The Batman – a dark and brooding reboot

The Batman is a dark and brooding reboot with a retro edge to it. At times slow, this is a crime whodunnit. He goes back to his roots as a detective.

The Batman is a dark and brooding reboot with a retro edge to it. At times slow, this is a crime whodunnit. He goes back to his roots as a detective. The long running time combined with a convoluted plot demands further viewing.

My son was quite put out after he had asked me to score the Batman and I would not give it at least eight out of ten. The Batman is a different beast to some of the successful Marvel Comics movies. For a start it is 15 certificate. It is a dark movie with an ominous ending. It is not a popcorn movie. Nonetheless, it a well-crafted reboot of the Batman franchise.

From the start this is a slow movie. Scenes of Batman, his boots and the rain are lingered on. Batman broods, takes his time to speak, all of which is drawn out. If this movie was slightly speeded up I would probably enjoy slightly more.

And it is literally a dark movie. The relentless rain and cloudy weather. Much of the action takes place at night. The camera often peers through wet windows that blur the image. Added to this is the dark film score. All of which adds to the sense of gloom that hangs over Gotham city. Scenes take in the rubbish strewn streets, the demonstrations and low life that pollute the city.

But we have been here before. My immediate reaction to The Joker was similar, But further viewings gradually enamoured me to the story. And this alludes to how DC Comics have rebooted its characters in a more adult vein compared to Marvel Comics. Characters like the Riddler have genuine menace. The story rarely evokes a laugh. The violence is harsh rather than graphic comic style entertainment. There is little here to attract the teen market that enjoys Spiderman.

This reboot takes The Batman in a different direction to previous movies. It goes back to the roots of Batman comics by opting for a noir style criminal whodunnit. Batman is stripped of his more enigmatic powers. He has one attempt at flight which he would have rather not done and crash lands. His car is traditional American with an environment polluting engine. He is, as the police remind him, a vigilante in a mask.

Square jaw

Robert Pattinson has that square jaw and brooding look about him that fits the role. Zoe Kravitz counters this with her spunky attitude. Andy Serkis as Batman’s butler is curious to watch as he emulates a cockney accent with aplomb. Colin Farrell, as the Penguin, is so hidden behind proshtetics, anyone could have been chosen. Paul Dano as the Riddler is a curious choice, as he give the character a vulnerability combined with an out-of-control menace.

The Batman before us is a combination of private detective with a brutal vigilante style (no one gets killed). He is tortured by his past family life which comes out during the movie. Romance is limited to the occasional kiss from Catwoman. His main friendships are his butler and the one police cop who is not corrupt.

There is much plot to break down and a lot of detail to take in to piece it together. The action is spread out so you have to pay attention to the plot – but they spend much time explaining it to you. When the action comes it is worth waiting for. We wait a long time for the Batmobile but when it appears it is noisy, retro and old fashioned. The late gun scene in the dark with the gun flashes, and finale scene in the hall are rare moments of extended action..

For such a grungy movie – or as my son observes – emo – it is odd when there is a nod to wokism. Gotham City is riddled with corruption and it falls to one cop, catwoman and the candidate for Mayor to save the city. So the choice of ethnicity is a little blunt, underlined by catwoman’s complaint to Batman about the ‘priviliged white’. Even Bruce Wayne is guilty association.

I enjoyed the Dark Knight most of all the Batman movies, including over this one. It had that charisma, character and all round entertainment to it. The new Batman takes a little getting used to for how down to earth human he is. The detective story is something that demands more viewings but, I am sure I will then rate it more highly and gain the approval of my son.

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