For those of us who missed the theatrical run, The Batman has found its way to the streaming world through HBO Max. But does the new take on a well-told story hold up to its theatrical hype?
The Conservative Critic asks: Is it entertaining? Does it have intellectual/artistic value? And is it liberal propaganda?
The Conservative Critic Meter Check: The Batman
Overall Rating: Not bad
The Batman starring Robert Pattinson (Twilight) as Bruce Wayne/Batman had a lot going for it from absolutely beautiful visuals to pretty strong acting chops and not to mention the darkest world we’ve seen on screen yet for citizens of Gotham City. However, the massive hype from critics and audiences alike (who saw in theaters) seem to casually forgive the absurdly bad dialogue, charmless plotline and schizophrenic moral compass.
The Batman was not at the bottom of the pile of the long list of Batman centered films (looking at you Justice League), but it’s squarely medium when compared to movies that are literally exact of its kind. Overall, the beauty and innovation of the film work as well as the captivating acting saves the cheesy lines and meandering plot from total oblivion and renders the film not bad at all.
Is it entertaining?
It’s pretty long. It’s almost three hours and it does not cover even half the territory of The Dark Knight of 2008 (aka the magnum opus of Batman films) which came in thirty minutes shorter. The early film character set-up feels fairly needless considering the character has been in canon for so long and there is so much source material most viewers have access to. There is a lot of luxuriating over beautiful cinematography which is great for the artistic quality but not so great for the overall entertainment factor.
That being said, the story does take the viewer on a whodunnit adventure with familiar and likable heroes and villains and in the end, it doesn’t fall flat. It’s definitely a watchable film and even better than watchable even with some of its slowdowns.
Does it have intellectual/artistic value?
Rating: Stunning and unique
The cinematography is the real hero of The Batman. The film is a piece of art. It is poetry in violence. I could not be more obsessed with the extraordinary use of light, darkness and color as almost characters themselves in the film. A scene which was previewed before the film’s release showing Batman fighting machine guns by hand, illuminated only by the flash of the gunfire was even more spectacular in the breadth of its full presentation than in preview. Director Matt Reeves really outdid himself (and his team).
The acting was also pretty stellar. Zoe Kravitz (Big Little Lies) as Catwoman gave one of the more nuanced performances of a very well represented character where she was both the sexy love interest of Batman/thief and also a human being motivated by rational goals. Her slight frame made her fight scenes a little much to suspend belief but you have to take that with a grain of salt (actors are actors afterall). Robert Pattinson made his career on angst (as a moody vampire heartthrob) and has been the last decade distancing himself from those roots only to come back to them with a lot of strength. I think he might have four lines in the whole movie. He just has a moody presence. Colin Ferrel (Alexander) is unrecognizable as the Penguin which is a product of his often underrated talent and the makeup team.
The artistic quality of the film would be a masterpiece if not for the truly bad dialogue. One of the first things we hear Batman say, I guess this is a spoiler but I won’t be providing context, is “I am vengeance” to a group of baddies. Gag me, truly. Hated it. Another time Catwoman is asked not to throw her life away and she says “Don’t worry, honey, I have nine of them.” I WILL DIE I HATE IT SO MUCH. If viewers do not physically cringe to that horror show of ridiculous verbiage then we are lost.
Furthermore there were sort of endless monologues. So many characters had so much to say constantly and it was all crap. It really brought down the film quality. But still overall a really beautiful and uniquely done movie.
Is it liberal propaganda?
Rating: All over the place
Its hard to rate the film on a liberal to conservative scale because it had no soul which is one of its major flaws and in a way why it’s liberal. At moments, corporations are bad and money is dark and greed is everywhere. At other moments no its the police and the government and politicians who are bad. Randomly, orphans are a class of individuals in the film – they seem mostly victims even if they do bad stuff. There is a seedy underworld of bad guys but then also sometimes maybe the mob bad guys are not as bad as the corporate guys and the politicians?
Vigilante justice is both bad (when Catwoman wants to do it) and totally acceptable. Guns are always bad bad things that only the bad bad men have but then also the good policeman uses a gun so it’s confusing. Also if you kill someone does it really matter if you used a gun or threw them off a roof? I want to say no.
Like liberals, the morality of The Batman seems to be whatever suits the characters in the exact moment they are making choices with not much other thought beyond the moment in time.