Hello again, I am back with a new movie review about one of my favorite superheroes, the latest Batman retcon, The Batman.
I had a satisfactory grin on my face in the opening moments when they showed the Bat-signal and saw the criminals become so afraid of shadows, thinking Batman is going to appear at any moment. I especially liked the scene with Batman fighting masked thugs in the train station, a scene that would make both Christian Bale and Ben Affleck envious and jealous. The film also finally shows Batman being a detective, something that isn’t usually shown in live-action Batman films. The Batman is arguably one of the best superhero movies of 2022, so far.
Inspired by Batman: Year Two and Batman: The Long Halloween, the story follows a reclusive Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) as Batman in neon-noir Gotham in his first two years of crime-fighting. His butler and father-figure Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis) assists in his pursuit of a better city. Taking on a horrifying role in the city, Wayne has already established a reputation for being a nightmare to criminals. He gets involved in an investigation with Jim Gordon (Jeffery Wright) involving a string of murders of politicians and elected officials committed by The Riddler (Paul Dano). Along the way, he encounters Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), in search of a friend related to Batman’s investigation. Batman also comes across Oswald Cobblepot aka Penguin (Colin Farrell), who may or may not have clues pertaining to hunting down The Riddler.
I immediately loved how Matt Reeves directed this movie. This is what a Batman movie is supposed to be–a detective movie. The Dark Knight is one of my favorite Batman movies of all time, yet it only showed a fraction of Bruce/Batman doing detective work. Here, it exemplifies why I love this character because he’s nicknamed “World’s Greatest Detective.” I appreciate that he’s actually doing decent detective work in this film. In fact, the story being told as a detective mystery actually builds more suspense and grabs viewers’ attention. There are also cool action scenes to back up the attention to detail with Batman’s detective work. Even the Batmobile was awesome to see in action.
I would like to commend Robert Pattinson for doing a great job with his version of Bruce Wayne because he is not the playboy billionaire as depicted in other pieces of media. He is a reclusive emo introvert who does not try to put on the billionaire façade–he just wants to be Batman despite the fact that he might end up getting killed. I also liked that Reeves skipped over Bruce’s origin as Batman because we have seen the death of the Waynes, Bruce’s parents, too many times.
Kravitz was great as Catwoman and rivals Anne Hathaway and Michelle Pfeiffer’s versions of the character. Farrell as Penguin was also terrific, easing Danny DeVito’s version out of my head. He’s not eating fish like DeVito’s version of the character; instead, he is a believable gangster. While he’s not the main villain in this film, he could very well become such in the future. Wright as Gordon is great, believable casting, as is Serkis’s Alfred.
John Turturro is also great in a role that I will not spoil here because it’s actually important to the story. Let’s not forget the Riddler by Dano, a far cry from Jim Carrey’s Riddler from Batman Forever. His version is more like a combination of Jigsaw from the Saw franchise and John Doe from Se7en in how he leaves riddles for Batman and company to figure out and has an understandable but psychotically skewed reason as to why he is killing random people.
All in all, The Batman is a great Batman movie. One of my only criticisms is that it is three hours long, but at the very least, the story is intriguing enough to make the runtime mostly worth it. Another issue is the decision to include a Batman character who has had too much screen presence in recent years in a small scene towards the end. However, this could be studio meddling that led to this character being included.
With that being said, I am excited for the sequel that is being written and directed by Reeves, one of my favorite directors.
Julian Jones is a University of Alabama at Birmingham graduate with a degree in Sociology and minor in Public Health. When he is not watching films, he is an Assistant to Ashley M Jones, Poet Laureate of the State of Alabama. Let him know what you thought of his review by leaving a comment below!
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