W.B. at the Movies: The Batman

I really wanted to like The Batman with Robert Pattinson, and it probably would make a compelling two-hour movie. The problem is it’s three hours long. I actually ended up watching the last third or so fast-forwarding at 2x, at which speed the captions are still visible on our Blu-Ray player. 

Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz and Jeffrey Wright turn in nice performances as the three main protagonists, but the bad guys are pretty cardboard. 

This is blasphemy, but after all this time I think I just don’t find Batman that interesting anymore.

But if I’m honest, I have never found Batman all that interesting in the first place. “Gasp!” I know, right?

I was a Marvel Comics guy even before Marvel Comics remade itself as Marvel Comics. In the early years, late 1950s and early 1960s, we would mostly buy comics as a treat in our annual summer vacation to Vermont. I would read Superman, Batman and the Legion of Super Heroes dutifully, but what really caught my imagination was an off-brand comic called Strange Tales.

In the summer of 1963, we arrived in Vermont and I started looking for Strange Tales. Instead I found the fourth issue of something called The Amazing Spider-Man, produced by something called the Marvel Comics Group. It was only later that I realized Strange Tales was also a Marvel title.

When we got back to New Jersey, I was no longer content to buy comics only once a year. I found a store that had Spider-Man #5, and I was a biweekly to monthly visitor from those days forward.

This is a long way of saying I never was much of a DC Comics fan in the first place. It was Marvel that made me a comic book fan, and it was the DC fare that felt Marvel-ish that attracted my attention — heroes like Metamorpho and Metal Men and Deadman, and of course Jack Kirby’s Fourth World titles.

So you should take it with a grain of salt when I say The Batman is overlong and dark and tedious, because while I appreciate the Batman and Dark Knight stories from an artistic point of view, they rarely have sparked emotion from me. I admire the best of Batman, but I don’t love it.

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