The Batman – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review
Film Title: The Batman (2022)
Release Date: 2022
Runtime: 176 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos
High Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Release Date: 5/24/22
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, Paul Dano, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, Peter Sarsgaard, Jayme Lawson, Gil Perez-Abraham, Peter McDonald, Alex Ferns, Rupert Penry-Jones
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Full 4K Tech Specs found at the bottom
“The Batman” was a 2022 film based on the DC Comics character of the same name, created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. This film goes back to the Detective Comics roots and its style as well as comes in the style of film noir, which is exclusively fitting for a true detective story in the dark setting of the fictional “Gotham City” — in both a literal [visual] and metaphorical sense. However, the true inspiration for this and what serves as its origin story is the graphic novel “Batman: Year One” from 1987 which was written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli. At this point in the story, “The Batman” has been doing this for two years and he’s still learning and the rogue’s gallery has yet to assemble itself of his enemies and even allies. Over the course of this film, you will see that start to finally happen.
The story here was written by Matt Reeves and Peter Craig. Matt Reeves also would serve as the film’s director and producer. Reeves is best known for directing the films “Cloverfield” (2008), “Let Me In” (2010), “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014), and “War of the Planet of the Apes” (2017).
In this iteration of The Batman, he has dealt with the loss of his parents in a very darker way and seems to be taking out personal vengeance on every criminal that he encounters, by pummeling them with vicious fighting styles. “Bruce Wayne” (Robert Pattinson) has been left to be raised by his parent’s former bodyguard and butler “Alfred” (Andy Serkis). Alfred has done everything he can to help Bruce cope with the loss and seems to be encouraging in his efforts to be a masked vigilante but he wants to protect him from things and not just criminals.
Meanwhile, the city of Gotham is struggling with mass corruption, drug addiction, homelessness, and organized crime run by the infamous “Carmine Falcone” (John Turturro). One of the men behind Falcone’s crime ring is “Oz” (Collin Farrell), but most people call him “The Penguin.” Working at The Penguin’s nightclub you find a troubled young woman named “Selina Kyle” (Zoe Kravitz) that has her own bit of backstory and nightlife that will involve her crossing paths with The Batman. And, of course, The Batman has established a friendship with a police officer “Lt. Jim Gordon” (Jeffrey Wright) who works a bit with him and even summons him with the bat symbol, as we’ve grown accustomed to in previous stories and films.
Rounding things out and really setting up the real dilemma here throughout the course of the film is a masked serial killer calling himself “The Riddler” (Paul Dano) that wants to expose the corruption of Gotham City at its origins and doesn’t care who he has to kill to do so. Plus, he uses social media to get people to listen to him which can be a scary thing itself. I won’t go into much further detail about the full story and plot here in the film, as I feel I already have too much, but let’s just say this is one very intriguing detective story and one of the finer films based on “Batman” that I have ever seen. Matt Reeves has done a great job here and I cannot wait for a sequel.
Movie Rating: 5 (out of 5)
“The Batman” on 4K UHD Blu-ray is presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio with HDR10 and Dolby Vision forms of high dynamic range.
This movie was shot digitally in 4.5K and 6K resolution using the Arri Alexa LF, Arri Alexa Mini LF, and the Sony CineAlta Venice 6K digital cameras. It was the choice of the film’s director Matt Reeves and the DP (director of photography) Greig Fraser to use anamorphic lenses. The movie then received a 4K DI (digital intermediate) master, according to IMDb. So, this 2160p video presentation is in true 4K here and the source material comes from a slightly higher resolution than that.
Now, let me get a bit even further technical here in terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray. This is on a BD-100 (100 gigabytes) disc using 91.35GB (gigabytes) total and then 90.0GB for the film itself [in 4K]. To put that into perspective, the 1080p HD Blu-ray version of the film only uses 36.12GB total and then 34.4GB for the film [in HD]. That’s two and a half times larger file being used to contain the film. This runs an average bitrate in 4K of about 54Mbps and spikes as high as 100Mbps at times. It’s safe to say that this 4K is getting enough physical bandwidth here to be able to deliver one exceptional visual presentation.
With those technical bits above taken into strong consideration, now, something I’ll touch very briefly on is that the bitrate and filesize, in my honest opinion, for the Blu-ray Disc [HD] counterpart is way, way too small and doesn’t do a film almost 3 hours in length justice. Sure, as I mentioned [above] the file size for the 4K version is fine, but that doesn’t make it okay for the other to be that much smaller. However, that is technically me reviewing that version [Blu-ray] and I’m here to review the 4K physical version. So, back to our regularly scheduled programming here, so to speak. I just felt that was worth mentioning in fairness to the consumers still purchasing the 1080p HD Blu-ray format. Moving on.
The choice to use a digital camera in a 4.5K resolution and 6K on one with imperfect lenses gave this film such a unique visual style and I’m not talking about how dark the film is. It changed the way that things were put into focus and such and really makes this movie stand apart visually from any of the other Batman films. I see absolutely no signs of any compression here in 4K and I’m willing to say that this will look just as incredible on a 65-inch typical 4K display as it will on a 100-inch [or larger] projection screen. There’s an abundance of detail to be found here in every single shot which helps really pull you into the story and get lost in the escapism that we find in movies. I cannot say that a streaming or digital version of the film looks anywhere as flawless as this physical 4K disc version via the 90 gigabytes it uses for the film.
“The Batman” on 4K UHD Blu-ray looks awesome, as dark as it is, and I have to say that I’ve enjoyed watching it a total now of two times and find it to be more impressive each time. That said, it earns every bit of a perfect rating for video quality.
Video Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)
“The Batman” arrives on the 4K UHD Blu-ray format with a Dolby Atmos sound mix, just as was the case during the theatrical and streaming [HBO Max] debut of the film.
I’d like to first state that the film’s director Matt Reeves actually discusses in the audio commentary track thinking of how a specific scene would feel in the immersive sound format, so he decided to consult with his sound department about how to make it come across perfect in the Dolby Atmos mix. It’s rare that a filmmaker takes the time to think about these things as they are making the film and then in post-production. That all being said, it’s reasons like that [director involvement] that helped make this one perfect sound experience in Atmos. Now, let me explain a bit about how the mix manages to amaze me.
As the film opens we hear two primary sounds: the sound of a person looking through a scope breathing heavily [under a mask] and the song “Ave Maria” performed by a boy’s choir — primarily coming from the front left & right channels but also getting a nice amount of height channel presence as well as used in the rear channels. Both the sound of the man breathing [via the center channel], as he’s spying on someone, and the choir performance come across as downright creepy. And I mean like really creepy and it only gets more intense with action and the subwoofer adding to that as things go along. I’ll say, without dishing out any direct “spoiler,” that it’s no secret that “The Riddler” is going to kill some people here throughout the film and you’re going to be witnessing that, which makes for one scary audio experience, especially in Dolby Atmos.
After the opening scene, you’ll get some narration from “The Batman” (Robert Pattinson) describing his first few years of being “vengeance” in this corrupt city. That narration and all dialogue are delivered perfectly from the center channel speaker and never once will require any volume adjustments. As we see the crime running rampant across the city you’ll hear the sounds of rain filling up the rear channels and making brilliant use of the height channels to make you feel right there.
The use of the Nirvana song “Something in the Way” is so perfect for this and it sounds excellent in this Dolby Atmos mix and comes with a nice amount of low-end bass via the subwoofer. Once the bat signal is lit you’ll hear the criminals scatter and helicopters flying overhead make perfect use of both height and rear channels, as well as obviously the front left & right to give you that typical helicopter pan effect we expect from surround sound and now immersive sound mixes.
One of the absolute highlights of this mix comes with the sound of when we first hear The Batmobile fire up its engines. The amount of bass you’ll be feeling from the subwoofer is perfect for the massive amount of horsepower that the car has. There’s a chase involving the car that is definite “demo material” and is sure to get your neighbor’s attention. This film and its Dolby Atmos mix have a lot of moments that prove that it can be pure reference material but I won’t spoil it. All and all, “The Batman” on 4K UHD Blu-ray earns itself every bit of a flawless rating for audio quality.
Audio Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)
- A Blu-ray Disc of the film is included in this “combo pack” release featuring a 1080p HD video presentation in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio and Dolby Atmos sound. This disc contains no extras.
- A Digital Copy (code) of the film is included via a paper insert, which is redeemable via Movies Anywhere with services like AppleTV (iTunes), VUDU, and more. The digital version will be in 4K and includes a set of digital extras. The AppleTV version includes one exclusive extra, listed below.
- AppleTV digital exclusive Audio Commentary with writer/producer/director Matt Reeves (4K). Yes, this is a digital exclusive and not on the physical disc. I know a lot of you will be upset it’s not on the disc, but [FYI] you do get the iTunes version via Movies Anywhere — unless you opt for “VUDU only” when redeeming the digital code. So, don’t do that. And, you don’t need an Apple device to experience this. The AppleTV app is free on almost all televisions, and streaming boxes, and is even available on video game consoles like PS5 & XBOX. There’s no reason not to experience this audio commentary aside from being stubborn. So, don’t be stubborn. It’s not going to benefit you in any way to miss out on something. It’s sad I have to write that bit but most people don’t know these things. This commentary track is absolutely incredible from start to finish for an almost 3-hour film. You’ll learn all kinds of facts here. For instance, Reeves actually storyboarded this film entirely in VR (virtual reality). He also even admits, in the audio commentary, that he toured most of the sets before they built them via the VR tool. It even helped pick the right camera lenses in some instances, he said. He also reveals that every actor who has played Batman (except for Michael Keaton) has been forced to do a screen test wearing the mask [cowl]. Clooney, Kilmer, Bale, & Affleck before this. As most know, they used Kilmer’s cowl for Pattinson’s screen test. This is one of the best audio commentary tracks I have heard in years. Exclusive to digital or not, this is a commentary track that all fans need to hear. Especially fans of him as a filmmaker. Matt Reeves and his love for the characters and movies themselves are two reasons this is great. Two thumbs up.
Also, here’s a glimpse at the background for the menu on both the 4K UHD Blu-ray and the Blu-ray Disc versions of the film.
Bonus Materials are (as mentioned) primarily included on DISC 3, the BONUS Blu-ray Disc, here and are listed below. These are all presented in 1080p HD video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound.
- “Looking for Vengeance“ (4 minutes, 57 seconds – HD) focuses on the fighting style that “The Batman” uses in year two of being the caped crusader. This includes a great interview with fight choreographer Rob Alonzo.
- “THE BATMAN: Genesis” (6 minutes, 9 seconds – HD) focuses on the collaboration between writer/producer/director Matt Reeves and his star Robert Pattinson in making their own unique version of a Batman film.
- “Vengeance Meets Justice“ (8 minutes, 4 seconds – HD) focuses on the character of “The Riddler” and how actor Paul Dano extensively thought out his portrayal. For instance, he insisted to director Matt Reeves that he would wear cling wrap around his head to prevent leaving any DNA at the scene of any of his crimes.
- “Becoming Catwoman“ (8 minutes, 36 seconds – HD) focuses on the character of “Selina Kyle” and how actress Zoë Kravitz approached the role.
- “The Batmobile“ (10 minutes, 51 seconds – HD) focuses on The Batman’s new battering ram monster of horsepower and how this latest iteration of one of the most famous vehicles in films came to be. This is a must-see for any fan.
- “Anatomy of the Car Chase” (6 minutes, 8 seconds – HD) involves a stunt in the film with the Batmobile. This will give you a look at how they choreographed the car chase, also used cutting-edge camera technology, as well as the ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) Stagecraft LED Volume system for virtual backgrounds on a few scenes. The special effects work here by stunt drivers is simply impressive, considering that they had real traffic with each vehicle being driven by a stunt driver or in some cases multiple drivers.
- “Anatomy of the Wing Suit Jump” (6 minutes, 29 seconds – HD) involves a stunt in the film and gives you a glimpse at how it went from idea to reality via the use of drone photography and the ILM Stagecraft LED Volume system.
- “Vengeance in the Making” (53 minutes, 41 seconds – HD) serves as an almost hour-long making-of feature. This serves a bit also as a production diary, starting on January 20th, 2020 at the Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, UK. The first actual day of shooting was on January 27th, 2020 for an interior shot, as seen in the opening of the film. Here you get lots of behind-the-scenes and on set footage, concept art, camera tests, and interviews with cast and crew members such as: Greig Fraser, ASC ACS (director of photography), Matt Reeves (writer/director/producer), Zoë Kravitz (Selina Kyle), Robert Pattinson (Bruce Wayne/The Batman), Paul Dano (The Riddler), Dylan Clark (producer), Jeffrey Wright (Lt. James Gordon), Colin Farrell (Oz/The Penguin), John Turturro (Carmine Falcone), Glyn Dillon (Batsuit costume designed by/Batsuit chief concept artist), David Crossman (Batsuit designed by/costumer supervisor), Pierre Bohanna (HOD costume FX), Andy Serkis (Alfred), James Chinlund (production designer), Jayme Lawson (Bella Reál), Peter Sarsgaard (District Attorney Gil Colson), Toby Hefferman (first assistant director/associate producer), Lee Sandales (set decorator), Anita Gupta (assistant set decorator), Naomi Donne (makeup designer), Jacqueline Durban (costume designer), Malcolm Humphreys (visual effects associate supervisor – ILM), Dan Lemmon (VFX supervisor), and Dominic Tuohy (special effects supervisor). Lastly, the costume department that designed the new Batsuit would like to thank you all for ‘thinking’ that the symbol is made of a gun handle, specifically by the character “Joe Chill” [from the comics’ origin story], but it was NOT. Even though they thought that was clever but admitted it wasn’t at all intended. It was made to function as a knife.
- “Unpacking the Icons” (5 minutes, 47 seconds – HD) focuses on the characters, made famous in the comics and in some TV shows and films over the years.
- “A Transformation: The Penguin“ (7 minutes, 59 seconds – HD) is self-explanatory. You’ll get to see how they used an extensive amount of makeup to make Colin Farrell unrecognizable. In fact, some of his co-stars never knew they were even acting with him until told later — it’s rumored. Actor Colin Farrell also discusses his personal feelings about preparing and playing such an iconic villain from the franchise. And, you get to hear from Mike Marino (prosthetics design – The Penguin & Unseen Arkham Prisoner) discuss working on this very challenging bit of makeup as well as Mike Fontaine (prosthetics makeup artist). These two guys helped make what writer/director/producer Matt Reeves had envisioned become a reality.
- Deleted Scenes (7 minutes, 47 seconds – HD) include a “play all” function and a total of two scenes.
- Deleted Scenes with audio commentary from director Matt Reeves. These feature the same two scenes above, but with the option for audio commentary from the filmmaker.
Overall, the bonus materials here are excellent. You get the exclusive digital audio commentary from Matt Reeves over on AppleTV as well as physical bonus materials on the third Blu-ray Disc included in the set. In total, the extras [not including commentary] add up to almost exactly 2 hours (120 minutes). That is my definition of a near-perfect set of extras. My only complaint, as many others will have, is that the audio commentary isn’t physically on the disc but I understand how those digital exclusives work for extras and it is not the first time that we’ve seen that. Just be happy we get the downright incredible audio commentary included with the digital copy, as it’s a must-hear.
Bonus Materials Rating: 4.75 (out of 5)
“The Batman” is the latest film featuring “The Caped Crusader” (or “The Dark Knight”) but this time around he went more by what most remember the character citing from the comics: “Vengeance.” In fact, that was actually the working production title for this film.
All and all, “The Batman” (2022) was unlike any of the other Batman films over the years since 1966 or 1989. It is something that goes beyond the level of realism that Christopher Nolan brought to the franchise and expands on that. Matt Reeves gives us a very unique detective story in a film noir sense that takes cutting-edge technology like LED stages and other things to the next level. The performances here are excellent and without that none of what Reeves had put together would have culminated as it does.
Every director since 1989 has longed for the day that they get to direct a Batman film. That’s the point when you, as a filmmaker, have made it — but you could very easily break it. It’s a point where you are destined for greatness or going to fail. Matt Reeves with this unique Batman film has achieved greatness.
Yes, this is a very visually dark film and the addition of forms of high dynamic range only adds to that darkness but in a realistic manner. Admittedly, the Blu-ray version of the film is brighter but it just doesn’t feel the same as this 4K visual presentation with HDR. The fact that the almost 3-hour film gets to use nearly all of a BD-100 disc with 90 gigabytes for the movie is one reason that you get a perfect 4K video presentation with zero signs of any compression flaws.
The Dolby Atmos sound mix here is loud and unapologetically right in your face very early on after a bit of a prologue of sorts. Dialogue from “The Batman” during his opening narrative is spot-on being delivered from the center channel and the same goes for the dialogue throughout the course of the length of the film. The Batman does speak a bit rougher than “Bruce Wayne” does here, but not quite as raspy as Batman has in past films. So, you’ll have no problem understanding anything that he says in the middle of a fight or what an enemy is saying.
The action is very intense here and makes brilliant use of the rear channels as well as the height channels with the Dolby Atmos. Most action and music are centralized to the left and right front channels but it all is spread out across the rears and height channels in appropriate manners to make you feel right in the midst of the entire film. This will give any subwoofer a nice test as well, with one incredibly impressive amount of LFE and at times low-end bass. This is for sure one of my new favorite Atmos mixes to pop in and test out a sound system.
Finally, you get 2 hours of extras here and an exclusive digital audio commentary with the director. All of these bonus materials are worth watching and actually leave you wanting to know a bit more. This is one near-perfect set of supplemental materials that will take you on a journey into seeing and hearing how this very unique Batman film came to be. “The Batman” on 4K UHD Blu-ray is a must-own release for any fan, in my honest opinion, and it comes as Very Highly Recommended. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has done an excellent job here and essentially does this film justice on home video in 4K.
In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
5 (out of 5) for video quality
5 (out of 5) for audio quality
4.75 (out of 5) for bonus materials
Very Highly Recommended
4K UHD Blu-ray Screenshots:
4K UHD Blu-ray Technical Specifications:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Exact Runtime(s): 2:56:11
Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core), Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Disc Size: BD-100
Disc Use: 91.35GB total / 90.0GB for the film