March 18th, 2022
This week we are extremely excited to announce our new blog series ‘Tell’s Takes’ where we will be chatting to the team about notable film releases. As a production company it’s not a surprise that many of us here are big film buffs with opinions to share. This week we will be chatting with Tell’s team members who have had a chance to see the latest Batman directed by Matt Reeves, starring Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne and Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle.
The character of Batman, and the City of Gotham, have been adapted in many ways, so much that it almost seems unoriginal and repetitive. So what is it that makes a good Batman story, and what keeps the audiences coming back to the cinema for every new take?
One of the most refreshing aspects of the latest Batman film was their choice not to create yet another origin story. The audience didn’t have to sit through the first half of a film which rehashed an already very well-known backstory. In particular, Kat felt that the ‘moment in time’ approach to the storyline kept it fresh and new like it should be.
However, the film stands at 2 hours and 56 minutes in total and many viewers felt that it was too long for no good reason. Dec’s biggest complaint about the film was its sluggish pacing with too many scenes that did nothing to develop the plot or characters, which left the film feeling bloated. To make things worse, Dec felt that the dialogue was somewhat uninspiring overall.
One of the biggest strengths this film had going for it was its cast. The credits boast big names - Pattinson (The Lighthouse, Harry Potter, The King), Kravitz (X-Men, Fantastic Beasts, Mad Max), Serkis (Lord of the Rings, Planet of the Apes), Colin Farrell (Dumbo, Fantastic Beasts, In Bruges).
Robert Pattinson’s success in landing the leading role was particularly surprising when you consider past actors who filled the role with their overly masculine portrayals and history of playing ‘typical’ leading roles. On the contrary, for the past few years, Pattinson has favoured smaller-budget and niche film roles having admitted in interviews he only wants to play in ‘weird’ films. For Kat, one of her favourite aspects of the film was their choice of casting. Pattinson was much less ‘Bond-esque’ than those previously and there was much more of an emphasis on his moody, reclusive nature as a result of trauma than his overall sex-appeal which was refreshing.
Dec also felt that Jeffrey Wright was outstanding as Officer Gordon. While Paul Dano’s Riddler started off well, his performance ended up verging towards Jared Leto’s Joker rather than Heath Ledger’s Joker. He tried to capture the creepy, unnerving presence of the Dark Knight’s villain, but ended up coming across overly theatrical.
Another problem was their failure to truly harness the essence of closeness between characters, therefore failing to really establish important relationships. Dec felt that ‘the connection between Bruce and Alfred was never really fully formed, at least not enough to elicit a genuine emotional reaction’, this meant that in the end, Alfred’s near-death was relegated to pretty much an afterthought and didn't have the desired effect.
The cinematography is probably the most noticeable aspect of the film, and for good reason. There’s no way we would miss some impressive technical work, and if we did, we wouldn't be in the business that we are.
As a theatre grad with experience on the lighting deck, Kat immediately noticed an impressive use of alternative light sources chosen by the director throughout various scenes. In her opinion, the best of which was the fight scene within the club. As the gun rounds were shot the entire room would light up.
For Dec, one of the most impressive aspects of the film was the visual imagery Reeves was able to create. In his opinion, the constant rain and dark colour palette emphasising the gloominess of the city perfectly matched the depictions of Gotham that he’s seen in the films so far. One of the images that stuck with him most was Batman appearring through the smoke towards the finale of the film.
Overall, The Batman was a beautifully shot film with some real strengths, but perhaps doesn’t warrant some of the rave reviews - 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. For Dec, this adaption fell well short of The Dark Knight, which “remains the gold standard for both Batman and the superhero genre as a whole”. It is perhaps worth noting here that it is becoming increasingly difficult for this franchise to match up to the hype a new film announcement garners and an audience may always expect more than the film can give them. All in all, in the words of Dec, we give it a “6.5/10, maybe a 7 on a good day”.