The Batman (2022)
Directed by Matt Reeves
Action/Adventure - PG-13 - 2h 56m
I was first in line to see The Batman this week, even though I purchased my tickets and reserved my seat weeks ago. The theater I went to, despite my many letters of protest, allowed tickets to be purchased by the unvaccinated. Ugh, I know - but I chose to look past it somehow, as my Batman fandom demanded I see it that night.
The movie offered a solid superhero entry. Yes, it hit everything you typically expect to see in a Batman film. A brooding, conflicted Bruce Wayne grappling with bringing down justice and vengeance upon the criminal underworld of Gotham City. The visuals perfectly captured the aesthetic of the gritty, dreary city seemingly cloaked in perpetual darkness. And unlike its predecessors, The Batman captures the true film noir feel that is central to the caped crusader's story. Even the villains did their part - straining Batman's moral compass, forcing him to put his detective skills to the test, and propelling the character to new heights.
But riddle me this? How hard would it be for Hollywood to simply acknowledge the hardships of being trans in war-torn Ukraine while rebooting the Batman franchise?
Sure - we've managed to give the batmobile a new look, but where's the commentary on what it must be like for the transgender community admidst an invasion by Russia? How must they be feeling right now, to not be represented in a major motion picture? They are literally fighting a war within a war and the best you can do is add flames to the batmobile's exhaust? It's utterly reprehensible.
Sure - the trans community fears for their lives as their city is bombed and shelled by a nuclear superpower, but that's nothing compared to the constant fear of someone discovering your true identity. HINT HINT Batman! See how not hard that would have been to acknowledge and empathize with the struggles of living a double life? But no - instead, the film's only focus is on faithfully adapting the Batman story to the big screen. For shame.
Fans say all they want is a compelling story, but why not mention the realities of already oppressed minorities who are being simultaneously oppressed further by their own government as well as a foreign one? Disgraceful. Or how about plot lines that comment on the unfairness of being a trans woman whose ID still says they're a man prohibiting them from fleeing Ukraine? Honestly, it makes me sick to think I supported Batman as long as I have. Batman is supposed to be there for all of us.
In its nearly 3-hour runtime, how did director Matt Reeves not take a moment to explore how the Russian invasion has hindered the already difficult Ukrainian dating scene for the trans community? Where can they safely meet up without the fear of death? Where can they host drag queen shows that are not in ruins? Do they have WIFI? We may never know as such questions are never addressed by The Batman who's too busy thwarting the plans of the Penguin and solving Riddler's mysteries.
This movie may have moved the plot forward for straight while male vigilantes, but did nothing for transgender individuals trapped in Ukraine.
1 star out of 5.
Here is a comprehensive list of the only instances it is acceptable for men to shed a tear.