Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Batman (Overload)


In what may be perceived to be a good sign in certain quarters, maturity may have finally punched through to me. Before giving too much cause for celebration, I ought to clarify that this is to do with my expectations and emotions for a Batman movie. Another Batman movie.  Grungy voices, dark settings, childhood traumas, contested heroism - all classic Batman tropes I was previously invested in feel like excessive melodrama even before I step into the theatre. With no new supervillains and an underwhelming choice for the central role, I go in with a ho-hum attitude. That's a first.

In the real world, supervillains are rarely contested and as the Russia-Ukraine madness plays out, it is more like a supervillain v/s supervillain scenario as citizens of Gotham negotiate their survival in between the two, pleading with one to survive the other. Batman with his 'no kill' rule is an absolute buzzkill in the face of oxygen sucking, thermobaric ammunition from live news. A superhero specializing in non-lethal combat (eventually) and spouting monologues on justice is so out of sync with these times where even narratives are out to murder each other.

But I do have to watch the movie regardless. Familiar characters and backstories tweaked in a certain manner to suit a director's vision at least inspire some sort of opinion about his choices. Having watched a few cast interviews and friends' reviews, I have a vague idea of this movie's uniqueness too - the ol' How-this-Batman-is-different spin. Practically speaking, I go in without any anticipation of surprise and revelations. Maturity dictates a stony acceptance that the Batman can exist only on that side of the screen, not this. Despite its honest efforts, fiction can hold but one lonely candle to the many dark streets of reality. Come to think of it, I am beginning to feel more like Batman, less like a fan!