The advance word about Matt Reeves’s The Batman suggested the world was in for a pretty odd reboot. The film’s running time would be three hours. The hero would be played by the lugubrious Englishman Robert Pattinson, who revealed, in an interview, that The Batman was “a sad movie”, and that his character was “kind of a weirdo”, whom the writers had partly modelled on Kurt Cobain.
As it turns out, Reeves’s movie is indeed odd. But it’s odd in an unsettling and haunting way. If American democracy continues its slide into decadence, future historians may well point to this film as a kind of watershed or omen: an ailing bat in the coal mine. After four years of Trump and two of Covid, even Batman seems ready to throw in the sponge. Surely a culture must be in terminal strife, when even its fictional superheroes can barely see the point of going on ... [READ MORE]