge by his own hands. How he sees punitive methods against criminals allows films/directors to explore Wayne's mindset and probe into the nature of justice. Just as Riddler’s riddle entails - “It can be cruel, poetic, or blind. But when it's denied, it's violence you may find.” Thus, a Batman movie is always fascinating to me. Unlike other superhero movies, such as Spiderman, Peter Parker, who always tries to right the wrong, he is conscious of doing the right things; Spiderman’s character is not as muddy as Batman, thus less dramatic. Batman on the other hand can be cruel, poetic or blind but always violent. For that reason, a reboot of Batman, despite the same background story being told again and again, more often than not, could be a breath of fresh air. Vivid examples of interesting Batman movies, like the ones that were directed by Tim Burton and Chris Nolan, are all a multiverse of the City of Gotham and its dark, crazy residents. Even the Joker could be a character study subject.

This incarnation of Catwoman is of mixed race (half white and half Black) departed from previous films’ white female setting yet keeping the same character traits. Catwoman, Selina Kyle, looking for retribution from those who did wrong to her. One of the lines that Selina says to Batman is that they need to stand up for the vulnerable because all those who care about Gotham are those “white privileged assholes.” New social changes stemming from post Ferguson unrest and George Floyd, also gives Batman’s recurring narrative devices of government corruption and police collusion with criminals a breath of fresh air. The traditionally all white cast now has a new tag - white privileged assholes. From the Mayor to philanthropist, from Police Commissioner to District Attorney, and even Batman and the Riddler are all white privileged. The only righteous characters in the movie are BIPOC, Catwoman, James Gordon, and mayoral candidate Bella Reál (who looks like poet Amanda Gorman), a subtle casting choice. I have to say this feels more natural to evaluate Black characters in a movie than some other recent movies.

The choice of villain - Riddler - is a smart move in the new Batman movie. While the most famous Batman archenemy is Joker, yet, Joker has also been portrayed too many times in almost every Batman movie, and even its only spin-off movies. Having Joker as the villain will inevitably draw criticism against other Batman movies or other Joker films. While villains have two main types: pure evil and those who become evil due to tragedy. Joker is a classic villain in Batman stories, regarded as an unreasonable lunatic, such as Nolan’s Joker, (Heath Ledger) who symbolized pure evil. Recently, the taste of the audience has shifted to prefer more dynamic bad guys who feel real, so a bigoted Edward Nashton, aka Riddler, who is inspired by Batman to be a serial killer in order to unmask the hypocracy of the government and police makes more sense. After all, recently Joker, too, is seen as a villain with a sad background in the movie Joker, played by Joaquin Phoenix.

There is much to like about the new Batman movie. Film’s atmosphere is dark and heavy, somewhat like Se7en, portraying a sick, corroded, corrupt Gotham city. The action scenes are good, for example when Batman escapes from the police headquarters by jumping from the skyscraper’s roof crash landing on a bus and the scene where Batman car chases Penguin with his Batmobile. The movie is also quite stylish, scenes like the entrance of the Batmobile (which reminded me of John Carpenter’s Christine) and the upside down shot of Batman walking towards Penguin are remarkable.

The storyline is quite good at the beginning where I got hooked on the mystery that Riddler is about to expose and how Batman will catch this serial killer. However, the ending is a bit disappointing. I feel that it is unnecessary for the last finale of a potential mass shooting by all the Riddler-followers/mimickers that at the end only the mayor-elect got shot. Surprisingly, Batman is able to save the day in the nick of time. The whole purpose of the last action scene is for a Batman fighting extravaganza. The only memorable moment was when Selina reversed the damsel in distress and saved Batman when he almost got killed by the Riddler minions. At one point I almost thought that Batman is going to die in this movie, which would be a first, and, nay, he did not. Batman instead rambled on about how he can make a change in the world. Bababa. For a three hours movie, it is quite engaging until the last part.

All in all, the new Batman movie is refreshing and this reboot is not boring nor disappointing. Nonetheless the closing sequence causes slight disappointment at the end of an exciting new Batman story.

Reviewed by: Michael