Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on The Batman (2022)

A review on Hollywood feature length film, The Batman (2022). The film is directed by Matt Reeves and is yet another reboot of the Batman franchise. The film is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

+ Crew I

  • Directed by Matt Reeves
  • Cinematography by Greig Fraser
  • Written by Matt Reeves and Peter Craig
  • Edited by William Hoy and Tyler Nelson
  • Music by Michael Giacchino
  • Produced by Dylan Clark and Matt Reeves

+ Crew II (Production Houses)

  • DC Films
  • 6th & Idaho
  • Dylan Clark Productions

+ Note

Since Zack Synder’s DCEU was received with mixed reviews from the fans and critics, the solo Batman film starring Ben Affleck was ultimately abandoned until further notice. The production kept getting delayed but Warner Bros. had settled on Matt Reeves to direct as early as 2017. Since Ben Affleck was preoccupied with his Alcohol Abuse issue, Matt Reeves presented his first draft of the script to the executives at Warner. Upon receiving the copy himself, It was reported that Affleck was not happy with the direction that Reeves wanted to go into and was vastly different from what DCEU Batman was originally intended to be. Eventually Warner Bros decided to go with the Reeves’ version and Ben Affleck was eventually dropped from the project with several actors being casted for role of the caped crusader. Since Reeves’ version was a take on a younger, less experienced Batman, the director and studio ultimately went with Robert Pattinson as the new dark knight. 

The film was intentionally more dark and gritty than any of the previous iterations this time around, serving as a Murder mystery/ thriller and heavily influenced by David Fincher’s previous works like Se7en (1995) and Zodiac (2008). Due to the Pandemic, the production kept getting delayed, including Robert Pattinson testing positive during production which made the release being shifted to March 2022 instead.

The Batman was eventually released on 4th March 2022 with positive critical and commercial reviews.

+ Main Cast

  1. Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne / Batman
  2. Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle / Catwoman
  3. Paul Dano as Edward Nashton / Riddler
  4. Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon
  5. John Turturro as Carmine Falcone
  6. Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colson
  7. Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth
  8. Colin Farrell as Oswald “Oz” Cobblepot / Penguin

+ Plot

Ever since the death of Thomas Wayne, the city of Gotham is in complete ruins. Corruption, street crime is rampant. The only hope this city has is in a vigilante by the name of The Batman. 

But there has been recently some retribution to all the lies that were being fed to the public by corrupt politicians across the city. A mysterious serial killer is making an example out of these representatives of the highest order through brutal violence and sadistic practices. Someone by the name of the Riddler. Will Batman be able to solve this mystery and become the savior of Gotham City in the process?

+ High Points

i – As a comic book fan, I always craved for a representation of Batman which had its own distinctive visual style but also paid homage to its source material and finally, fans like me can rejoice with this latest iteration of the dark knight. The Batman is the best, most comic accurate representation of the Caped Crusader on the Silver screen. The visuals are dark and broody, the shadows blend in seamlessly with the neon red backdrop, the city’s corruption and violence looks beyond repair and the only savior that they have is a vigilante who dresses as a bat and fights crime with the help of his detective skills. The film is an acute mixture of noir and grotesque murder mystery spliced in with occasional body horror images. The writer/ director Matt Reeves seems very well rehearsed as to what makes Batman appealing to its fans and core audience and does whatever it can not to stray away from that formula that has always worked in its source material. The film is nearly 3 hours long but due to some fantastic writing and engaging set pieces, it never felt dull even for a moment’s time. And as eloquently as Martin Scorsese might put it; The Batman is a heart pounding, thrilling amusement park ‘house of Spooky Horror’ ride from start to finish! 

ii – One of the most unique appeals of this iteration is of course Batman aka Bruce Wayne himself. This time Robert Pattinson (famous for his glittering vampire franchise ‘Twilight’) takes the reins of the dark vigilante who speaks less and investigates crime scenes more with his natural detective skills. Even the very few lines of levity come off with a sour taste of dark humor around it (which, of course I loved!). According to the film, Batman has only been cruising the streets of Gotham for two years so he is far from being the grizzled, experienced Batman that we have seen him in other iterations on screen. Which is why this version of Batman has a very distinctive character arc of learning the best possible way he could protect the city built by his father. The costume also plays a massive role in depicting the amateur years of the dark knight with layers of leather and bullet proof vests, making it combat heavy and practical instead of the stiff, visually pleasing costume of the Tim Burton era that we first introduced to. Yes, it is entirely debatable how this movie ranks with Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece The Dark Knight (2008) but as far as Batman goes on the big screen, this is the best version yet!

iii – And of course, no protagonist is complete without the wealth of side characters that accompany him throughout the film. And suffice to say, they all are unique and show stoppers in their own way, particularly Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle / Catwoman was outstanding as a mysterious femme fatale to the Bat. With the film nearly 3 hours long, Kravitz gets a ton of screen to play off Batman’s narrow perception towards criminals in his home city and does her part to gain his trust in their fight against the mysterious terrorist criminal mastermind. And that being of course, Paul Dano as the Riddler. 

His portrayal is vastly different from the comics, depicting him as a frustrated, ultra right wing, reddit blogger who promises to cleanse the Gotham City of “Liars” once and for all through gruesome violence against all the corrupt key representatives of the city. Admitteldy, Dano was the perfect casting for this role with his deceivingly innocent visage, sadistic crimes and childlike riddles accompanying it. Other villains in the rogue gallery include Colin Farrell as the Penguin (who is as over the top as his heavy makeup) and Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon (not yet Commissioner) who has a naive but honest take on the crime ridden world that he lives in. And last but not least, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone was menacing but much grounded than any of the other villains brought some grittiness and a clear indication as to who really pulls the strings behind the scenes.

All in all, the supporting cast goes brilliantly with the film, making most scenes memorable in their own unique way.

iv – Greig Fraser serves as the cinematographer for the film and by God, are the visuals impressive to stare at! The film at times feels claustrophobic due to its tight framing, focusing in and out from the foreground to the back, revealing information without unnecessary exposition. The color palette that Fraser uses is strictly limited, giving it a ‘noir, graphic novel’ touch to it. It was almost as if each frame was colored by a comic book colorist in post production. Although this technique might bother some, for me it worked absolutely to perfection, making it the most stylized visuals in a superhero film in a long time.

v – Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack from the film is utterly fantastic. As Batman approaches his enemies, the music transitions from distant and looming to stark and pounding, with each footstep spells as the ticking time bomb for the criminals of Gotham city. There is also some licensed soundtrack being used throughout its runtime, including Kurt Cobain’s Something in the Way. Even though the three core elements of every scene are the writing, visuals and performances, the music also plays a massive role in bringing the ‘impending doom’ to light.  

vi – While having only seen the film once, there are already some memorable scenes that shook me out of my seat, namely the Police station escape and the car chase scene. When it comes to unforgettable set pieces, Matt Reeves nearly knocked it out of the park.

vii – Although this has not to do with the content of the film, can we admire the brilliant print promotion of the film, namely the red and black poster? Fantastic, minimal art work.

+ Low Points

i – Although the film is fantastic in almost every conceivable way, there are some flaws that hinder its way in reaching its true potential. And one such hindrance can be directed towards the pacing of the film. Now, without any sense of exaggeration, the story is conveyed with a break neck speed (which is completely earned) but there were a couple of scenes that needed a breather in between, namely after the escape from the police station scene. The film did also lack at least one or two character building moments that would have made the narrative flow ever so slightly better and in the process, the suspense heavy scene even more impactful. I wish there could have been at least one or two more scenes of Bruce and Alfred interacting with one another, exploring the father/ son relationship that they share.

ii – Even though Kravitz as Catwoman is splendid in her own right, the romance between her and Batman felt clunky and at odds with one another. There was not enough romantic tension between them and I am not even sure why Bruce Wayne would fall for her of all people. But since the source material has a romantic relationship between them, so should the film I suppose. And I also felt that some of the comedic puns felt flat in the screen time they shared with jokes like ‘What? Do you live in a cave or something?’.

iii – The final Arkham Asylum scene (which I cannot elaborate more upon due to spoilers) felt very tacked on and unnecessary. Undoubtedly, this was perhaps a studio mandate in order to tease the audience for the future coming films but I sincerely hope that they do not follow in that direction as Batman has a wealth of villains who still have not made their debut onto the silver screen.

iv – Perhaps a fairly odd complaint but due to the dark visuals of the film, we hardly get to see any of the Batman gadgets that the caped crusader is known for. Because of the long dark shadows throughout its runtime, the suit, the batmobile, the bat cave get no wide angle shots to awe and admire at. In fact, I hardly even remember what they actually looked like!

+ Overall

From its visual and storytelling perspective, The Batman is an outstanding work of Art. And it stands tall as being one of the best superhero films ever made.

Rate: out of 5 stars

Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

A review on Hollywood feature length film, Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021). The film is distributed by HBO Max streaming service and is part of the continuing DC Extended Universe.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Zack Snyder
  • Cinematography by Fabian Wagner
  • Edited by David Brenner
  • Written by Chris Terrio
  • Music by Tom Holkenborg
  • Produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder

+ Crew II (Production Houses)

  • Warner Bros. Pictures
  • DC Films
  • Atlas Entertainment
  • The Stone Quarry

+ Note

During the Production of Justice League (2017), a terrible family tragedy occurred and the director Zack Snyder had to leave the project. Whilst adding the finishing touches to the film, the executives at Warner Bros. decided to hire Joss Whedon (who had prior experience on directing the massive Marvel success The Avengers (2012)) as the replacement for Snyder. But during Post Production, the WB executives became skeptical as to how they would compete and market Synder’s dark vision of Superheroes against a massive conglomerate like Marvel Studios. This led the company to add numerous reshoots, cut down the runtime from 4 hours to 2, rewrite certain scenes, shoot completely new footage and of course, the infamous ‘Moustache-gate’. The film was finally released in 2017, to a critical and commercial disappointment. The film was not the Snyder vision that DCEU fans were accustomed to neither was it the fun, light hearted ‘marvelesque’ superhero film that the WB execs were going for. It was obvious at that point that the DC cinematic Universe was in trouble.

In the coming years, fans started speculating that in the vaults of Warner Bros., lies an uncut Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League. Pretty soon, hashtags like #ReleaseTheSnyderCut were trending on social media and a massive cult following began for the unreleased version. Due to its strong popularity and demand, Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. reached an agreement with the streaming platform HBO Max to exclusively release the Zack Snyder’s version Justice League, as it was originally intended. The project began taking shape in early 2020. The film was then reassembled from ground up, excluding all reshot scenes and dialogue, instead opting for what Snyder had intended the film to be. There were a couple of scenes reshot exclusively for the Snyder Cut but most importantly, Zack Snyder got to revisit and fulfill his vision of Justice League. The film was finally finished and released on March 18 2021, garnering praise from critics and fans alike.

+ Main Cast

  1. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman
  2. Henry Cavill as Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman
  3. Amy Adams as Lois Lane
  4. Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
  5. Ray Fisher as Victor Stone / Cyborg
  6. Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry / Aquaman
  7. Ezra Miller as Barry Allen / The Flash
  8. Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko
  9. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
  10. Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
  11.  J. K. Simmons as James Gordon
  12. Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf

+ Plot

Superman is dead. And a new world threatening event is on the horizon. Wonder Woman and Batman need to assemble a team of superheroes (calling themselves ‘Justice League’) in order to fight for the very existence of the human race. Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, all ultimately join in to fight against Steppenwolf, the destroyer of civilizations across the universe. Will the Justice League be able to defend the planet or would they need the help of the Man of Steel in order to fight this new wrath of Evil?

+ High Points

i – Zack Snyder’s Justice League is an improvement over the original theatrical cut in every possible way. The narrative flows a lot smoother, each character’s motivations are much better explained and get to bask in their own spotlight. It is truly baffling to me why Warner Bros. decided to chop the film and reshoot scenes which were perfectly good/ serviceable to begin with! And in most cases, better! The Snyder cut is yet another example why Studio execs should only focus on marketing the film rather than making creative choices. After the less than expected Box Office returns for Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Warner Bros. execs panicked and tried their best to emulate the “Marvel Formula”. From badly written quips to light hearted banter, the film ended up resonating with neither the Marvel fans nor the Snyder fans. Thanks to active petition from the fans, we get to see the “behind the scenes” drama of how a creative force gets destroyed in order to have a safe financial return. Now, even Zack Snyder’s Justice League has its own set of flaws (which I will get to later on in the review) but it is safe to assume that the film exceeded my expectations (considering what a mess his last two DCEU films were).

ii – Unlike Whedon’s Justice League, Snyder’s film has a much better explanation of the plot; the three mother boxes, how they got awakened and what consequences it would have once they are all synchronised together. This way, the story has much more stakes going in and keeps the viewer invested throughout the film.

iii – There are two characters that clearly benefited from this recut of Justice League and one of them is Cyborg. His complete backstory was cut out from the original film, left him utterly unrelatable and useless throughout the film. Here, his character (before his transformation) had a lot going for him, gives enough time for the viewer to sympathise with his unfortunate situation and probably, the most emotional backstory of all of the Justice League characters.

iv – The second has to be Barry Allen/ the Flash. In Whedon’s version, Flash was the supposite “comic relief” of the film. But in reality, he was an annoying, bad quip machine that quickly became the least likable character of the Justice League. In Snyder’s version, he is still a comic relief of the film but his personality traits fit much better this time around. Barry Allen’s introduction scene of the film has to be the best, most poetic moment throughout the film. It was simply delightful to watch and was just shaking my head throughout the scene wondering “Why was this scene ever cut from the theatrical release!?”. Not only that, Flash also ends up being pretty integral to the final climactic battle at the end.

v – Less bad jokes. No obnoxious rant on “What is Brunch!?” or awkward Batman dialogue “Guess we’re not getting the Band back together!” or “Do you talk to fish?” or Superman responding to being resurrected from the dead as “Itchy!”. Ugh.

vi – No CGI removal of Superman’s mustache. Funny how a film significantly improves with its exclusion, huh?

vii – One of the most significant improvements that the Snyder cut has is that Justice League really works as a team. They are not overly dependent just on Superman to do the job for them. Each member has their own task to fulfil and in the process, gets to resonate with the audience.

viii – Unlike Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Justice League is much better paced, the dialogues are much better written and each character has their own story arcs. I am by no means a Zack Snyder advocate, I am still not a fan of his portrayal of Superman and his “dark” cinematic universe but I do have sympathy for him with this film. Invertedly, the studio execs took advantage of Snyder’s personal tragedy, butchered his work without his consent and what is even worse, they spent millions of dollars on something which was actually good to begin with! Sheer, utter madness!

+ Low Points

i – For all that’s good with Synder’s original vision, it is at times very self-indulgent and bloated with numerous unnecessary scenes and dialogue. There is a 5 minute scene where Lois Lane hands Clark a shirt. Why do we need to see that? The film is at 4 hour runtime and even though Snyder fans will enjoy every minute of it, it feels completely tacked on and unnecessary to the overall experience. On one hand, I can understand why the Studio execs panicked when they saw a 4 hour nightmare. Three hours or so would have benefited the film perfectly. 

ii – Unlike Thanos from the Marvel films, Steppenwolf is an utterly dull and tiresome villain of the week. True, his motivations have been a bit more explored compared to the original film but sadly, not enough. At best, Steppenwolf is just a plot device for the Justice League to band together to fight the big baddy at the end.

iii – Midway through the film, a certain character makes a very brief cameo appearance and there was no reason for this to happen other than fan service. It will probably leave most audience members completely baffled by it and I don’t blame them.

iv – The last climactic battle is still a dark, muddy CGI mess. The strength of the film lies in its First to Second Act but ultimately suffers from the same Third Act issues as its theatrical counterpart.

v – Speaking of Bad CGI, this whole film is riddled with it. The CGI characters have no weight to them, the movement/ details are jerky and unresponsive at times, it’s amazing that with all that budget, Warner Bros. still can’t accompany their summer blockbusters with decent special effects.

vi – For lack of a better phrase, the film just looks ugly. Yes, the original had color saturation up to 11 but at least you could actually understand what was happening on screen. Snyder always opts for dark, flat colors which are in complete odds with what the Justice League should represent. 

vii – I wish I did not have to say this but… Lois Lane in Snyder films just plain sucks. She is treated by the plot as someone extremely important but her demeanor says otherwise. I cannot (for the life of me) care why she is focused so much during the film when all she has done up till now is mop and being rescued by Superman. 

viii – The 4:3 aspect ratio was supposedly Snyder’s original vision of the film (to fit the large IMAX screens). There is no obvious benefit that Justice League has from this format and it also doesn’t make any sense to release it in IMAX format only to end up being viewed by everyone on their 16:9 Television screens on HBO Max. 

ix – SPOILER ALERT!!! (if you would like to avoid it, please skip directly to the Overall Section):

Snyder’s Justice League has the “LOTR: The Return of the King” effect. Too many ridiculous endings that serve no purpose to the film. Did we really needed to see Martian Manhunter approach Bruce and painstakingly explain to him what will happen in the next coming sequels (which are apparently abandoned by WB/Snyder as of now), how “Lois is the key to all this” nonsense, a badly written dystopian future with hilarious R Rated dialogue between the Batman and Jared Leto’s Joker. Please, I really do not want to hear Joker make a “reach around” joke with Batman. That really is Zack Snyder at his worst. Being pointlessly “dark and edgy”. The film should’ve ended when Darkseid’s threat was averted.  

+ Overall

While the film suffers at times with its incredibly long runtime and overindulgence, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is still a massive improvement over the original. It is a picture perfect example of how a film studio destroys a vision that filmmaker has and why creativity should be left best to the creators. 

Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0 stars (Theatrical release)

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.0 stars (Zack Snyder’s)

Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on The Dark Knight (2008)

A review on Hollywood feature length film, The Dark Knight (2008). The film is directed by Christopher Nolan and is the second film in the Dark Knight trilogy. The film is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

+ Crew I

  • Directed by Christopher Nolan
  • Cinematography by Wally Pfister
  • Story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
  • Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
  • Edited by Lee Smith
  • Produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan

+ Crew II (Production Houses)

  • Warner Bros. Pictures
  • DC Comics
  • Legendary Pictures
  • Syncopy

+ Note

After the success of Batman Begins which rebooted the Batman franchise for a new generation of fans, Christopher Nolan was given full reign to create a sequel for Warner Bros. with the continuation of the Dark Knight saga. The budget this time around was significantly larger and Nolan brought in his brother Jonathan Nolan to co-write the screenplay with him. Two new villains were to be introduced; Heath Ledger as the Joker and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/ Two Face. 

Interestingly enough, Nolan originally wanted Ledger to play Batman in the first film but was ultimately rejected. Many prominent actors such as Adrian Brody, Robin Williams and Paul Bettany sparked interest for the role of the Joker but Nolan was adamant on Ledger for the Clown Prince of Crime. As was the realistic tone of the first film, Nolan wanted Ledger to move far away from Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and bring his own psychotic interpretation of the character. And with that, it was mostly all Ledger from there. The iconic Chemical Factory mishap origin story was retconned and instead, the messy face paint makeup and scarred smile became the character’s iconic personification. The scenes of Handy cam Footage of the Joker were all staged and planned by Heath Ledger himself. During Production, everyone was at awe with Ledger’s performance and knew it was “something special”. Sadly such intense method acting also encouraged the actor into increasing his prescription drugs which ultimately took his own life before the film was even released.

With the sequel, Nolan wanted to experiment more with Batman’s detective skills while Havery Dent served the role as his counterpart. One of the main reasons for the addition of Two Face was to garner sympathy from the audience that the Joker character could not provide in the film. The filming started around 2007 and was primarily shot in the city of Chicago, USA. Even before the film’s release, The Dark Knight was already being hailed as a “Masterpiece” in the Superhero genre, particularly Ledger’s ecstatic performance. The film turned out to be a massive hit at the box office, earning $ 1 Billion worldwide and thus, Batman was once again the superhero of this generation.

+ Main Cast

  1. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman
  2. Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
  3. Heath Ledger as the Joker
  4. Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent
  5. Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes
  6. Gary Oldman as James Gordon
  7. Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox
  8. Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow

+ Plot

After the events of Batman Begins, detective Gordon and Batman combine forces to clean the streets of Gotham from the corruption and terror that it once consumed. The district attorney Havery Dent plans on destroying the criminal infrastructure himself which could leave the Dark Knight’s role ‘obsolete’ as the masked vigilante. Meanwhile, a mysterious psychopath in clown makeup is terrorizing the underworld, calling himself the Joker. He plans nothing more than throwing the city into total anarchy. 

Could Batman and Dent save the city from this monster or will one of them fall into the dark path of utter chaos and destruction of Humanity?

+ High Points

i – To call The Dark Knight  a mere ‘great superhero movie’ is such an understatement. The Dark Knight IS a great film. Period. Nolan’s impeccable direction sets a new bar of what action/ Blockbuster films can be. From the opening Bank Robbery scene to the caped crusader riding on his Bat motorcycle away into the night, every moment, every scene is masterfully crafted. The character arcs, the pacing of each scene, everything is carefully and meticulously preconceived and executed, easily making the film to be one of the Best Films of the Decade. In 2002, Sam Raimi’s Spider-man may have kicked off this super hero revival but it is The Dark Knight that elevated it to an immense high standard of filmmaking.

ii – The Dark Knight is what every sequel should be. It is what The Godfather II was, what Terminator 2 accomplished. Whatever flaws the first film had, Nolan ironed out all the creases and relied heavily on his strengths and allowed his actors to bring their own set of skills to the table. This film is a textbook example of how a sequel should be made.

iii – The film entails excellent performances but all of them get overshadowed by the legendary performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker (and with good reason!). His mysterious ‘multiple choice’ past, his eccentric mannerisms, the antithesis of Batman makes Joker such a unique portrayal that we had perhaps never witnessed on the big screen. With immense heavy method acting, Ledger plunged deep into the psyche of the Joker and easily dominated every scene he was a part of. Although the film is called The Dark Knight, it is in fact the Joker who steals the show.

iv – Even though David Goyer is a great storyteller, it is the Nolan brothers that translate that work onscreen as a masterful three act structure of filmmaking. It is a perfect blend of high intensity scenes and the quieter moments of the film, serving as textbook screenwriting for every other action film hereafter.

v – What is the distinction between Good and Evil? Are they both different sides of the same coin? Is Evil only a misguided personification of Good? Do some good people only need one bad day to turn sides? The question was first asked in the epic Batman graphic novel ‘The Killing Joke’ and has now been immensely explored in The Dark Knight. This brings such high voltage tension between good and evil throughout the film. As a viewer, you are constantly engaged in a battle of who to sympathize and who to root for till the end of the film. It’s not a coincidence that many fans flocked towards the Joker’s perception of the world (even though it is highly flawed and inhumane).

vi – The film starts off with an absolutely fantastic opening Bank Robbery scene. Perfectly sets the tone and pacing of the narrative right from the get-go. And it’s one helluva ride from thereon out!

vii – The car chase scene through the gritty streets of ‘Gotham’ is alone a strong conviction that The Dark Knight is like no other superhero film before it. Nolan’s insistence on shooting with Film and practical effects are highly rewarding onscreen. It is one of the greatest action scenes ever put in modern American filmmaking.

viii – The supporting cast is also no pushover. Every actor brings their A game onto this epic journey and thus, every scene feels intense and exciting to witness. Gary Oldman (once again) is exceptionally brilliant as Detective Gordon and the only ally to the masked vigilante. 

ix – Even though the ‘realistic’ world of Nolan’s Batman might prove too bleak for some viewers, there is not a single moment throughout the film where Nolan is not in control of his work. The city of Chicago (where the film was mostly shot in) creates a plausible depiction of a ‘realistic’ Batman of today without indulging in excessive brute force and losing the sense of Batman’s character (something Zack Synder’s Batman v Superman utterly failed to accomplish). Most violence and blood spree is kept off screen, creating a sense of dread and despondence in the atmosphere. The film shows how well rehearsed Nolan and his team were with the Dark Knight from its source material and reimagined it in such a convincing fashion.

x – I cannot conclude the ‘High Points’ without mentioning its undeniable influence onto American cinema. Unsurprisingly, the film was a massive success at the Box Office, elevating the Superhero genre of films to a whole new level. Even after more than a decade, its impact on superhero/ action films is unquestionable. Although Marvel Studios cracked the formula of superhero Blockbuster success, The Dark Knight still sits high on its throne due to its craftsmanship.

+ Low Points

i – With such masterful filmmaking on display, not everything is (unfortunately) flawless about the film. The character arc of Harvey Dent is slightly rushed and not given enough time for the viewer to sympathise with his inevitable downfall from grace. Perhaps if Harvey Dent was briefly introduced in Batman Begins to the audience, his plunge into insanity in this film would’ve proven much more impactful.  

ii – With such brilliant practical effects throughout the film, the sparingly used CGI unfortunately sticks out like a sore thumb (namely, Two Face’s CGI face).

iii – While the city of Chicago serves well in Nolan’s world as Gotham City, it does come off as somewhat bland and turns out to be unmemorable in the long run.

+ Overall

The testament of every great film has to be its influence and contribution to Cinema and the art of filmmaking. And this film has it in spades. With superb performances, impeccable direction and memorable moments, The Dark Knight is still the pinnacle and one of the very best in the genre. True, not every superhero film needs to be The Dark Knight but every superhero film deserves to be compared to it.

Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on Batman Begins (2005)

A review on Hollywood superhero feature length film, Batman Begins (2005). The film is directed by Christopher Nolan and is the first in The Dark Knight Trilogy. The film is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

+ Crew I

  • Directed by Christopher Nolan
  • Cinematography by Wally Pfister
  • Written by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
  • Edited by Lee Smith
  • Produced by Charles Roven, Emma Thomas and Larry Franco

+ Crew II (Production Houses)

  • Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Legendary Pictures
  • Syncopy
  • Patalex III Productions

+ Note

After the critical and financial disaster of Batman & Robin (1997), Warner Bros. took a 8 year hiatus with Batman but during this time, several attempts were made to resurrect him again for the big screen. In 2003, Christopher Nolan (famous for directing the edgy psychological thriller Memento) was hired to direct an untitled Batman film. Nolan and Goyer then began working on a screenplay which would move far away from the kid friendly, silliness of Schumacher’s Batman and give a more darker and grittier look to the caped crusader. Nolan wanted to explore his origin story in detail, something that had not been done on the big screen before and give a larger, more realistic portrayal of Batman in the world we live in. Being a film purist, Nolan wanted more practical effects and high intensity stunts, relying less on computer generated effects and more on hand to hand combat. The film would also consist of well renowned Batman villains Ra’s al Ghul and Scarecrow which had, till then, never been utilised onto the big screen. For obvious reasons, Ra’s al Ghul’s origin story was reworked in order to fit into the realistic, down to earth tone that Nolan was going for.

The origin story in Batman Begins is loosely inspired by Frank Miller’s graphic novel Batman: Year One and also Batman: The Long Halloween. The goal for Nolan was to bring Batman back to his gritty “Bob Kane/ Dennis O’Neil” roots of grittness and psychological torture of the vigilante. 

Needless to say, Batman Begins was a huge success, critically and commercially, grossing $ 373 Million Worldwide and brought the character of Batman back into the mainstream pop culture which had been missing since the Tim Burton movies. 

+ Main Cast

  1. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman
  2. Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
  3. Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard / Ra’s al Ghul
  4. Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes
  5. Gary Oldman as James Gordon
  6. Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow

+ Plot

After witnessing the death of his parents by a mugger on the street, the young billionaire Bruce Wayne decides to train himself in combat so he could protect the city of Gotham as the masked vigilante, the Batman. Meanwhile Ra’s al Ghul’s army of followers see the corruption of Gotham City as ‘irredeemable’. They want to destroy and rebuild it from the ashes of which the city will perish in. Is the mysterious Batman up to the task of protecting his father’s city and become its saviour?

+ High Points

i – Nolan almost single handedly resurrected and revitalized the character of Batman back onto the silver screens. Considering Batman’s last film was simply an unapologetic Toy commercial, Nolan had a massive task ahead of him and he passed with flying colors. The box office numbers spoke for itself that Nolan’s dark and gritty Batman was what the audiences wanted to see on the big screen. It was the rebirth of Batman that we all patiently waited for.

ii – The direction is excellent throughout the film. From beginning to end, the plot effortlessly follows its main protagonist and as a viewer, keeps you engaged throughout its runtime. The goal of Batman Begins was to simply make the audience believe that a masked vigilante like Batman could exist in the world we live in. And it is quite safe to say that the transition was a success.

iii – With all its talent, the film needed a Batman who was more than up to the task to depict what Nolan had envisioned. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/ Batman was a stellar performance which perspicuously delivered the complexities, past trauma and vengeance that we know and love the character of Batman for. 

iv – The opening half of the film is masterful storytelling. It’s a picture perfect example of how a superhero origin story should be told. Although Batman doesn’t make an appearance till the film’s half way mark, the complexity of the Bruce Wayne character was captivating enough to drive the film through to its second act.

v – Ra’s al Ghul and Scarecrow serve perfectly as adversaries to Batman’s initial task as the protector of the doomed city. Since Ra’s al Ghul is behind Bruce Wayne’s training to become the dark knight, it adds a much needed drama and personal stakes between the two men on the opposite sides of salvation. On the other hand, Scarecrow’s psychotic hallucinogens perfectly encapsulate the fear they can induce in each individual. This also plays a vital role in Bruce confronting his fear of Bats  (plus Scarecrow has a bad ass looking mask to boot!).

vi – Batman’s slick, combat suit costume design, ‘turnable’ mask, and of course; the Bat ‘Tumbler’ mobile. They all add up to a complete “reimaging” of Batman and his warfare gadgets. Although not my personal favourite, these designs fit perfectly into the realistic world that Nolan’s Batman is supposed to exist in.

vii – I really have to mention Gary Oldman as James Gordon. This might possibly be the best, most empathic depiction of (soon to be) Commissioner Gordon in any medium (outside comics). Oldman has always the knack and tenacity of leading his audience to any side of the coin he so well pleases. 

+ Low Points

i – With all that’s praise worthy about the film, there are some glaring issues that hinder Batman Begins to be a perfect Superhero origin film. And unfortunately, that lies in the second most integral part of any superhero film; the action set pieces. Since this was Nolan’s first action film, his lack of directing fight choreography is painfully apparent. The fight scenes are incredibly disorienting, haphazard nonsense that confuses the viewer as to what exactly he/she is supposed to look at. But as history shows, Nolan’s a quick learner and improved upon it ten fold in the sequel to this film (which I will also be reviewing very soon).

ii – The Editing is pretty amateurish for such a high end film. As mentioned above, this is most apparent during the fight scenes where its just a mishmash of extreme closeups and the fight ends before one can comprehend as to what is even happening.

iii – The love interest of the film; Rachel Dawson is what in film you call a ‘plot device’. She exuberates no character of her own, Rachel is only there to push Bruce Wayne’s character development. Rachel Dawson is another aspect that the sequel improves upon quite well. 

iv – Now this may be controversial but I am not a fan of Michael Caine as Alfred. The loyal butler has always been there to serve as Bruce’s conscious of good. He is what keeps Batman a hero. Alfred always serves best (pardon the pun) as a supporting character and his secret, military, medical past is interesting because it is never fully elaborated on. Since, in this film, Alfred is played by Michael Caine, he is given a lot more needless dialogue and 2-3 minute long speeches, spoon feeding the audience how they are supposed to feel at that moment in the film. Needless I say!

v – SPOILER ALERT! : The third act of the film loses a bit of momentum that the first two so successfully led us to. And I do feel Batman acts completely out of character in order to defeat the main adversary of the film.

I won’t kill you….but I also don’t have to save you!

Uh..yes, Batman. You are committing what is known as “Second degree murder”. This is not what Batman does and this fact is constantly reminded throughout the film so why does he ignore his own conscious late into the conclusion of the film? 

+ Overall

After the horrendous Batman & Robin, Nolan was the saviour of the Batman franchise and blew everyone’s expectations out of the water. With great characters, near perfect origin story and an entertaining story arc, Batman Begins is one helluva way to kick off a franchise. Even with its flaws, the film has really stood the test of time and perfect stepping point to what it was eventually going to be followed up with a masterpiece of a film.

Rate: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (2016) Ultimate Edition (with SPOILERS)

A review on Hollywood feature length film, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (2016) [Ultimate Edition].  The Costume Designing by Michael Wilkinson while it’s Distributor is Warner Bros. Pictures.


+ Crew I

  1. Directed by Zack Snyder
  2. Written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer
  3. Cinematography by Larry Fong
  4. Edited by David Brenner
  5. Music by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL
  6. Produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder


+ Crew II (Production Houses)

  1. DC Entertainment
  2. RatPac Entertainment
  3. Atlas Entertainment
  4. Cruel and Unusual Films



Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice [Ultimate Edition] is heavily inspired by the graphic novel ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ by Frank Miller, ‘Superman: Peace on Earth’ & ‘Death of Superman’. The comic book fans would be thrilled to see these two iconic DC characters bash each other first time on big screens. However, some people complained the film to be much darker and grittier.

The director used Christianity religious beliefs & their symbolic figures on his characters throughout the film. Such as Superman can relate directly to Jesus Christ (PBUH). The fight scenes of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman refers to ‘Trinity’ belief. Unlike the Batman in ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’, this Batman shown as aged, most probably in his 40s with at least two decades of crime fighting experience. I see him as a very different Batman of another time line. I cannot and would not compare it with ones who have already portrayed Batman on screen.

The main henchman of Lex Luthor name ‘Anatoli Knyazev’ is one of the secondary villains of Batman story line up, who is also known as ‘KGB Beast’. Jena Malone character as Jenet Klyburn is also a treat to watch on the Ultimate Edition only.


+ Main Cast

  1. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman
  2. Henry Cavill as Clark Kent / Superman
  3. Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
  4. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
  5. Amy Adams as Lois Lane
  6. Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
  7. Lawrence Fisherburne as Perry White
  8. Holly Hunter as June Finch
  9. Diane Lane as Martha Kent
  10. Scoot McNairy as Wallace Keefe
  11. Callan Mulvey as Anatoli Knyazev / KGB Beast
  12. Tao Okamoto as Mercy Graves


+ Plot

During the events of alien invasion by Gen. Zod and his army, Bruce Wayne and many people lose their loved ones as causalities. Ever since then, Batman grows hatred for Superman and sees him as the main threat to human race. On the other hand, Lex Luthor enjoys their hatred for each other so much that he even disturbs the corpse of Zod and releases the ultimate weapon of destruction upon this world.


+ High Points

i – The first and second acts of the film are very interesting and of high quality in the comic book film standards.

ii – Jeremy Irons did a good job as Alfred Pennyworth. Ben Affleck also plays a good aged Batman. He and Gal Gadot’s performances were much appreciated.

iii – There was one particular scene where Batman is at a deserted site with ruined city background. Later on, we see Flash who is trying to warn Bruce / Batman of a distant future and trying to give a message in a very short time. This is a vision in the film that is intentionally shown as dark & gritty which is in fact taken from a story of popular DC video game is based on ‘Injustice: Gods among us’. It seems the director has very interesting story to connect later in the film series or in upcoming JLA film in 2017.

iv – The Ultimate Edition provides proper introduction between Lois Lane and the photographer who he accompanies with but for only short moment. The comic book fans would instantly recognize his name as one of the most beloved supporting characters of Superman story line that is ‘Jimmy Olsen’. Unfortunately, he has a very small limited role in one of the first scenes of the film.

v – The sound track and visual effects are executed well in the film.


+ Low Points

i – I believe that one of the main reasons why the critics did not like this film is due to the fact that the Act III was weaker out of the other two Acts of the film. In the Act III, we have major scenes of Batman vs Superman fight, Wonder Woman intro and Doomsday fight. When the final showdown comes of Batman and Superman fighting each other. The fight scene between the two is not as cool as shown in the graphic novel ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ or in its animated film.

ii – Due to a lame reason, Batman stops the fight and his huge grudge on Superman suddenly diminishes.

iii – The Lex Luthor is ‘wonderfully’ (NOT!) portrayed by Shahrukh Khan (Jesse Eisenberg). The audience would be able to see his true real appearance just like in comics comes in the end scenes of the film.

iv – The antagonist, ‘Doomsday’ appears on screen for the first time… it seemed as though a ‘Giant Ninja Turtle’ without his weapons or colored mask came to fight Superman and Batman. After a short while Wonder Woman joins the fight and so does the Doomsday get better by mutating itself he is nowhere near as terrified and frightening as it shown in the comics, video games and cartoons. Not only he doesn’t look like as it is shown in comics but even he never able to fire beams from his eyes. Superman’s one of the main villains ‘Darkseid’ is one who can fire Omega Beams from his eyes and not Doomsday. Whereas the fighting scenes of Wonder Woman with Doomsday, they tried to show no matter how much punches she takes from him, she treats it as if it’s a causal fight for her which does not stop her on her track but welcomes it. However, the facial expressions of Wonder Woman were as if she was getting sexually aroused by fighting him. Even after firing atomic bomb on Doomsday in very start of the fight between him & Superman, it doesn’t stop him… the US army very quickly (literally) gives up on fighting the monster villain. Then, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman battle with Doomsday, we see no army, air force or police whatsoever for miles away from the fight. As if, people have abandoned them to keep themselves safe and hidden whereas at least half of Metropolis city is burned away very rapidly.

v – The fight scenes of this Batman are lesser in quality than of ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ series.

vi – The cameo appearances by the other JLA characters i.e. Aqua Man, Flash and Cyborg in Act III of the film seemed as though were forced to show.


+ Overall

Too much hype was created before the release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Although its ‘Ultimate Edition’ is far superior than the theatrical cut, yet it still can not fix major issues of the film which are connected with the main plot.


Rating: 2.75 out of 5.0 stars (Theatrical Edition)

Rating: 3.25 out of 5.0 stars (Ultimate Edition)