When the world heard there were plans to do yet another Batman franchise, this being the third in the last decade, it was understandable to have uncertainty about it. Then, news about who was involved began to roll out, and anyone who has an interest in the industry should have known then that this would be something special.
Matt Reeves (dir. Cloverfield, War for the Planet of the Apes) was announced to be writing and directing back in 2017, and knowing his track record, I was excited immediately by the thought of him taking on the caped crusader. In the next few years, details of the cast and crew slowly became public. The most anticipated moment of course was ¨who’s going to be Batman¨ after previous Batman actor Ben Affleck was confirmed to no longer star. Enter Robert Pattinson.
Rob is one of the most misrepresented and wildly underrated actors of the last 2 decades. If you only know him from Twilight you are doing yourself a massive disservice, because his performances in smaller indie films are astonishing. Films like Good Time, (which probably landed him the role of Bruce Wayne / Batman) High Life, and especially his Oscar-worthy (and regretfully snubbed) performance in the 2018 physiological horror film The Lighthouse
Featuring a long list of incredible actors, Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Jeffery Wright as Commissioner Gordon, an almost unrecognizable Colin Farrell as The Penguin, and a purely terrifying performance by Paul Dano as The Riddler.
Taking place during his second year of defending the streets as The Batman, we watch as Bruce Wayne “ventures into Gotham City’s underworld when a sadistic killer, The Riddler, leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator’s plans become clear, he must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the metropolis.”
Matt Reeves has done something with this film that not only met every expectation I had but blew them sky-high. Every aspect of the film, from the writing, the sounds, the music, the action, the cinematography, the way each color is used in the perfect way to build an atmosphere, unlike any Batman before this. It truly is something special.
This film does exactly what it needs to do to establish a tone and a feeling that fills the theater immediately. The Batman skips the origin story that everyone knows and introduces you to a world that feels established, but not confusing, and a world that feels lived in, and grounded enough to seem real, but fantastic enough to remind me I’m still watching a movie.
This is not an average superhero film. The formula that Marvel has popularized works, and I love it, but this is a dark, down-to-earth crime noir thriller of the highest quality. Taking inspiration from films like David Fincher’s films Se7en, or Zodiac, The Batman tells a story that is sprawling, full of creativity, and always holds mystery, suspense, and terror closely in its hands, leaving every second just as exhilarating as the last.
The action set pieces in this film do not take center stage, as the film focuses more on being a detective story, showing the work done by Bruce and the Gotham City police department and Jim Gordon to solve the puzzle of The Riddler. That said, the action in this film is stellar, and on a level that always left me wanting more. Specifically, a batmobile chase sequence between Batman and The Penguin.
This is almost a three-hour-long film, but the pacing and the number of incredible moments packed into it never make it feel long, or bloated. The best moments come from Batman (who is the focus of the film over Bruce Wayne, which is a great thing) and when he interacts with the cast. Catwoman, Jim Gordan, and most importantly The Riddler. There’s an interrogation scene at the midway point of the third act that has not left my mind since I saw it earlier this week, reminiscent of the famous scene in 2008’s The Dark Knight between Batman and The Joker. Every piece of the world and the relationships Batman has only added to everything that makes this movie dare I say perfect.
The Batman is in theaters today and I cannot recommend it enough. The film carries a rating of PG-13 for “strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some suggestive material.”