The Suit: Metallic vs. “Tactical” Black
The original suit was perfect, down to the thigh gun compartments. This whole post-Batman “turn everything black” stance is kind of old, and it isn’t given any relevance beyond Michael Keaton’s Raymond Sellars wanting it that way. No one expected expected purple polka dots, but the all-black suit looks like the offspring of the X-Men’s Cyclops and a Kevlar vest.
The Winner: Metallic
Though the new suit did get brownie points for the sweet way in which it can be disassembled.
The Emotional Backstory: Ellen Murphy vs. Clara Murphy
A big launching pad for pre-release arguments, Padilha’s version of Murphy’s story keeps his wife and child in the picture, providing what should have been a deeper tunneling into the character’s psyche. But scenes with Clara Murphy (Abbie Cornish) and son David (John Paul Ruttan) are stereotypically schmaltzy and serve only to prove how uncomfortable Kinnaman can appear on a big screen. They don’t care that he’s a big hulking freak, so long as he’s still their patriarch, but Murphy is much too interested in his own humanity and attempted murder to give a shit about his kid wanting to watch hockey games.
On the flip side, we barely get to know the original’s Ellen Murphy (Angie Bolling) and Jimmy (Jason Levine), who moved away with the belief that Alex is dead, and we’re all the better for it. All you need to know about their former life is beautifully instilled in that one scene where he walks around his former home and his memories keep flashing before his eyes. One P.O.V. shot of Ellen saying, “I love you,” is worth a thousand of the reboot’s awkward Skype chats.
The Winner: Ellen Murphy
While the potential was there for something great, the inclusion of Clara and David only served to make Murphy appear that much more self-concerned and weak. I’d rather have someone else’s baggage rescuing Detroit.