This March, the long-awaited new movie “The Batman” came out. With trailers revealing a darker, grittier, and more violent vision of the famed storyline, many awaited the release of this movie with great expectations. Did it live up to the expectations? Well… not exactly.
The movie opens with a binocular view panning around the face of a brick building while an intimate reunion between what seems like a father and child occurs through the windows. This scene itself sets up the movie with its main themes. The gothic building in which the reunion takes place gives the audience a feel of the city of Gotham. The binocular view confronts us with the fact that someone, and secondhandedly the audience, are spying and intruding on something innocent, giving a pervasive feeling of corruption to this simple scene of a joyful family. The song Ave Maria creepily radiates furthermore a feeling of dissonance, a melodic theme that will continue to pervade throughout the rest of the movie.
The first quarter or so continues in this fashion, with well-made scenes and incredible cinematography oozing that “Gotham” feeling. This portion of the film establishes the three main “characters”- the vigilante hero Batman, the sadistic serial killer Riddler, and the corrupted city of Gotham. Parts of the film harken back to the 1995 crime thriller “Seven” directed by David Finch, in which two detectives chase down a notorious serial killer who murders people based on the seven deadly sins.
Yet with all this “setting up” of the story, it fails to deliver. Simply put, the movie’s summary is: The masked vigilante known as “the Batman” slowly comes to realize the city of Gotham’s corruption as he hunts down a mysterious serial killer known as “the Riddler”. This narrative begins to truly form around the second quarter. This floppy introduction of the story manages to engage by covering up the unremarkable story with remarkable cinematography.
Yet even this begins to fall apart by the last half of the film. By the second hour, the sudden events and loud sounds seem forced just to keep the audience awake. All the great attributes of the first scene remain in place throughout the movie, yet the lack of story results in what is basically a three-hour collage of related scenes. This tires the audience even with the otherwise very impressive sounds and visions represented on the screen.
The great expectations this movie garnered through its trailers and first thirty or so minutes were applaudable and yet, in the end, this movie was nothing extremely special. 6/10.