We continue the conversation on the Matt Reeves directed Batman movie starring Robert Pattinson.
- The Batman Blu-Ray
- Matt Reeves Dolby Interview, Cinematography
- Matt Reeves Dolby Interview, Audio
- Before The Batman (Prequel Novel)
You can find an archive of all episodes at batlessons.com
Send your comments, questions and corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at us @batlessons
Podcast Artwork by Sergio R. M. Duarte
Podcast Music by Renzo Calma
[00:00:00] Brian: this month on bat lessons, we're jumping back into our discussions on the Batman, the 2022 Matt Reeves movie starring Robert Patson. Last episode, we talked about some general thoughts and all the acting performances.
This time we're talking about cinematography, realism, and some of our thoughts about a potential sequel. Our in-person recording session over Thanksgiving went great and we look forward to getting that episode out to you soon. We haven't recorded our listener feedback episode, so you still have a little bit of time to let us know what you think about the show, or tell us about your first Batman memory.
Without further ado onto the show.
[00:00:42] Alex: Let's talk about cinematography cause I want to desperately.
[00:00:44] Brian: Okay.
[00:00:46] Alex: That's a, that's a take, Um, w do you want, do you want to talk about that at all before I get into why don't
[00:00:52] Brian: so I would say like the two elements of the cinematography that I enjoyed a lot, um, were like a, it was really dark. they had some interesting angles where it was, it, it was much more a movie that was made in this decade where like GoPros are common and you can like stick those on the sides of cars or whatever.
So like the car chase, the fact that like the camera is in a spot where you can see behind the car, but you can also see the penguin at the same time. I think it was a really solid move. And like some of that stuff worked very well. I would also point to, I guess in my perspective, a really bad cinematography choice, which was to do the there's like self facing GoPro camera on Batman when he jumped off the building, he did the,
[00:01:39] Alex: I think that's awful. yeah,
[00:01:41] Brian: I thought that was
really, yeah. I th I thought that it was in line with some of the other choices they made, but was not a good one. but the other thing that I really want to touch on that I loved, and I haven't seen a lot of people talk about, I guess, is the hallway scene when the only
lighting in the scene is the gunshots and.
Uh, it's really reminiscent of like Darth Vader in, in rogue one. Yeah. And how the hallway is only lit up by the blaster shots and the lightsaber. Um, and it just creates this different type of atmosphere for the battle. And, and it lined up with the music very well. It was, uh, that was probably top five, scenes from the whole, movie that I really loved.
[00:02:29] Alex: Yeah.
Incredibly successful. I think that shot, is, is incredible. I highly encourage you to go watch those Adobe interviews because they talk a lot about why they chose to shoot the movie they do
the way they do. but there is some jargon and, and I don't think it would be an episode of bat lessons if there wasn't some history
[00:02:49] Brian: Oh, I
[00:02:49] Alex: some lessons to, to talk about because some of this might whiz over your head if you watch the video without knowing it,
[00:02:55] Brian: yeah. And I'm, I'm really, excited to hear this portion because like, I know enough about like San photography sound and music to like be dangerous. Um, but I'm nothing compared to you. And I always like hearing your take on movies because it gets really deep in these areas that I don't, I barely pay attention to because you're, you focus a lot more on the, mechanics of how to make a movie, whereas I just sit and absorb it and just have the fields, you know?
I'm, I'm very excited for you to take over and just run this section.
[00:03:28] Alex: The technology is super, super interesting to me. And I think, for Matt Reeves, he is, he is deeply, deeply sort of involved with the technology as well. And I think that drives a lot of the decisions he makes. are you familiar with what, what anamorphic film is?
[00:03:44] Brian: I'm familiar with the term, is it, just give me one second. Is it
anamorphic? Is that. When the film, is it like scope filming where you've, that's how you accomplish, like the wide, the wide lens?
[00:03:58] Alex: yeah. It's one of the ways that they,
[00:04:00] Brian: I have a scope lens in my living room, actually. And that's it's for anamorphic film,
[00:04:07] Alex: Very cool. Yeah. So, so, most film, throughout history has been shot on 35 millimeter film and what that 35 millimeter film is referring to the size of the frame diagonally. So if you measure from one corner to another it's, it's 35 millimeters, but beyond just being 35 millimeters, they've they standardized, the academy did the,
[00:04:31] Brian: Aspect
[00:04:34] Alex: Yeah. They, they standardized on an Aspect ratio, called the full academy gate. and, and that is 1.375 to one, which is like a really weird number, but It's super close to four by three, which is like the, the size that CRT
televisions used to be. That's a little bit wider than it is tall, but it's very close to square.
And, in, in like the thirties and forties, like all movies were shot and four by three or 1.3, seven, five to one, and they were shot in full academy gate because that's what the film stock that they standardized used. and like some really snooty movies now are filmed in this way. So grand Budapest hotel was shot in full academy gate.
Zack Snyder's justice league was shot in full
academy gate and he made a big deal about, Yeah,
all my original vision was that I needed to be four by three because, you know people think it makes, it makes them more artistic. which is funny, cause like I love grand Budapest hotel and I think it's a piece of Arkin Zach Sanders justice league is
[00:05:25] Brian: So, but like to, to like poke on that a little bit, um, when you buy, when you used to buy DVDs, you had the wide screen version and the standard version. Right. And it was basically about whether or not you want a black bars when you watched it, if your TV was big enough and movies that were being filmed at the wide screen, which is like 16 by nine ish, usually, depends.
Right. But it's roughly that. And, what they did was called pan and scan, which I know, you know, a lot more,
this is me talking to
the audience was pan and skin, which meant that they clipped off sections of what was filmed to be able to zoom in and take the black bars off. I think there, like, in my mind, there's like an interesting distinction, little difference between for me, what are standard aspect ratio, movies that are, uh, a, that are caused by pain and scan, which are just generally worse compared to a movie that was filmed at that size that would actually show you or potentially show you more top and bottom, in the film at once.
[00:06:26] Alex: Yeah.
I think, it's, it's a really fascinating, we're going to get into it a little bit here in a minute. That there's, there's a difference between sort of like information in terms of like composition of the frame. So when you say it shows more, Right.
Like there could be more people because It's like zoomed out more like there's stuff that's cropped off the side and bottom.
But when we talk about like more information, like resolution, like in terms of like detail that you can resolve there may or may not be more. And so in the fifties, right, they decided to decided to start making movies wider and wider. And, if you've ever watched the credits, in movies where they, it, it comes before, or even if you've watched credits all the way to the end, you might see brand names like, cinema scope or Panavision.
And you wonder what those things are. These are the lens creators that invented the technology that we call anamorphic. And, and they're the ones that decided, uh, or created the way we can make this wider. but films did not stop shooting on. 35 millimeter film. They continued to be shot on 35 millimeter academy gate foam all the way until the early two thousands.
When we started shooting movies digitally. So how do you take this four by three picture and turn it into one that's really wide. Well, you do it in an anamorphic sense. This is not the only way to do it, but this is the way it was done for a long time was you would take the lens and basically what it does is it, it focuses, right.
It captures the light, in a sort of compressed way. So you take a really, really wide field and you focus that down. So it fits on the 35 millimeter. And if you were to project that for 35 millimeter film, everyone would be really, really
[00:07:58] Brian: yeah, it stretches. It's the stretch, this a vertical stretch distortion. yeah,
[00:08:04] Alex: it is a horizontally squeezed distortion,
[00:08:08] Brian: yeah,
[00:08:09] Alex: Um, but the light that it's capturing is horizontally squeezed as the way that it works. And then when you go to, projected again, you have, uh, an inverse lens that does the, the horizontal
stretch, right. yeah.
to get it back to where it was.
And that's how widescreen D was done for a very, very, very long time and the benefit of shooting, widescreen that way is that you keep all of the possible resolution. You can, the more picture that is put onto the film or the more square millimeter of film you have.
per picture, the more definition there is, the more detailed there is.
There's another way to do widescreen called superscript 35. and the, the person that is famous for using super scope, 35 is James Cameron, which is where, you take 35 millimeter and you just crop it off the top and bottom. So you have a lens that just covers up the picture. And so like, you're literally putting a black bar at the top of the bottom on the film, and he did that for
[00:09:05] Brian: that's the point that I was going to make about information and like it, and like a different way to say what you're saying. And you can correct me if this is not, not right, but
is the, the more light that hits the film, then the more information you have and that's, and that's a high, higher definition that you can project out onto the screen.
and, and so, and, and that is, and this is all driven by the standard film size, which is a 35 millimeter. If they could like change film size all whenever they wanted to, then it wouldn't be a problem. But since they're stuck on 35 millimeters, because that's all of the projectors in the world are 35 millimeter at re at the time, then they were doing this critical thinking to come around, like to problem
solve around how to
do Y with as much
information as possible.
[00:09:57] Alex: So why, why in the nineties, does James Cameron decide to use a method that uses less foam? Right. So they're, they're actually capturing less light by chopping off the top and bottom right there. They're using less of that 35 millimeter frame to represent their picture, to get something that's wide.
Right. He does that with Terminator. He does that with Titanic, right? Why does he choose to do that? Because like you just said, the more of the film, I can use that more detail I can get the better, the picture is going to be. Well, the, the reason is because, this anamorphic trick where we're like squeezing the light, generates a lot of distortion and some of this distortion is like stuff you actually might appreciate.
Um, so like lens flares, if you take your iPhone and you pointed at the sun, right? The, the, the, the flare that you're going to get is going to be circles. So you might have concentric circles of like one really big one. You know, image of the sun that is offset from the actual sun and then another one that's smaller and another one that's even smaller. Right.
But they're perfect circles and an anamorphic because you're stretching the picture. You're squeezing the picture, stretching up, back out again, the lens flare is this massive line. So you'll actually have the circle pinpoint pinprick of light, but then you also have a big line across the whole frame of the picture.
And that's because of the way that the glass is interacting with that light. And it it's, it's a distortion. And so like JJ Abrams is like notorious and like famous for like doing these, um, lens, flares that are fake. Right. And so you have movies that are shot, not anamorphic. And then all of a sudden there's a digital lens flare that's over the thing that's like doing the line across the whole screen, or sometimes he does shoot anamorphic.
Right. and that, that is probably the distortion that like most people are familiar with. but there are other distortions that come with anamorphic, which, which, um, especially when they're first doing it in the fifties, sixties and seventies, where they don't really know how to make the glass yet.
And that is that focus falls off the further from the center of the
frame you get.
[00:11:41] Brian: yeah.
[00:11:42] Alex: so you can have like, in, in, in, in film, you, you have, lenses that will do different depths of field is, which is what they call depth of field, which is like how much, how are of the distance away from the, the picture is in focus.
So you could imagine one, one lens that is capable of doing about 10 feet in focus at a time, and you can move that those 10 feet. So like maybe starting at five feet from the camera and going to 15 feet, all of those objects are in focus and then you move it to say, okay, everything at 20 feet, isn't focused to 30 feet by 35.
It's not right. and anamorphic has, uh, by, by definition usually has a fairly shallow depth of field. So, you know, you might only have a four feet or three feet that are in focus, right. So that's one thing that happens. But also what happens is that's at the center of the picture. So like if I'm in the middle of the, of the frame, my face isn't focused, but everything falls off to the side.
So something could be. Ju the same distance to the camera. Like my hand, if it's on the right-hand side of the screen, it might be only six inches closer to the camera than I am, but it might be out of focus because the way that the glass works, it's just imperfect. Right? Like the further from the center of that, just the less focus it
[00:12:46] Brian: Yeah, I can, I can enter this as well. So as far as depth of field goes, like I think, people, my age probably used Instagram when it was fairly new, and that was one of the filters that you use to have like a line of InFocus and like stuff that was out of focus around it, which was to emulate that depth of field thing.
Um, it's common in like phones now, especially when they have like multiple cameras. Um, and like, I think the easiest way to kind of like, uh, describe that in a, in a scenario would be like, um, you're trying to take a picture of like a Coke can on a table and you can see the Coke can is in, was, is in focus and like the table that is at the same depth away from you.
The like the wood grain is also in focus, but the, the further you go behind that the wood green would go out of focus. And the further you are in the closer you come from the can, the wood grain on the table would be out of focus as well. And to show that like the depth of field is exactly where that can is, and no more or less, whereas like there are other, like really wide depth of the field where you take a picture and like everything is in focus.
but, but it is flat. Like you can't tell how far things are. back in the distance, it's like portrait mode on your phone. Usually like it tries to make you and focus and like the stuff behind you is out of focus, that's depth of field.
[00:14:06] Alex: There there's all kinds of like, in, in, in film and photography, there's they have different ways of describing the characteristics of that blur, right? So like the, the quality, of a blur, if it's it's particularly pleasing and soft and circular, you might hear someone called that Boca. Right. that that's something that they're intentionally doing.
They want focus, things that are distant behind you to be out of focus. it's pleasing to the eye, they call that Boca. Right. but, but with an anamorphic, you know, frame, you have something that is unintentionally happening that, that sort of falls outside. The rule set that Brian is describing where everything that is sort of on the same plane should be in focus and everything that's further
should be out of focus.
[00:14:43] Brian: too.
[00:14:44] Alex: Go
[00:14:44] Brian: So, um, so the, so there are two, so I'm talking about the lenses that I have out in my living room, but they are from like a very, very old, like mid sixties, film projector that we had at the movie theater. And when we got rid of that projector to replace it with like a fresh new digital one, I got to keep the lenses, but that was a real thing.
Like when you run the film through, and then you put the lens on the front that matched the film that you were playing on, if it was going to be four by three, you do the flat lens. If you was going to be, we call it scope, but if it was going to be a scope, um, you'd, you'd put the longer lens on it, which does the anamorphic.
and every single time you started playing a movie, the first thing you do is you twist this knob to adjust that depth. And you would be trying to find the focus point in what you're watching and get that as close to the middle as possible so that you don't have anything that's wildly out of focus.
You're not going to have everything in focus, but if you put the focus line at the bottom, you know, that the top is going to be much worse than if you put it in the middle. Whereas the top and bottom are just like half as bad. and so that, that's my experience with that. And like the imperfection in the lens, like you were describing.
how you have to like, find that center line to kind of balance out the out of focusness.
[00:16:00] Alex: and, and the thing is that like we've gotten even like today when we were shooting on film or sorry, on digital, where we can have these perfect captures at the sensor that are perfectly tack sharp, like you're still fighting the glass, right. We still use glass lenses, but the technology has gotten much, much, much, much, much better.
We have lenses that, that are perfect per perfectly in focus, across the frame, um, when you want it to be a, not when you don't, and we don't have focus fall off, so things to the sides of the, of, of the image and up blurry. and we don't have what they call vignetting where things to the, again, to the corners or to the sides of the frames get darker.
[00:16:37] Brian: Yeah.
[00:16:38] Alex: and it has been a criticism of some people as of late that, movies have been too perfect and too tack sharp. And the wording that they'll sometimes use is like sterile. It feels like, especially because so much of the movies end up being digital, right, where we have these digital composites where someone needs, it has to be perfectly and focused, right.
Because you need to be able to cut out the blue screen behind them, or because we're going to need to put something digital into the frame that, is, is by definition made by computer. And we have a really hard time emulating things like motion blur and, focus, fall off and things like that because it needs to mesh as well as possible.
We get the cleanest T Taka sharp, you know, you know, most perfect image we get, we can in the, in the camera. So that, that it composites well. Right. and so th this is a criticism that people have of, of the Marvel movies that they all feel kind of cookie cutter and sterile. And, Matt, Matt Reeves, I think.
Is is, is intentionally sort of like pushing back against it. So when you hear him talk about the cinematography and these Adobe videos and in various interviews that he's done since the movie, they talk about going and trying to find these misfit lenses, like they, they they're intentionally looking for bad lenses, right.
That are, that are capturing things in, in a poor way on purpose. So they're looking for things with focused fall off. They're looking for things that vignette and have, um, all kinds of distortion. They want these crazy, um, sort of lights. and they, they, we even went further than that, right? So beyond just like choosing these bad lenses, after they edited the movie, the, which this movie was shot on a digital, by the way, on a 6k camera.
So they start the whole thing on digital. It's a very, very clean picture. Um, aside from the lenses that are in front, after they edited the whole movie, they actually, did a print of the movie onto 35 millimeter film. And then, did a capture of that again, back to digital. and they even did a third kind of the movie where they do an intro positive, which I'm not gonna explain.
Uh, but like, because we don't have time. but they did, they did a print the same way you would have with a camera. You're going through a color process, the way a film camera would have. And then they went shot by shot through the movie. And in the digital editing software, they said, do we want the digital version of the shot?
Or do we want the film version or do we want the enter positive? And they would choose which one they actually wanted to use, because, you know, when you go to the film and back, you get grain, Or if you go to enter positive and back, you get different color distortion. And they very, very much are trying to make it look like a 1970s movie and there's they're successful.
Um, and is beautiful. I think it is, indulgent, I think is the right word for it. it brings something to the movie in many cases, Until it doesn't, I think it can be distracting.
[00:19:24] Brian: Yeah. I think I would say that this could be argued on both sides pretty easily,
[00:19:28] Alex: I think that the it's really hard for me to, sort of explain my feeling of like I can, I had this uneasiness where I felt like I could tell where like they're moving from one shot to another, in the same scene where they're choosing to use a lens that is sharper because they need to, for that chart or there, or they're using a lens that has more lens flare cause they need it for that shot.
And the next one they don't, or they've chosen to, you know, I can't honestly say that. I, I could, I could pick those out. Like if I was trying to go shot for shot, for shot to say, this is the one where they, they did a digital composite because they did have special effects in this movie. and you can tell that the, the, the film grain is less and the next one in the same scene doesn't right? Or, you know, I don't know If I could actually do that, but I did have this feeling of like, they were changing things up as I was going, I had this sort of unease about like the picture quality was changing and that did bother me in a way that like, maybe it, wouldn't someone who isn't trying to pay attention
to those things.
[00:20:28] Brian: If you're not seeing it, it's not bothering you, but yeah. Like I guess what you're describing kind of seems like when you're watching good CGI versus like bad CGI, like when you notice like that, that doesn't look right, that that breaks your suspension of disbelief a little bit. You go, oh, I'm in a theater,
[00:20:47] Alex: Exactly. I think they were so focused on craft. They're so nerdy about it. Like I am like, they care about this stuff so much that, they indulged themselves, right. They decided we're going to do this cool thing because it's cool. And a couple of times it sort of breaks the veil. Right. And you're focused on the craft instead of the film and they do it a few times and you brought one up, actually, I'm glad you did, which is the hard mounts.
So they made a purpose. They purposely wanted to do all of the action sequences in wa even when they were using digital effects and composites and do it in a physical way. So like everywhere a camera is it could have plausibly been. Um, and So when they're, when you're talking about a, like a car chase, right.
They wanted it to be, have a, uh, a visceralness and a physicality of like there's no sort of like third party observer where you have a camera that is like in a wall, which like, is the thing that happens in the, in the Christopher Nolan movies of like there are cameras in places that he could never have been if there wasn't a crane or a helicopter, or if they were actually in a
[00:21:47] Brian: get what you're saying. So like kind of like a sitcom. There's no way that, that there could be a camera there because there's a wall missing specifically, so
[00:21:55] Alex: yes,
[00:21:56] Brian: it. Yeah, I got
[00:21:57] Alex: that's right. They cut away half the building and you're looking into the other half. Right. It's kind of weird it's and they very purposely did things in a very physical way. And they get so into this idea, which is a good one, right. Of hard mounts. And they, they there's, there's a moment in this Dolby video when he's talking about like, they started from the shots backwards and they just said where all the places on this car, you. can hard Mount a car.
And they tried everyone. We're getting hard mounted car camera here. We're going to have. Yeah.
there and there and there and there, and they go through 50 different places of where you can hard Mount a Camera, and they're just getting all these shots and then they edit together because, because it meets this criteria of this rule of like, it needs to be physically based.
And then I'm just in this movie and they're like, we're going to do another shot where like, looking at the back of this car and the moment, the moment that you cited, where they had the hard Mount on the on his head of like, well, it's, it's a little stupid, like it's, it's breaking this, it's breaking the sort of mold of like, they've got really into this idea of like, we're going to do this thing because it has this quality to it.
And we like that quality and they do it Just like 20% too much. Right. they get really into the idea. He talks about it in the video as well. He's really excited about Batman coming out of the shadows. Right.
And there's multiple scenes in this movie where we're looking at a dark shadow And we hear the boots on and go clump, clump, clump.
first time it's really cool. And then the second or third time. Yeah. But like the third time, you're like, this is a three-hour long movie, you know, and then they do it with the car and there's the shadow and the car turns on and the engine, it goes growls. And like, they're just gushing
[00:23:27] Brian: And the
Zodiac does that are announced Zodiac. Ooh, that was a good slip. The joker does that too. in the beginning and the mayor, like it's all dark and then like suddenly he's there, he came out of the shadows, right?
[00:23:37] Alex: Oh Riddler. Yes.
[00:23:38] Brian: Oh man. A double, double slip. Yeah. Riddler, not joker and not Zodiac Riddler.
[00:23:46] Alex: Yeah. So there's this theme that they repeat over and over and over to think again, of things coming out of the shadows and it is a strong idea and they execute on a well, but I think they've indulged themselves that they, they think this idea is so good that they do at one time too many,
right. Like for me, I've heard people gush about the, the Batmobile first appearance. And like, to me, it is almost immersion breaking. Cause we have gone to such great lengths to like, make this feel real. And like all of a sudden there's a car with a blue flame coming out the back and I'm like, really like, it's that moment didn't work for me.
[00:24:17] Brian: on that thing, they there's actually like a little tidbit in the trivia about how the, I don't even know if I put in my notes or not. Yeah. So Matt Reeves, he said, I like the idea of the car itself as a horror figure, making an animalistic appearance to really scare the hell out of people.
Batman is pursuing
and there is absolutely a horror genre aspect to this movie.
[00:24:39] Alex: I think that's true. And parts of it work,
but, That very first shot of like, it's coming out of the shadow. And like, he, I don't know if he like pops the clutch to kind of, it's a little weird, like a, it kind of like a false start. and it happens with the music too. I think the sound design again is incredible and there's so many things that are going so, right.
There's one moment in the movie that, that blows my mind if like, they were using a, like an angle grinder to like cut the lock off of, uh, off of a, uh, door. I think it's when he, Batman is coming back to the, to the 30 below or whatever the name of the club is like the third time or it's right before the scene where they there's the scene in the hallway where, where it's
[00:25:17] Brian: I know what she's talking about. I think he's chopping through the power lines.
[00:25:21] Alex: Oh, that's what he's doing. That's all right. That's Right.
But like, it's this shrill screeching that's so loud and the pitch perfectly matches with the music that comes in afterwards. And you're like, that's such a cool sound design moment where like the sound effect turns into the music. and that works so well, but like at the same time, it is a very loud movie.
And like, they lean into like these visceral sound effect moments of like, they want you to feel it. And it like, by the end of that third hour, we're in the third act where like, I don't understand why we're in Madison square garden right now. And like, it's just relentlessly loud. I'm like, I've, you've given me, 20% too much, or 10% too much.
This is like just past the line of like, um, and so, and so from a filmmaking perspective, I think that's my problem with it is that like, they have these really, really, really cool ideas and they are so focused on their craft and they have so many cool things they want to do and they, they just do it just a bit too much.
And it feels indulgent. I think that's, that's the word I have. So that, that's my feeling on, on the cinematography and the sound. Oh, the other thing on the, on the music, is that not just the, the, um, not just the song from Nirvana, but the GEA Keno score. They actually, he actually wrote that song first too.
And this is another idea that you can tell when he's in the interview with that, Matt Reeves loves, loves, loves that. Like they started with that and they worked outward. and that is cool because the performance is informed by the music and it's supposedly like Reeves had it, you know, the, the G G Aquino score, like on his iPod.
And it was like listening to it and like, you know, um, the lighting, they, the thing that apparently they decided like the color red is something that they wanted to
play with very early on. And, that's cool. except, I feel like the music, the theme is really strong, but it doesn't go any places.
Like there's only, there's only that one note, it goes, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop. And like, by the time we're on the third hour, like we're just doing that theme again, you know,
[00:27:13] Brian: to me,
it's really reminiscent of, uh, the Imperial March actually.
[00:27:18] Alex: sure. That's fair. I think what, what works about the Imperial marches that it's amongst like four other also hummable and recognizable tunes by John Williams and like, this is the only song in the whole movie, you know, besides the Nirvana song. Right? same with like the, the, like they get really into the rain.
Like they, they came up with cool ways to shoot the rain. Like they, they smudge Vaseline on the lens so That, the water would stick to the lens and like, it's so cool. And also like it's always raining in Gotham. There's like four scenes in this movie
where it's raining and you're like, is the Seattle, or is it?
[00:27:53] Brian: That, that was a,
supposed to be a choice to sh to show how like oppressive the city was. Is that like, it's just constantly raining, like nothing, nothing.
[00:28:03] Alex: that.
[00:28:04] Brian: know?
[00:28:05] Alex: And I think, you know?
again, I should reiterate, I love this
movie. It's a very good movie, but I think there's a lot of choices where they get into an idea that they really like it. And they're like, we're going to do it over and over and over and over, over and over again. And I'm thinking if they did it once, then I think they're making a statement about the rain, but it's amongst all these other things where they've, they've kind of leaned into this idea that they really like so hard,
[00:28:27] Brian: But
[00:28:28] Alex: that feels
[00:28:29] Brian: there are, so there there's actually like another layer on that rain that's kind of interesting is, so like Batman, he becomes Bruce Wayne. He goes up to meet with Alfred it and he puts his sunglasses on because like the lights bright, like he looks over and he's like, you know, when he squints and he puts the sunglasses on because he just became nocturnal, like he said, in his like beginning narration, and by, and it's raining all the time.
And then at the very end of the movie. they have shown this resolution that the oppression has lifted because the rain has stopped and the sun comes out and he can look directly into the sun and he's not squinting.
[00:29:04] Alex: Mm, interesting. Yeah. This cool symbolism for
sure. that's pretty much all the thoughts I had about cinematography and music. Did you have any other thoughts about music and,
[00:29:13] Brian: there was one other tidbit on the music that I enjoyed, learning about was that, like you were saying, they tried to match up all the beats with the music. So like all the visual beats with the music. So like even when he's walking, he's walking at the pace of the music and usually
when he's walking every fourth step is a harder step than the others, in the sound effect as it is, it connects to the soundtrack.
[00:29:38] Alex: I didn't know That,
It's almost a rhythmic and he's making a beat
[00:29:44] Brian: Yeah. Or like that, uh, incredible hallway scene where they're shooting and stuff. It, all the shots lineup with the music and stuff.
[00:29:52] Alex: It's
so cool. that's that's that is a
triumph. Like I get salty about like them overdoing things about their craft. They are so talented, like the fact that they are doing these things that no one else is doing is incredible. Like they deserve all of the praise in the world for zigging when everyone
else is zagging. so even if I don't appreciate certain parts of it Yeah.
It's so unique and it, it stands out, you know?
[00:30:20] Brian: I, so I want to take this in a particular direction.
[00:30:23] Alex: Sure.
[00:30:24] Brian: so we're talking about cinematography. You're talking about wanting to make it look like a seventies movie, et cetera. And I think all of that plays into this, this question of like, when does this take place? And, and I have some
like, kind of geeky thoughts about it, um, which is like the stylization of the world that like the universe that they've created is like eighties, New York city, like kind of the worst, worst crime of the time, very dark, lots of pollution, et cetera.
However, they have like bleeding edge, possibly even futuristic technology. Um, which is something that I really appreciated in, Batman, the animated series. so for homework in a previous episode, you asked me to watch some, oh no. For an upcoming one, you asked me to watch the 1943 serial for Batman.
and we'll talk about how awful it is another time. but like watching it really connected the dots for me on some of the modern Batman stuff. So like Batman, the animated series, I now understand why they're wearing suits and fedoras and why, when they're in cars, they're all like these really, really old, like stylized cars, but they have like computers and stuff and it is like playing on my eyes back to the early, um, like the first time Batman was on the silver screen.
in the 43 serial. And like, I kind of see that a little bit in that, the way they've stylized, like a lot of the cars or a lot of the buildings or whatever is like a time that's past, like eighties would be 40 years ago, but they have this super modern technology, like the, um, the contact lens, it's a camera, you know, and, and stuff like that.
So, so my, I guess, response to my own question of like, when does this take place is kind of like, it, it takes place in a timeline that we don't live on. Like, it's, it's
very much its own universe. So it's both the 1980s and the 2020s, but, but also neither of them, because it's in Gotham,
[00:32:29] Alex: I agree with that observation that like Batman in a way is a man out of time and a character out of time because, he was created in the thirties. Right. And so when you go back and you read the origins, it has all of these trappings of this moment. That is, it's a bygone era. right.
And so he's constantly recontextualized and it is impossible to make it fully modern and not backward-looking in a way.
And so you're right. When, when you are seeing the Burton Batman, it is hearkening back to the thirties and forties, because that is, that is where Batman comes from. Um, and I think this is hearkening back to the seventies and eighties, not just because Matt Reeves is like super into movies from that time, which I think part of it is especially sort of mystery thrillers of, of that era he's into.
but also because I think that is an era that he thinks speaks to the social commentary and speaks to the themes that, that he's trying to show, right? Like, the way we like to think of like a broken New York city that is crime ridden and overrun and needs fixing is that, that is a moment that like has passed, right.
We don't think of New York city that way anymore. and so w when we think about crime and, and cities that are sort of off the rails or, that, that need this sort of like savior figure. It is something that is backward looking. So like yeah, you're right. Like we do have technology. He does have like, they, their cell phones all over the movie.
There's like Batman FaceTimes with, with the Riddler, but like the, the, the movie is a wash and orange, which is like of, of, of high pressure sodium lights, which like street lights don't use anymore. Like they're all LEDs.
[00:34:05] Brian: That's a good point. I hadn't thought about that at all.
[00:34:07] Alex: yeah. Uh, I wish it was some observation that I had that was super clever, but Matt Reeves talks about it in one of the interviews he did.
but yeah, it's, it is out of time and I think, I think that's really cool for sure. one of the things that, that Kevin Smith said on, on Batman on Batman is that like Christopher Nolan, if Christopher Nolan brought, made Batman real and brought Batman into the real world, then, um, what Matt Reeves has done is he's made Gotham real. Right? I think he, he has taken special attention and care and detail to like making the city feel like something that is, could plausibly exist.
Like, I love, I love, love, love, and I think in a lot of ways they're better movies, the Christopher Nolan movies, but it's like Batman's in Chicago, right. it
is not, they don't take care to try to make Gotham something of this real. And in, in like, you know, the Burton verse and th the, the Schumacher verse, like Gotham is very distinctive, but again, it does not feel real.
It feels like, uh, like a
cartoon or a comic in a way. And, and this is, I think the first time we've seen someone say, well, what if a city was broken in this way?
[00:35:07] Brian: Yeah. Yeah. that does raise another question that I have, which is, so you're talking about like, how real it is and stuff. And that's one of the things that I really liked about this movie in general is that like it's high-tech, but lo-fi, um, everything is plausible. and this was the first time we've seen like the sweaty Batman, like, like, cause like, uh, and Christopher Nolan's Batman, like when he takes the mask off, the paint around his eyes are just like suddenly gone.
He and his hairstyles, like usually pretty good. And he he's dry, you know? Whereas like this Batman, like when you, when he takes the mask off, like they, they made it a lot more real where like, when he's, after he's being Batman, he gets on his motorcycle. You can see that like, there's this sweaty, nasty, like black, paint
or makeup around his eyes.
That's like bleeding down on his cheeks. Yeah. Is running. or like, there are a couple of times where like, he's on the motorcycle or he's like going into a building and he's clearly carrying like a rucksack that hat or a backpack or something that has the Batman suit inside of it. Cause he's like, I can't be Batman right now.
And he goes into a building and then changes, you know, and then he becomes Batman. Uh, he did that at, um, when he's going into Falcon, he's at the very end, the iceberg lounge. he goes
in like as a
[00:36:22] Alex: th
yes, there's multiple times where they, they're trying to call out the ridiculousness of what he's doing, where like the, it, it rhymes, right. He shows up at the door and knocks on it as Batman, and they say, who's you, who are you? Right. and then he does it again. He has, the, the lines are identical.
He says the
[00:36:39] Brian: Bruce Wayne, you
[00:36:39] Alex: Right. yeah. And it sort of highlights how stupid, like in no other movie. And in fact, I D I don't like it because I like my Batman to be mysterious, but I, you know, I accept it as, as they're trying to realize it right there in no world. Does Batman show up to the front door of an establishment and knock, right.
Batman like shows up inside and you have no idea how we got there, like, because we don't need to, because he's, you know, a ninja. and there, there is a there is a realism to that that I do appreciate. likewise, like, you know,
he, he does, he, he jumps off the building and we have the hard Mount shot that we both hate.
but like, after that, like he pulls his parachute and like hits a bridge and like gets messed up. and like seriously hurt. And like, that's a moment that like in Spiderman has played for laughs. And like, I did kind of have a nervous laugh, but it's not supposed to be funny. Like this dude gets like, w you know, there's a realism to, like, he doesn't really know what he's doing.
[00:37:33] Brian: Yeah. Your, your three doors thing actually, I think is, is learning. You're we're seeing him learn. He goes up and he knocks his Batman. It doesn't work. He goes in as Bruce Wayne and it like, kind of works, but he was really depressed at the time. And the third time he snuck in and I think that symbol learning that like sneaking in was by far the easiest and from now on, I'm just going to sneak into buildings.
[00:37:56] Alex: Yeah. It's a, it's a cool idea for
[00:37:58] Brian: Yeah. so then it running on this posibility thing, what'd you think of the vehicles he's got, he wrote on a motorcycle most of the time, you kind of stated some of your thoughts about the car in general, but, this is a D like kind of a different context on the question,
[00:38:13] Alex: the book is one of the main characters of the prequel novel. Um, so I have a hard time divorcing myself cause I did read that.
[00:38:18] Brian: the bike,
[00:38:19] Alex: no, the car,
[00:38:20] Brian: oh,
[00:38:21] Alex: the Batmobile.
[00:38:22] Brian: Got it. Sorry. I thought you said the book.
[00:38:24] Alex: in the book.
[00:38:25] Brian: Oh, okay. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Sorry. I
[00:38:28] Alex: He builds the Batmobile.
[00:38:29] Brian: Got it. I'm with
[00:38:31] Alex: And so like, despite the fact that I don't like that, it, it blows blue fire flame out it's but like, that's probably the only part I don't really like.
I think it works. I think the idea that's kind of a hot rod. It's not a tank, right. it. is something that a dude built in his garage. right? I like that. I like that he rides a motorcycle. There's nothing special about it. It's just a motorcycle. Yeah.
it, it works for me. I think, um, there is something that's really cool about.
Like I have a bat wing Lego bat wing, hanging up on my wall. I have built Batmobile calls. I think there is something cool about that playing, you know, an important role as a character in the movies. You know, the tumbler is part of, the Batman begins in a way that I don't think the vehicles are really a part of these movies and that's okay.
yeah. What about you?
[00:39:12] Brian: Uh, I really dig it. I think these are, vehicles that make sense at the beginning of like a Batman storyline, is that like, as he becomes more advanced or more developed in his technology will get better and his cars will get better and stuff. I see why they might have felt a little bit cornered on, um, doing the flame thrower thing that the, I guess, jet on the back, because that's like every Batman has had that.
[00:39:40] Alex: Oh yeah, It's just, it's just a little stupid,
[00:39:45] Brian: it it's. Yeah. It's not very realistic. I agree.
[00:39:47] Alex: Yeah, When, when we have it in the Christopher Nolan movies, it is as a jet engine to use, to be used to help it jump over the, like the hanger, they hang a lantern on it. They say this thing is a little stupid, but we're going to give you a reason to
exist. And in this, w we've gone even more, we're trying to make the movie and the setting feel even more realistic and we have this fantastical element and we don't try to explain it. And it just, I trip on it. Right.
[00:40:12] Brian: yeah, exactly. And it's, it's like, how do you. it's, it's one of those things, like as an audience member, you can go, okay, I see why they had to do this. But like, if this was the very first time he'd ever seen Batman, you'd be like, why is there a jet on this car? You know, like, like I see where
they were like,
we have to
have a jet, how do we add a jet and make it look realistic?
[00:40:34] Alex: I hate to change it. Like, I, I feel like you're in the middle of something, but this like, has this, I feel I have the perfect segue, like at the spark, the thing, speaking of things that they felt like they had to have and like don't really fit, Um, the scene with the joker where he goes, you know, Riddler is checked into Arkham and he's having the conversation and there's a person that we don't really see, but he laughs like the joker and they're instant friends and, it doesn't move the plot forward in any way.
It doesn't, it doesn't really it, I guess I'm interested. I shouldn't, I shouldn't jump to a conclusion. I'm interested in your, in your take about like what, what purpose do you feel like that had? Do you feel like you appreciated it?
[00:41:12] Brian: so to me, the, the big argument for this is about, it sets up, um, a SQL, like, I think that's the only reason that as there is to be a cliffhanger for you to come back and say, oh, the Riddler is not done.
The next movie is going to have the Riddler and the joker fighting together. Or maybe the third movie will like they've, they've already said that Robert Pattinson signed for a three movie deal. So it would be,
[00:41:38] Alex: And Matt Reeves has expressed interest in coming back, but he has not said that he's for sure going to do a trilogy.
[00:41:43] Brian: we know he's done sequels before, because he did two of the, planet of the apes. Thank you. The plan of the S movies. So like. It's clearly, he's not opposed to doing sequel movies in general, you know, as a, as like a career move. So, this, this has been successful enough that I think, um, Warner brothers would be just silly to not make another one.
and Robert Pattinson's already signed on for three. so I, I think there has to be another one. And I think the only reason, the literal only reason that they had that scene was to, as, as like a marketing move, the cliffhanger to start now building for the, was it like a 20, 25 SQL?
[00:42:31] Alex: Yeah. I hope you're wrong. I just, just desperately, desperately hope you wrong to me. The two explanations, that would be more satisfying than that, that I have that I have heard, um, you know, thrown around are one is the studio made them do it because it's the joke. I like Batman movies gotta have the joke out.
Like everyone, you know, like cigar chomping, like people don't understand that like the joker is a part of the Batman universe and not the Batman universe. and the other explanation I've heard is that this is Matt Reeves taking him off the table. It's him saying? Okay, look. Yes, of course the joker exists in my universe and um, you're never
[00:43:08] Brian: Oh, but he's
[00:43:09] Alex: Like he, yeah, he he's, he's important right. To the mythos. He's important to my character and I'm not going to do a movie with him. And I, God, I I just hope that the, the, the dark night, okay. Is, is a movie in 2009, right? We are, we are not even, you know, we're barely a decade,
[00:43:33] Brian: Oh, they had the joker movie also
and we've had it.
[00:43:38] Alex: right.
[00:43:38] Brian: Sorry.
[00:43:39] Alex: That's what I'm saying to 2009, right. We're very barely a decade past it. He ledger wins an academy award for best actor for that performance. And we have had to count them two jokers since then. Right? Like we, we had, the, the joker movie and then we also had the joker for the DCU in Batman vs.
Superman and suicide suicide squad. and like, it is just, I'm just joking out, man. Like I
[00:44:01] Brian: oh, and you ain't even talked about Jack
Nicholson. Who's the first one, right?
[00:44:06] Alex: Yes. But at least there's time has passed since then. You know
saying? Like it just, I
[00:44:11] Brian: if you're, yeah. If you're stretching out, like all of the Batman movies and you say, how many of them have a joker in it? It's more than half of
[00:44:19] Alex: yeah. yeah. Oh yeah. It's a lot. It's a lot. And, and I think, there's something that's so refreshing about the Riddler in that, like, he is someone that we haven't seen that much of it's people identify with it. They know it, but like it, it is a new and fresh, exciting take.
And like there are places to go in the Batman universe and I'm interested to hear
what you want from SQL. but, but you know, there are places that we can go like that we never have before in a movie, like we could have a clay face, we could have, you know, a quarter vowels we could have, you know, a mad Hatter. Like there are places to go, you know, as, as, although we did have, as, as in, in, um, the birds of prey, that was pretty, pretty great.
you know, there are villains that we haven't had before. and I think, you know, when we talk, when I talk about the, the mood of this movie being so dour, right, and so serious and so dark, and you talk about things like at the end of the movie, you know, the sun comes out and the rain stops and he looks into the sky and we have this hopeful note of like, maybe, Hey, maybe I'm vengeance is like, not the thing we need to go.
I'm hoping that. a shift that things could get more fantastical, that they could get more positive and that we could see an evolution of like, maybe we do see someone who becomes over time, more comfortable being Bruce Wayne, right. Or, you know, and maybe that's not millionaire Playboy, but like, you know, that this character has an evolution and go somewhere and does something different because I don't think I could handle as much as I loved this movie.
you know, I don't think I could handle another, you know, thriller where like they're trying to do tension for the whole thing. And they're trying to, do sort of like these themes of like retribution and like anger and like, you know, I want them.
to go in a different direction. I'm interested to hear what you, what your, what you would hope
[00:46:04] Brian: Yeah. So there's a, there's a lot wrapped up in there is like, I, I think that, so what are the themes that make this movie relevant B because this is the first of a trilogy, so they had to land it. So what were the themes that worked well? So, um, one of the morals of the story is that, is that vengeance doesn't work.
He needs to be justice, not vengeance. Right. And that's something that he learned in this movie. Another thing is they're setting him up as a detective. but he was kind of a crappy detective, like with, like you said, without Catwoman, like kind of making the, connecting the dots for him, he wouldn't have solved this, you know?
And so like there, he's got a lot of room to grow on being a better detective, corruption in the world. Like today is a really big theme. And so justice for corruption that this seems like an obvious theme between like the year 20, 22 and this movie that would like bring people, bring audiences to the theater, the antiestablishment sentiment.
That's also really huge. It's been huge since like the mid 2010s, and then also,
[00:47:05] Alex: Occupy wall street, right.
[00:47:06] Brian: yeah, and so this last one is like touching on joke, but like not joke is that emo is making. like, like I'm not kidding. Like there are, there are big emo bands that are like reuniting and doing reunion tours and stuff.
And like, we've got the big, uh, when we were young to her that's CA or a festival is coming up in October, you know, like emos may come back. So like the, the reset, the youth, the realism, like all these things like stacking, the, the angst genus, they all stack up to, like, I see why this movie can happen now and couldn't happen 20 years ago, you know?
so then why would they pick the Riddler? So my, I guess, hypothesis on that is that they had, because it had to be something that people would want to see. Cause they had to pick a villain that they haven't done recently, but everyone knows which means they have done it before. And so it had to be realistic.
So they couldn't do Mr. Freeze because how does Mr. Freeze with his like ice gun exists in this very realistic world is making any sense?
[00:48:19] Alex: I mean, I desperately want him to further record, like I, would, I would love them to try. I want that to
[00:48:26] Brian: I, I think that's possible in sequels when the technology develops, when he becomes a better detective, et cetera, but, but for the first movie, it doesn't land. we don't want to do another joke or, I think that like a poison Ivy could have worked, but the focus really would have been on like pollution and, being green and sustainability and that kind of like global warming angle.
So I don't see that landing quite as well. And so like, I think the realer with like the anti-corruption and stuff, like it makes sense of the very small deck that they were able to choose from. Now they've established, they've landed. This is a good movie. And with a sequel, they can do anything. They can, they can do what you're describing and pick characters or villains that, we've never seen on, on, in the movies before from the comic books, they could create villains that have never existed before at all.
[00:49:24] Alex: they're
[00:49:26] Brian: to
face could be a thing,
[00:49:27] Alex: care so much about, sorry. I was just going to say, I think they care so much about the source material. It's so clear in this movie that
[00:49:34] Brian: That's the smart move in my
[00:49:35] Alex: um, Yeah. Sorry
[00:49:36] Brian: Yeah. And, and like, to face could happen. That makes sense. But it has to be set up. So to face might be the third movie, the second movie, possibly it might be the creation of two face in the second movie, but I feel like if you were going to do two face, you'd want that to be the F the final villain.
and, but I think that you could have as, as, or a mad Hatter, or I feel doubtful for clay face. Cause that would be like pretty
[00:50:03] Alex: it'd be so good. He's one of my favorite characters. I get it. Yeah. It's it's the, the Mr. Freezes and
the clay faces probably aren't going to happen despite the fact that I think they have some of the coolest ideas and it's because it's not, well-rooted like I don't have an affection for killer croc the way I do for those characters.
But again, it's like, that's, that's feels out of place with this universe. I think.
[00:50:26] Brian: Right. Um, and so like with this universe, like, I, I think that the future is bright on what the sequels are going to be like, as long as they can like follow it up B, because like that that's one of the discussions we've had with like star wars for example, is like the original trilogy was so good. It's like, how do you follow it up without disappointing people?
You know? And like, I've made the bold claim that this is the best Batman movie of all time and what do they have to do to beat that, you know? And they've just set the bar extremely high. what do they
[00:50:57] Alex: they have, and I think, you know, so much of SQL's for me are how, how they continue the phrase, right? Like how do? they play, You know?
sequels that are okay, but aren't super successful are ones that just do the same thing again. So like Ghostbusters too, like was a fun movie, but it's just the same thing again.
Right. likewise I think so much of the SQL trilogy, and I know we disagree on the SQL trilogy deeply in some ways, but so much of what didn't work was that they did not try to work together. Like those individual movies all have strengths and none of them have anything to do with each other and that's a problem. right. and, and so I hope that for sure, and I hope that they're able to make changes and grow and do something different while still feeling like a continuation. Because I will say for as all of the problems I have, right. That takes us away from being an, a plus plus plus movie and make it like probably an, a minus for me of like a very good movie that has problems.
Like for all of that, if they have a SQL that knocks it out of the park, it will, it will elevate this film. Like Batman begins is as a movie is like probably a C on its own. Let's be real. But like the, the strength of the SQLs that come after it make that trilogy work. Like it is everything to me that, it is of a piece, with something that is better and it is better for its sequels.
And I hope that happens with this. Like, I hope my, my love deepens right. And, and grows over time. Um, but It's they've got to bring the heat. Right. And I think. at risk of like at, at the three and a half hour, mark, like opening up another can of worms. I want to see him be a detective. Like he wasn't this movie, but I want to see a mystery.
And like this movie has, you know, things that we're trying to figure out. But to me is not a mystery, like in that, we actually see the Riddler do his crime. So like we know it's a dude in a green
suit. Right. And like, yeah.
we don't know his identity, but we don't even know any suspects at a time. So it's not, it's not like, you know, death and denial or murder on the orient express where like there are people and we're trying to figure out which person it is.
Right. It is just like, we're on this, it's a thriller we're on this journey with them while they're trying to figure out the reason that this is happening. And that's interesting to me, because we get to see him do D do detective work, but it's not a mystery. Right? Like, I'd love to see that. And it's, it's not to say it needs to be this totally different thing.
I want it to be an evolution. I want to see the themes continue and change and, and evolve and get more brighter and get more fantastical. And, you know, I want to see them go
[00:53:27] Brian: Yeah. I definitely agree with that a hundred percent. Yeah. on the star wars note, when you edit this out all you want, but like, do I like each movie? Yes, I do. Do I have problems with each movie? Yes, I do. Do I like the trilogy? Not particularly.
[00:53:47] Alex: They don't work well
together. It's a
problem. I'm glad we can come together on that.
[00:53:53] Brian: no.
[00:53:53] Alex: I think we probably agree. a lot more on those movies than we do
[00:53:57] Brian: Yeah, I think so.
[00:53:58] Alex: Any other closing thoughts before we, before we go?
[00:54:00] Brian: just sometime when we're together, I think it'd be interesting to talk about what they did to Thomas Wayne's character and what you think about that, but it doesn't need to
[00:54:10] Alex: For sure. here's the thing in six months or four months or whatever, in a while let's, let's schedule a time for you to. We'll get together. We'll watch this again on HBO max and we'll record right after live in-person. Cause I think we ha we ha we have another four hours in us on this and I I'm interested to see if my thoughts evolve with time and if you're as evolved with time and we'll do this again.
[00:54:34] Brian: Yeah.
[00:54:35] Alex: All right. That about wraps it up then. If you'd like to show, you can leave us a five star review on apple podcasts, recommend us and overcast. Tell your friends about the show And help us find an audience so we can keep putting out episodes. You can find all of our episodes and show email@example.com.
You can send us comments, questions, or corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can tweet at us at bat lessons until next time. I'm Alex Cash.
[00:55:01] Brian: And I'm Brian Anders
[00:55:02] Alex: thanks for listening.