Matt Reeves & R-Batz – A Deadly Duo in The Batman 2022

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Exit Ben Affleck and Zack Snyder… Enter Matt Reeves and Robert R-Batz Pattinson.

While initially known for the Twilight R-Patz era, in The Batman (2022) we see a mature actor who has grown in several low key quality films such as The Rover and  The Lighthouse along with bigger commercial features such as director Christopher Nolan’s TENET.

In these films Robert Pattinson was able to showcase a range and depth to his acting abilities, to hone his craft and evolve beyond simplistic teen marketed films such as the Twilight saga.

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UNCUT UNCOOKED UNLEASHED

From the opening moments the soundscape and dirty scratchy look of the film immediately grabs you. Rather than looking slick, shiny and homogenous like so many modern digital soul less films, The Batman evoked the era of classic 1970’s American Cinema. It felt wild, raw and untamed. This was no cookie cutter pipeline film.

The Batman (2022) was rough around the edges, it was for lack of a better word, a bit punk, a bit retro feeling. Not looking to elevate you into high rise Gotham penthouses, but drag you down into the muck, filth and depravity of a festering ruined city. A police procedural decorated sparsely with a bit of the old ultra-violence.

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The grimy lived in Gotham City instantly brought to mind the scenery and mood from stone cold classics such as Scorcese’s Taxi Driver and Fincher’s Seven. In Taxi Driver we saw a filthy disgusting realistic New York of the Seventies, pre clean up and remodelling. This was the old decrepit decaying New York streets filled with pimps, hustlers, prostitutes, thugs and drug addicts. If the street folks didn’t kill you or rob you, then the abysmal never ending torrents or rain would do you in instead.

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This richly detailed lived in production design and vast textures of the fictional New York in Taxi Driver would go on to influence dozens of films throughout the eighties. Even in films as late as the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) it’s influence can be felt.

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The Batman 2022 draws on several key comics stories for it’s inspiration, among those influences Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Batman: Year One. (Year)

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The Batman on a red stylized background motif, Selina Kyle with close cropped hair and tight leather stripper/hooker festish pants, second level apartment and best friend (a young underage Hooker in the comics) and the focus on mob boss Carmine ‘The Roman’ Falcone and Gordon’s suspicion of and later partnership with Batman are direct lifts from what is set up in Batman: Year One.

catwoman matt reeves batman 2022 year one frank miller mazuchelli panel comparison

Shades of Year One were present in the Christopher Nolan Batman films, but it’s influence in The Batman is much larger. While being it’s own thing, The Batman is a good side story or complementary film to Nolan’s Batman Begins.

The core elements are there, it’s just a different storyteller giving you a new take on the classic elements with a different focus. If Batman Begins was like several issues of the core BATMAN comic book title, then the Matt Reeves’ film is a complementary almost parallel story running in sister title Detective Comics.

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For once a modern Batman movie is actually a crime story, and we get to see Batman be a Detective / Manhunter on screen, something that is sorely lacking in nearly every live action depiction of Batman on film to date.

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The classic buddy cop duo of grizzled veteran and the young buck is used well. Shades of Seven and The X-Files are present in Gordon and Bats on screen chemistry.

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Taking the time to set the scene, with lushly decorated backgrounds full of grimy disgusting textures, there is no rush or A.D.D. manic cuts and edits here. The audience is allowed to linger in the crime scene, taking it all in with Gordon and Batman, putting the pieces of riddles together along with our dynamic duo. The sights and smells of the crime scenes bring on revulsion in the viewer.

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In past  Batman films, Batman is not only an outsider, but he feels like this isolated anomaly apart from the world he inhabits. In The Batman  – perhaps for the first time in live action  -Batman truly feels a part of his on screen world.

Batman no longer feels out of place like a piece of computer clip art dropped randomly into some city or soundstage. Batman’s interactions with Gordon, his smooth transitions travelling around, in and under bowels of the city show us a character and presence that is at home in his own skin, in his city.

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The Batman accomplishes this sense of Batman truly being a part of the world around him, while not neglecting to show how Bruce Wayne suffers and is alienated from normal life and relationships due to the murder of his parents that left him an orphan. The film does this with subtle small scenes and looks, and doesn’t beat you over the head with any of it, or play up melodramatic feel bad music, instead it SHOWS you on screen what our characters are living moment to moment.

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SMELLS LIKE BATMAN SPIRIT

The opening moments  of The Batman drop us right into the world, without any hand holding. Grungy Nirvana era backing music, layered with blunt force trauma sounds, dull thuds and reverb – mixed with a faux film grain and the bleak depressing desaturated moody color palette  of Fincher’s Fight Club and Seven (1995)  fgg

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GRIME DOESN’T TAKE A VACATION

The  film has its own style, but it’s a laid back lo-fi casual style, not looking to be slick and glossy. Several parallel stories and sub-stories are competently told.

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Is this  best Batman film to date?

Some would say yes.

The Batman 2022 is the closest in style to a hard boiled  Azzarello / Risso comic book story or to Miller / Mazzucchelli. Hard boiled detectives, crime noir and demented sickos…

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Other influences include the popular Arkham Asylum video game series, with several gadgets and sequences being very close in style to those games, mainly in terms of the on screen hand to hand combat, and some of the promotional photography copies the style and poses of the Arkham game series media.

In The Batman we get to see fluid movement not unlike in the Arkham games. Thai elbows and knees flow into judo throws, a grapnel gun takedown and some ground and pound in the ju-jitsu mount position.

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The majority of Batman films so far have really utterly failed to show any level of capable martial arts or fighting on screen, hiding behind odd angles and creative cuts – mostly due to the limitations of the bulky Batsuit – forcing the stuntworkers to use very fake combat moves that have no basis in reality.

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With a leaner meaner Batsuit, the film gets to showcase a Batman who can actually move more like he does in the comic books and video games. Fluid and economical, with no wasted motion and no pantomime bullshit.

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THIS IS MY HAPPY FACE

Gotham City is filled with crime and corruption at every level. Dirty cops, racketeer, mooks and mob bosses. On top of this the threat of super villain / terrorist psycho The Riddler.

The minimal yet engaging role of Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin, and the mystery of Selina Kyle aka Catwoman’s role mixed up in the middle of events, with Carmine The Roman Falcone’s presence lurking in the background like a grinning specter, a puppet master effortlessly pulling everybodies strings.

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“I guess you are everything they say… ain’tcha… I guess we both are” – Oswald Cobblepot

A surprising highlight of the film was Colin Farrell as Penguin. While not immediately recognizable, this is a fresh take on an old classic. Continuity wise this is Cobblebot yet to rise to power as one of Gothams organized crime overlords. His brief appearances are punchy, effective and entertaining.

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“Whatever I know, whatever I’ve done, it’s all going with me to my grave” – The Roman

John Turturro as Carmine Falcone was another great casting choice. Turturro can do comedy, serious drama and just about anything. He gives the role some serious gravitas, and refrains from his tics, antics and cartoonish buffoonery that has defined many of his roles in recent years. Instead playing things subtle and low key. True menace hiding behind the  relaxed smile of a man who secretly owns and runs the city from behind closed doors.

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“I have a thing about strays” – Selina Kyle

Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman was an inspired choice. A sleek stunningly beautiful woman who inhabits the role with the raw sexuality the Catwoman character is known for. While many aspects of the character are lifted from Frank Miller’s Year One, the choice to leave behind Selina Kyle being a prostitue was a wise one, and  not essential to the plot of the film. Kravitz inhabits Catwoman like a second skin, making the role her own.

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“I’m just an instrument, here to unmask the truth about this cesspool we call a city” – Riddler

The Riddler is an often unengaging character in various Batman media. The choice to make him a more demented masked Zodiac Killer inspired lunatic is an immediately attention grabbing device that works.

His Riddles and death traps evoke the best simple elements of Jigsaw from the SAW films, we hear his voice through speakers, phones and monitors. He co-ordinates his terror through the dark web using modern technology. A mix of sadist and terrorist, a fractured damaged psyche warped into thinking he is performing an exorcism of Gotham City’s hidden demons as an act of both personal revenge and public service.

Paul Dano makes good use of his voice pitch and tone – taking us deeper into the psychology, the pain, frustration and loneliness of this broken character. Riddler sees Batman as a fellow damaged soul, a contemporary who shows the world his real inner self by putting on a mask and costume.

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The climax of the film, while a little bloated is different enough to the mini disaster movies within a movie that masquerade as a third act in seemingly every live action Batman on film.

The film leaves enough elements dangling as a tease for a possible sequel, but thankfully doesn’t require one to  make sense of it. The Batman (2022) is intelligent, thoughtful and most of all – engaging.

PRESERVE LIFE: The Way of the Batman [BAT VALUES ]

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LIFE!

To preserve a life…

What does that REALLY mean?

To the person whose life who is saved, it means EVERYTHING

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One of the Batmans highest values is to preserve life

Batman does not care nor discriminate whose life that may be…

a crooked lawyer
a cop on the beat

a failed psychiatrist

a rogue botanist

a psychotic clown

John and Jane Doe

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The lives Batman saves he does so as he values all lives,

he values the preservation of life itself.

Every life lost is a personal failure.

Every life lost is the loss of potential, no matter who that person was.

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WELL YES, BUT ACTUALLY.. NO

Nitpickers will say “hey what about dem aliens and robots? He can kill them, right?” – an area where tricky writers like to let Batman break his “no killing” rule which typically applies to human beings.

Here, the value of Life itself trumps any tom foolery from tricky dicky writers. An intelligent innocent alien that is not trying to kill anyone, sure Batman is going to lend a hand rather than fuck him over.

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Batman will at times seemingly betray his team mates in the JLA or his bat family of Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl – as he is merciless in his preservation of life.

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His win at all costs methodology may or may not be a sound strategy. It may get him beaten, broken, bloody and a little bit dead from time to time. It’s par for the course in the world of comics.

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THE SUPREME VALUE

But Bats is a man of uncompromising principles. Even when Batman is dead wrong due to his own single minded self induced blindness, you have got to respect his values, strength of character and the courage of his conviction.

In Batmans hierarchy of Bat-Values, the Preservation of Life is King among Kings, and any decent Bat-Writer knows it.  It is what elevates him above being a simple mindless thug smashing people in the face because he damn well feels like it.

Every life saved may blend together after a while and seem almost meaningless in the face of overwhelming odds to old Bruce,

…but to that person whose life is saved,

it means the whole damn world to that individual.

PRESERVE LIFE!

THE WAY OF THE BAT

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CREDITS

Batman White Lantern by David Finch

Batman White Lantern by Nick Derington

Evil Batman by Crishark on DeviantArt

https://www.deviantart.com/crishark/gallery

Long Halloween still from Batman: The Long Halloween animated movie

The Mother Fucking Batman

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One of the many things I love about Batman is that Bruce is a real D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) – get it done, sort this shit out before yesterday Auto-Didact sort of guy.

Sure in modern comics and vidya’ games Batman has a full on fellatio for excessive sexy gadgets and push button appliances each more slick, exciting or impossibly effective than the last…

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But in his heart of hearts, you can take away the fancy gadgets, cars and costume and Bruce McBat is just a guy addicted to learning new shit as effortlessly and efficiently as possible every fucking day of his life. He don’t care about the how, only about the why.

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Batman takes all that new learning and knowledge and applies it to the real world with courage, dedication and endless persistence. Each new failure is one more step towards useful results.

Bruce is merciless in his rigorous scientific testing in applying his tactics to the real world, seeing what sticks, what works, what don’t. His own body is his daily sacrifice in this science and all that matters is results. Building a better body or a better Batmobile is all just applied knowledge.

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Batman is not just a gadget obsessed supehero wrapped in leather wings.

He’s a guy who can grab a welding torch or grinder and cut up some steel, as well as a gymnast, scientist, chemist, boxer, detective and engineer.

Batman can break things so ruthlessly…

and precisely…

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…because he knows exactly how to construct or deconstruct the things he ruthlessly demolishes in his knight time duties.

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Batman can take down a wall or take down a bad guy with maximum leverage and minimum of effort because of all that study and intellectual book smarts as well as his street smarts.

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So all the gadgets, cool vehicles, membership in the Justice League and the odd trip into space and all that bullshit is nice too. But underneath the glitz, the glamour and the endless brooding in the dark, is a tough as nails don’t fuck with him do it yourself-er who just doesn’t stop.

A self reliant person addicted to learning anything and everything he can, if he has a reason to, if it gives him some form of leverage in his war on crime, Bruce McBats will bury himself in any topic no matter how mundane or obscure. That kind of dedication I respect and is a big part of what keeps me coming back to Batman (in any media) year after year.

We can’t all be Superman, but we sure as shit can train hard, and with loads of practice, we can be Batman. And who the fuck doesn’t wanna be Batman? Batman has an impeccable moral compass, he’s clever and mysterious, and when fucktards get sassy, he punches them in the face. – Kevin Smith

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WISDOM OF THE BAT ISSUE #27

Batman by Memed Deviant art

There is a time to act.

…And a time not to act.

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There is a time to go all in

…and a time to fold.

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There is a time to give everything your full attention and every effort

at 100% with no mercy,

no fucks and no quarter given

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…and a time to sit back and do less than nothing.

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There is a time suit up like a Bat, punch crime in the face and bleed in an alley at 3am

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…and a time to heal and rest in the Batcave

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There is a time to chase down that super-villain with relentless determination

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….and a time to study every lead, plan every manoeuvre, to sit and ponder at the Bat Computer.

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There is a time for Bat Action

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…and a time for Bat Wisdom

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IMAGE CREDITS

Batman by Memed

https://www.deviantart.com/memed/gallery

Batman by Pink Havok / Blake Henriksen

https://www.deviantart.com/pinkhavok/gallery

Batman Montage by Habjan81

https://www.deviantart.com/habjan81/gallery

Batman Muddy by Tief-Ling

https://www.deviantart.com/tief-ling/gallery

Batman in the god damned Bat Rain by the legend John Romita Junior (whose dad is also a mother fucking legend and best Spider-Man artist EVER in the universe)

https://www.johnromitajrjr.com/

Batman Legends of the Dark Knight cover image by

Rafael Albuquerque

Home

The Batman by Mr Spike Art

https://www.deviantart.com/mrspikeart/gallery

Batman Meditating  from TMP Page

Cicorp.com/bat/tm

Preparation Planning Execution – The Way of the Bat

When you make dangerous situations the norm,

When you have skills for exceptional out of the ordinary situations,

when you’ve trained and put hundreds of hours in

then

… like Batman you are well prepared.

Part soldier

Part cop

Part man of mystery

Batman makes unknown, hostile and dangerous environments part of his everyday world.

When a dangerous situation appears and everyone is running away in a panic,

Batman is the calm focused creature of the night heading into the heart of the storm.

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The opening moments in the Batman Arkham Asylum video game –

when all hell is breaking loose,

Batman walks into the shit, calmy – like its just another day.

Already strategising, communicating with Alfred or Batgirl and wading boldy into the chaos all around him

Dealing with each problem, each new threat

one punch…

and one step at a time.

It is that fine line of crossover from fiction to reality

going against ones natural instinctive response

– walking into danger rather than away from it-

And reminds me of emergency service workers, police, ambos, fire fighters and also special forces.

People who wade hip and neck deep into danger

People who wade into daily shitstorms as part of their normal routine.

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Being comfortable and prepared

in uncomfortable, unpredictable and highly dangerous situations takes many hours of training

…and exposure to stressors

It takes a certain kind of individual to be up to the challenge.

Most of us go to pieces in such volatile unpredictable situations.

Even then, the most prepared Bat-person in the world can still go to pieces under pressure.

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All of us are fallible, even the mighty Batman fails –

but the important part…

is being Prepared

and Turning Up

to face a challenge in the first place.

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Boldy striding forward, one Bat step at a time.

Preparation, Planning, Execution

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Preparation

Planning

Execution

This is the way of the Bat.

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