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Cat’s Cradle: Waiting for 'The Batman'

The Batman comes to the Athena Cinema Thursday and it’s been a long time coming. Since 2016, Warner Bros. has been teasing out the idea of a new Batman film. Ben Affleck was the original star and director. However, over time Affleck’s role shifted, and now he will not appear in the movie at all.

Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson have become the new headlining duo of the film as director and actor, respectively. Promising something different, the initial screen tests and set images presented a more Gothic style production. 

While the first trailer has the qualities of a noir film. Reeves said his inspirations for his vision of Batman were 70s Noir (Taxi Driver and French Connection) and the music of Nirvana

Though Reeves is leading the film, there are several moving parts to making a movie. Cinematographers, composers, costume designers and art directors work to translate the director’s vision. Films cannot be viewed as a singular production, rather a group project.

There are examples of this throughout film history. Director Ishirō Honda and the composer Akira Ifukube often contradicted each other with the tone imbued into Godzilla. Honda’s vision was to create an anti-war piece that stood against militarization. The composer had different ideas, choosing marching music that undermined the director’s intention, giving scenes a pro-military spin. 

Regarding The Batman, there are several possibilities for artistic interpretations and unique voices to exist within the film, specifically, those of creators like Jacqueline Durran, Michael Giacchino and Greig Fraser.

Jacqueline Durran is known for her wonderful work in costume design. She has worked on films such as: Darkest Hour and Pride & Prejudice (2005). A sense of accuracy and realism comes across in each film's wardrobe. Through clothing, Durran can put audiences in a time and a place. 

Period pieces like Darkest Hour, set in 1917, have a little more context to work from, while films like Pride & Prejudice show Durran’s range. Characters are in several colors and textures of clothing that make them stand out. They fit into a period with Durran’s own creative flourish. 

Jacqueline Durran gives each character a unique, identifiable style. This sense of clothing suited for the individual wearing it lends itself well to a comic book film, where the most consistent identifier of character is clothing. 

Michael Giacchino is the composer for The Batman. Giacchino has worked on several films including Star Wars: Rogue One and The Incredibles. Giacchino works well in establishing a tone for the film. This can be the sweeping space epic of Star Wars or the jazzy art deco of The Incredibles

Regarding The Batman, Giacchino could introduce something different in tone and style. The short audio snippets we’ve received lean into a gothic style that matches the film's direction. Film depends on the tone of its score, a good score can define a film. 

The fulcrum of a film is its cinematography. Good cinematography often changes the way we see films. Greig Fraser, The Batman cinematographer, has worked on some of the biggest films of the last few years including Dune, Star Wars: Rogue One and Lion. The singular film that captures his unique style is Killing Them Softly.

Killing Them Softly is a crime drama set during the transition between the Bush to Obama administrations. Though the film is boilerplate crime, it is elevated in part to Fraser’s work behind the camera. With unique angles, use of tenerbrist lightning and tracking shots, Fraser gives life to the scenes. 

Though he's made the transition to blockbuster in more recent films, he’s maintained his roots in the interpersonal. His lens centers actors or the action, often capturing their movements with a simple pan or tight focus.

Dialogue can be simple shot, reverse shots, to triangles with an over-the-shoulder shot of one speaker and the others set in the corners of the frame. While the most recent trailer for The Batman demonstrates an inversion of the camera.

Fraser is still an up-and-coming cinematographer, and his work promises some variety to the film. His history of working in blockbusters and crime drama makes him perfect to create some unique visuals for the film. 

Each of these artists brings a unique voice to The Batman. The Batman may not live up to the hype it’s built over the years, but each of these creators’ contributions promises something unique for the film with this strong creative lineup. 

Benjamin Ervin is a senior studying English literature and writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Benjamin know by emailing him be425014@ohio.edu.

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