Just to warn you, the Youtube link below will take you to a fan film that is just over 30 minutes long. Seeing as the whole point of these articles is to give the reader a quick two minute break from work, revision or life, I understand if you do not have time to watch it. However, if you do find yourself with a thirty minute gap in your life, bring this article up again, refresh the page a couple of times to boost my website views and watch it. It will not be a wasted effort.
When we watch a fan film, there are a couple of differences in the audience, especially a critic, in our approach towards the film. The main one is that we rate the film with the impression that the producers and crew did the best they could under the circumstances. Quality, sadly, does need quite a bit of money and dedication, something that most fan film groups do not have. However, when watching Batman: City of Scars by Bat in the Sun productions, for a moment, I forget that I am watching a simple fan film.
They understand the topic and tone perfectly, moulding their script and story to bring us a gritty Batman story. Sure, they are unable to bring us the gliding over the city and gadget side of the character, but they make do with the Dark Knight’s detective nature, coming up with a plotline that follows closely to the very first comics. In a way, they end up with a film that follows the true nature of Batman far more closely than either Burton or Nolan managed to do.
They spend the budget they have wisely, putting it into securing the character of Batman with a proper suit. It looks impressive, really creating this mythical respect that we should feel from the character. Coupled with the gritty camera work, Batman feels very real, something that Nolan spent a trilogy striving to do. While Bale looks kind of confined by the suit, actor Kevin Porter feels more natural in the Batsuit than any actor we have seen before. His performance, while not as mind-blowing as Christian Bale, is effortless, which really helps carry the film.
Some of the smaller parts, however, boast great performances. We are treated to short guest appearances from a few of the familiar faces from the comics. Madelynn Rae gives up a brilliantly creepy portrayal of Harley Quinn and it is a shame that the script was not more focused on her character. Another character I enjoyed watched was Wesker and his twisted puppet, Scarface. These are so much more than a bunch of amateur actors, making a story they love, or if they are, they sure know how to bring out a professional side on camera.
It’s not all perfection and I feel that the movie takes itself so seriously that I can make small constructive criticisms. The character of the Joker needed a little work. The build up was exciting and well-done. We were never shown his full face for the first half of the film, just getting extreme close-ups or shots of his hair in a cracked mirror. This made the villain terrifying and built up a brilliant story. Sadly, when we got to the reveal, the Joker didn’t live up to the expectations that we had hoped. When you are handling a character like the Joker, you cannot give him any old script. He needs great dialogue.
However, other than that small point, I really enjoyed the fan film. I would love for these movies to become a regular thing on Youtube, although I cannot imagine the time and effort that went into making this thing. Maybe a TV channel will spot them and give them budget and a crew that could turn these episodes in a weekly series. Failing that, maybe they could request a budget from a grants company somewhere. I imagine that someone out there would pay for these guys to make more films.
If you want to see more of Bat in the Sun, they do have a handful of videos out there. Most of their time goes on ‘Super Beat Down’, where they pit famous figures in pop culture against each other and the public vote on who they think will come out on top. For example, they have Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft face off against Uncharted’s Nathan Drake. There is also a shorter Batman clip, not unlike City of Scars, although annoyingly it ends in a cliff-hanger, and seeing as it was made a year ago, I doubt that we will ever see the conclusion. It does feature a fantastic portrayal of Poison Ivy though and a great fight between Batman and the Killer Croc.
While you are looking at their videos, if you have an account with Youtube, give them a Like. I think you will agree that they deserve the appreciation.