Monday, April 4, 2022

The Batman or Panic at the Disco

THE BATMAN was mysterious and inviting, at first. And then it just wouldn’t end. The background details were fluidly and coherently spelled out. Creators explained what was going on and who was fiddling with what expertly. I appreciated the horror elements infused into the telling. The hidden monster modus operandi of the Riddler. The torture and murder devices used on the chosen victims. The impossibly dark scenes of disquiet and fear. I made connections with SEVEN, SAW and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. All of it made for an enthralling road of storytelling.

However, there were moments that did not need to be in the movie. In fact, these moments intruded and distracted. Sometimes my fellow watchers could not help but laugh. At dinner afterwards, over tacos and chips, we made a quick list of the moments that could easily have been left on the editing room floor. Here are the top three:

1. Batman should really walk a little faster. Yes, we love the mood-creating sound of squeaky leather boots menacingly lurching towards the bad guy, but after the third or fourth scene of this it becomes a drag on the flow of the movie.

This was particularly obvious in the truly explosive Penguin vs. Batman car chase scene. Maybe if Batman had not moseyed so much in the previous scenes this epic saunter would have meant more. Alas, by the time Bruce caught up to Penguin I was no longer invested in the next moment. Pick it up, big guy.

2. Long, lingering looks on the beautiful people. Zoe Kravitz and Robert Pattinson are undoubtedly stunning. Absolute treats for our senses. But we didn’t need so much time spent on Robert’s face. There. I said it. I think he is one of the most handsome men in movies, I also got tired and then cranky looking at his sad-sack mug. At a certain point, I couldn’t tell if this was a Batman movie or a very long Panic at the Disco video.

Zoe Kravitz. Breathtaking. A strong actress. She showed real moments of vulnerability and anger. Did we really need to have that many scenes of her just walking? We get it, Selena is saucy. A real spitfire. I think that those aspects of her character could have been shown without so much dance-walking through the club, no matter how fierce the beat.

3. Atmospheric. Dark. Dirty. Dangerous. This movie is all those things and too much more. The cinematography was half of the reason I stayed in the theatre. The screen dripped with dread. Gotham was crumbling. Rotting from the inside out, like a zombie. The dread of each active scene was palpable, expertly woven and filmed. That is why we didn’t need the additional drawn-out scenes of just streets with creepy things in the background, cityscapes with looming clouds with no relation to the focused, specific story.

There were so many good moments in the movie. Fight scenes are always a favorite and this movie had plenty. There were also weird moments that threw me for a loop. For instance, while Batman is talking with Selena in her apartment she opens the fridge door for a drink, but never closes the door. That tripped me up and I’m not sure why. Don't get me started on the weird little Catwoman "mask." It was clear they just wanted us to linger on Zoe's beauty. Towards the end things got overly dramatic, particularly in the mass event scene, after the fighting. It was there to show a softening of the public opinion on Batman, but it came of awkward and stiff. The ending scene for Catwoman and Batman, the audience laughed at the obvious melodrama.

For the most part I enjoyed the movie, but I would have enjoyed it more had there not been so much filler.

On a high note, however, I am really looking forward to NOPE.

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