‘The Batman’ Movie Review: Unhinged and Brilliant

The Batman

It’s finally here. The movie we’ve been talking about for what feels like ages. So what’s the verdict? Does it hold up to the previous films (specifically Christopher Nolan’s films)? It does actually, surprisingly well.

This rendition of Batman comes to us from director Matt Reeves with Robert Pattinson taking on the iconic role of the caped superhero. The film features several new takes on key villains from the Batman universe, but the focus here lies mainly with the Riddler, a sadistic serial killer. When the Riddler begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption and question his family’s involvement.

Take a look at the trailer below.

The Batman Movie Trailer

The Batman Movie Review: What I Liked and Didn’t Like

The Batman really surprised me. I didn’t anticipate liking it as much as I did. Going into the press screening, my expectations were low. I assumed that Pattinson would lose me early on, and I would feel disjointed from the film purely because of the casting. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Pattinson not only shines here, but he also makes the whole film shine.

Casting

I had doubts when it was first announced that Robert Pattinson would be taking on the role of Batman. I just couldn’t see it working – despite seeing Pattinson deliver pure brilliance in a number of recent films. He’s a far cry from the Edward Cullen we all still (unfortunately) associate him with. But his Twilight days are behind him, and his talent has him on a path that reminds me of Leonardo DiCaprio. Pattinson is going to do big things with his career. And his work here as a darker, more unhinged, version of the caped crusader is proof of just that.

My only critique of Pattinson’s performance is that while I loved him as Batman, his approach to Bruce Wayne took a while to grow on me. I’m still trying to process what I think of this “version” of Bruce. It’s a very different character than we’ve seen in previous films. There’s less charm and more markings of mental health issues, which fits well with the tone of the film (and let’s be real, probably fits better with the narrative of a child that witnessed his parents murdered in front of him).

However, I did struggle to separate my expectations of what I’ve grown accustomed to with this character and what Pattinson brings to the role. Even though, I greatly appreciate the emotional depth that Pattinson brings to this character (in a way that truly hasn’t been done before). It’s a very dark take on the character, one that we haven’t seen before – and something that is more in line with Todd Phillips’ 2019 Joker, than anything else we’ve seen in the DC Universe.

The Ensemble Cast

The whole ensemble delivers brilliant performances here as well. Zoë Kravitz as Selina (Catwoman), Jeffrey Wright as Lt. Gordon, and an unrecognizable Colin Farrell as Oz (The Penguin). Paul Dano delivers a delightfully f***ed up version of the Ridder and Andy Serkis’ take on Alred is solid. The chemistry here between each of the characters helps the audience not only lose themselves in the story but also helps you forget the nearly 3-hour run time. 

The Batman

The Script & Story

So yes, the film requires a sizable commitment of time – 2 hours and 55 minutes to be exact. However, not a second is wasted. Could they have made the film shorter? Absolutely. But the storytelling here feels rich and thorough. Attention is paid to detail. Nothing feels overdone or pointless. I won’t call it perfect, but it’s pretty freaking close.

If you’re reading this review, you’ve probably seen more versions of Batman than you can count. And we each have our favorite. For me, it was always Christian Bale. Christoper Nolan’s films paired with Bale’s performance (not to mention the brilliant performances of the villains in those films, namely Heath Ledger) created a Gotham and cast of characters that had solidified the world of Batman in my mind. I didn’t anticipate anything being able to come close to that magic. But Matt Reeves more than gets close… I won’t say it’s better (because this film is very different than Nolan’s trilogy), but I will say, The Batman stands firmly on its own merit. 

The Batman

The Batman Movie Review: Overall Thoughts

I’ve said it multiple times in this review, but this is a DARK film. It’s not a kid-friendly movie. It’s violent in a way that feels completely unhinged, and it has some very triggering scenes (specifically in relation to mass shootings). It also has some unexpected dry humor that does a creative job and breaking up some more of the more tense moments.

Overall, The Batman is the first film in 2022 that is worthy of your time, and it’s one of the best takes on these characters that we’ve ever seen on the big screen. Moviegoers are in for something different than they expect, and the film makes that clear from the very first scene. It’s a welcomed breath of fresh air in the DC Universe. And my fingers are crossed we’ll see more of Robert Pattison in this role in future movies.

The Batman Movie Review:

Grade: A+

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