THE BATMAN – A Comic Book Reader’s Editorial

Not everyone knows Matt Reeves’ version of THE BATMAN takes inspiration from several comic book story arcs. Avid followers of the printed and animated takes will recognize elements from THE LONG HALLOWEEN, YEAR ONE, EGO, and ZERO YEAR and I’ll be looking at this live-action film the point of view of a reader who enjoyed those series and also prior adaptations in the animated front.

The war with the gangster empire has just started, and this movie is part one to a trilogy. After seeing this live action take, I revisited the comic book and watched the two animated films adapting LONG HALLOWEEN. This two-part work is about a serial killer who only kills during the holidays; Batman is trying to figure out who that individual is. The Riddler’s involvement was small and he doesn’t fully help reveal who the miscreant known as Holiday is. This version is much more involved and properly spaced out than the crammed 170 min film. Amusingly enough, both have the same run time. While one was well paced, the other–Reeve’s take–often dragged.

The role Harvey Dent plays in this story is pivotal. We don’t have this character in the live-action version. When considering his motivations include bringing down the crime families that run Gotham, to not have him in the live-action felt odd. He may get introduced in part two. 

I was disappointed that THE BATMAN doesn’t have a finale to cheer for. Instead, it leaves viewers with a lot of questions. There was nothing he or Catwoman has done to help suggest peace. Instead, I was left dumbfounded. The City of Gotham is fully ravaged and the vultures will come feast in the next instalment. We’re left with a tease where the heroes aren’t united to help clean up this town. One has left to scratch another post rather than to stay on board. We may see Catwoman return in the next film, but it’ll be hard to say.  As for who can help THE BATMAN is subject to debate. Would he ally with The League of Assassins? It’s possible. He’ll need help to take down Falcone.

Or just maybe, this take might step into The Court of Owls and focus on the transition of power to where factions take over parts of the city. Only comic book fans will ask questions regarding where this reboot of Batman is going. 

Warner Brothers is taking a page from Sony. Remake the concept one more time and fans will pay the money to revisit it. The production design is gorgeous to look at and the narrative delves into what defines the title character. But those bits regarding the transition from vigilante to hero is hardly enough to explain why we love THE BATMAN. I’ll be waiting for where part two goes and how three wraps things up before I’ll rave about it.

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies

THE BATMAN has just began streaming on Crave in Canada and HBO Max in the United States. We’ll also have a review for the 4k HDR disc coming in May!

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