Jaden Smith’s ‘Batman’, Directed by Moises Arias
“Venture into Jaden Smith’s acid-ridden world, where his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, takes form. A true Maverick Film.”
Originality – 4
Cleverness – 3
Entertainment – 3.5
Jaden Smith is the Batman of Fashion, so it’s his job and duly honor to save and inspire the Culture with his choice of clothing and taste of apparel. It’s a bittersweet job but Jaden will make his truth prevail.
There are a number of original ideas incorporated within this music video (hence the high score) and that’s only fitting regarding Jaden’s authentic nature.
The Italian-style font used was sly as well as the credits going ‘up’ rather than the traditional ‘down’. The fact that the credits came early on in the video was acknowledged as well as the pace at which it was shown (a concept that NEEDS to be adopted by other producers). On the theme of text, the sharp font style for ‘Bruce Wayne’ was a clever piece of illustration as the style itself epitomized the character (Batman) and in that clip of the video, there is a film-style pause (this is usually used when displaying a film title) for character introduction, however, ‘Bruce Wayne’ is a pseudo-name for Batman and so it not only acts as a character introduction but as a pseudo-title for the piece. (and yes we are aware of ‘old school’ films pausing when introducing characters but that isn’t oft the case with music videos). Another original element from that little snippet is the fact that the pause occurs after a snapshot is taken within the video (insinuating that that was the picture taken). We dig it.
The idea of using a White Batman Costume is another original concept (it supports the notion of Batman on Acid). The re-innovation also occurs because Jaden’s “tryna’ be hella extra”.
The footage shots suddenly fading to Black and White (from color) was another pleasant way to keep our visual appetite happy. (We just love inconsistency due to our short attention spans!)
Blurring the crowd and peoples individual faces not only implies a haze from the drugs, but it looks saucy and it prevents any potential suing (that’s a win-win-win.)
Walking through Hollywood Blvd. messing around is kind-of new and instead of an audio voice, Jaden’s dialogue pops up as a subtitle. ‘Watchu, Stupid?’. That’s some groovy ish that has to be adopted elsewhere. There’s also the car screeching sound that is used as an actual vehicle is trying to get off the pavement down to the road; an example of Hyperactivity within the video. And through the length of the song, Jaden is referring to himself in the third-person, a rap technique employed by Kendrick Lamar in ‘U’ and Jay-Z in ‘Kill Jay-Z’. Watch it go mainstream (or in Jaden’s words: “Fly off the shelf”). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
The last, but not least original feature is Jaden breaking the fourth wall (cliche) when he points at the audience to give a 3-second motivational speech, saying: You the one that got the Juice. We appreciate that.
There were a lot of elements representing the whole ‘Batman’ theme (that’s only necessary with this being a pastiche), the Bat Signal, the workout montage etc.
There were smooth transitions (like the first scene switching to the car screen), great use of lens flare and simple elements like the flash of retro faded pink that added a warm vibrancy to the video. Oh, and the camera panning quickly as Jaden dapped up that man on the Blvd was pretty cool too. The writing and symbology on the window glass was yet another chic concept as well.
The best aspect of this video is the idea of two worlds. In the first, he drives to the city exuberantly dressed and people take pictures of his (quite) elegant outfit. He goes wild in the city and has fun as people record. In the second reality, he is driven into town in his batman costume and the strange attire causes everyone to stare at him baffled. The only group of people that can relate are the other superheroes with whom he plays with (and playfully fights with) before he retreats to his home on the hills, watching over the city, awaiting the next call.
Both realities are one and the same. They parallel each other; him going into the city to rock his garments (in a world where everyone has expressionless dressing) is him being the superhero saving the fashion world. Hence the reason why the only people that can relate are the other (fashion) superheroes he plays with. After his trip to the blvd, Jaden salutes the city before he goes implying that his work there is done.
The super long transitions leave two different videos juxtaposed within the same frame and highlight the fact that the two realities are in fact the same. That’s some trippy ish.
One thing a casual viewer might have missed is that he goes back to the hills which is a sure reference to Donnie Darko (another Misfit). That’s a story for another day though…
It’s a fun song with a fun video. People love the idea of superheroes (i.e. ‘Jumpman’ by Drake and Yeezy from Kanye West’s ‘Facts’) and not only does he borrow / steal the melody, he plays with it and makes it his own. Artists get inspired and then borrow and develop ideas, and ideas…
…borrow, blend, subvert, develop, and bounce off other ideas – Sir John Hegarty, ‘Hegarty on Creativity’
It’s a really smooth and passive video with a clear message that’s communicated well. It deserves more plaudits for its originality and cinematic techniques.
Apparently, Tyler drove the White Tesla in the video. It would’ve been cool to see him in a shot though, no matter how frivolous his part may be. A cool cameo is always cool.
Jaden puts his phone screen down when dropping his phone on the ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ book. First off, the case choice is questionable. Secondly, the gesture. Seriously, we don’t need Kenan Thompson to ask what’s up with that?