Directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman is a superhero-infused psychological thriller that seeks to engulf its audience. After a decade of lackluster returns, the latest film in the Caped Crusader cinematic canon is a triumphant return to form. Painting its canvas with precise direction, heart-pounding action and a cast of tragically human characters, The Batman presents a spectacular and impressive cinematic interpretation of the iconic DC character.
Richly layered in dark plot, The Batman takes viewers deeper into the Batman/Bruce Wayne psyche, allowing for a mind-numbing exploration of the iconic character. Bringing the Dark Knight back to his roots, Robert Pattinson’s understated performance deftly plunges the character into the depths of men with nothing but anger, violence and revenge. With his brooding presence, stubborn defiance and deep understanding of his own limitations – The Batman renders Pattinson’s version as one of the most realistic cinematic interpretations of the character.
‘The Batman’ is the story of a detective, not just a superhero
With a beautiful, if violent, take on Gotham City, The Batman succeeds in creating the perfect hunting ground for its tragically nuanced hero. Thanks to Greig Fraser’s visually compelling cinematography, Gotham’s atmospheric aesthetic has to be seen to be felt. A character in its own right, the city comes to life with stunning scenographies ranging from the crowded and wet streets of Gotham to the iconic Batcave and a manned restaurant lit by green neon lights.
Yet amid his dark features and gritty tone, The Batman manages to deliver the most promising cinematic iteration of its titular character yet. By changing a key element of Bruce Wayne’s origin, the film manages to innovate enough, introducing new ideas that don’t retread the character’s extensive filmography. At the end of the film’s intense runtime, we witness a mythical transformation of Batman, a tragic hero who finds renewed purpose in a city that is on the verge of losing hope.
Alongside Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne, The Batman succeeds in introducing an exciting cast of characters. Bringing a sensuality often absent from modern comic book films, Zoe Kravitz delivers the role of Catwoman/Selina Kyle with seductive elegance, each entry introduced by echoes of Michael Giacchino’s excellent score. Additionally, Collin Farrell’s Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot and Jeffrey Wreight’s James Gordon also welcomed additions to the reboot.
While The Batman has the makings of the perfect Batman movie, the script prevents him from realizing his greatest potential. Despite its efforts to construct a detective story, the central mystery of the film directed by Matt Reeves is neither mysterious nor intriguing. Despite being a noirish Batman flick, the world’s greatest detective does very little detecting on his own, relying mostly on others to uncover clues and pass them on to him. Additionally, the puzzles introduced in the film aren’t as clever as they could have been, which does more harm than good to the intelligence of the film’s main character.
Before The Batman fully settles into its central plot, the film deftly uses legitimately disturbing moments to establish its main antagonist. Played by Paul Dano, the extent to which the latest cinematic iteration of The Riddler is inspired by the Zodiac Killer cannot be overstated. However, the suspense the film has painstakingly built is diminished significantly when The Riddler delves into the same cringe-worthy supervillain hall of fame that’s occupied by the likes of Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor in batman versus supermanElectro by Jamie Foxx in The Amazing Spider-Man 2and most ironic of all, Jim Carrey’s The Riddler in batman forever.
Although it never quite reached the height of critically acclaimed Christopher Nolan The black Knight trilogy, The Batman creates enough points to successfully stand out, laying a great foundation for future Batman stories to take place. Bringing plenty of heart into an ominous setting, the latest Batman movie is an atmospheric film that’s surprisingly subversive in its portrayal of its titular character. A gritty, brooding, thrilling superhero tale, The Batman ranks among the darkest – and contradictorily most promising – big-screen outings of the DC icon.