In one of his first scenes in the film Batman, available now on HBO Max, the titular character explains his intentions in voiceover. He wants to confront the evil inherent in Gotham. This may be the first time in film that Batman has analyzed his own inner journey and contextualized it in specific ways. Matt Reeves’ character is obsessed with evil. But not only that of the criminals he faces. Also the one that impacts the city in a multiple and harsh way. For the new storyline surrounding the Batman, Moral corruption in Gotham is a subject of vital interest.
And that’s to the extent that this Batman, who’s only been wearing the mask for two years, knows his efforts have minimal impact on the grand map of things. Especially since the layers of corruption in a corrupt city intertwine to support a contemporary idea of moral destruction. Batman, of course, faces the violent streets of the city where he was born. But at the same time, to a complicated web of political connections and favors that hangs over Gotham like a threat.
Batman he placed particular emphasis on analyzing the fact of Gotham as a box of horrors. One so complicated that in the end it turns out to be a gigantic trap that Batman will have to face from an unknown position. At the same time, trying to maintain his duty – or what he sees himself to be – amidst all sorts of perceptions about fear and the condition of power. At the end of the film, it’s obvious that Batman learns both about his city and how to deal with the demons that haunt it.
Evil in all its versions
For the occasion, Batman made the appropriate decision to build a structure well grounded in collective fears. On the one hand, there is evil at a very basic level. Gotham is a city in the middle of chaos, very close to exploding in an overheated social and cultural environment. A city which, by the way, looks a lot like the one imagined by Todd Phillips for the movie The Joker. Both are characterized by the fact that they are supported by very weak points of social coexistence broken by deep inequalities. At Matt Reeves, the tentacles of corruption have eroded Gotham’s history to the point of being unpredictable.
Time and time again, the director and co-writer reminds us that this young and inexperienced Batman has little idea of what lies beneath the surface of Gotham. A criminal muscle led by Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and to a lesser extent, by the Penguin (Colin Farrell). Both show the leaks in the facade of respectability of a city obsessed with its idols. One who also tries how she can survive her injuries and horrors.
But it is Paul Dano’s Enigma that marks the turning point of terror and evil in Batman. This villainous anarchist, with an explosive social discourse and a particular emphasis on collective fear, is the embodiment of evil in the film. Not only does the villain kill, but he also gradually destroys the layer of respectability that sustains the character’s reputation. Ultimately, Gotham is a hypocritical city, destroyed by its unseen sins and twisted by a toxic evil impossible to completely eradicate.
The Batman and looks at contemporary evil
Much of the philosophical discourse of Batman it has to do with how we accept contemporary evil. The one who doesn’t look for monsters or supernatural explanations of horror. And indeed, one of the film’s great triumphs is bringing them together and blending them into an elaborate substrate. While Batman fights with all his resources against criminals of all kinds and even serial killers, another kind of evil plagues Gotham. That which concerns all its leaders and even those responsible for enforcing the law.
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Batman by Matt Reeves is a look at the dodgy. At the same time, on the twisted places that every society conceals. And that’s one of his great plot triumphs. Batman, the hero of alleyways and rugged streets, is now a wondering witness to the structure of an evil that has caught up with him. And the one that can’t be fought with technological marvels or mere talent. Which, without a doubt, is the character’s biggest crossroads.