All The Batmans: #3 of 3 Bane To Bricks

Mar 2, 2022
With Part 1 and Part 2 already out there, here's the wrap - the final part of my Bat Bonanza!

The Dark Knight Rises 2012 poster

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012, dir. Christopher Nolan) 

This was the movie that triggered the project in the first place. Writing the article about Catwoman caused me to note that I hadn't seen Anne Hathaway's suit in action, so I thought I'd better check what else I'd missed! (I need to do that promised update, especially now we have Bat trailers to consider!)

First, this movie is HUGE. A huge story, huge cast, huge scope. It's so ambitious, there are twists and turns, subplots and backstories, montages, flashbacks and foreshadowing and holy heck it all just WORKS. I absolutely loved the sheer ballsy magnitude of it.

Next, I love the massive timespan. Beginning eight years after the previous story and stretching out the runtime over months - but those months include three separate peril countdowns, so there's never any drag. Plus the absolute nerve - Bats doesn't even appear until 45 minutes in!

One small whinge: I guess it's probably been said a bunch already but Bane's voice, well, yeah, he's kind of muffled, not all his dialogue is easy to decipher but, mostly, for me, Tom Hardy's ridiculous accent just broke the spell. I know that when most of your face is covered you inevitably have to exaggerate a bit but 'bodayyyy' was a cringe too far for me. Also, Chris, I do not think atom bombs work the way you think they do. But these are minimal concerns!

There’s so much good Bane stuff: I love the filthy brawling, the Bat and the Bane just slugging it out like it's all they were built to do, Bane landing punches like his arm is on a massive cam going 60 mph boompf-boompf-boompf. The difference in the handling of Bane in this versus Batman & Robin would lead an alien to assume these were two different characters with coincidental names and masks.

The kid escaping the prison - no spoilers but ah, what a beautiful piece of cinema. There's moving dialogue about the fear of death - philosophical stuff like this needs careful handling and Bale and his co-prisoners deliver this with massive impact. 

Catwoman motorbike

Of course, I must include the obligatory catsuit fangirling: I loved the retro shape, the loose hair, the Alice band, and how it's updated to leather and latex and OH MISS KITTY THE HEELS and the gorgeous little detail of Selina's biker goggles flipping up onto her head to make the little cat ears, brava!

Aside from the cat stuff, the champs of this movie for me were Joseph Gordon Levitt and Gary Oldman: as determined cop Blake and Commissioner Gordon, a man with secrets, they each take up all the screen space for me whenever they appear and together they make something greater than the sum.

The 'angry in your bones' speech is superb and the required rooftop brooding moment is beautiful. The cars, the bike, the flying Bat thingy, the lights-out gadget, all so COOL. Yeah. I really liked this one.

Only three to go in the list now, knowing that the Lego Batman movie is coming up should get me through BvS, right?

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) movie poster

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016, dir. Zack Snyder) 

I DID BVS, IT IS DONE. I didn't fall asleep, only snorted in contempt once and found a couple of nuggets I missed when I saw it at the movies so, all round, a better experience than I'd feared. Funny how a few lines of clangingly poor dialogue can colour your memory of a whole movie.

There’s been a huge amount already said about this film and I’m not about to wade in with anything controversial or erudite – but here are a few of the thoughts that occurred to me:

First, because I have to, your regular public service announcement: PEARLS DON'T DO THAT. Unless they are a child's beads, pearls are tied individually so they won't cascade all over the place. Screw your artistic license, I will die on this hill.

I did like the single pearl falling into the Batcave, you can have that.

I loved the grit, the explosions inexplicably full of sparks (ALL the explosions, did the FX team get a new sparks app?), the dark, the super-dark branding thing, ouch, Batman got BRUTAL.

Wonder Woman is awesome in every scene she's in: I liked the side eye at Luthor's speech about Zeus, the DRESS, the determined lean in to the shield, the Cliff Chiang-style leap attacks: I get tingles every time I hear her theme in the music, she is the best part of this by a mile.

The Batfleck is old and sturdy and slow but super-hot in a 'I could co-parent with this guy' kind of way. I love the way he grunts a little getting up or sitting down, I feel ya, old fella, I feel ya.

Henry Cavill is my favourite Superman; he can force feelings out of the boy scout; he has a good perplexed scowl, he's a great shape, hello, yes, you can also make me breakfast in your Calvins any time, Clark.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Is this a Watchmen nod in this graffito? Or just a comment on the plot? I love it either way.

The Zod-Lex monster thing – wow, that escalated quickly, but I can’t shake that he looks like a kind of Ken Doll version of Killer Croc: there’s like, um, nothing there. Maybe this is why Fin Fang Foom wore pants, because the artists went “Well, we can’t just leave it smooth, but what do dragon cajones look like? I know! Let’s give him orange pants!”. Bit swift with the nuclear response though, ‘Murica.

Yeah, the Martha thing, the less said about that, the better.

The line 'They don't know how to honour him except as a soldier' really resonated with me. Not sure why.

All in all, not nearly as bad as I remember, some really strong stuff and OMG Wonder Woman is perfect perfect perfect.

Bring on the bricks!

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) movie poster

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2017, dir. Chris McKay) 

I've been looking forward to this one, c'mon let's GOOOOOOOOOOO!

This was an absolute blast! There is NOTHING I don't love about this movie, nada, zero, zip, the whole thing is fantastic, I'm tempted to watch it all again right now.

That said, I remember the tiniest fraction of it from watching it at the movies! What's wrong with me?! Why did this not stick? Theory: this movie is so relentlessly paced, with constant one-liners, callbacks and Easter eggs, it's hard to recall sections of it on a larger scale because the focus us always on the details. Hmm.

The Lego, sorry, LEGO Bat is a narcissist loner, wearer of lounge wear, shirker of all things relationship. As exemplified originally in The LEGO Movie, this takes nothing seriously, continually pokes fun at itself and pretty much everyone else and Will Arnett clearly has the best Bat voice.

Batman microwave lobster

I loved the bathtub scene with life-size toy boats, the tux try-on sessions, all of Alfred's efforts to parent more appropriately. Little touches, like seeking the right HDMI input on a massive TV, and Bat's shadow circling the kitchen as his thermidor heats in the microwave (I just captioned the picture 'batman microwave lobster' and immediately decided that should be the What3Words location for the Batcave).

Since Catwoman appears, I am obliged to mention her, though her role is smallish, I laughed out loud at her paw-bashing typing on a laptop as per a thousand cat memes.

Love that Alfred appears to be wearing a very visible bald cap on his generic plastic head, this makes me giggle. And the scene of Bat petulance as he rolls on the floor shouting NONONONONONO.

I very much need a GIF of Barbara Gordon announcing she'd cleaned up the streets of Bl├╝dhaven using STATISTICS and PASSION. I do NOT need one of Dick removing his trousers making what is basically a green plastic thong his canon outfit. No, no thank you.

Lego Bat pants

That said, as an occasional cosplayer (and planner of many, many more than actually exist), I have sympathy for Batman's struggle: "my shoes are part of my pants" and love the tiny bat logo details on his little plastic trunks.

Oh my, the eclectic mixture of baddies in the Phantom Zone! The Wicked Witch from Oz, the Eye of Sauron, the Daleks (sorry, I mean the 'British robots'), the power of movies now to bring universes together is a true wonder and here it’s at its peak, love it. And Alfred insisting on the sixties bat suit, perfect.

... which reminds me that the Lego Joker is really similar stylistically to the Romero Joker, in a way that makes me feel like I'm completing a circle here.

You can't have a Lego movie without a catchy song, right? Well, okay, the music doesn't massively stick in the mind, but you gotta endorse the message, right? Friends are family, no bat is an island, it takes a village etc?

The Batman (2022) movie poster

THE BATMAN (2022, dir. Matt Reeves) 

So there we have it! One Bat movie left to go! I'll be there on 04 March 2022 for a new Bat, a new Cat and this time someone else will be making the popcorn!

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