I’ve been a fan of Batman for as long as I can remember, and I love how different people can give us different takes on the iconic character. Some of us grew up with campy Batman from the 60s, or the slight darker Tim Burton films which are some of the best adaptations out there. Now after the Christopher Nolan takes, we have The Batman which goes down an even darker path that uses both the Dark Knight’s brain and brawn.
Our own Christian Stirling enjoyed the film during its theatrical release and you can read his review for the plot details and his thoughts on the movie as I go into mine and the home video extras. I’ll admit I went into this film already loving it from the footage and trailers I had seen long before its release, and I’ve been a fan of director Matt Reeves since 2008’s Cloverfield.
I’m so glad he didn’t disappoint with this film as I enjoyed how dark and gritty everything is, from Batman himself being young and angry while using that to strike fear into criminals, to the especially dark take on the Riddler who is going around murdering some of Gotham City’s top people while leaving messages and clues for Batman to follow.
I also like how Lieutenant Gordon and Batman team up and play off each other nicely as they try to stop the Riddler, with Selina Kyle aka Catwoman has her own set of problems to deal with but still manages to help Batman from falling apart and gather information in low places. I also loved Andy Serkis as Alfred who is criminally underused in the film and I can only hope he’ll have a bigger part in the sequel that’s coming.
With the film being so dark and serious, it’s nice to see Colin Farrell as The Penguin who is completely unrecognizable and is probably the only source of classic Batman zaniness and laughs you’ll find here as you can tell he’s having a ball with the character. So much so, he’s set to have a spin-off series on HBO Max at some point.
Even better was watching this epic unfold in 4K, as it looks and sounds beautiful, thanks to the movie being shot in both 4 and 6K. Thanks to the disc supporting both Dolby Vision and HDR10, everything looks perfectly crisp even when most of the movie takes place at night or in darkness, which is a feat in itself as most films tend to look horrible in these conditions.
The Dolby Atmos audio does a great job of placing viewers in the middle of the action, whether it’s Gordon and Batman discussing their next move, Batman cracking skulls and chasing down baddies in the Batmobile, or Michael Giacchino’s beautiful and fitting music score, the mix is perfect. Then there’s the special features which gets its own disc as it’s packed.
Sorting through nearly two hours of extras, there’s some featurettes that go into how some of the fight scenes and choreography came to be which is always a favorite of mine. There’s also one that takes us behind the scenes of some of the action scenes, the characters and their costumes, and more.
“Vengeance in the Making” is the extra that stood out the most, as it runs for nearly an hour and goes deep behind of the scenes of filming. They kick things off with camera tests for the actors in their costumes, to the first day of principal filming, and “making of” moments such as how Reeves ended up taking over the film and more that feels like a backstage pass to the production which I love.
If you don’t mind your caped crusader adventure going dark, you’ll love The Batman as it’s one of the best and unique takes on the comic book character. It’s dark, film noir tone and three hour runtime might scare some away, but those who stick around might like what they find in the shadows.