“The Batman” has finally arrived. Robert Pattinson plays the titular character, Zoë Kravitz is Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Paul Dano is the nefarious Riddler, and spearheading all of this is director Matt Reeves (most famous for the “Planet of the Apes” reboot trilogy). This cast and crew came together to bring us a new batman adventure unlike any we have seen before.
The story takes place in Gotham City during the second year of Batman’s war on crime, where he has yet to completely figure out how to be a superhero. No, this is not the Batman that you are accustomed to. This is a raw, angry and brutal Batman.
Robert Pattinson’s interpretation of the caped crusader shows a single-minded hero that is only focused on saving the innocent and punishing the criminals that prey on them. Pattinson’s excellent portrayal of Batman was also carried by the man behind the mask, Bruce Wayne. Normally we see Bruce Wayne as a playboy character who runs a billion-dollar business in Wayne Enterprises, but this was not what we got. Instead, we got something better. Something that fits the story. What we received was a weird and quirky Bruce Wayne who didn’t care about his public appearances or how the people of Gotham viewed him. No, this Bruce Wayne only cares about the mission.
Our protagonist teams up with the seductive thief Catwoman and the loyal Detective James Gordon (played by Jeffrey Wright).
We see the story of the cat burglar as she finds her place in a dark city and develops complicated feelings towards the dark knight. James Gordon played the supportive role as Batman’s partner and ally in the GCPD, a department that is still wary of the vigilante methods. Gordon, Catwoman and Batman all work together to stop Riddler and the corruption that plagues Gotham.
The game that Riddler plays is thrilling and psychological as he leaves clues, in the form of riddles, at every crime scene. The central question is why he’s targeting Gotham’s elites. It is clear that Riddler knows something that Batman doesn’t, namely, how the mystery connects to Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Riddler shies away from a physical match, and opts to fight a mental battle. We see this young Batman’s back up against the wall, facing a threat that is not resolved by simply using fear tactics or brute force. Here is where “The Batman” shines not just as a general superhero movie, but more so as a Batman film.
It is a superhero film at first glance. But when you watch it, it doesn’t feel like one. At its core, “The Batman” is a thriller that forces its hero to think, rather than fight. Riddler is not the type to just tell you his plan. He wanted Batman to figure it out, to use his intellect. He makes the vigilante reinvent himself as a detective.
The film pays tribute to classic Batman comic book storylines such as “Batman: Hush” and my personal favorite, “Batman: The Long Halloween.” Storylines that forced Batman to use specific skills, and helped him earn the title of “world’s greatest detective.”
Overall, the film was amazing and worth every minute of its three hour runtime. It was carried by actors brilliantly portraying iconic roles, and action sequences that felt impactful.
There are many things to take away from this movie, and it would also seem that this is not the last time that we’ll see Pattinson as the Batman. HBO Max has already ordered spin-offs based on the film to continue telling the story of characters such as Colin Farrell’s Penguin and Wright’s James Gordon. Reeves may already be setting up the “bat-verse,” which would present boundless opportunities. There are many storylines that Reeves can take this Batman on, but only time will tell which they will explore.
So, with all that said, it’s time to give the final grade of The Batman. The film is a dark, gritty, phycological tale of a hero who now must become something more than a vigilante. To me, The Batman is the second greatest Batman film of all time. Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” set a bar that DC films have tried very hard to reach, and now they have a Batman that can meet that challenge in Robert Pattinson.
I give it a 9.5 out of 10.
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