I need to start this by saying the next statement is my opinion. The Batman is the definitive Batman film. The movie sees a young Bruce Wayne only two years into being Batman, face off with a sadistic serial killer in the Riddler while trying to figure out what he needs to be for his city. Along the way, he discovers a giant web of corruption throughout the city of Gotham that doesn’t just entangle some of the biggest names in Gotham politics but might include him as well.
This movie nails all things that Batman should be. All credit goes to director Matt Reeves because his vision made me feel like I was watching a comic come to life. Reeves has stated multiple times that he took inspiration from three of the best Batman stories: Long Halloween, Ego, and Year One. The inspiration shows, and gives us possibly the best result of a Batman story that I’ve personally seen in years. Sure, the comment could be made that it’s too dark or Batman is too scary in some scenes but THAT is Batman. Batman is scary. Batman is fear. I think Reeves understands that more than anyone else who has directed a Caped Crusader story. No spoilers but to best explain this I need to give a small example. At the beginning of the movie, we get narration from Robert Pattinson talking about some of the “lowlifes” in Gotham. “They think I am hiding in the shadows. Watching. Waiting to strike. I am the shadows.” This line made me feel like I was in the comics watching a young vigilante put the fear of God into criminals.
I’m going to be honest, when I heard Robert Pattinson had been cast as Batman I was skeptical. The first thing that popped into my head was when he starred in the Twilight movies. But watching some of his Independent movies like Good Time and then The Lighthouse, I realized how great of a serious actor he was. But to anyone who says, “The Twilight guy is Batman???” I have one thing to say to you. Stop it. Robert Pattinson might be my new favorite Batman. He spends the majority of the movie as Batman with only a couple of scenes as Bruce Wayne but when he is in the suit he commands the scenes. Pattinson brings something completely new to the portrayal of this iconic character. This version of Bruce Wayne is more focused on being a vigilante and cleaning up his city than making public appearances. He hasn’t discovered the need to play up the playboy billionaire persona yet and I think that makes sense. Many of the people in the film call him a recluse and there’s even a point where he has to put sunglasses on in his own home because his eyes have gotten so used to the night. Batman is a detective in this movie and I don’t feel like that has been shown well before but it is perfect in this film. After all, he is “The World’s Greatest Detective.”
The tone, the cinematography, the supporting characters, the villain. All of these elements come together to help create a near-perfect film. Paul Dano’s Riddler is the thing that nightmares are made of. From the beginning of the movie, I found myself sinking into my seat anytime there was a new riddle for Batman to solve. Zoë Kravitz, Jeffery Wright, Colin Farrell, and John Turturro all work well with Pattinson and even shine on their own in multiple scenes. I mentioned the cinematography and I believe that it is the best in a comic book movie since Into the Spider-Verse. Some of the shots, like the one at the very top of this blog, Matt Reeves and cinematographer Grieg Fraser created look like they could’ve been straight from a comic panel. This film is the closest thing to a comic book come to life than we’ve ever gotten.
The Batman is an incredible noir-style detective story that immerses you in the corrupt world of Gotham. It is the perfect mixture of realism and comic books. If you are looking for the next great movie of 2022 I couldn’t recommend this movie enough. And in terms of Batman movies, The Batman is the film that gets the character 100% correct. If I had to give this movie a score it’s obviously a 5/5. Whether you’re a fan of the Nolan, Burton, or even Schumacher films, The Batman makes a strong case to be your new favorite.
Photo Credit: The Economic Times