05 August 2022

The Batman (2022)

 I took a trip back to the US to visit friends and family, and one of the entertainment options on my flight was The Batman. Of the people I know who have similar taste as me, most of them said it was good, and I figured I could plug my headphones in and watch it before it was time for me to nap. (My number-one transatlantic flight tip is "sleep as much as you can," and I stand by that.)

The plot was basically any old Batman movie, with villains and Dick Gordon and Alfred and bat-gadgets and all that shit. Bats has to figure out who's targeting prominent politicians and police folks and why, and the villain (Riddler) leaves him clues at every murder scene. He's also trying to help Selina Kyle find her friend, without letting her know he's Bruce Wayne. (not-a-spoiler: The Gotham PD is corrupt.)

What makes it different is a couple things. First, Bruce Wayne is clinically depressed. He has stopped giving a shit about basically everything except being a vigilante. Alfred tries to help him out of it, with limited success. You might think this would make for a bad/boring/whatever Bats movie, but it adds to the noir ambience. Robert Pattinson is a better actor than a lot of people give him credit for, and he really made Bruce a haggard vigilante who had no more fucks to give.

Second, and I think most importantly, the film explicitly depicts what happens when you get a vigilante going around: more vigilantes. The film shows how easy it is for someone (Riddler) to radicalize a group of disaffected white men over the internet. It's the alt-right/Jan6/Q conspiracy milieu in clear text, on screen. When Bruce realizes the role he played in this, he has a moment of crisis.

Normally I complain about how movies these days are all grey and dark, but I think in this case it worked. The noir ambience and all. (I do miss bright color in film, though. Bring back the gaudy colors of Pacific Rim!)

Anyway, I liked it and would like to watch it again on a bigger screen.

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