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    1. #1
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      Aravind Krishnan's Avatar
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      Default The Batman: An Immersive Experience with a memorable Batman distinct from the Nolan trilogy

      Venue: Reel Cinemas, Springs Souk, 2:45 pm
      Status: House Full

      There were two things which excited me about this new iteration of Batman. One was the presence of director Matt Reeves, whose Planet of the Apes films stood out for their visual and aural experience. The second was the intention of the makers to focus on the detective version of Batman. Both of these factors, amongst others, have ensured this as one of the most memorable Batman movies and arguably one of the best films I have watched this year especially on the big screen. I have always felt drawn to Batman because he is a flawed, humane character. He doesnt have superpowers per se but it is his desire to do the right thing which elevates his character. Matt Reeves's Batman gets this intent and humaneness across really effectively.

      There was recently a discussion about what makes a good film. My opinion is a good film is one that immerses you into its world of characters, landscapes through technical aspects, visual language, narrative style along with making the audience relate to the characters. The Batman ticks all these boxes. Robert Pattinson's Batman was someone who I could really relate to as someone who wanted to do the right thing, but one who is not so broody and rather uses his unique skill-set to execute his ideals in fighting and solving crimes. Yet the characters he meets and the circumstances surrounding him does present potent challenges. Unlike 95% of the superhero films you see including the previous Batman movies, this film doesn't focus on the person behind the mask. Rather it is about the masked vigilante and how easily he blends in with the criminals at night. More than the villainous presence of the Riddler, it was the ideology which made his character a memorable antagonist as well as the attempt at relating himself with Batman purely due to circumstances. Pattinson's Batman exudes a quiet confidence and assuredness especially when behind the mask (Bruce Wayne is mostly absent in this film) and the actor really manages to convey to the audience the sinisterness and physical power of the character. In this film, Batman is a presence, a scary, shadowy figure. I felt like the sound design and atmosphere of the movie was reminiscent of the computer game Thief: The Dark Project.

      Reeves draws you into the world of Gotham City. As one of the reviewers stated, the movie really feels like a Gotham film as much as a Batman film. Greg Reeves's cinematography makes you feel like you are putting VR glasses and actually being with the characters as they fight and do physical stunts. The colour tone was beautifully poetic and the special/visual effects really made the viewing experience so immersive and intricate. In fact, though the film was 3 hours long, I wouldn't have minded sitting through an hour or so more as the characters, the visual language and tone along with a masterful score by Micheal Giachino (hope our composers learn from this film how to execute a haunting score with appropriate silent interludes and loudness in the action sequences) were really in sync with each other. The action scenes are expertly executed and stand out from the visual nature of Nolan's films by keeping the action and fights raw, realistic and in-your-face. The Batmobile chase sequence was a real highlight, brilliantly executed, raw and real yet so distinct from the Joker chase scene in the Dark Knight. The detailing of the Batman as a detective and choices he makes to attempt to solve the murders were a true highlight, showing both the mistakes made as well as the dogged determination of the character to catch up with the murderer.

      The performances were solid with Zoe Kravitz leading the way in making her Catwoman distinct from other versions of her character, while Jeffrey Wright leaves a distinct mark as Commissioner Gordon. Paul Dano's Riddler is appropriately menacing both in and out of the mask, though in the initial portions you do get reminded of a certain Bane. Colin Farell managed to give some comic relief to the Penguin. The one actor/character who I felt was short-served was Andy Serkis's version of Alfred.

      Coming to the negatives, I did feel the drama portions of the Wayne parents felt weaker compared to the rest of the film, which was mostly Batman in detective mode. Also towards the end, the film kept hinting it would end with a scene, then kept on going and going (same issue with Nolan's Dark Knight). One particular scene towards the end would have worked better as an end-credits scene. Ultimately, this is not a superhero film with the same old save the world kind of tone. It is first and foremost a detective crime drama which has a micro focus on the crime and corruption of the higher-ups of Gotham city and I found the movie all the more refreshing for that. But, it is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's not what I would call an entertaining film (you can count the number of times on one hand when each character even smiles) and the action/superhero scenes are far less than what one would anticipate in a movie titled 'Batman' or any other superhero film of that nature. The final showdown felt cliche and more studio warranted sequence in stark contrast to the more personal and intricate events that transpired beforehand, but I loved how the makers gave closure to Batman through his decision at the end, providing a sense of hope.

      Overall, I would highly recommend The Batman as a distinct departure from conventional superhero films, and especially for the risk the makers took in making the movie tonally distinct, yet a memorable stand-alone movie from the Nolan trilogy, along with its focus on the day-to-day challenges faced by law enforcement, more relatable to a general audience. I cannot emphasise how much I loved the movie given that the Nolan trilogy is among my favourite movie trilogies of all time. It just goes to show the enormity of Matt Reeves's achievement.

      Rating: 3.75/5
      Last edited by Aravind Krishnan; 19th March 2022 at 10:15 PM.

    2. #2
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      Kanenam..in the list

    3. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by viveksam View Post
      Kanenam..in the list
      Don't expect a superhero film with elevation scenes...this is totally different experience

    4. #4
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      Thanks AK

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