Dir: Mat Reeves
Starring: Robert Pattinson; Zoe Kravitz; Jeffrey Wright; Colin Farrell; John Turturro; Andy Serkis; Paul Dano.
Writers: Matt Reeves; Peter Craig
Matt Reeves is the all around film guy. He’s not an elitist like Christopher Nolan, he is a working man in the biz. He’s the denim jeans guy who loves what he does. He’s been a hot TV producer, a busy writer and handled some big projects as a director. Matt is a worker bee, and I’m very glad he got a shot at The Batman.
After studio darlings like Burton, Schumacher, Nolan, ran the big guy into the ground with their over the top take on him. Matt is here to bring it all back home. As soon as I heard Nirvana, I knew I was in good hands.
Burton made it a cartoon, Schumacher put nipples on the costume and Nolan made him seem more important than Jesus. Nah, he’s just Batman. He solves crimes, fights the crazies, loves, hurts, all that good stuff – and I’m glad Matt remembered that.
Matt Reeves created the hit show Felicity, from 1998, which made a legend out of Keri Russel and her sweet curly hair. Reeves also directed big films like War of the Planet of the Apes, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, so he can handle the big guns. So he’s got heart, and vision, and he puts them both on display here with The Batman.
I have to tell you I love this film. It’s 3 hours, which I do not like, it could have been 2 hours, but I still love it. Such great supporting actors here, that hold up the film. Zoe, Jeffrey, Turturro and Colin are all in top form, and are loving every second of this project. What’s great is that it’s not all about Batman, or Bruce. It’s about everyone. All of us live together, and have to go through this together. This film is not about Bruce trying to get out of a hole in the desert to save us all. It’s not about Batman trying to make Harvey Dent look good so all his convictions stick. It’s not about nipples on his batsuit or stopping the Joker from ruining an art gallery.
Let’s talk casting, because this movie does it right. Paul Dano is great as a new Riddler. No cane, no big question mark on his chest. Colin Farrell is “Oz” aka The Penguin and is very good at creating a new, realistic Penguin. The surprises here, and the stronghold here, are Zoe as Catwoman and Andy Serkis as Alfred. We all know Andy from LOTR and Planet of the Apes. Here is creates an amazing Alfred. Strong, parental, smart, sophisticated, this new Alfred helps Bruce solve crimes, not just stitches him up and scolds him. Zoe creates a Catwoman different than Anne Hathaway’s. Zoe is a bartender at a club, she’s a working girl in the night scene, as we all used to remember it when night scenes still existed. So Matt Reeves and Zoe created a realistic Catwoman, who has her “day” job and her small apartment with a roommate and just trying to make her way out of a bad situation. The big anchor here is John Turturro, who plays the main mobster, Falcone. John always brings gravity and legitimacy to any project he is in, that’s why Michael Bay put him in Transformers. John gives everything a sense of real danger, not the over the top danger of evil laughter and fist shaking like Nicholson’s Joker. John plays it straight and it works very well. A superior cast in this film grounds the whole idea of The Batman, who listens to Nirvana, which I love.
All these conceptions I think work great. Everything is under played – nothing too over the top. It’s a real story, with real people and real feelings with real problems. It underplays everything and that is so refreshing to see in a superhero film where for 40 years it’s been nothing but origin stories and over the top productions.
We all live in the big city together, Bruce has some pain, he yearns for things too, and here he actually works with the cops to solve crimes! Imagine that!! Not slinking into shadows every time the sirens blare, not being hated by every cop in the city – he is human here. He uses his brain here. He falls for a girl, here! Bruce Wayne falls for a girl?! Unheard of!!
Yes Matt Reeves, who writes very well for females, gave Bruce Wayne a hurt, a mortal body, integrity, honesty and not a lot of gadgets, which I really appreciated it. He gave Batman a soul, made him vulnerable. Stayed away from the dual identity for the most part, and just had Bruce be a broody young man, as we all once were. We all fell for the wrong girl at one point, we all got hurt by our family at one time, and we all definitely felt like we didn’t belong. All this in a Batman film? Yes! And it’s wonderful!
Forget Justice League, forge the stupid voices that Bale used, that Affleck used – this is just Bruce, doing his best for what he believes in. Forget the Utility Belt, forget all the fancy weapons. Batman is a young man who thought he was inflicting vengeance, and learns that hope is far more powerful, and that hope is what we all need. More than justice, more than vengeance, more than a display of power – what matters to every member of Gotham and every city on this planet, is hope. An author once wrote, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing every dies.”
Batman grows to learn in this film, that fear and vengeance is only a band aid. Give people hope – and you can change the world. This sentiment is something I can get behind, and this belief is what makes a true superhero.