I am convinced that movies are best watched in the movie theater.
Not a tough argument to make, but my convictions might not be based on the same grounds as everyone else. More often than not, I watch movies the same way everyone else has the past two years or so: over Discord, streamed by someone with marginally better internet speeds than anyone else, or on the TV, filtered through the many subscriber-based apps available to almost everyone.
My thing is this: in a time where we work from home, there are too many distractions in these environments that would prevent me from focusing on the film itself. Yes, I am part of the younger generation that ravenously consumes 15-second vertical videos. I switch between multiple screens — smartphones, computer monitors, and television — without any trouble.
But once I’m shrouded in darkness, soda on one hand and a handful of popcorn on the other, I am forced to look directly at the giant screen while Dolby Atmos surround sound envelops me. The movie experience is like nothing else because it demands your complete attention. You are paying to be enraptured completely for the next few hours.
This is why The Batman is the ideal movie for all of us to return to form.
Clocking in at just under three hours, director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, War of the Planet of the Apes) envisions a grimdark, impressionistic interpretation of Batman and Gotham City that has the right amount of edge to keep you off the edge of your seat.
Robert Pattinson plays a younger, emotionally stunted Bruce Wayne that broods with or without the mask. Reeves takes inspiration from Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, which works. Here is a man that shows his broken heart on his sleeve, and the expression and suppression of these emotions is evident through Pattinson’s deft acting.
Zoë Kravitz’s reprisal of Catwoman (she first played the role through voiceover in The Lego Batman movie) is worthy of praise on its own, but she plays it so well juxtaposing Pattinson. It would be interesting if she could have her standalone movie. Needless to say, she was born for this role.
Paul Dano is my guy. I love everything I saw him in, whether it’s Little Miss Sunshine or There Will Be Blood. A character actor through and through. His portrayal of the mentally unstable Riddler provides much of the entertainment through the course of the film. His scenes are thrilling, suffocating at times. The theater’s audio setup brings his screams and murmurs to life.
And while The Batman has its fair share of flaws — Batman’s detective work run amok because something got hilariously lost in translation — its moody, masterful cinematography and thriller-meets-action stylistic leanings that fires on all cylinders remind you of what we’ve been missing on in terms of the movie experience. If you have the eagerness to go to a movie theater to catch a flick, let it be The Batman.