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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Top Gun: Maverick



"It's not the plane. It's the pilot."

Top Gun: Maverick is a master class in the lost art of Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking. In an age of endless CGI superhero movies and films that feel smaller and smaller to fit in digital devices and compete with streaming TV shows, director Joseph Kosinski and Tom Cruise welcome us back to The Movies. Top Gun: Maverick, which was shot with IMAX cameras and with no computer-generated effects, brings a revolutionary verisimilitude to the Navy's aerial combat. Top Gun: Maverick boasts the most breathtaking aerial photography and some of the greatest action ever captured on film. The need for speed is fulfilled and then some because Top Gun: Maverick was born to thrill us - and it does.

Of course, Cruise is back as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, who graduated second in his class at Top Gun in 1986 ("I just want to manage expectations," Maverick reminds us with his trademark grin), and is tapped to teach a new generation of pilots who are "the best of the best." Maverick returned to Top Gun at the end of the first film to become an instructor, but we learn in the sequel that he washed out after two months. Maverick spent the next 35 years alternately garnering commendations for his excellence in the cockpit and nearly getting bounced out of the Navy multiple times for insubordination and recklessness. When Top Gun: Maverick begins, Pete is a test pilot for the Darkstar program - the 21st century Chuck Yaeger - and he violates orders (of course) to prove he can shatter the Mach 10 barrier. Shatter it he does - Maverick achieves Mach 10.3 and becomes "the fastest man alive" - before his aircraft explodes. This is the last straw says Admiral Cain (Ed Harris), the first of a series of flag officers in the film who want Maverick shitcanned from the Navy. But instead, Maverick is assigned back to Top Gun to teach a group of graduate aces how to perform, shall we say, an impossible mission. (No surprise that Cruise's Mission: Impossible director, Christopher McQuarrie, is a co-screenwriter on Top Gun: Maverick.)

Maverick meets the new hotshots who he's meant to distill all of his aerial combat knowledge into: there's Hangman (Glen Powell), the handsome, cocksure Iceman of the bunch. There's Phoenix (Monica Barbaro), the first female Top Gun pilot in the series. There's Bob (Lewis Pullman), Phoenix's version of Goose (Anthony Edwards) with the worst callsign. There's also Payback (Jay Ellis), Fanboy (Danny Ramirez), and Fritz (Manny Jacinto). Last but not least, there's Rooster (Miles Teller), the son of Goose, who has a bone to pick with Maverick over his father's death in the original Top Gun. Maverick also has another secret he's keeping from Rooster, but if you think after butting heads the entire movie that Maverick and Rooster don't bond over their extraordinary fighter jock heroics by the end of the film, you must have never seen a movie before. Of course, Maverick needs a love interest since Charlie (Kelly McGillis) no longer fits the bill. Enter Jennifer Connelly as Penny, a former flame of Maverick's who lights that torch again as soon as they lay eyes on each other. Connelly is dazzling in a nothing part that she completely carries with her beauty and charisma. Last but not least there's Vice Admiral Beau "Cyclone" Simpson (Jon Hamm), Maverick's new commander at Top Gun whose job is to despise Maverick and be wrong about him every step of the way. Hamm sneers his way through a thankless role but he still seems like he's enjoying himself.

The impossible mission Maverick trains the Top Gun class of 2022 for is the destruction of an underground uranium facility in some unnamed country that could render the land radioactive, or something. Top Gun: Maverick curiously never identifies who the enemy is or why, just that they're somehow technologically superior to the Navy's F-18s. But having a faceless enemy of no nationality allows Top Gun: Maverick to play worldwide and rake in cash without offending anyone politically. Now, to destroy the Death Star, pardon, the uranium facility, the pilots have to fly dangerously low through a valley in two minutes and 30 seconds, hit a target 3 meters wide with pinpoint accuracy, and then achieve a perilous 9.5-g climb without hitting a mountain, blacking out from the pressure, or using the Force. And once they achieve that, the hard part begins: surviving a dogfight with the enemy's 5th generation fighters. Admiral Jon Hamm says it's impossible. The trainees think it's impossible. Of course, Maverick does it in the simulation on the first try, so he gets tapped to lead the mission himself. How does Mav keep getting into these messes?

Top Gun: Maverick does explain the reason why Maverick keeps getting out of messes. He has a guardian angel: 4-star Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer), the only character from the original Top Gun to return in the flesh (as opposed to unnecessary flashbacks). Iceman loathed Maverick for being dangerous in Top Gun, but after Maverick saved him and made history by becoming the first American pilot to shoot down 3 Russian MiG fighters, Iceman became Maverick's wingman for life. The way Top Gun: Maverick honors Iceman and Val Kilmer is the most heartwarming moment of the film. Kilmer survived throat cancer but at the cost of his voice and appearance. Top Gun: Maverick gives Iceman the same affliction so that he has to text Mav to communicate, but the film also gives him a beautiful and resonant scene where Iceman and Maverick reflect on being the last of the best together. When Iceman finally passes away, Maverick loses his protection and the Navy declares open season on court martialing him until Captain Mitchell proves Iceman's lifelong belief that "the Navy needs Maverick" right once again.

Much of Top Gun: Maverick is spent pretty much kicking the shit out of Maverick. The amount of disdain he endures is shocking. Maverick is literally tossed on his ass out of a bar, called "a relic" and even worse names, has his value to the Navy constantly questioned, and even Penny sticks him with a thousand-dollar bar tab for no reason other than to be mean to him. Maverick does have a couple of loyal friends on his side, both black guys: Hondo (Bashir Salahuddin), his Chief Warrant Officer, and Warlock (Charles Parnell), an Admiral who actually thinks Maverick is pretty great. Top Gun: Maverick is a savvy examination of both Maverick's enduring skills as a pilot and of Tom Cruise's enduring appeal and stature as the last real movie star in the world. In many ways, Cruise and Maverick are one and the same and Top Gun, not Mission: Impossible, is his signature role. Top Gun: Maverick plays smartly with Tom Cruise's age, and then completely ignores it when he's in the cockpit, bringing the best of both Cruise and Maverick to the fore.

Most of all, Maverick captures and emboldens the endless appeal of Top Gun. Everything iconic about Top Gun is back, including the volleyball scene, which becomes a beach football scene with Maverick grinning ear-to-ear behind his aviators, and, most importantly, the indelible "Top Gun Anthem" and music by Harold Faltermeyer (Hans Zimmer and Lady Gaga provide additional music). Every step of the way, your mind is aware of the manipulation, of being played like a fiddle, but it's so much fun, who cares? Top Gun's central idea of "the best of the best" captured the imaginations of a generation in the 1980s and the bigger, bolder Top Gun: Maverick shows that it all still works like gangbusters today. Top Gun is the pursuit of an impossible ideal, which is embodied by Maverick, and his victories are our victories, his need for speed is ours as well. Top Gun: Maverick is an emotional, visceral, stratospheric thrill ride and one of the best pure movie experiences of this generation.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Downton Abbey: A New Era



Downton Abbey: A New Era is a welcome reunion with the Crawley family that also shows them at their absolute best. Written by the maestro, Jullian Fellowes, and directed with a rich cinematic eye by Simon Curtis, Downton Abbey: A New Era is grander, warmer, funnier, more emotional, and more resonant than even its delightful 2019 predecessor. A New Era distills every positive aspect of the beloved Downton Abbey TV series and opens up the world on a larger scale than before. Yet A New Era doesn't rest on Downton Abbey's laurels; the sequel indeed brings the Crawley family and their loyal servants into a new phase of their lives. And, as "the modern world comes to Downton," A New Era marks the transition by saying goodbye to its most iconic character, Lady Violet, the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith).

Lady Violet confessed to her granddaughter, Lady Mary Talbot (Michelle Dockery), that she was dying at the end of the previous Downton Abbey film. But in A New Era, Violet is still enduring, though her time is soon to expire. Fittingly, Violet's "mysterious past" kicks off the story of A New Era as she reveals a former beau, a Marquis, no less, willed her a villa in the South of France decades ago. Violet intends to leave the villa to her great-granddaughter, Sybbie (Fifi Hart), the daughter of the late Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay) and Tom Branson (Allen Leech). But Robert, the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), needs to know who this Marquis was and why he left such a lavish gift to his mother. Lord Grantham decides to lead a contingent of the family to the Riviera but it's a solemn mission for him. Robert's discovery that his mother gave birth to him nine months after her supposed fling with the Marquis becomes an existential crisis because, if true, it would mean that Robert was a fraud who was never the Earl of Grantham. Meanwhile, Robert's wife, Cora, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), has a secret of her own: she thinks she might have cancer, which Lady Edith, Marchioness of Hexam (Laura Carmichael), deduces and encourages her mother to tell her father. This all becomes too much for Robert to handle and he breaks down in one of the most remarkably emotional and poignant moments in Downton Abbey's history. Yet it also reaffirmed the genuine love in Robert and Cora's relationship. After really only playing minor roles in the prior Downton Abbey film, A New Era brings Robert and Cora back to center stage, and Bonneville and McGovern beautifully rise to the occasion.

Meanwhile, back at Downton Abbey, the British Lion film company sets up shop to shoot a motion picture in the castle. While most of the family is in the Riviera, Lady Mary is left behind to oversee the filming of The Gambler, directed by Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy), who quickly comes to fancy Lady Mary. The servants are agog at getting to wait on glamorous film stars like the beautiful Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock) and the charming Guy Dexter (Dominic West), but Daisy (Sophie McShera) and Anna (Joanne Froggatt) soon learn Miss Dalgleish is extremely rude because she fears the end of her career. Meanwhile, Dexter takes an immediate liking to Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier), who realizes the film star is gay like he is. Dexter offers Barrow an opportunity to leave Downton and become his "man" in any way Thomas would like to be, and it's a surprising and hopeful chance at happiness the long-suffering butler rightly takes that pays off Barrow's story from the very start of Downton Abbey. As for Jack and Mary, nothing comes of their flirtation, in spite of the absence of her husband, Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode). Fellowes' writing is clever: Mary's story of being tempted by another man smartly echoes her grandmama's story with the Marquis and sparks Mary's transition to becoming the matriarch of the family when Violet passes away. A New Era also takes the time to remember the dearly departed Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), and Fellowes sprinkles in a sly joke about Matthew's "fairy tale good looks" that nods to how Stevens left Downton Abbey to star in Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast.

In a film with over thirty major speaking roles, some characters like John Bates (Brendan Coyle), inevitably end up with little to do, but overall, A New Era utilizes its massive cast even better than Downton Abbey 2019 did. Just about everyone gets a moment or two to shine, like Mr. Carson (Jim Carter), who is married to Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan), getting a fabulous meta-joke where a French shopkeeper mistakes him and Lady Maud Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton) to be man and wife, a wink at the fact that Carter and Staunton are married in real life. Tom and Lucy Branson (Tuppence Middleton) marry at the start of A New Era and prove they are a couple that is going to go the distance. Tom also gets to have a stunningly beautiful moment with Lady Violet that speaks to how far Branson has come as a member of the family since his days as the chauffeur who ran off with Lady Sybil. Violet and her best frenemy, Isobel Merton (Penelope Wilton), get to reflect on their years as rivals who genuinely came to respect, admire, and love each other as peers and equals. And perhaps best of all, Mr. Molesley (Kevin Doyle) proves himself to be Downton Abbey's secret comedy weapon once more as the beleaguered schoolteacher discovers his talent for writing "plays for the screen" and saves Barber's film by turning it into a talkie, leading to Molesley embarking on a prosperous new career as a screenwriter. Molesley's proposal to Mrs. Baxter (Raquel Cassidy) means yet another wedding among the servants is imminent after Daisy's wedding to Andy (Michael C. Fox). Not to be left behind, Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) is about to shack up with Mr. Mason (Paul Copley).

In Downton Abbey 2019, the servants were left behind as the Crawleys danced at the royal ball to end the film but A New Era flips this in a lovely way where, this time, it's the servants who get decked out in their finest to serve as extras in the climactic scene of The Gambler. This is followed by the final farewell to Lady Violet, who dies peacefully surrounded by her loving family, and Maggie Smith even gets to utter one last immortal line: "I can't hear myself die!" Downton Abbey: A New Era ends with a funeral procession that passes the torch from Lady Violet to Lady Mary as "the captain" of Downton Abbey, but the final moments are of a hopeful new beginning as the Crawleys enter the 1930s by welcoming Tom and Lucy's new baby. The final shot is of old Lady Grantham - the eternal symbol of Downton's Edwardian past - lovingly looking over her family, which has endured wars, plague, six incredibly popular seasons of television, and two feature films. Two hours of pure happiness may be as much as our cruel world allows, but Downton Abbey: A New Era is a warm, inviting, and splendid time spent with the Crawleys, who can hopefully continue to reunite with and who will hopefully never change, no matter the era.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness



"Are you happy?" Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) asks Wong, the Sorcerer Supreme (Benedict Wong). If he asked me, I'd answer with an unequivocal "yes." Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - the director's first superhero movie since his Spider-Man trilogy and his first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe - is a giddy good time, a wild and weird magic carpet ride through the Marvel Multiverse that was established in the animated Marvel's What If...? series and unlocked in live-action by Spider-Man: No Way Home. This is Doctor Strange's fifth movie appearance since his debut film in 2016 and it's the wizard's best outing as Strange and his magical and multiversal friends dive headlong into the wacky alternate realities of the greater Marvel Universe.

Perhaps the best thing about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is that it's a direct sequel to WandaVision. Not surprisingly, Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff is the best thing in the movie. When a teenage girl named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has the power to travel across the Multiverse, lands in the main MCU's Sacred Timeline (the universe designated 616), Doctor Strange decides to protect her from whatever is trying to steal her power. Seeking help from an Avenger, Strange turns to the other most powerful magic-user in the world, Wanda Maximoff, who wastes no time revealing she has become the Big Bad known as the Scarlet Witch. Still coping with the trauma of losing her husband, Vision (Paul Bettany), and her twin sons, Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne), Wanda succumbed to the evil magic book called the Darkhold and became the Scarlet Witch. Wanda has simple desires: she wants to reunite with and be a mother to her sons. If she has to kill lots of people to be with her kids again, well, that's just her being reasonable. Wanda as the main villain is an unexpected treat but it logically follows up her fall from grace as a result of WandaVision, and she is a spectacularly frightening evildoer. Yet because it's Wanda, and she's still an Avenger at her core, we root for her even as she slaughters her way across universes. Elizabeth Olsen proves herself as the MCU MVP in Multiverse of Madness and she delivers what may be the best villain performance of the entire 28 movie MCU oeuvure. 

As for Doctor Strange himself, life isn't going too well for the world's most famous magician. People seem 50/50 on Strange; some love him for his role in stopping Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, but others question his judgment that there was "no other way" and Strange helping enable Thanos to wipe out half of all life in the universe for five years, to begin with. Meanwhile, Strange is still pining for the woman he gave up to become a wizard, Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), who he loves in every universe. But Christine always sees Strange for who and what he is - the one who always has to "hold the knife" - and she wisely moved on. Even America is wary of Doctor Strange since the other versions of him she's met (and we meet) are much less likable than ours. When Wong and Strange attempt to protect America from the Scarlet Witch, their magical stronghold of Kamar-Taj easily falls to Wanda's black magic. Strange and America flee through the Multiverse, landing in the 838 universe, which is where Doctor Strange gets really strange.

Strange and America are taken hostage by the Illuminati, a superteam comprised of incredible Marvel cameos and Easter eggs: Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Captain Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Captain Marvel (Lashana Lynch), Black Bolt of the Inhumans (Anson Mount, getting the chance to redeem his hero from the godawful Marvel's Inhumans), Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and, best of all, Reed Richards AKA Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four (John Krasinski, fulfilling the most prevalent Marvel fan-casting of recent years). The Illuminati end up getting wiped out by the Scarlet Witch but just seeing this mind-bending assemblage of heroes is so dazzling and opens up so many possibilities, that it's worth the price of admission all by itself. Ultimately, Doctor Strange has to figure out a way to stop Wanda and it all leads to a MacGuffan called the Book of Vishanti, which is, cleverly, a swerve since the book is a non-factor. In the best Marvel tradition, the real key to beating Wanda is to force her and Strange to face their own internal inadequacies. Wanda comes face-to-face with her alternate universe self and realizes that she would be stealing her own children from herself. Meanwhile, Raimi, who already frolics in every weird idea screenwriter Michael Waldron conjures up, goes gonzo by having Strange possess a zombie version of himself, complete with multiple arms and a third eye.

If Multiverse of Madness has an inherent flaw, it's that Doctor Strange, try as he might (and he does try), is still the least interesting person in his own movie. In order of How Much I Love The Characters, I'd rank them: 1. Wanda 2. Wong 3. America 4. Doctor Strange's magical flying cape 5. The Illuminati 6. Doctor Strange. Yet Strange still becomes the most compelling and sympathetic version of himself in the Multiverse of Madness, and his pain and loneliness at having all the magical power he needs to save the Multiverse yet still never getting the girl - unlike, say, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) - is palpable and touching. Thankfully, Wong is a rock who has rapidly become one of the MCU's best characters, and Xochitl Gomez is a fantastic new addition to the pantheon of Marvel heroes. The day America meets Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), and the other new MCU heroes to form the Young Avengers can't come soon enough. Most importantly, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is about men and a woman wanting to literally take a young girl's power from her. And Doctor Strange learns that the right thing to do is to empower that girl and teach her to use it to kick a witch's ass. A relevant lesson for our world today. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is so much fun and so packed with Marvel goodness, that you'd practically need a third eye to take it all in, but multiple viewings will more than suffice.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

The Batman



Matt Reeves' The Batman is an immersive, fever dream that begins with the Dark Knight living out countless dark nights wondering why his tactics of punching crooks in the dark isn't having a positive effect on Gotham City. A majestic, R-rated three-hour cinematic tour de force posing as a PG-13 superhero blockbuster, The Batman is relentless, merciless, and hauntingly beautiful. It reimagines, once more, Gotham as a desperate closed world of urban decay. Decent people shouldn't live in Gotham; they'd be happier someplace else. The Batman bucks the current trend of shared superhero multiverses and returns to the Dark Knight's movie roots as a singular vision of a lone vigilante fighting a violent war he can never win to honor the memory of his dead parents. The Batman is a shattering masterpiece, an art-house equal to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, all backed by Michael Giacchino's driving score, and it's one of the best superhero movies ever made.

Robert Pattinson is the Batman, and he's ideal. Pattinson portrays the first movie Batman whose hair is mussed up and his eye makeup stays on when he removes his cowl. The Batman is an armored tank proficient in violence but not so keen with the small talk, although he narrates the film like Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) does Watchmen, giving the audience unprecedented access into the Batman's mindset. As the Batman prowls the shadowy corners of Gotham, moving incognito through the frightened populace in motorcycle gear, a vast conspiracy with Bruce Wayne's parents at the very heart of it, unravels around him. Together with his partner in the Gotham Police Department, Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), the only good cop in Gotham City, the Batman tries to foil an elaborate plot by a fiendish and diabolical psychopath calling himself the Riddler (Paul Dano), who is murdering members of Gotham's elite to uncover their role in the city's darkest secret. As the Riddler, Dano manages to be as frightening as any Joker yet he's as intelligent as he is sad, vile, and insane. 

The Batman has more in common with films like David Fincher's Se7en and Zodiac than the recent output by Zack Snyder where Batman teams up with other superheroes and fights aliens. The Batman also owes a lot to the popular Batman: Arkham video games as well as Frank Miller's seminal Batman: Year One comics. Fittingly, The Batman is the opposite side of the coin to Joker, which isn't part of this universe but obviously shares its DNA. Both films are concerned with the sins of Thomas Wayne (Luke Roberts), who, in this universe, ran for Mayor but made a crucial mistake in turning to sleazy mob kingpin Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) when the truth about his wife Martha's (Stella Stocker) mental health issues was going to be publicly leaked. Bruce grew up believing his murdered parents were saintly victims of Gotham's criminal rot and the revelation that Thomas Wayne was flawed rocks the Batman's world. As the Riddler continues his murder spree, the Batman finds a reluctant ally in Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravitz), a slinky waitress who moonlights as a cat burglar. Kravitz is sensational as Selina, who has a secret parent of her own and she's intimately tied to the seedy revelations the Riddler wants to uncover. Meanwhile, an unrecognizable Colin Farrell chews the scenery as Osward Cobblepot, a middling mobster who owns the Iceberg Lounge and wants to be called Oz, not Penguin.

Batman and Catwoman have teamed up in the movies before but The Batman's versions have an undeniable chemistry that feels more incendiary than Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway or even Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer. The Bat and the Cat in The Batman are young, beautiful, wounded, and volatile, warily circling their fatal attraction but also quickly understanding that they're made for each other. Back in the Batcave, which is beneath Wayne Tower instead of Stately Wayne Manor in this universe, Bruce's butler Alfred (Andy Serkis) impatiently manages Wayne's affairs and believes (perhaps correctly) that he's gone insane. As much fun as an eternally disappointed Alfred taking the piss out of Bruce is, the Batman's repartee with Jim Gordon is one of the highlights of the film. It's the best live-action depiction of Batman and Gordon as crimefighting friends working together, eclipsing even Christian Bale's Dark Knight's team-up with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman). We don't get the back story of why the Batman and Gordon are such bosom buddies but their us-against-the worst of Gotham dynamic is aces.

The Batman is the first Batman movie that reflects the title Detective Comics, finally delivering a sordid and cerebral detective story that challenges the Dark Knight's sleuthing skills as the World's Greatest Detective, although the Riddler, who thinks he's actually working alongside the Batman in his twisted mind, is disappointed when the Batman doesn't see the big picture. The Ridder's scheme not only involves exposing a 20-year-old plot by the city's officials and the mob to embezzle billions left behind by Thomas Wayne meant as the "renewal" of Gotham City, but he also wants to literally sink the city. The Batman weaving in the inevitable peril posed by climate change is timely and powerful. Of course, The Batman also hedges its bets at a potential sequel and drops in a cameo by Barry Keoghan as "Unnamed Arkham Prisoner," i.e. the Joker, just as Nolan's Batman Begins telegraphed the Joker for his sequel. 

But while The Batman's stunningly brutal action, including an eye-popping car chase involving the Batman's new muscle car Batmobile, really delivers, The Batman's best trick is in the end when the Batman publicly risks his life to save Gotham's new mayor and thousands of refugees from Riddler's murderous incel goons. This was already a Batman who had no qualms of marching shoulder-to-shoulder with cops, but The Batman shows the Dark Knight's unprecedented willingness to be seen by the people he's trying to save. The Batman shows touching personal growth as he realizes he's meant to be a hero, not just the city's shadowy avenger. The Batman's self-sacrifice as he saves women and children during Gotham's greatest catastrophe is perhaps the most uplifting ending of any Batman movie. In the end, the Batman realizes he has to be a better Batman for Gotham, and his bittersweet parting with Selina as they roar in separate directions on their motorcycles is as powerful a denouement as The Dark Knight's unforgettable conclusion. For Matt Reeves, Robert Pattinson, and Warner Bros., The Batman is a triumph and deserves to earn as many billions as Bruce Wayne has in the bank.