The A-Listers Talk About The Batman (2022)
From the couple who see a lot of movies because they have AMC A-List.
Patrick: Taylor, before we get into it, what are your overall thoughts on The Batman?
Taylor: As someone who is by no means a Batman (or superhero) expert, I really enjoyed this movie. I thought I was going to be confused, but I think it was robust and comprehensive while still being easy to follow. Also, let’s be honest, I was really there for Zoë Kravitz.
Patrick: This movie crams a lot of established characters into its three hours. New versions of Batman/Bruce, Alfred, Gordon, Riddler, Catwoman, Penguin, and more. Did you find that overwhelming at all? I’ve grown up with these characters, but I still find it difficult to meet so many new incarnations in one film.
Taylor: In a weird way, I think I actually preferred it this way. It really helped with the pace and my investment in the movie. I appreciated the hustle of the film and not spending more time than necessary on certain characters. Maybe that’s because I don’t have an attachment to any characters in particular, so I didn’t feel the need to see all of those people get their own movies. It’s a lot easier to differentiate key characters when their names are flamboyant, too!
Patrick: This version of the Batman myth is radically different from any other on-screen version. Gotham City has gotten grittier and grittier every time since 1989, and I personally feel like it’s gotten so far away from the Batman I fell in love with as a boy. Everyone’s favorite SNL cast is the one you had when you were 10, everyone’s favorite QB is the one who was the MVP when you were 10, and I think the same thing is true about Batman. There were some things about this movie that really worked for me and many others that didn’t. I found myself often yearning for the Batman of my youth. He didn’t use to be so emo. He used to bonk Nicole Kidman!
Taylor: I definitely get that. As I was watching the film, I was hyper-aware of the near-virgin lens I was viewing it through. I don’t have attachments to any other Batmans (Batmen?) so I was able to go into this with a pretty open mind and I think that was to my benefit in terms of enjoying the film. I’d love to hear about some of those things that worked or didn’t work for you.
Patrick: I really liked the fact that this was a mystery film above all. Batman is a product of Detective Comics after all and he so rarely gets to play detective on screen. Bob Pattinson’s Batman is insanely good at solving riddles. The riddles from the 60s version used to be things like, “Which President of the United States wore the biggest hat? The one with the biggest head!” So I appreciated the fact that he was truly clever.
Taylor: I liked that as well. It all felt very practical to me and I appreciated that a lot. He was naturally smart — not in a super-human way. His tools were just that — tools. He was a normal, strong, agile person with access to incredible tools and that really engaged me in the film. What were some things that didn’t work for you?
Patrick: This will come as a surprise to no one who regularly reads my writing, but three hours? Come on. I think I’ve seen two movies in my entire life that justified a runtime that long. And my other main issue is just that it didn’t feel like Batman to me. They changed his backstory for no reason, (it is not widely-accepted lore that Thomas Wayne ran for mayor. What was that?) The Bat-mobile was just a DIY suped-up ride. I’ve always thought that Bruce Wayne was charming, not the bassist for My Chemical Romance. None of the villains felt comic booky in any way. I know that’s what filmmaker Matt Reeves was going for, but then why Batman? I would have liked this movie a lot more if it was just an original story. I don’t really like how filmmakers are taking these things that matter to me and twisting them to fit their own agenda. Zack Snyder’s movies, the latest Joker, and now this? I think the next visionary of the Batman movies shouldn’t be allowed to watch Martin Scorsese movies while he writes the script. Better yet — how about a woman?
Taylor: Fair enough. I definitely did not find the movie perfect, and sometimes the emo-ness did get to be a bit much. I can see how this is a movie for people like me without much attachment to the lore and history of the franchise.
Patrick: I’m so energized by the fact that you liked it. Everyone should have their football team, their Chinese takeout order, and their Batman. Would you call Bob your Batman?
Taylor: Haha! That’s a great question. I feel like I need to clarify to all the readers out there who have probably not read my Marry Me review — I love 2000s pop culture. But I was never on the Bob train! I wasn’t a big Twilight person (despite my first EVER date being to New Moon in theaters) and I caught Harry Potter too late in life to love him through that, so he just hasn’t ever been my guy. So I’m not at all pulling from a nostalgic era when I think about this film and his performance. Here’s the thing — I’ve seen 3 Batman universes including this one (not all of the movies, just at least 1 of each) and those are the Tim Burton and the Christopher Nolan timelines. I can say with certainty that Christian Bale is NOT my Batman. No shade to him, he’s just never ever done it for me. I think he’s perfectly fine in the role but his very essence kind of skeezes me out. I tried looking on Letterboxd to see my review of the Tim Burton one that I saw, because I remember really loving it, but I was disappointed to see that I actually didn’t log it! So I can’t remember my exact thoughts! So, what I’ll give you, is that Bob COULD be my Batman, but Zoë Kravitz IS my Catwoman. Meow.
Patrick: Let’s do a lightning round because I NEED to talk about some of these performances. Zoë as Catwoman, go.
Taylor: Sexy, totally captivating, confident, and powerful. I felt like her vibe and essence added so much to this movie that other actresses could not have pulled off as easily. I have always loved Zoe, and I thought she really shined in this. Also, the purple-ish lighting hitting her perfect cheekbones in the club scene? Chef’s kiss.
Patrick: She’s definitely a strong piece of the film. I never got “cat” from her, but that’s more of a Matt Reeves thing. Colin Farrell as Penguin, go.
Taylor: Take him or leave him. Once you go Danny DeVito level bat-shit crazy (no pun intended), there’s no going back.
Patrick: That reminds me, he did have the best line in the movie, “What is this? Good cop, bat-shit cop?” That one got a real chuckle from me. We already talked about Bob a little, (I liked his Batman quite a bit, was never on board for his Bruce) so let’s do the other elephant in the room: Paul Dano as the Riddler.
Taylor: I somehow completely missed that he was in this movie, so the Paul Dano reveal surprised me. I love Paul Dano, though I’d be lying if I said his Prisoners performance doesn’t still keep me awake at night. He’s the perfect choice for this and was perfectly The Riddler, not just Paul Dano. I think that’s what’s so special about him as an actor. I hope to see more of him.
Patrick: I think Heath Ledger ruined comic book villains for every actor for a long time. You’re either forced to do a cheap imitation or you have to go the total opposite direction.
Taylor: I actually liked Dano’s performance a lot because, to me, it felt like his own thing. Not too far into the Heath Ledger impressionist side, and not too far into the trying-to-make-it-different side.
Patrick: Since we didn’t get nearly enough Andy Serkis as Alfred, one more: Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon.
Taylor: Jeffrey Wright is an underrated actor for me. I’m impressed every time I see him, yet he’s very much a “that guy in that thing” actor for me. He was really good in this and you can’t convince me there wasn’t some eroticism between him and Batman.
Patrick: I realized recently that he’s brilliant in everything he’s in. He’s a highlight of the film for me. I want to seek out more of his work. I want you to have the final thought on this, because…well…optimism? So I’m going to leave my last thought here: The comic book fatigue is real, man. Nostalgia fatigue. I love Star Wars, but I couldn’t even finish The Book of Boba Fett. I love Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and shrugged my shoulders at No Way Home. I love Batman, but I could barely convince myself to see this movie. These things used to be special to me. They don’t feel that way anymore. It all feels so temporary. There have been like five different guys to play Batman in the last ten years. This universe will be joined by two more movies and two shows. There are 10+ different Star Wars projects coming soon. I just feel…taken advantage of? Warner Bros. and Disney know I’m going to watch it. They know I’m going to buy a ticket. They know I’m going to buy the Batman cowl popcorn holder. And then I like their product less and less. Eight-year-old me is so mad at grown me right now because it’s the greatest time in history to like superhero movies. Maybe I just don’t like superhero movies.
Taylor: I sympathize with that for sure, but I don’t feel bad about you buying that stupid popcorn holder. I told you it was stupid! All joking aside, I absolutely see where you’re coming from. And I think you’re probably right — they are taking advantage of people they know will see it. There is definitely some ethical ambiguity when it comes to reboots in general I think, especially when they’re happening as frequently as they are within DC right now. That being said, it seems like a lot of people really loved this film, myself included to an extent. I think there are people who are rooted in that nostalgia, and I think others just love franchises differently in the sense that they’re supportive of anything new and cool that comes out about their favorite hero. I’m glad that people loved it, and I hope it brought people to the theatre! I’ll be very curious to see the box office data for this one.
Patrick: Let’s be honest, I will watch every sequel and show with you. I’d watch them anyway, but I’m so pleased you are into a version of my favorite super. Now it’s time to educate you with some Batman: The Animated Series. Thanks for reading, folks.
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