There are "The Batman" spoilers on the way in this article. Do not go all super-villain on me on for spoiling things, because you've been warned.
"The Batman" is set in the second year of Bruce Wayne's descent into vigilantism. The poor guy has been out every night, he tells us, fighting crime until he's too tired to even remember what he's done. He uses contact lenses that record what he sees, which by the way, are actually a thing. He's upset that he can't be everywhere, and his body is covered with scars and damage. Alfred may have taught him martial arts, but Bats is new at his job, and he's no expert at Batman-ing.
It's endearing, and not in a Robert-Pattinson-is-the-emo-Batman-and-I-want-to-feed-him-soup-and-wrap-him-in-a-blanket sort of way. It's endearing because he's just not good at this yet, but he's trying. There is only one way to learn to be Batman, and that is Batman-ing. Other people might refer to this as "practice makes perfect," but I have Bats on the brain.
Bats Is Inspiring Fear
Bruce Wayne isn't fully Batman yet in the way that many of us know him from the comics. You can see in the first fight he has at the train station that he's focused on vengeance. It's not about saving the guy the gang is attacking. In fact, that guy is afraid that Batman is going to hurt him. He hasn't exactly refined his techniques quite yet.
This darker and not-yet-a-playboy version of the character works. It makes Bats feel a bit more human. There are people out there that, as much as we love both Iron Man and Batman, we understand that one of the reasons it's possible for them to do what they do is the amount of money and charm they have. Seeing him struggle is what I wanted this time around. "The Batman" isn't an origin story. We don't see his parents die (oh my god, thank you for not showing that again). We don't see the moment he becomes Batman. We don't see the very beginning, but this is the more interesting part. Seeing him fail, seeing him fight only for himself and to vent his own feelings until the moment we see him give a crap about other people in the world.
They Make Waterproof Face Paint, Bruce
Look, Bat friends, Bruce is a mess. He gets punched so many times that I lost count (and I was indeed counting). He's shot several times. He doesn't even know about waterproof face paint and he's got that makeup sliding down his face after a fight. Bruce, if they've got contact lenses that record video, they have Google in your world. It's not hard to find.
I like that he's a mess. Some superheroes are good at being perfect. Captain America could do this all day (sorry for putting that in your head), and I'll buy that from him because he's just perfect. Batman isn't perfect and smiley with a sass that should host a talk show. He's damaged. He's brooding. Saying "Emo Batman" is like saying "freezing cold." It's redundant. I wanted to see him look terrified as he realizes he's on a ledge and that he's actually going to have to use that Batwing suit. It looks like he practiced zipping it all together, but not the actual flying part. He smashes into an above ground subway overpass, and limps -- limps -- off into the shadows. He gets blown backwards by the collar bomb at the cathedral. He knows how bad he is at this to the point where he has an adrenaline port in his Batsuit to revive himself after getting knocked out.
Everyone Needs Hope
The biggest reason not-so-great Batman is perfect for a year two story is that he's inspiring Riddler. This man, this incel-like person has been sending those cards to Batman, not because he's trying to torment him, but because he's courting Batman's friendship. He's inspired by Batman the way his followers are inspired by his video posts on the dark web. It gives Batman a reason to change his motivations. The horror in his eyes as he listens to Riddler gush at him and talk about how they can watch the city burn together is a really powerful moment. It's what moves him to change everything about why he's Batman in the first place.
No, Batman isn't very good at his job yet, but this is the beginning. Everything shifted the moment we see him lead the people out from the water, and the moment he holds the hand of the woman being airlifted out of Gotham Square Garden. He will be good at Batman-ing, and it's because it not just about vengeance. It's about hope.
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The post The Batman Isn't Very Good at Batman-ing, But That's the Point appeared first on /Film.