Back to the Bat
How many different people have played the Batman in a live action movie? After Adam West (not going back as far as the serials), we had Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney , Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck. I was hoping that after Ben Affleck (personally, probably the worst after George Clooney), they would find someone better. Along came Robert Pattinson. The name sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it. Not being a Twilight fan, I didn’t connect the name until the bat memes came up. I can honestly say that Ben Affleck is no longer ranked second worst in my list. I’m not going into as many details on this as I might normally (partially because the movie was actually less memorable than most hero movies I’ve seen), but I’ll drop the standard banner at this point.
Bruce Wayne has always kept his distance from the general populace some, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen him portrayed as almost goth. It’s also the first time I’ve ever found Alfred more attractive than Bruce Wayne. I really don’t think Pattison had the right demeanor for the character even with the whole “I am vengeance” theme going on through most of the movie. While the personality fit Batman a little better, the subtle difference when out of the cowl wasn’t there or wasn’t going in the right direction at least.
What they did with Selena was interesting. I haven’t followed Catwoman much at all following DC’s New 52. I was unaware that they made her Carmine Falcone’s illegitimate daughter so that revelation surprised me. Overall, I liked the personality given to Selina as well as showing her with an apartment full of cats. (Being a fan of cat, anyone taking care of all those cats gets points in my book.) I really did not like her mask thoguh. After the nice body suit, using a woven cap with eye holes and a couple of corner peaks looked cheap. It also reminded me of Dumb Donald from the old Fat Albert cartoons. I really think they could have found something better even if they were trying not to make it a full Catwoman outfit like in the comics. I did like the chemistry between Selena and Batman in the movie.
The Riddler was another character that didn’t seem to play up to what he could have been. I know that movies take liberties with characters but when you’re using a character people know from comics, The Super Friends, and an earlier Batman movie, going too far off makes less of a connection to the character. They used Edward Nashton as Riddler’s name in the movie which was his birth name in the comics but not the name everyone knows him as, Edward Nigma. The character was played a little crazier than usual. When you have characters like the Joker in Batman’s list of enemies, you have to watch how far you take the craziness before you start verging on the wrong character. Creating a whole team of random people who become like him and go to kill the mayor was more of a Joker thing than a Riddler one.
I liked the connection between James Gordon and Batman, especially given how the rest of the GCPD looked at Batman. As a comic purist, I have the same problems with the race changing of long term characters others have where new characters could be used. I can also understand the lack of non-white major characters in Batman’s history making including a POC in a primary role more difficult. You want to have diversity among the people in the story. Overall, I think they did a good job with James Gordon and that’s the most important part when casting a character.
I have to give props to the make-up crew in this movie for making a version of the Penguin that was not a huge caricature like Danny DeVito’s Penguin. I also never would have known that was Colin Farrell if I hadn’t known it was going to be him. He looked nothing like himself as he was done up.
Was it a bad movie? No. It was an enjoyable movie, but not as good of one as the hype led it to be. With the delay in DC movies since Justice League (with Black Adam delayed from the original launch date last year), they really needed to solidity themselves along side the Marvel movies and I really don’t think they did that. Marvel has three more movies (ones for Morbius, Doctor Strange, and Thor) before DC comes out with their League of Super-Pets (I was really hoping for the actual super-pets from the comics but Krypto will be the only one.) in July. Then there’s the animated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse out before Black Adam comes out in October. While they lead in terms of TV shows, DC really needs to up their game in the movie arena.