Fandom Heresies: Thoughts On The Batman (2022)

Greetings, my fellow random response generators! After the numerous disruptions of last month, I am getting back on schedule for this week and, hopefully, for the rest of this month. So one should see new updates to my fanfiction, No Blood for Business, Brockhall and Legends of Infernia. I make no promises, but that is the plan for now.

Today, however, I want to talk about The Batman (2022). I saw it last night (yes in the theatre; HBO MAX isn’t available in Canada) and, opininoiated pain in the neck that I am, have thoughts

Thoughts I’m gonna share with you whether you like it or not!

Join me under the cut!

Who Are You?

All right, let’s get this out of the way: I was wrong about Robert Pattinson. He is, in fact, a great Batman. He has the right amount of compassion, rage, determination and empathy. Pattinson plays very similar to Bale’s Batman, but with more early-twenties something daftness. Which is fine; this is supposed to be a younger, angrier, Bruce. It does seem they made him younger than he usually is in the comics, though: Bruce is typically in his late twenties when he becomes Batman and Pattinson seems to play him as more early twenties.

They also have him do actual detective work, like surveillance (outside of the batsuit, even!), working informants (Catwoman, mostly) and the like. We’ve seen some of this in The Dark Knight, but its nice to see it work more into the movies. Batman, in my opinion, should be a more intellectual hero than a puncher. He’s The World’s Greatest Detective, after all.

There are a few weak spots in this portrayal, though none of them are Pattinson’s fault:

  • First, bullet-proof Batman. It bugs me when Bruce walks down a hallway just tanking bullets. That’s Superman’s shtick. Batman should come out of the shadows, like the ninja he is.
  • Bruce being well-muscled despite not eating properly or taking care of himself. That’s, uh, not how exercise regimes work, guys. This is a recurring problem in the comics, too, so its not the movie’s fault
  • Bruce is… definitely not one of the world’s greatest martial artists in this movie.
  • Put some colour on the suit! All black is hard to see on the screen.

A Great Supporting Cast

On the one hand, I despair of ever having an actual ginger play Jim Gordon on screen.

On the other hand, Jeffrey Wright is a dead ringer for Jim Gordon. I mean, dead ringer. I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but when the first trailer debuted I didn’t recognize Mr. Wright, but I knew instantly he was playing Jim Gordon.

He also works as a partner with Batman for a lot of the film, helping him interrogate suspects and collect evidence. It’s not my favourite role for Gordon, but it works well in this movie.

Andy Serkis plays an excellent Alfred, but is underutilized and his relationship with Bruce is somewhat colder than it should be. I do like that they gave Alfred an assistant in Dory, though.

The Riddler Is Played By John Denver!

Yes, the Country Roads guy. Look, if I gotta see it, then you do to.

The Villains Are A Weak Point

They are. The Riddler as a mash-up of the Scarecrow, the Joker and himself is a bad take on the Riddler. The best takes emphasize his gentleman thief and intellectual rival to Batman. This loony fan thing… it makes for an interesting movie, but a bad Riddler.

The Penguin… isn’t. He’s just a generic mobster, lacking all of his affable, upper-class charm and wit. If somebody didn’t call him Oz, you wouldn’t know it was him. That said, I do prefer this Oz to the skinny, oddly British Penguins that popped for a while.

Carmine Falcone is similarly generic, despite gaining his comic book connections to the Wayne’s and Selina Kyle and being played by the great John Turturro. There is little of the Roman, the untouchable crime lord of Gotham City here.

Speaking of Selina Kyle, Catwoman is the real disappointment here. While Zoe Kravitz does a serviceable job playing her, the character is just really poorly written. She romance with Batman lacks most of its teasing, flirtatious elements; in fact, she does little of her trademark teasing at all in the movie. We also only get to see her do her cat burglar thing once; she uses a gun more often than a cat burglar should.

Liverpool Is Pre-90s New York

Gotham, at least, looks and feels exactly like it should. The city is grimy, rundown and noir-ish. It’s the kind of place that needs Batman and looks like it. Previous outings are too cartoony.

That’s it for this week folks! Next week will all be about my writings, I promise.

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