Pattinson role in Batman is appealingly conflicted, and Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman adds bite, but Matt Reeves’s noirish reboot underwhelms.
Matt Reeves’ long-awaited DC superhero picture The Batman has finally arrived, marking the Caped Crusader’s standalone cinematic comeback to the big screen. Robert Pattinson dons the Batsuit in the Warner Bros. flick, which takes place two years after Bruce Wayne first becomes the masked vigilante of Gotham City. While working with Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) to take down a serial killer known as The Riddler, Batman uncovers corruption in the city (Paul Dano).
Since Christopher Nolan‘s critically acclaimed The Dark Knight trilogy, the chances of a Batman film matching such heights have seemed slim. Reeves’ vision, on the other hand, may prove to be a worthy foe, since the Cloverfield director has exceeded himself, crafting a great superhero film that exceeds all of our expectations. Every director who has handled a Batman film has imbued the world of Gotham with their own distinct aesthetic. We’ve had over-the-top campiness from Joel Schumacher, grounded realism from Christopher Nolan, and political thriller climate from Zack Snyder. Reeves’ crime-ridden Gotham has the impression of a real city, thanks to the rainy landscape that begins on Halloween and lasts until the first week of November.
In The Batman, we hear the vigilante’s journal entry in an early scene and learn crime has gone up since his arrival. He has become a symbol of fear and darkness, and this is depicted in a scene where Batman fights a gang and whispers, “I’m vengeance.” The places Batman goes throughout his journey in this phenomenal script from Reeves and Peter Craig are incredible. He encounters friends and foes in a story that perfectly matches Reeves’s distinctive take on the beloved comic character: a noir crime thriller.
The best compliment I can give to The Batman is how it superbly pays homage to other films in the genre. The film offers a Fincher-esque take on the superhero genre, with a premise that feels inspired by Se7en and Zodiac. It’s a style that matches the character of Batman perfectly, as we see him do a lot of detective work in this film, working alongside Lieutenant Gordon to decode the Riddler’s puzzles. Batman’s relationship with Gordon is written excellently — with Wright’s unwavering performance as Gordon complementing Pattinson’s — as he is the only police officer on Batman’s side while most of Gotham’s police view Batman as a violent outlaw.
The action sequences are the icing on the cake for this movie. Reeves helms his fight scenes with many wide shots with practical stuntwork, and Batman displays both power and vulnerability in these scenes. In addition, there is a car chase where the Batmobile is introduced, and it’s a standout sequence as Reeves perfectly showcases the chaos of driving through the pouring rain. Michael Giacchino’s musical score enhances every scene, and his theme song wills you to grin every time it arrives, especially in the film’s final act that ups the stakes.
The Batman is everything a superhero movie should be. The film juggles many characters at once, though the three-hour multi-layered crime narrative may not be for everyone. However, this is a mature, unconventional superhero movie filled with everything you would arguably want from a film. Every shot is masterfully crafted, and the efficient pacing makes the long runtime feel shorter. This movie is a must-see cinematic event filled with emotional subtext and some of the most superb filmmaking we’ve seen from a superhero genre we can’t get enough of.