I grew up in what on might call a “comic book-rich environment…” Alright, alright, I’m a self-professed nerd and freaking proud of it! I dabbled in a little bit of everything, including DC and Marvel as well as many of the more obscure, unknown comic labels. Despite this affinity to the drawn stories, I was always more of a Superman guy than a Batman guy. Maybe it was because I’ve always dreamed of flight as my preferred superpower. But I digress…
The 1980’s were a pretty big decade for me, having reached my teens and fully grasping the concept of the superhero genre. It also came with 1989’s “Batman,” which starred Michael Keaton as the titular hero. Considering some of the other movies I’d seen him in (not least of which was Beetlejuice) I didn’t think the movie would be much good. Although it won’t be a popular opinion, I never cared for the goofy, off-beat Adam West version of Batman. But i was proven wrong as Keaton not only did a good job and reprised the role in a sequel.
The next couple of movies weren’t really worth their salt, including bat-nipples and over-the-top neon lights and glowing weaponry and shit. It didn’t really fit with the comic-based concept of the Dark Knight. Then 2005 came along and saw Christian Bale stepping into the cape and cowl. I LOVED the background story angle and the flexibility and realism behind this version of the hero and through that Bale did a phenomenal job in all three movies, even though many diehard coming fans would disagree.
When Ben Affleck came along next to take up the role, I believe the first words out of my m ouch were “what the fucking fuck???” This wasn’t a romcom or something out of the “view askew-iverse…“ This was the fucking Batman! I simply couldn’t wrap my head around the concept of this guy becoming a superhero. but he did it. And damn, he did it well.
Based on my reaction to Ben Affleck, I’m sure you can only imagine what my reaction to the actor chosen for this year’s “The Batman.” Now don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed the Twilight movies (And I say that without the presence of my wife forcing me to. They were great movies and I enjoyed the overall storyline). But when I heard a few years ago that they had chosen Robert Pattinson to play Batman, I could imagine hearing the sound of every brick in heaving, shitting itself at once.
Are you kidding me? Some skinny, emo-looking goofball with far too much hair is supposed to play a fearsome, muscled hero who uses fear as a weapon? When all people can think about when they look at him is how pretty he sparkles when he steps out into the sun? I was saddened and disappointed and actually had no intentions of seeing the movie. Then, the trailer came out…
Without providing spoilers on the movie, the trailer I saw involved a gang beating on an innocent civilian and they stop as they hear footsteps coming from the dark. Then, Batman walks out and proceeds to beat the living shit out of the entire gang. It was epic. It was amazing. AND, it was realistic. The Bat took some hits as opposed to being this all-destructive force that couldn’t be touched. Much the same style as how Superman took hits in the Man of Steel, Pattinson was now on my radar.
My wife and I don’t make a point of going to the movies much. It isn’t because we don’t enjoy movies, per se. rather, it’s because the cost versus reward just ins’t worth NOT waiting for it to come to one of our streaming services. But last weekend we both decided that the Batman was a movie we’d both enjoy seeing in the theatres, so we hired a babysitter and made our way out into the world to see this movie, which sat at just under three hours.
Again, without giving away TOO much, the movie started off with the storyline right off the hop. No origin story, no flashbacks. This is a big deal for fans who are exhausted at the concept of seeing Bruce Wayne’s parents get shot in an alley in EVERY BATMAN MOVIE. The parents’ death is occasionally reference but is never shown. The action is realistic in the sense that the hero isn’t using an array of unrealistic and advanced weaponry that has somehow never been thought of by others. There’s also a more realistic tinge to this film as Batman butts heads with local law enforcement, despite befriending Jim Gordon, whom he’s connected with in every comic and movie.
I don’t want to give away too much, despite having warned of some spoilers. It’s always more fun to see the movie for oneself and enjoy seeing it without knowing what’s coming. But if you’re looking for action, solid storyline and realism, the Batman was definitely worth the watch. And don’t bother sitting around for extra after-credit scenes; there was one, but it was nothing pertinent. Better to look it up online than sit through the credits. Enjoy!☯️