Batman’s Back, and He’s Showing Up in Style: Experience the Thrills of “The Batman” in Theaters Starting Friday, March 4 (Spoiler-Free Review)
Things are looking grim in Gotham City. As per usual, there's plenty of crookedness afoot — and the city’s elected officials can’t be trusted to stop the criminals of Gotham. On Halloween night, just days before the mayoral election, one of the most important men in the city is brutally murdered in his home. Commissioner Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) is on the case right away, and he brings a certain Caped Crusader (Robert Pattinson) along to help. Batman’s quick thinking comes in handy when investigators discover a riddle left behind by the murderer. Unfortunately, the answer to that riddle doesn’t give Gotham City police much information. It won’t be long before the sneaky Riddler (Paul Dano) strikes again, and Batman must act fast to stop him.
The Batman is dark, action-packed, wacky, thrilling, fun, and filled with all the cinematic delights that you’d expect from a Batman movie. But it’s no copycat. The Batman shatters expectations with a solid story, seductive characters, and a campy horror style that just won’t quit. Teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson is joined by an incredible ensemble that brings the familiar characters of Gotham City to life in a fresh and exciting way. The cast includes Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle / Catwoman, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, a completely unrecognizable Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot / The Penguin, and Andy Serkis as Alfred. Despite sky-high standards set by The Dark Knight trilogy, The Batman is sure to become a fan favorite.
Director Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) was a brave soul for taking on yet another Batman adaptation. But he rose to the challenge by directing a solid standalone movie that combines the twisted campiness of Tim Burton’s Batman films with the cinematic epicness of the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Batman fans will go nuts over Reeves’ vision for Gotham City and the odd characters who inhabit it. Batman as a whole has always been about style and mood, and The Batman certainly excels in both categories. Every visual detail of the movie, from the sultry darkness that pervades every shot to the high-tech gadgets and the sleek, sexy costumes, works together to draw us into the twisted world of Gotham. And when you’re not taking in all the flashy details of the production design, you’ll be blown away by the bright explosions, zooming car chases, and swift fights.
The Batman is, without a doubt, a cinematic funhouse. But what really ties its stylistic elements together is Michael Giacchino’s score. Throughout the score, he repeats a deceptively simple musical motive that captures the grim darkness that has always made Batman so unique. When played as a spine-tingling percussion section feature, the haunting tune serves as the perfect soundtrack for Batman’s initial entrance. When repurposed as a soaring symphony, it brings the final action sequence to life.
Of course, there’s one big question on everyone’s mind: what’s Robert Pattinson like as Batman? He certainly fits the role, mostly because he has the right body and voice for the part. He also has plenty of experience playing a dark, moody, and antisocial rich boy. But beyond that, he makes for a pretty average Batman. Once he’s behind the mask, he’s not very distinguishable from any other cinematic version of the Caped Crusader. And, unfortunately, he doesn’t get to spend a lot of time out of the mask. While The Batman is engaging and full of twists and turns, it doesn’t give Pattinson that many chances to explore Bruce Wayne as a character. In fact, The Batman doesn’t show a whole lot of Bruce Wayne at all. On the one hand, it will come as a relief to many fans that The Batman isn’t an origin story. But it’s worth noting that without the extensive backstory and character development that Bruce Wayne gets in The Dark Knight trilogy, Pattinson’s version of Bruce Wayne (through no fault of his own) isn’t very deep or dynamic.
On the other hand, the script does explore Selina Kyle’s emotional development, giving Zoë Kravitz plenty of opportunities to demonstrate her character’s strengths and weaknesses. Kravitz approaches the character with strength and compassion, creating an altogether realistic, likable, and inspiring version of Catwoman. Rather than forcing Selina Kyle onto to the sidelines, the script grants her an important role in the story and makes her emotional journey just as important, if not more so, than Bruce Wayne’s.
The rest of the cast shines with memorable performances that make the story fun and exciting. Andy Serkis makes for a charming and lovable Alfred, and he leaves us wishing that the butler had played a more prominent role in the story. Colin Farrell shows a side of himself that you won’t believe with his interpretation of The Penguin. John Turturro brings out the best in the crime-drama aspects of the movie, and his version of Carmine Falcone could have easily been a character in The Godfather. As the cool-headed Commissioner Gordon, Jeffrey Wright acts as a grounding point among the cast of weird and wacky characters. Together, the ensemble is the icing on top of the delicious cake that is Matt Reeves’ The Batman, a thrilling mystery and adventure that will leave you wanting more.
For more information, check out The Batman official site.
"Our embodied spectator, possibly perverse in her fantasies and diverse in her experience, possesses agency...finally, she must now be held accountable for it."