Again, from a rambling set of observations in a couple FB posts and comments. But as I say in the one, this may be the first movie I go out of my way to see more than once in the theater since before the pandemic, and that includes Spiderman: No Way Home ... and I loved that film. But The Batman captures my imagination as a moment in film story-telling unique to our moment of recent history, particularly it's social-justice side.
[From FB posts and my own tag-along comments].
I liked The Batman. My second favorite, but I've concluded that's not as much about the particular Batman as about the project. I think Affleck was wise to drop it: I liked his Batman character, but in the state of the the films he appeared in (thus setting his trend), I don't think there was a project. He put it in terms of finding a story, but I think it's as much about project. The Batman has a very distinct socio-critical project (e.g., the flood-walls = internet menacers meet Katrina [it was in the works before Jan 6, but kind of prophetic for that]). Some might say it's too on the sleeve, and there may be an argument to be made about that, but I'll take it over the "originals" any day (I think Burton's a genius in some of his stuff, and I think Keaton made an interesting Batman, but I'm more than happy to leave behind Jack Nicholson plays the Joker playing Jack Nicholson and whatever Batman Returns was supposed to be ... Forever was my favorite of the originals partly because of Jones and Carey being so fun on their own and partly because that left you free of the sort of obligations of being a "fan" the way you were supposed to be with Nicholson ... The Batman at least has the feel of a real city with a real sprawl to it, very dark but still feeling real ... interesting mix of NYC, Chicago, and New Orleans ... or at least a feel of some big-city version of a bayou-like network of waterways [but some of that may also be recently copy editing a book that touched on Katrina as an outflow of "slow violence" in the area of racial disparity in precarity and protection] ... I've been interested in Gotham as a kind of character since Nolan developed it as a distinctly American city by taking it from a generic Gothic city to being Chicago and then NYC).
read there are sequels planned. The Joker at the end is the guy who
played Druig in Eternals, which seems like it could be a very
interesting choice, and definitely fits this project ... this is an
extremely different project from the world of the DC "extended universe"
of ... basically anything else DC. I liked things about Leto's joker,
but it was definitely only part of that kind of world, not this one ...
Keoghan and Dano and Farrel are much more this project's kind of
villians in the way Pattinson is more its kind of Batman and Kravitz's
feel of mixed ethnicity is its Cat Woman (a side of her presentation
they play up with having her be the white mobster's abandoned child).
They say it's going to be a shared universe, but if it is, it's going to
have to bring the rest of that shared universe up to it's level ... and
no superman or metas. Reeves is doing something at a level of more
distinction from other DCEU/MCU stuff in the same way Nolan did, and the
other thing it shares with Nolan's is that it's not a metas world. I
still think the first Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot was brilliant, but I
don't think that class has really crossed over to anything else in the DCEU
(including its own sequel). Joker is such a one-off that it's hard to compare. I felt the same with Logan ... that was the other contender for best single film to come out of the genre (Marvel carved itself a place not just in this genre, but in cinema history overall by what they did with the 22-film symphony, but for me it's kind of like the World Cup in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Ireland wins but Krum gets the snitch ... Marvel owns that field, but Wonder Woman [the first, not the second] is a class above any other film I have seen in the genre to date); Logan was amazing, but while it came from the genre, it didn't really stay in the genre, even in spite of staying in the "meta" realm, it became a western, which is why they could use Shane to such good effect; Wonder Woman came from the genre and stayed in the genre ... Joker pretty much left the genre too and became a social character study.
It really is kind of weird reading the wikipedia page for the film and the production background involving Affleck and a project that connected with the DCEU to date, because this final project is anything but.
The Batman may be the one film I have to see more than once in the theater again. It's not happened since before the pandemic, not even Spiderman: No Way Home, which I loved. While unintended, obviously with the timing, The Batman is still kind of Batman in a post-Jan-6 atmosphere. A friend made the observation, when we both got into Person of Interest, that it was kind of Batman in a real post-9-11 world (the reclusive billionaire with the invincible man in the suit), a project able to do what Batman couldn't in examining 9-11 impact through the Batman lens, because you usually don't have real world events intersecting with super-hero worlds except maybe the World Wars, and both PoI and the Nolan Batman trilogy were under the influence of Jonathan Nolan. Obviously you can't have a post-Jan-6 real world in Batman, but the present film may at least have that atmosphere, kind of the flip of PoI being Batman character types in a real post-9-11 world, this being the atmosphere of post-Jan-6 in a Batman world (and don't think for a second that January 6, 2021, had nothing to do with race).