What can be said about Batman. The icon of DC Comics is one of the most renowned superheroes of all time to the point where even if you lived in cave, you probably heard of this Caped Crusader. Along with his notoriety in comics, Batman is a pop culture icon with various television series and video games to his name, and among the character’s accomplished medium is of course the world of film. Batman has starred in a variety of films like the 1989 film by Tim Burton, the Dark Knight trilogy from Christopher Nolan and the movies from Zack Snyder-Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League (aka Zack Snyder’s Justice League). Now the hero returns yet again in a brand-new cinematic adventure that is simply known as The Batman.
Directed by Matt Reeves, the new movie deals with a younger Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) continuing his fight against crime as the vigilante Batman. However, when the mysterious Riddler (Paul Dano) goes on a killing spree, Batman must uncover a conspiracy that effects all of Gotham as well as his own legacy. The development of this film is an interesting tale to say the least. The movie was originally meant to direct and star Ben Affleck but due to various circumstances, the project changed and rather than being a part of the shared franchise, the DC Extended Universe, would be a standalone film like 2019’s Joker. Much as I would like to have seen a Batman film take place in the DCEU, I cannot deny that this new venture for the Caped Crusader intrigued me (especially after seeing the film’s first trailer). With such a legacy on the big screen, there was no denying The Batman had much to live up to and from what I saw this new movie did not disappoint as is it arguably one of the best Batman films to leap onto the silver screen.
The Batman was a much a fresh start for the franchise as it was a stylish film, and this was reflected in the story. Capturing Batman’s early career, this new take on the Caped Crusader felt like something that both familiar and refreshing. Along with its compelling direction the plot was simply captivating from beginning to end-and seeing that this film is nearly three hours that is saying something. The caper surrounding the Riddler was nothing short of engaging and was prevalent in cementing the various story elements together. However, this is not to say that the plot was flawless in its execution. While the various aspects created an investing lore for the movie, elements such as the involvement of Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz) and the Wayne legacy had a hard time flourishing in this grandiose tale; though when measured to the overall experience, this issue felt more like a nitpick. Truth be told, this plot had many elements working in its favor, from its noir tone or plot points ripped from the comics, and in this Film Adventurer’s opinion felt like a fitting story for the Dark Knight.
The film’s dynamic storytelling was only complimented by its equally as dynamic cast. The Batman franchise is no stranger to impressive ensembles, and this cast certainly lived up to the standard. In the case of the title character, Robert Pattinson was simply impressive as Batman. Between the nuance in his character and the raw performance from Pattinson, this new Batman is easily among the best to don the cape and cowl. Along with Pattinson’s stellar take on Batman was Zoe Kravitz’s solid portrayal as Catwoman. Though her development needed more clarification, this new take on Selina Kyle was as close to the genuine article as it could be and Kravitz’s performance brought a sly demeanor to the iconic anti-hero. Batman and Catwoman were not the only impressive depictions as additions like Jim Gordon (Jeffery Wright), Alfred (Andy Serkis) and the Penguin (Colin Farrell) were equally as compelling. Both Wright and Serkis had captivating moments with Pattinson’s Batman while Farrell brought a unique take to the classic rogue. Yet perhaps the biggest show stealer, which is saying something, was none other than Paul Dano as the Riddler. While this puzzling villain needed some clarification in his reasoning, there was no denying that Riddler had a presence that was hard to ignore; and despite being a different take on the character Dano’s portrayal felt like a surreal homage to the Batman villain.
When it came to aspects like the visuals, The Batman was a true spectacle. Going into the movie the cinematography looked promising and it did not disappoint. The film’s look had a grit fitting of a noir film while the camerawork crafted several shots that were truly wonderous. Both were instrumental in bringing Gotham City to life to the point where the city was a character of its very own. These aspects were also pivotal in capturing the movie’s action. The action was fitting for the series as it featured well-crafted fight scenes and sequences that worthy of any blockbuster with one chase sequence was a true cinematic moment. Equally as impressive was the score by Michael Giacchino. The music was thematic in nature as not only worked for the film’s tone and characters perfectly with one memorable composition after another.
The Batman is a dynamic film experience that I easily tip my hat to. From its keen storytelling to spectacular performances, this new movie brought the Batman mythos to life in a way that felt like a refreshing homage; and while the movie had some issues in its execution it was not enough to take away from the stunning presentation crafted by Matt Reeves. Despite the character’s tenure on screen, The Batman shows that this iconic hero still has much to offer the world of movies by bringing something unique to both DC Films and the superhero genre itself.