By: Salman Said
After a lengthy production, casting, and director changes, the latest DCEU film ‘The Batman’ has finally arrived. To say that this film lived up to expectations is an understatement. Robert Pattinson, who recently returned to starring in mainstream films, is playing Bruce Wayne/Batman. Previously, Ben Affleck was supposed to direct and play Batman in a highly anticipated solo film back in 2016, but the project fell through after he dropped out due to personal issues and creative differences.
Director Matt Reeves decided to pick up the project. Reeves had a vision of a more inept Batman, struggling to let go of the psychological trauma he carried after his parent’s murder. Fighting crime in an unforgiving city; rife with corruption, drugs, and poverty. Reeves decided to have this film be disconnected from the DCEU and its characters; branching out in an entirely new world with new actors and a more realistic, thriller take on recent superhero films. This turned out to be a brilliant and refreshing decision.
**Spoilers if you haven’t seen the film yet**
The film begins on Halloween night and takes place over the course of six days. This could be a reference to the biblical verse that God created the earth and heavens in six days. During act one, the public is shown to have an innate distaste for Batman and vigilantism in Gotham entirely. During his first scene, we see Batman save an innocent man from an attack, and as he tries to assist the man, the man begins to cry out, “Please don’t hurt me.”
The public’s opinion completely shifts by the end of the final act. When Batman saves a woman, she latches onto his arm and refuses to let go, preventing the paramedics from carrying her to safety; as a result, Batman’s perspective shifts. During his final monologue, Batman addressed how he used to believe he needed to enact his vengeance on behalf of the city; on the crime that permeated it. But he now believes that he must be their hope, not their vengeance.
“On the seventh day, God finished his work and rested”. Even before the film ends, we see that Batman isn’t finished. He hasn’t reached his seventh day yet, and Gotham is facing new threats. In Arkham Asylum The Riddler is making more maniacal friends than himself, Gotham lacks a district attorney and a police commissioner, and The Penguin is looking to take over the Iceberg Lounge and the rest of Carmine Falcone’s assets. Batman enters a new phase in the next movie, with hope for that 7th day.
This Gotham is the most realistic and grimey version of Gotham we’ve ever seen. Batman’s introduction monologue; how criminals view Batman as a shadow constantly lurking upon the sins of man; and characters like Penguin and Jim Gordon all bring an authenticity that Batman movies lacked before. This all on top of the fact that we receive an amazing acting performance from Colin Farrell’s Penguin and Paul Dano’s Riddler.
The film made numerous references to potential villains in future films. Carmine Falcone assassinates a reporter named Edward Elliot during the second act. This could be the father of Thomas Elliot, a well-known Gothamite, surgeon, and Bruce Wayne’s long-time friend. In the comics, Elliot was the son of a wealthy, abusive father who frequently beat Elliot in front of his wife. Elliot had enough of his mother and father and cut the tire on their car, causing his father to be killed in a car accident. But after an intensive surgery, Thomas Wayne was able to save Elliot’s mother.
Elliot becomes the villain Hush, in order to exact revenge on the Waynes for saving his mother. He murders innocent people and steals their identities. He then grafts victims’ faces and fashions them to look exactly like Bruce Wayne’s. The word “Hush” appears in the film, written in red letters after we see the article about Edward Elliot’s death.
This was one of the more popular references fans were able to spot, but other ones were seen. During the final act, Batman injects a green serum into his leg; this could be the highly-addictive muscle stimulating drug, Venom. This hints to the villain Bane, who also uses the same drug in the comics; (Paralyzing Batman). Gotham also has an empty spot for District Attorney; this possibly could be filled by Harvey Dent. Finally the Arkham Asylum patient who spoke briefly with the Riddler; many believe it’s either Joker, Two-Face, or possibly Hush. All characters that have noticeable face deformities.
We have a lot to look forward to in the near future, and this movie quite possibly brings DC back into the conversation for best superhero cinematography out right now. It’s been a while since DC was able to beat Marvel in the box office. We might see a change in that in the near future.