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‘Duh’ The Batman Is A Crashing Bore Of A Film

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The Batman

The Batman

Director
Plot
In his second year of fighting crime, Batman uncovers corruption in Gotham City that connects to his own family while facing a serial killer known as the Riddler.

Rating: ** ½

There is  a depressing dinginess in the air in The Batman, the DC franchise now  clearly gasping for breath in  the  bid for survival. Although Duh, sorry, The Batman is played by a brand new  entrant, Robert Pattison adds nothing except more  gloom to  the sense of  doom that pervades the  3-hour long  slog of a film with not a single moment of sunshine.

 And I do mean that literally. The Batman is shot  entirely in the night or  a night-like darkness . Cinematographer Greig Fraser’s credits include that Dev Patel  adoptive  drama  Lion and the recent futuristic Dune. The latter in fact was shot in the sam e environment of irredeemable bleakness as The Batman.

 Perhaps the DOP is by now  as depressed as  we are after the pandemic. A grandly designed inky epic like The Batman makes it worse. It starts with a startling montage of someone filming  a father-son banter  moment through a gothic window. We hear the heavy breathing of  the  videographer before he attacks the Mayor of Gotham City  and cuts him  as badly as , say, Matt Dillon in The  House That Jack Built. Well maybe not that  viciously. But you get the picture?

 From the start  it is clear  to every member of  the audience that  the Batman  franchise is this time  peddling a serial-killer plot, and a pretty  tame  one  at  that. There  are lots of twists and turns in the  storytelling but they  don’t get us  anywhere we want to be. In the quest to  put  Batman in the dock, his  father’s noble past is  tarnished before the  rites of redemption kick in belatedly.

 Nothing is well-timed  in  The Batman. Not  the  first kiss between Batman and Catwoman , the latter  played by  Zoe Kravitz.Easily the worst Catwoman in the  history  of the Franchise,  Kravitz does  her droopy-eyed disdainful  look  each time everything  else fails, which is  most  of the time. She has zero chemistry with ‘Batman’ Robert Pattinson which explains why they  hardly have intimate moments together and in the end they go their separate ways: literally at a road-fork on two  bikes, one left, one right.

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Spoonfeeding is  the prime passion in The Batman. Everything is  spelt out.  It is not enough to say  Batman is a on a sticky wicket this time.  It must also be  shown. This Batman  seldom flies. Once when  he tries,  he crashes  into a hard place and falls. The audience burst into laughter  at this point.Come on guys, show some respect!

Staying serious through this  dark dreary drama of  the damned and doomed  is not easy. Gotham City is  not just imagined as ravaged,  it is  shown to be in a pitiable shambles, rubble everywhere, the store signs paled , the  Gotham celebrities  pallid with fear as  the  serial killer naming himself  ‘Riddler’(why Riddler? Because after  every  killing he send Duh Batman a riddle, silly!)  targets   the who’s who  of  the City.

Some of the  victims , like the  super-accomplished Peter Sarsgaard who  plays the seedy  district attorney, and an absolutely unrecognizable Colin Farrell as  a petty gangster  named Penguin, add some shred  of  a  fun element to the ponderous  plot. But  not even Woody Allen(were he to be brought in for  additional  effervescence in the turgid cat-and-bat  tale) could salvage the dreadful deluge of sogginess and  dampness  that grip the narrative, quite literally in the climax when all  of Gotham City is flooded.

Bruce/Batman  must find  out if his father is really as corrupt as suggested by the villain Riddler(Paul Dano, playing  a nerdy psychopath with nerdy naughtiness). Anyone who is  a fan of this Franchise knows the answer  to that. What we don’t know is  why this inert  instalment in the Batman  franchise remains so  dull and inured to a frozen state  of being when it had every occasion to fly high.