This film works hard to be both a piece of art and a superhero movie. What the film succeeds at themost is being a film that is quintessentially Batman.
The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader, Paul Dano as The Riddler, and Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle. The film also stars Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, Colin Farrell as Oz/Penguin, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, and Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth.
I got the chance to see this film twice in theaters before writing this review. I loved it both times, moreso the second time. It’s a very damn good movie.
If I were to rank this film among the Dark Knight trilogy I’d say it’s better than Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises. I would say it’s at least on the same level of quality as The Dark Knight.
I found myself comparing those two films a lot as I watched The Batman, because they are both so similar. They both have great
Batmen, compelling stories, and phenomenal villains. I also think both films have plot points, characters, and aspects that are better than the other. I do enjoy thinking about high quality films.
Before I continue with more of my thoughts, I have to talk about specific reviews of this movie. Moreso the ones that are mad that The Batman quote “forgets to be fun (Cinemalogue Batman Review),” is “yet another lugubrious, laboriously grim slog
masquerading as a fun comic book movie (Washington Post Batman Review),” and find that “176 minutes is a long time to go without laughs (Firstpost Batman Review).”
The Batman was never going to be a “Marvel” movie. It wasn’t going to be joke heavy, it wasn’t going to be upbeat, it was going to be a dark crime drama from the very beginning. If you expect anything otherwise you are only going to be disappointed. Also there
are a few funny moments in there, my favorite being the “thumb drive” one IYKYK. Also, remember the last time Batman films tried to be funny? I think you all definitely know what I’m talking about.
It’s good to have
superhero movies that are different, stylistically and thematically. If every
superhero movie was the same then everybody would get bored of them. It’d be
like eating vanilla ice cream all the time. Sometimes it’s good to eat some
rocky road or cookie dough. Okay, now I’m going to try and finish this review
while dealing with a new craving for ice cream.
The Batman is driven forward by awesome
performances from all of the cast. Robert Pattinson is the best Batman since
Christian Bale. He’s better than Batfleck, he just is  .
His costume is cooler, he doesn’t have a stupid voice changer, and he doesn’t
out right murder people. He’s got the physical presence and is able to show a
great depth of emotion. He grows over the course of the movie, slowly learning
what it takes to be a better Batman. He really embodies what Batman should be,
a fighter and a thinker.
Batman had a lot of
allies in this movie. I really liked Wright’s James Gordon. He had moments of
deep sadness and heroic bravery. He always had Batman’s back, much to the
frustration of the GCPD. It really seemed like he’d take a bullet for Bruce.
I thought Andy Serkis
was a fine Alfred. He hit all the Alfred beats you’d want, helping Batman solve
his crimes and being a father figure. Hopefully he has a chance to be a badass
in the next movie.
It would be criminal
if I didn’t mention Kravit’s Catwoman. She’s all I’d hoped Catwoman would be. A
cunning antihero who is essential to Batman. She helps him but she has her own
mission too. Her relationship with Batman is complicated, but what else is new.
Even still, they both care about each other and want to stop the worst people
If there’s anything
I’ve learned, it is that a Batman movie is only as good as its villain.
Thankfully this film has three villains that are all great, dare I say
Gotham needs a good
dark side, an underlying criminal element that permeates from the alleyways.
Farrell’s Penguin and John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone are great Gotham gangsters.
Falcone is a soft spoken menace who will kill anyone who gets in his way. He’s
deeply connected to figures in Gotham, including Bruce’s father Thomas. The
Penguin works under Falcone, running The Iceberg Lounge and peddling drugs. He
wishes he could be Falcone, hoping to be the next head of organized crime in
Gotham. His car chase scene was one of my favorite parts of the movie. My
favorite moment being the part where Penguin thinks he killed Batman, but his
joy turns to terror as soon as he sees the batmobile rockets out of the flames.
While Falcone and
Penguin were perfect for the gangster side of Gotham, The Riddler was an even
better showing of its supervillain side. Paul Dano’s performance as the
vengeful serial killer is the polar opposite of Jim Carrey’s Riddler. Dano’s
Riddler is a dark web menace who won’t rest until he sees Gotham burn. He knows
all of the city’s secrets and will crusade until those who went unpunished are
pushing daisies. To Riddler, vengeance means blood and fire, and Batman is part
of his master plan.
I’m glad this reboot
happened. Batman is a character that has the ability to change, adapt with the
times, and remain relevant. All the best Batman performances remain timely
because they’re similar but different. They stay true to who Batman is, while also
being who Batman can be. If the next two films in The Batman trilogy are good, then I think Pattinson will be
remembered fondly like Keaton and Bale are.
The Batman has kept DC’s 2022 winning streak
going. I’m excited for its sequels, and I’m excited for the HBO MAX shows that
will take place in this new Gotham. I do recommend watching the film for a
second time. You get to enjoy the film more and you get another chance to catch
all the little details. You should also see it again because it’s an awesome
movie, one that I’m very glad exists.
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