It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m a BIG Batman fan. In fact, I’ve been one for as much of my life as I can remember. From being a little kid in the ’70s & ’80s watching Superfriends while eating a bowl of cereal. Watching the old Adam West Classic 1966 TV series, to running home from high school just so I can make it home in time to catch Batman the animated series. Up until yesterday, if anyone had asked me what I think the best Batman movie ever made was, I would’ve said the 1989 film BATMAN directed by Tim Burton. He was the first filmmaker to capture the dark knight that my friends and I had been reading about in the comics. But last night, after the DC special “FAN-FIRST” private screening of the Matt Reeves film “THE BATMAN“, my world was completely rocked.
After the craziness of the stay-at-home post-pandemic world we live in, it was so nice to be in a movie theater packed with people who were equally ready for what the film was going to bring. I won’t spoil anything, but all I have to say is that pretty much everything that was shown in “THE BATMAN” teasers and trailers was clips from the first 10 minutes of the film. The trailers didn’t even scratch the surface of what this movie is.
We start off 20 years since the death of his parents and 2 years into Bruce Wayne’s career as The Vigilante “Vengence” (at least that’s what everyone thinks his name is). Until that is, a new psychopathic killer starts leaving cryptic “riddles” at various crime scenes in envelopes addressed “To The Batman”. One of the first things that stand out in this particular movie is the one thing every Batman movie ever made has failed to honor…Batman’s inner monologue! For decades, the comic book reader always knows what’s in Bruce’s head but never have the films attempted such a narrative. This was done tastefully, and just enough to know what’s on his mind as he works his way through the streets of Gotham City where the gothic feel is well represented by on-location shots in New York and Chicago. It is the perfect mix for what fans expect Gotham to be.
As we are introduced to a couple of well-known characters, we meet The Penguin portrayed by the unrecognizable Colin Farrell, a mid-level mobster under the thumb of crime boss Carmine Falcone played by John Turturro. Zoë Kravitz immediately establishes her presence as Selina Kyle…aka Catwoman. Jim Gordon played by Westworld’s Jeffrey Wright isn’t quite the Commissioner just yet, and Alfred Pennyworth the Wayne family butler, played by Lord Of The Rings star Andy Serkis. And of course, Paul Dano gave rise to a NEW version of The Riddler, unlike any previous incarnations.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that when they announced Robert Pattinson as the new Bruce Wayne, I was extremely nervous. Admittedly, I had only seen him in Harry Potter and the Twilight Saga and I did not think he could carry the iconic role let alone fill out a cape and cowl. But because I remembered how unsure we all were at the thought of Heath Ledger as Chris Nolan’s “The Joker” in “The Dark Knight”, I was willing to remain as open-minded as I could and to say that he surprised me would be an understatement. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that Pattinson understood the assignment. He delivered a wonderful performance as the 28-year-old billionaire with a bat suit and mommy & daddy issues.
Can we talk about the new Batmobile? Oh my goodness! In our current age of moving away from combustion engines for their electric alternatives, this Frankensteined classic beast is a slap in the face of the eco friendly. The new Batmobile appears to be a Bruce Wanye self-modified classic 60’s Chevy Camaro, with elements from the Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger. And it’s got a legit afterburner in the back. Holy turbines Batman! It was designed by Ash Thorp, an illustrator, graphic designer, and creative director whose resume includes work for movies like Prometheus, X-Men: First Class, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Now he’s brought us a Batmobile unlike any other before.
As the film ramps up the storyline, I also have to point out something that I rarely ever take special notice of and that is the fact that the film’s sound mix was absolutely exceptional. From the roar of the Batmobile to explosions to every single fight scene, every single punch the Batman connected was married with a loud low-frequency bass punch that was so thick you could almost feel the punches in your own chest. And of course not since U2’s “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” was a commercially known song ever so aligned with a Batman film. Nirvana’s “Something In The Way” is THE theme of the entire film. And Michael Giacchino’s clear inspiration of that song creates a film score that haunts the entire film. The soundtrack is available now and you’re damned right I blasted it on the drive home from the movie theater.
This movie has everything any Bat-fan could ask for. Batman’s tech and gadgets, his ability to fight, and most of all his ability to solve crimes, Yes, Batman is an actual DETECTIVE! And to think we’ve been given all of this without yet again being forced to relive the events of what happened in “crime alley”! That’s right, not a single frame of Thomas & Martha Wayne being mugged and eventually shot. Not a single shot of Martha’s pearls hitting the pavement for the 100th time. We’ve all moved on and thanks to Matt Reeves, so does this film. By the end of the film, they do a perfect job of setting up this new universe and opening the door for so many various future options. (And yes, there are some notable easter eggs that plant seeds for the upcoming villains in the rogue’s gallery) that will undoubtedly be spoiled in the days to come.
I cannot stress this enough. You MUST do yourself a favor and see this film on the biggest screens possible before it’s gone. This is NOT a wait for it to hit streaming type of film. Your first viewing experience will be one that will stay with you forever. For the first-time viewer, there are legitimate frights, sounds, laughs, and edge-of-your-seat moments that are certain to keep you engaged.
I know it’s a bold statement to be so sure, but I will boldly stand by my claim…
“THE BATMAN” IS THE BEST BATMAN MOVIE EVER MADE!