- Directed by Matt Reeves
- March 1, 2022 (Lincoln Center) / March 4, 2022 (US)
A madman leaving riddles is murdering Gotham’s elite as he plays a game of wits with the Batman.
Though not perfect, The Batman was a pleasant surprise. I was among numerous individuals that was concerned about Robert Pattinson playing Batman/Bruce Wayne. My concern wasn’t necessarily because he was the actor from Twilight but rather I think he’s just plain overrated.
I am pleased to say that Pattinson turned in a good performance here. Unlike other Batmen, there is emotion and pain in his performance. Bruce is struggling to still come to terms with the death of his parents and his quest to correct the past is damaging his present as he ignores his responsibilities.
Where his performance falls short is when Batman interacts with Selena Kyle (Zoë Kravitz) and they’re supposed to be having a romantic connection. There’s just not very much chemistry between the two. At least not enough for romantic feelings of any type in this film. Maybe it is also in part because of the material they were given. I could see a relationship working in a follow up but it just does not here. Yet because they are an iconic couple in the comics it seems they’re required to become a couple in this film.
The Batman is very much a mystery story and at nearly three hours it is a slow burn. Fortunately it’s not a boring slow burn. It is dialogue heavy but not heavy on action yet still keeps your attention. There are some fight scenes but nothing grandiose like Tim Burton’s Batman or anything in the Dark Knight Trilogy. It’s a quieter Batman movie.
The only really boring part of this whole movie is a scene when Batman uses Selina to go snooping around an underworld club and they start bickering. It is juvenile in its execution and just brings the atmosphere in the story to a screeching halt. These are two adults investigating some serious stuff and they decide to fight like teenagers.
The Batman is a superhero story that has a few things to say. One point is that the system is unbelievably corrupt and the people have no real control. There’s even the implication that drastic action is needed to correct this injustice. And perhaps it has even something to say about the person who feels ignored and goes to disturbing lengths to gain attention. That’s some pretty deep stuff for a superhero movie. Didn’t Joker do something similar?
There are themes of corruption and family secrets and the little guy that gets stepped on by society. The story also implies an inherited guilt by Bruce Wayne over the actions of his father. I am not sure how that works. Again, Joker?
This films villain is the Riddler (Paul Dano) though honestly if you’re expecting a Riddler like the version done by Jim Carrey or Frank Gorshin you are going to be disappointed. This is not a comic book character. They went with something more along the lines of the Zodiac Killer. Even right down to the character using a cypher.
We have a pretty packed supporting cast. Jeffrey Wright as a Lt. Jim Gordon. John Turturro gets back to a significant part in a drama and plays mobster Carmine Falcone. Andy Serkis plays Alfred. And Colin Farrell puts on a great deal of makeup to look like Richard Kind in order to play Oswald “Oz” Cobblepot/the Penguin who operates the Iceberg Lounge and is Falcone’s chief lieutenant.
As a hero Batman really fails to stop the Riddler’s ultimate goal at any real level. The plan is laid out in the climax and then enacted and mostly accomplished. Of the intended murders only two fail and the destruction that Riddler aims for occurs but is slightly less lethal than aimed for. Batman, the world’s greatest detective, is a step behind all the way to the end of the story. He is a costumed janitor cleaning the mess up. The hero who does not really win.
Still though I give them credit for taking a different approach to a superhero movie. Batman must follow clues from Point A to Point B and sometimes the answer he comes up with is not the correct one. And like the better mysteries the audience is in on the process. We see him peel back the layers as he journeys to an answer.
While it is not without its flaws The Batman is a better than it should’ve been superhero film. A slow burn story heavy on the dialogue and somewhat light on the action but it is worth a watch.
2 thoughts on “The Batman”
Yeah I really liked this one too. Considering how bad many comicbook capers have been lately, its a bloody masterpiece. A trilogy of films featuring this Batman would be very interesting.
But I still miss Ben Affleck’s Batman.
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The biggest problem I have with it is ultimately Batman really does nothing. Riddler pretty much accomplishes his plan but not nearly as successfully as he wanted.