The Batman | Sound & Vision

Last October we started this blog to explore the experience of watching movies at home on the server-based Kaleidescape system to see how it compares with watching movies on 4K Blu-ray and over Netflix and other streaming services. You can read my impressions of the system in A Marriage Made in Movie Heaven) and my previous Kaleidescape-based movie reviews here.)

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Sound
Kaleidescape Scenes
Extras

A killer is stalking Gotham City’s elite and a trail of cryptic clues sends Batman into the underworld of the city he has vowed to protect. There he meets a bevy of characters, each with their own agenda. Some wish him success but most want him to fail. As the evidence starts to solidify and begins to hit close to home, Batman must form new relationships before he can unmask the culprit and bring his own brand of justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the city.

Batman has a rich history in film and television and is arguably one of the best-known comic book heroes alongside Superman and Spiderman. Not being a comic book reader as a kid, my introduction to Batman was reruns of the campy 1960’s TV show in the mid-to-late 1970s. Tim Burton’s stylized reimagining of the comic-book hero (Batman) hit the silver screen in 1989 with elaborate sets and A-list actors, but in 2005 Christopher Nolan gave us a character that could be taken serious in Batman Begins, the first film in his Dark Knight trilogy, which continued with The Dark Knight in 2008 and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.


Co-written and directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman is dark both in creative tone and video presentation. Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of the caped crusader is even darker than Christian Bale’s performance in the Nolan movies. There’s no mistaking this Batman for the character Adam West played back in the 1960s.

I’ve now seen the film twice in its entirety and it holds up very well, but it does have its flaws. With a run time of nearly three hours, it’s a bit bloated and loses its focus at times, but the story is so compelling that it’s hard to fault its shortcomings. One could argue there are too many villains, but I’d be hard-pressed to remove any of them as they each have a place in the overall story arc.

The casting is excellent. Robert Pattinson does a phenomenal job playing the troubled hero. His performance quickly laid to rest any reservations I had about his ability to play Batman. Colin Ferrell’s portrayal of Penguin with his Oscar-worthy prosthetic make-up is simply amazing. It wouldn’t surprise me if the film receives an Oscar nomination for the character work alone.

I watched The Batman on 4K UHD Blu-ray before firing up the Kaleidescape system. I wanted to compare the server-based presentation with what is delivered on disc. Both were excellent with the Kaleidescape presentation matching but not exceeding what I saw on disc. To evoke the mood in Gotham City, the film is extremely dark and will test your TV’s ability to render shadow detail from the get-go. In keeping with that theme, colors are also heavily muted throughout the film, creating a look that’s about as close as you can get to black-and-white without actually being black-and white.

While the video quality is commendable, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is the true star of the show, ranking right up there with Top Gun: Maverick as one of the best home video soundtracks of 2022. The overhead channels are used aggressively to draw you into the action and the LFE (low-frequency effects) channel is foundation-shaking. From the subtle pattering of rainfall to the frenetic nightclub fight scene, the overall mix is a showpiece. Of particular note is the freeway chase scene. Like the classic “lobby scene” from The Matrix, this is the scene to play when you want to show off the prowess of your AV system.

The Kaleidescape download has all of the supplements found on the 4K disc, including a number of “making-of” featurettes that reveal the training required to pull off the fight scenes and delve into the genesis of the comic-book icon. Other segments offer introspective looks at the characters and gadgets depicted in the film. In all, the nearly two hours of supplements are informative and entertaining and sure to appeal to anyone who wants to dig deeper into film’s production.

The download includes eight bookmarked Kaleidescape Scenes, all of which are demo-worthy, but my favorite is the freeway chase scene, “In Vengeful Pursuit.” I’ve watched this scene countless times on disc and I have to say it was nice being able to jump to it instantly on the Kaleidescape system. Here are the scenes:

Vengeance from the Shadows

Meeting in the Dark

Escape from Custody

In Vengeful Pursuit

Good Cop, Bat Cop

Confronting Carmine Falcone

The Riddler

Vigilante Justice in the Arena

When the film was released, I wasn’t sure if I would like it, given my fondness for the Nolan trilogy that came before. But I was impressed enough to watch it a second time and gained a newfound respect for Robert Pattinson’s acting ability along the way. The Batman is one hell of a ride whether you’re watching on 4K disc of Kaleidescape.

Studio: Warner Brothers / Discovery
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Download Size: 96.2GB (4K UHD)
HDR Format: 4K HDR
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos
Length: 2 Hours 56 mins
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, Peter Sarsgaard

Sound & Vision

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