Reboot of Matt Reeves’ blockbuster superhero franchise The Batmanstarring Robert Pattinson as the eponymous Dark Detective, has landed on Blu-ray this week and offers a superb 4K UHD Dolby Vision broadcast with excellent additional behind-the-scenes features.
I have already reviewed The Batman back when it was supposed to hit theaters, so I’ll leave it to you Read this for my detailed reactions to this fantastic film. Suffice it to say that it’s my favorite Batman movie of all time and after multiple viewings and serious consideration I’ve decided to rank it as the best Batman movie of all time as well. I’m more biased than usual on this one The Batman comes so close to my personal ideal of Batman and his world, but that doesn’t make me wrong.
Before I get the rest of my review, and because it’s important to understand what affects the home viewing experience, I’ll mention that I got a new TV last year, a 70-inch TCL with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, and the fidelity that this combination offers is amazing. It makes watching TV at home just as good or better than a regular cinema experience. Better picture, better brightness, better “3D” sound, and at 70 inches, the screen is huge in my field of view, like I’m in a Dolby theater or a mid-size IMAX.
My point is that the quality of your home theater experience obviously depends a lot on the quality of your home theater. The Batman will already impress you in 4K UHD Dolby Vision/Atmos even if you have a standard HD TV with maybe a 50 inch screen, but if you watch movies frequently and can ask Santa to save you early on an affordable 70- 75 inches (they’re in the $700-$1,000 range lately), then I assure you it’s worth the investment. movies like The Batman are now slamming right into my living room with the same cinematic clout as they were made to be seen. The best of both worlds, dear readers.
First of all I love both deleted scenes and wish there was an option to watch the movie with those scenes (why isn’t this a standard option with every home entertainment release?). While Matt Reeves’ points about the pacing and what the scenes add or don’t add to the story are of course valid and make sense for the theatrical cut, I think it makes sense to watch the entire film to weigh the larger vision behind it all , especially when – as in this case – those extra scenes are so good.
From the featurettes, A transformation: the penguin probably has the biggest “wow” factor because the makeup work is already so eerily realistic, but then Colin Farrell immediately transitions into an off-the-cuff personality and performance that blows you away. And if any featurette points us straight to it and cheers for what the future holds for the larger world of this new Batman, become Catwoman One definitely thinks of a Catwoman film or miniseries spin-off adapting some of the best Catwoman comic book stories.
I want to take a moment to say that the quality of the home release underscores the fact that I’m hopeful The Batman will receive multiple nominations during awards season including for Greig Fraser’s cinematography which still looks great in this home release. Fraser was to receive his third Oscar nomination for his work in The Batmanafter his well-deserved nod for Lion in 2016 and last year’s win for dune. In 4K UHD Dolby Vision, The Batman preserves every nuance of his sublime, award-worthy photography.
Likewise, Supervising Sound Editors Will Files and Douglas Murray, and remixer Andy Nelson did a great job that translates brilliantly to the home release in Dolby Atmos. This is probably the most complex and impressive sound of any Batman film to date (which is saying a lot) and I love re-watching this film at home and still jumping whenever a sound comes from behind or next to me and how effective Sound is used to evoke fearful reactions in the audience like the jump scares of a horror movie.
This is just one of many possibilities The Batman reminds me of a horror movie that reminds me of watching the home release featurette The Batmobile also. How many times would you expect a Batman film to pay homage to Stephen King’s horror stories, for goodness sake? But here we are, and it’s working spectacularly. This additional feature focuses on shaping the muscle car aesthetic and crazy max Motors, but that sensibility and the end result on camera was pure Christine.
My favorite featurette moments are spread across several extras, but mostly appear in The Batman: Genesis and In search of revengediscussing how they envisioned and evolved for Bruce Wayne and Batman and how Gotham reflects him but is also as an agent of change for him as he is an agent of change for Gotham.
I’ve always felt that Batman, subconsciously speaking, is on the lookout for his family every night to save them. Night after night he tries desperately to find her and stop the nightmare that plagues him. Every criminal he encounters bears the brunt of that inevitable failure and anger, that insatiable thirst for revenge, and that desperate outburst of violence to destroy what he couldn’t stop.
Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson recognize this core tenet of Batman’s motivation, his anger at criminals as a subconscious expression of an obsessive desire to destroy the trauma that created him. Pattinson articulates it as the defining subtext to Batman’s violent nature and how he pursues his prey in Gotham.
Rising above this motivation and subtext is Batman’s path to absolution and realization to become a legacy of something more than misguided revenge for his own suffering and the deaths of his parents. His evolving relationship with Gotham reflects his changing relationship with himself and with others in his life – including his parents’ “ghost” so to speak.
Any iteration of Batman that understands and reflects these aspects of the character has been the best adaptation. And nobody understands and reflects it more or better than The Batman. Even the filmmakers’ discussions of the influences of comic book source material and cinematic influences were like a top list to have the clearest definitive insight and awareness of who Bruce and Batman are and what makes him/her what they are are. (And yes, I have my own list that I offer to a friend or family member who asks what they should read for a well-rounded version of Batman’s backstory and world.)
If you want an extra rewarding and immersive viewing experience, check it out The Batman to 4K UHD with Dolby Vision, then watch the two-part animated adaptation of Batman: The Long Halloween, also available in 4K UHD with Dolby Vision (and streaming on HBO Max). The latter’s own source material is one of the influences on the former’s story, and it’s fascinating to see how these two different but great films (both of almost the same running time) used their particular format and medium to explore similar themes.
By the way, in case you haven’t seen it yet Batman: The Long Halloween, I cannot praise it enough. It’s among the best Batman movies, whether animated or live – there’s a reason it has a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Check out the animation year one First for a really good animated Batman double feature.
The Batman looks and sounds exceptional in 4K UHD Blu-ray with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. The Batman that we have been waiting for has come to our home in a big way.