'The Batman' Is A Fresh Take On The Caped Crusader
By Dan Dubon | March 18, 2022
From the minute it was announced that Matt Reeves would be taking over for Ben Affleck and directing this film, I knew we were all in for something special, and man did this film deliver. Simply put, The Batman is the best Batman film to date (The Dark Knight being its main competition imo) and gives us a perfect iteration of the Batman lore and mythos in its entirety, and we see filmmakers and actors operating at the top of their game in this film in a way we've probably never seen before.
Reeves directs a mystery thriller inspired by various Batman comics (The Long Halloween, Year One, Zero Year, Dark Victory, Ego,) as well as previous 70s crime noir thrillers (Chinatown, Taxi Driver, The French Connection), but has enough there to be its own original story, and the pacing is spot on despite the almost 3-hour runtime.
We watch as Batman tries to solve the murders of various Gotham figures at the hands of a serial killer The Riddler, as well as uncover a much bigger conspiracy lying underneath that would expose the facade of the city as everyone sees it. Robert Pattinson delivers the best Batman we've seen in live-action by far as he's not the typical playboy billionaire persona he puts on in the public, but a recluse still grieving the death of his parents, possibly suffering from mental illness, and using vigilantism as a way to process it all while cleaning up the streets of Gotham. Him being only in year 2 does two things: 1) skips over the origin story for those who already are familiar with it, and 2) shows the imperfections and flaws in his crime fighting escapades as he hasn't quite mastered what it means to be Batman, and it gives so much breathing room for this character to grow in future films.
The supporting cast brings their A game as well with Zoe Kravitz giving the best live-action Catwoman to date, Jeffree Wright giving a great performance as Commissioner Jim Gordon, Paul Dano giving a Zodiac killer inspired turn as The Riddler, and Colin Farrell being highly unrecognizable as Penguin. Batman's relationships with all of these characters, but specifically Catwoman and Gordon, are captured better than previous live-action versions such as the Nolan films and knowing that we will get to see these dynamics grow and flourish more in the future makes them have even more meaning. The romance between Batman and Catwoman doesn't feel forced nor cheesy and you actually want to see more by the time the film ends, and we finally see the true nature of Gordon and Batman's buddy cop relationship as they are the only ones each other can 100% trust.
Greig Fraser delivers cinematography even better than Dune as Gotham is a muggy, muddy, dirty sewage of a city that is painted in the light that the Arkham games and even the animated series showed it in: a place no one should be proud to call home. The use of minimal lighting during the night scenes adds to the shadowy aesthetic of the world of Batman, and we very rarely get any scenes taking place during the day which adds to the dark, brooding, and depressing nature of Gotham. The action scenes are helmed with great care and are edited to perfection where everything is clear and not choppy, yet there's still this unfocused view that helps maintain the messy nature of the city when it's all happening.
Michael Giacchino composes the best Batman musical score of all-time and when it kicks in you feel the magnitude and weight of it as it's dreadful and dark yet hopeful, which is signature Batman.
This film truly captures the mythos of Batman and I can't wait to see what else Matt Reeves has in store in this trilogy, as the sequel already seems to be in development.