Release Date March 4, 2022
Genre Action
Studio Warner Bros. Pictures
Director Matt Reeves
Cast Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, Jeffrey Wright, Andy Serkis, John Turturro
Rating PG-13

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a live-action Batman film but the Caped Crusader has returned in The Batman. This movie is not quite an origin story even though it is a standalone reboot of the series. It correctly assumes we already know that Thomas and Martha Wayne are dead and that we don’t need to see them murdered again. The film sees Robert Pattinson in a story set two years after Bruce Wayne first dons the Batsuit in Gotham City. Batman starts to unravel a ring of corruption in the city while teaming with Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) to take down the maniacal serial killer The Riddler (Paul Dano).

I didn’t know what to expect going into The Batman. I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of Batman as a character so I wasn’t sure how much I’d actually enjoy this one but it really blew me away. This isn’t the traditional action movie like we’ve come to expect from a lot of superhero movies. Matt Reeves really dove into the depths of Bruce Wayne’s story to really give audiences a true understanding of all the events happening on screen. He did this in a really smart way by approaching this movie like more of a crime thriller where we uncover more pieces of the puzzle as new characters are introduced and their true intentions become known. Even the villainous or corrupt characters seemed to all have reasons for doing what they were doing, there weren’t many wasted scenes, everything had a purpose.

I wasn’t sure how I would like Robert Pattinson’s take on Batman but I was incredibly impressed by his performance and he might just be my favorite actor that has played Batman at this point. He’s quiet and reserved for the most part in the movie allowing his facial expressions to do most of the talking for him. This was especially noticeable during scenes where he was doing detective work where he would just look at something inquisitively allowing the audience to make their own deductions at first. He can never hide his emotions and He never acts like a billionaire which ties into the fact that it’s only been a couple of years under the Batsuit and he’s still acclimatizing himself to this new persona and hasn’t learned to adopt a different public persona. This is referenced in the movie when the mayoral candidate, Bella Réal speaks to him about the fact that he hasn’t done any philanthropic work. This is a broken Bruce Wayne that hasn’t dealt with the trauma of his past and it really evokes a lot of emotion out of the audience.

Zoë Kravitz played the perfect Catwoman opposite Pattinson’s Batman. We get a good amount of backstory on what motivated Selina Kyle to become Catwoman and those motivations become increasingly personal as the movie goes on. She’s one of the few people that doesn’t seem intimated or curious about Batman throughout the movie. Kravitz has a very layered approach to her character playing the sly self-assured Catwoman we’ve come to know while showing a vulnerable and vengeful side to herself as Selina Kyle. She and Robert Pattinson play off each other very well on screen and have you rooting for them to uncover the mysteries, thwart the villains, and, sometimes, even get revenge.

Paul Dano’s Riddler character may be the highlight of the movie for me in a film filled with highlights. This isn’t the same Riddler that you’ve seen before as portrayed by Jim Carrey. This is a cold, ruthless killer that seems to draw inspiration from the Zodiac killer and the Saw movies. The interesting part about The Riddler is that it’s hard to completely disagree with the reasoning behind his actions because he’s going after corrupt politicians and high-ranking officials that have kept that corruption under wraps for years. Dano brings a crazed brutality to the character that is unsettling as it is captivating. There’s a moment in The Batman where Batman and The Riddler have a face-to-face conversation that may have been one of the most intense scenes in the movie with the way Dano commands the audience’s attention.

The minor characters in The Batman were equally as important and I wouldn’t even consider most of them minor in the grand scheme of things. Colin Farrell plays The Penguin and does a great job playing on the line of trying to keep Batman/Bruce Wayne off his tail. I didn’t even know it was him until the credits rolled! Jeffrey Wright is equally as good playing Detective Gordon who has a buddy-cop dynamic with Batman that is pretty entertaining at times. John Turturro plays Carmine Falcone who ends up being an integral part of the entire story for many reasons and the character that, in my mind, had the most twists and turns along the way before everything was revealed. Honorable mention to Andy Serkis for his incredible portrayal of Alfred Pennyworth. That character did not serve as an afterthought as it sometimes does and really helped push Bruce Wayne’s story along giving Bruce a vulnerability that we seldom see.

The Batman clocks in at 2 hours and 56 minutes which seems like a long time and it legitimately did have me looking at my watch a couple of times thinking that it had to be over around the 2-hour mark but it really maximizes all that screen time. There was only a small portion in the middle of the movie where I didn’t feel completely invested in what was going on and even that didn’t last long because moments later I was right back into it. It’s a testament to how good this movie was that it held my attention nearly the entire time and I noticed that the whole theater seemed just as invested. When people are barely getting up to go to the bathroom in a movie that long, you know it’s a good one.

The last hour is when the action really ramps up with some wonderfully choreographed action scenes. You really feel every hit of those scenes and there were some legitimate moments that felt like the hero might just meet his demise. I liked the fact that these action sequences were kept for really significant moments and weren’t incredibly overdone as they can be in some movies like this. The dark, ominous setting really accentuates those scenes even more. Gotham really feels like Gotham in this movie. It’s mostly rainy and dark for nearly the entire film as a Batman movie should be and the atmosphere created here was perfect with a fantastic score from Michael Giacchino.

The Batman does leave the door wide open for a sequel even though this is a standalone tale. It’s certainly a world I’d like to revisit again. There are plenty of stories left to tell and I think seeing the evolution of Batman/Bruce Wayne into another movie would be great. I really don’t have any complaints about this one. It was one of the best movies I’ve seen in years and it managed to stay true to the Gotham lore while being very different from other live-action Batman films in the past.

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