As mentioned in my review of the film, “Matt Reeves’s The Batman reboots the franchise and takes the audience back to Bruce Wayne’s (Robert Pattinson) second year as the Dark Knight…as [he] tries to stop another vigilante, the Riddler (Paul Dano), who is also going after criminals but the ones he focuses on are the political elite of Gotham…The script by Reeves and Peter Craig is strong. They created a compelling mystery populated by intriguing characters brought to life by a talented cast…cinematographer Greig Fraser and production designer James Chinlund have created a dark-looking film for the Dark Knight, and Reeves, to work within…While the film’s story will be too dark for some, I enjoyed this new iteration of the Batman franchise…which highlights the character as a skilled detective.”
The video is presented in 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC displayed in the original aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The film’s production design is predominantly blacks and browns. There is some crush but much of the time Batman and the filmmakers want objects to be hidden within the darkness and shadows. A sequence when Batman, Gordon, and Catwoman are caught following the Penguin and henchmen to a warehouse is intentionally tough to see due to the combination of rain and damaged windshields obscuring views and causing lens flare. The “bright colors are limited, from orange flames and multicolored lights in the clubs.”
The Dolby Atmos track defaults to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, which offers an immersive soundtrack. Objects are positioned and move about the soundfield, particularly during vehicle chases as they zoom across channels. The revved up Batmobile during the pursuit of the Penguin, a standout sequence in the film, rumbles in the subwoofer. Punches are accentuated as are Batman’s boots as they take steps. Dialogue is mostly clear except when intentionally muffled. The music of Michael Giacchino’s score and Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” play with great clarity.
The Special Features appear on a separate disc:
- Looking for Vengeance (5 min) – Fight choreographer Rob Alonzo, Reeves, and Pattinson discuss Batman’s fighting style and how Alfred influenced it.
- The Batman: Genesis (6 min) – Reeves and Pattinson discuss their approach in creating a unique version of Bruce Wayne/Batman and how that guided makeup designer Naomi Donne and hair designer Zoe Tahir.
- Vengeance Meets Justice (8 min) – Reeves, Pattinson, and Paul Dano talk about the connections between Batman and the Riddler.
- Becoming Catwoman (9 min) – Zoë Kravitz and and others talk about bringing Selina Kyle / Catwoman to the screen.
- The Batmobile (11 min) – Special effects supervisor Domonic Tuohy and other crew members reveal how they brought forth Reeves’s vision of the car.
- Anatomy of The Car Chase (6 min) – A breakdown of the notable sequence between Batman and the Penguin.
- Anatomy of The Wing Suit Jump (6 min) – A look at a Batman suit and the drone photography that captured its use. Very impressive work by all involved.
- Vengeance in the Making (54 min) – The deepest dive into the making of the film with the cast and crew. Might be the preferred place to start for those interested its creation and peeking behind the scenes.
- Unpacking the Icons (6 min) – How the characters are brought to life through their costumes and props they use.
- A Transformation: The Penguin (8 min) – The makeup and prosthetics work by Mike Marino and his team get a well-deserved spotlight.
- Deleted Scenes – “Joker / Arkham” (6 min) and “Selina Gets a 44 Below Keycard” (2 min) with optional commentary by Reeves.
Matt Reeves’ iteration of the franchise is a noiresque detective story that finds the Riddler and the Batman having similar objectives yet different ways to achieve them. Though a long and dark story, I was intrigued throughout and can’t wait to see where the next film leads. The Blu-ray offers a high-definition experience that succeeds in showcasing the crew’s work with the audio slightly edging out the video due to the darkness of the latter. It is also nice to have Special Features that reveal the different aspects of the film’s creation and those responsible.