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The Batman

Director – Matt Reeves – 2022 – US – Cert. 15 – 175m

****

A reinvention of the popular superhero alongside his iconic villain adversaries in a Gotham City run by corrupt elites and gangsters – out in cinemas on Friday, March 4th; home premiere available to rent from Tuesday, April 19th

The posters for Warner Bros.’ second Batman movie Batman Returns (Tim Burton, 1992) announced it with the names of three iconic characters: The Bat, The Cat, The Penguin. They could have done similar here, although The Bat, The Cat, The Penguin, The Riddler doesn’t quite work as an animal-themed slogan. However, The Batman is a very different movie – and not just because of the addition of the Riddler.

Of all the superheroes, Batman is arguably the richest in terms of raw material and its potential for reinvention. This new film is quite unlike the Nolan films which preceded it which in turn is quite unlike the Burton films which preceded them which are quite unlike the art deco animated Batman TV series which in turn is quite unlike the sixties TV series which preceded that.

In movies as in comics, Batman, Gotham City and its accompanying cast of characters appear ripe for reinvention in a way that no other superhero and their world quite does.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Batman (1989)

Director – Tim Burton – 1989 – US – 12 – 126 mins

****

Batman amalgamates Blade Runner, Brazil, Star Wars and Vertigo while giving more screen time to its villain than its title character – UK release: August 11th, 1989

“What kind of a world is this where a man in a bat costume gets all my press?”, a confused Joker (Jack Nicholson) asks his aides. A fair question since Batman gives more screen time to its villain than its title character. Actually, it’s a movie that looks not unlike Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985), although it lacks that movie’s depth, with elements of Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982), three scenes from Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) and one from Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977) thrown in for good measure. The screenplay compresses an incredible volume of action and about the right amount of necessary plot into its two hours, ensuring the audience gets its money’s worth.

Curiously, Batman (Michael Keaton) himself is simultaneously a peripheral, shadowy character in the background and the film’s main protagonist; this leaves much scope for further character development. Visually, he’s a vigilante Devil who drops in on unsuspecting criminals to mete out justice – an image at odds with the script’s paradoxical portrayal of him as a hi-tech policeman or James Bond figure.… Read the rest