Monday, March 7, 2022

Batman and the Dead Boys


From the Dead Boys 1978 album, We Have Come For Your Children. Classic album, classic song. Also, talk about close to the bone - this was released less than a year after Berkowitz was arrested in August of 1978, and the fact that by '77 the Dead Boys had moved from Ohio to New York, this is a New York punk band singing about Son of Sam pretty much while it was happening.


Saturday night, K and I were invited to what will probably be our last screening with the crew from the Comic Bug. Owner Jun rents out a theatre for all the major comic book movies and invites a small cadre of family, friends and favorite customers. I have always felt deeply honored to be among the latter. What did we see? Why, Matt Reeves' The Batman, of course.

I would almost definitely not have seen this if not for this invite. I just feel so burned out on Batman in general. When I saw the trailer on the big screen a few months back, I had to admit the movie looked fantastic, but the thought of actually watching it held exactly zero joy for me, so I wrote it off. Was I wrong?

Well, there was more about The Batman that I liked than I disliked, so I'm glad I saw it. The film is visually arresting; it has a strong tone reinforced by a somewhat defining color palette that just works. Everything is dark AF, with lots of fluorescent red lighting thrown in to beautiful effect. There are also patches of neon throughout, and a certain embedded opulence that really serves to define the more upscale elements of Reeves' Gotham. Oh yeah, and I can honestly say this is the first Batmobile I didn't roll my eyes at (despite my adoration of Christopher Nolan's franchise, that one was pretty ridiculous).

Robert Pattison also turns in a fantastic performance. His is a perfected Batman and Bruce Wayne - despite the too-perfect bangs - that clearly had the benefit of observing and correcting what didn't work from Christian Bale's version, which I'm not knocking at all. But the newest version should learn from the previous, and Pattinson definitely owes at least a passing thanks to Bale. John Turturro was an absolutely inspired choice for Carmine Falcone, and it wasn't until after the movie when someone mentioned Colin Farrell had played the Penguin that I realized it. As tired as I find all of Batman's classic rogue's gallery, these reinventions are all great. Paul Dano went a bit overboard in some of his screen time as the Riddler - mostly in the declaration videos he baits the police with - but overall he's great, and I'm happy to report that there's not a "?" to be seen on his costume.

So what didn't I like? Well, it's just shy of three hours long, and absolutely shouldn't be. Oh, the story they ran with needs all of that time to work itself out (well, not ALL of it), but that's the thing. The story's not very good. Sure, parts of it are great, but it's written in a way that incorporated all kinds of elements it just didn't need. The script has some issues as well. There are three scenes with two people talking that go on way too long and border on irrelevant or not needed, as does some of the delivery of the lines in those scenes. Chewing the scenery, as they say.

My biggest problem? The third act. Well, felt more like the fucking tenth act by the time we got to it, and it takes the movie off the rails. What I LOVE about Reeves' The Batman is he gave us what he promised - a stripped-down, Detective story. Awesome, let's leave the semi-flips and city-wide destruction aside and see the detective side of Bats. Except - when you get to the final set-piece, it goes so big with its swathe of destruction that at times, it became laughable. 

Overall, if you brace yourself for a long three hours, this one is worth seeing on the big screen. And if you get the chance, do like I did and re-watch David Fincher's Se7en beforehand. There's a massive influence Fincher's seminal serial killer film had on Reeves' film, for the best.


Firebreather - Dwell in the Fog
sElf - Breakfast with Girls
The Afghan Whigs - I'll Make You See God (single)
Sade - Apple Music Essentials
Allegaeon - Apoptosis
Beliefs - Habitat
Drab Majesty - Careless
The Ronettes - Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Now I Got Worry
The Ocean - Anthropocentric
Mark Lanegan - Bubblegum
Ghost - Impera (pre-release singles)
The Ocean - Mesoarchaean (single)
The Ocean - Heliocentric
The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicentre
Blanck Mass - In Ferneaux
Dead Boys - We Have Come For Your Children
Deafheaven - Infinite Granite


Listening to inner dialogue, harmonizing renewal, which is funny consider "renewal" is a word used A LOT in The Batman. Anyway, I have felt pretty good of late, and my ideas are flowing again. 

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