Haunted Mansion Review

 Ready for a little spookiness in August? I'll be honest the desire to throw on a jumper, buy pumpkins and embrace all things spooky has hit me early this year, mainly due to the depressing summer weather here in the UK. But something still feels slightly off about releasing a ghost movie in the middle of summer but that is exactly what Disney have done with Haunted Mansion. Haunted Mansion is the second film of its name release by Disney, The Haunted Mansion (Rob Minkoff, 2003) was my go-to childhood scary movie, although there is no link between the two films. It is also the second film to be based on a Disney ride, the first being the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The ride features at five Disney Parks, under three names: The Haunted Mansion, Phantom Manor and Mystic Manor, and the film makes numerous nods to the dark ride. So, join me foolish mortals on a journey to the Haunted Mansion.  Haunted Mansion's opening act is perfect, scary and full of mystery. As we open

The Batman Review

I'm back with my first film review since November, after taking a little break from the blog in December I was not really sure what film I'd review next. But last night I saw The Batman and I felt compelled to review it. Since watching The Batman my thoughts constantly drift to certain scenes, I want to talk about the film with everyone I see, it's left an impact, an impression thats hard to shake. This consumption is a testament to everything director Matt Reeves has created. Over the years there has been multiple Batman films. Within the last ten years alone the Christopher Nolan trilogy came to an end and Ben Affleck became the caped crusader in the DCEU films. Yet despite the perhaps saturated Batman market Reeves has created a Batman film like no other with Robert Pattinson delivering a mesmerising, tortured version of vengeance. 

Pattinson's version of Batman is at his very core a detective, only two years into his crusade to save Gotham city. A crusade that is fruitless and unachievable but that's the charm to someone so traumatised as Bruce Wane. Still rather new too crime fighting Batman has a close alliance with James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), the two utter the line 'I only trust you' to one another as villain Riddler (Paul Dano) ups the terror. It was an exciting change to follow Batman as he found clues and followed leads whilst keeping his anger in check. Zoe Kravitz's Catwoman challenges Batman's quest to fight evil, her outlook not so black and white. However, the film fails its female lead, the dynamic between her and Batman is unbalanced. He knows her real identity - but she knows nothing about him. And throughout their interactions Batman, pins her to a table and later he rolls on top of her. But the moment he pins her to his body and covers her mouth to stop them being discovered as intruders is the most disappointing, considering Catwoman is a cat-burglar I think she knows how to avoid being discovered. This unbalanced relationship is echoed by every male Selina encounters. Despite this the cat and the bat do share some compelling moments throughout. And in her solo scenes Selina dominates as a woman on a mission, a modern femme fatale, Kravitz 100% steeling the scene in these scenes. 

As expected, Reeves' noir, gritty Gotham is packed with villains. Penguin (Colin Farrell), not a fully-fledged crime boss yet, runs the Iceberg Lounge as an operative of Falcone (John Turturro), the secondary villain of the narrative. Penguin's henchmen are brought to life by Charlie and Max Carver, whom offer a brilliant almost tweedledee and tweedledum performance. Whilst both Penguin and Falcone highlight the extent of Gotham's crime problem, it's Riddler that takes things to the next level on his quest to end the lies. Dano provides a chilling performance as a mass murderer who has a talent for riddles. Riddles he aims at Batman, almost as if they are friends. Riddler is truly scary, the true scale of his plan only becoming apparent halfway through the third act. And in his final scenes we get a chilling monologue, that is more shocking than the murders he commits. Barry Keoghan makes a brief but impactful cameo, his story yet to come. 

These characters come together in a film that fully commits to its dark and brooding tone. If you were looking for some bright visuals and some comic relief to offset the gloom, then The Batman will disappoint. But anything other than the gloom would have pulled you from the movie, the visual vibe matched the narrative perfectly. Whilst colour was in short supply throughout, the bold use of orange is mesmerising, whether it be from the sun, fire or a flare. Cinematographer Greig Fraser creates some breath-taking shots, one that stands out features Batman walking towards the camera, yet the camera is upside down. This moment is pure of cinema. Michael Giacchino goes just as hard with the score, the looming Batman theme a constant throughout. All of these elements combine to create a film so bold that you forget everything around you, fully consumed. 

Overall, it would be fair the call The Batman a brilliant success. It's a deep dive into Batman at the start of his journey, no Batman film has achieved what this one has, vengeance gives way to a hero. We see Batman become the hero of Gotham, the peoples protector. This is a take on Batman like none other, and we can expect even more from Reeves' Batverse going forward. Pattinson's portrayal of Batman is perhaps the best to date, he certainly is my favourite. I could not recommend The Batman more, be prepared to embrace the fear and gloom and settle in for a detective film like no other. A captivating triumph that at points reaches the level of masterpiece.

Thank you for reading xx