Vengeance has arrived. The Batman is the detective take on the caped crusader that we have always been missing.
SEE THIS MOVIE NOW!
Director Matt Reeves and team have given me the Batman movie I have always wanted to see. It’s a detective story, one where we see Robert Pattinson’s Batman solving a mystery, specifically what Paul Dano’s The Riddler has in store for Gotham City. When I say it’s a detective story, it means we see a whole lot more of Batman observing, questioning, and trying to piece things together with some sluthing versus where previous Batman movies have the super Bat-Computer solving the mystery really quickly, and it’s more Batman has to do a Batman fight to solve the problem. This isn’t that movie, the focus isn’t about finding the next person for Batman to beat up, which he still does in the movie, but it doesn’t feel centered around it. Batman also teams up frequently with Jeffrey Wright’s Gordon, Zoe Kravitz’s Selina Kyle, and Andy Serkis’s Alfred to piece together what in the world The Riddler is trying to bring to the light.
With so many side characters it would be easy for them to get lost, but the three-hour length really gives the movie time to give you moments with everyone. Everyone also includes more interesting villains like Collin Farrell’s completely unrecognizable turn as Oswald Cobbelpot aka The Penguin and John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone. This movie has a lot going on, and a lot of characters to juggle but like a good Batman comic or the excellent Batman Arkham video games, The Batman intertwines them so well that it feels so much more interconnected. Everyone revolves around the central mystery of the dark past of Gotham and it makes for a fun watching experience as everything and everyone gets pieced together.
Storywise, this movie isn’t about how Bruce Wayne becomes The Batman. He already is. This movie is about Bruce understanding that there has to be more to The Batman than just fear and beating criminals up. While it’s not an origin story for Batman, it is for the several villians mentioned above, The Riddler, Catwoman, Penguin, they all grow into who they are meant to be throughout this movie.
As for characters as a whole, the cast nails it. Everyone is super compelling and fun to watch. At times Pattinson’s Bruce may be a little too mid-two thousands emo, but he is also someone who never properly processed his parents’ death and is a reclusive rich white man who fights crime at night so I can allow it. I have been far over the constant, rich playboy version of Bruce Wayne. Bring on more of the tortured young man who is working through severe trauma. As Batman though, this is my favorite version of the character by a mile. His more makeshift approach to things, the more listening, and slow menace approach is super welcomed. He makes other versions of the Batman look like a theme park entertainer in comparison. This is a Batman that would scare people. Which is the whole point right?
Other standouts are the trio of villains. Paul Dano is so damn creepy as The Riddler. When something doesn’t go perfect and he has his violent outbursts, ooof that is something to watch. Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle / Catwoman is a lot of fun. You can feel for her situation and wanting revenge, while she radiates a playfulness that is both attractive and funny depending on the moment. Also, the chemistry between Kravitz and Pattinson is excellent. I can’t remember the last time where Batman having some romantic feelings for another character didn’t feel super hollow and wooden. They both play tortured souls that have a connection very well and it shows. Finally, Collin Farrell as the slimy Penguin is just great. Beyond not being able to tell it’s Farrell, the guy is just that type of scum that you just want to punch in the face. He’s both pathetic and dangerous at the same time.
I would be remiss to not mention the visuals and audio end of things. Cinematographer Grieg Fraser masterfully captures the darkness and grime of this version of Gotham. The lighting, the shot composition, there are moments of this movie that would look excellent on a canvas. In the audio world, Michael Giacchino shows that it’s possible to make new themes on classic characters that have already had memorable scores in the past. All three of the big themes, Batman, Catwoman, and The Riddler perfectly complement their onscreen characters and elevate the scenes. But one bit of audio that I had to mention outside the score, is the thuds of when Batman is walking out of the shadows. It’s menacing and sets the mood that this guy is not someone to mess around with it. It’s great, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
All of this is to say I loved The Batman. There are far too many things I want to say about this movie and have every intention of seeing it several more times in the theaters. This is not just another Batman movie this is THE Batman, and if you are even a casual fan you need to check this one out as soon as you get a chance.