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The Batman Flies Onto 4K with a Vengeance!

Feature Presentations: Episode 19

Welcome to my column dedicated to the appreciation of physical media supplements called: Feature Presentations. The goal of this column is not to say whether a film is good or bad and worth picking up or not—I would like to highlight the discs that go the extra mile and provide film fans with enough tasty tidbits to satisfy even the hungriest of cinephiles. With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on The Batman from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Bruce Wayne holds a duffle bag, walks to the camera with a cop car behind him.

As a disclaimer of transparency, I was provided a review copy of The Batman for this episode of Feature Presentations. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

There is no denying that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the landscape, affecting the lives of everyone. Whether you or someone you know fell victim to the virus, the shifts in the supply chain, or just upcoming moments in entertainment—we are all still feeling the brunt.

Tracing back to how the 2022 superhero film, The Batman, came to be is one for the books. From original star Ben Affleck stepping away to rewriting the script outside of the DCEUThe Batman always seemed to be beset with one hiccup during production after another. The film began shooting in early 2020 until the pandemic hit and shut the world down. Would we ever get to see The Batman hit cinemas? Two years later, we got that answer as director Matt Reeves unleashed his dark, noir take on the titular crime fighter. Was it worth the wait?

Personally, when it comes to Matt Reeves and his body of work, I find myself liking but not loving his output. The same goes for this 2022 superhero film. There is no question that The Batman is visually sumptuous with a stellar cast, but it feels more like a painting than an engaging movie. I mean that every shot is breathtaking and gorgeous, yet the substance of what a film should do is lacking with this take on the Caped Crusader. There better be a good reason why your superhero film clocks in at three hours. In my personal opinion, I think The Batman would have benefitted from another run through the editing bay. It’s a good, but not great foray back into Gotham City.

Jumping to the physical media release of The Batman, what Warner Brothers compiled for their 4K Blu-ray release is a mixed bag of bonus material.

The first featurette, “Looking for Vengeance,” is a five-minute dive into the fighting style seen within The Batman featuring Robert Pattinson, Matt Reeves, and Fight Choreographer Rob Alonzo. While brief, this featurette does include a surprising amount of behind-the-scenes footage during the scant runtime. As will be a theme with many of the features, I wish “Looking for Vengeance” was longer.

Upside-down shot of Batman in the rain with the Batmobile and fire behind him.

Next up, “The Batman: Genesis” is a six-minute feature about Matt Reeves’ journey to finding his iteration of Batman and the world of Gotham City. Reeves talks about deep-diving into the history of Batman to understand the character. The brief feature also touches on Robert Pattinson’s audition and Michael Giacchino‘s themes for the film.

“Vengeance Meets Justice” is an eight-minute feature that discusses the character connections between Batman and The Riddler. Paul Dano takes center stage to offer insights into what makes the film’s villain tick. Hearing Dano’s thoughts on the method behind The Riddler’s madness is interesting for those who enjoy hearing an actor’s thought process.

Selina Kyle is the focus of the next feature, the eight-and-a-half minute featurette: “Becoming Catwoman.” Zoë Kravitz takes center stage to discuss the effort that went into making her version of Selina Kyle stand out from past versions. The cast and crew talk about the design and detail of the character’s style and personality. Kravitz discusses how the pandemic interrupted her fight training and following in the steps of Eartha Kitt and Michelle Pfeiffer.

The next feature, “The Batmobile,” spends about 11 minutes discussing the history of bringing Batman’s preferred mode of transportation to life for the 2022 film. It’s funny; it feels like there was more excitement behind this than any of the features before. Granted, the Batmobile in this film is a show-stopper—just something I noticed. “The Batmobile” is an in-depth (as one can be for 11 minutes) into how the production team crafted the Batmobile, including the specs, paint job, and specific versions of the vehicle.

Branching off from “The Batmobile,” the next feature is a six-minute look at the car chase between Batman and The Penguin, “Anatomy of the Car Chase.” Personally, this feature was a favorite of mine as the Warner Brothers team crafted a tight and well-packed bit of information in a short period. Understanding how the chase was shot, between practical stunt driving and the actors driving in a technologically-advanced setting with LED lights to simulate the live environment, was fascinating and informative.

The next making-of, “Anatomy of the Wing Suit Jump,” looks at one of the more intriguing gadgets within The Batman. This brief but informative bit of behind-the-scenes knowledge details how the wingsuit sequence came about. Featuring pre-visualization work and stitching together multiple shots across various locations, this works to show how much time and effort goes into making one sequence within a feature film.

The Riddler looks down in silhouette from the balcony of a church.

“Unpacking the Icons” is a brief run-through of the characters and props within The Batman. When you have iconic characters such as Batman, The Riddler, and Selina Kyle, each deserves more time than the feature gives per character. A lack of time hampers “Unpacking the Icons” and most of the features, as each deserves more time than is allotted with this featurette.

The Penguin is the focal point of the eight-minute “A Transformation: The Penguin.” When the first images of Colin Farrell’s version of The Penguin, you’d be remiss if you didn’t recognize him under such an extensive prosthetic makeup job. “A Transformation: The Penguin” chats with the lead makeup team and Colin Farrell while mixing clips of the transformation of Colin Farrell into The Penguin. With such an extensive and transformative process, allowing more time to delve into the ins and outs would have been appreciated. As it is, this works well enough to showcase the talent of The Batman‘s makeup team.

Next up are two deleted scenes with optional commentary with Matt Reeves. The first and most infamous dropped before the 4K release is a five-minute back-and-forth dialogue scene with an Unseen Prisoner (aka the Joker). What would a Batman film be without somehow including the Joker? The unnecessary scene, filmed with an out-of-focus Unseen Prisoner, going over dialogue and plot points, is handled more efficiently throughout the rest of the movie. Reeves states that he enjoys the Batman and Joker meet-up and the performances but knows he made the correct call in excising a non-essential scene.

The second deleted scene comes in the form of Selina Kyle meeting with The Penguin. Not as flashy as the scene with the Unseen Prisoner; this gives Colin Farrell’s Penguin a small character moment that I wish remained in the film. At a runtime of three hours, character moments usually find their way to the chopping block, and this is no exception. Reeves admits that he wanted this scene to remain in the film, giving the character more depth, but it did not make the final cut.

The last and most substantial feature, “Vengeance in the Making,” is a fifty-plus minute documentary tracing the film from pre-production through film wrap. For a non-boutique release, this documentary soars above other studio releases. Various cast and crew members talk about their experience on set mixed with fly-on-the-wall-type footage of the film’s production. “Vengeance in the Making” is a welcome and surprising addition, considering that non-boutique releases do not offer a substantial making-of like this. It does feel like there could be more information about the film’s production. The six-month period when Covid-19 shut down production on The Batman, for example, is discussed—yet, what the crew did during those months is glossed over. Nitpicks, I’m sure.

I will say that most of the short bonus features I talked about outside of “Vengeance in the Making” came from this documentary. “Vengeance in the Making” doesn’t overlap much behind-the-scenes information of the shorter featurettes; it appears to have been cut from the same cloth. Instead of providing one exhaustive documentary about The Batman‘s production, Warner Brothers broke it up to create multiple features off one massive documentary. I guess it’s up to each person’s perspective on how to bundle a physical media package like this, but I felt worthy of being mentioned.

Side-view of Selina Kyle breaking into a safe.

And, there you have it! The long-awaited return of Batman is upon us, and Warner Brothers did a solid release for the Dark Knight. The release looks great with a three-disc set composing a 4K disc, a Blu-ray disc, and a third disc for the supplemental material. You’re not going to find a better release of The Batman, so if you enjoy the movie, the disc should please you.

Written by Robert Chipman

Robert is a lifelong cinephile and has had an admiration with film for as long as he can remember. When he's not checking out the most recent theatrical release, viewing a movie on one of a 1,000,000,000 streaming services or picking up the latest physical media disc, he's trying and failing to make it in Hollywood as a screenwriter. He also has a weird fascination with Stephen Dorff. Make of that what you will. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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