It’s March and I guess it’s time for our first superhero movie of 2022. I’m not sure if there is much excitement in me because I’m kind of tired of superheroes. I’ve been doing this gig for almost four years now and I want some spice in my superhero movies, I can’t do the same song and dance forever, Marvel! This is why in more recent times I’ve come to prefer DC over Marvel. Something that has also surprised me is that back when I started this gig, DC’s latest movie was that disaster Justice League, but since then they have shifted their strategy on standalone movies and give the directors more power to do as they wish. This is how we got David F Sandberg’s Shazam, Todd Phillip’s Joker, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and now Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but Batman was my favourite superhero growing up. He was my favourite for the sole reason that there are loads of great Batman stories out there to discover. Also the fact that he was just a regular guy with no superpowers that I could easily envision myself becoming, if we exclude the fact that I need loads of money to do what he does. Despite my anti-superhero mood at the moment, I will admit I was curious to see what this would be like, thanks to the marketing and having Matt Reeves’ the director of the two great Planet of the Apes sequels. Now that I have seen it, The Batman definitely delivers, and it brought back some of the optimistic teenager within me.
The opening of this film sets the tone nicely. We learned that Gotham is a crime ridden city and the only thing that seems to keep the criminals in line is when a bat signal shines over the night sky, which means The Batman is out and he could be lurking behind any shadow, ready to beat the crap out of you and make you regret committing whatever crime you just did. Batman inspires fear and speaks in the name of vengeance, no one likes having him around, (especially the police) but they don’t get in his way, because he seems to know what he’s doing. The plot gets going when a masked killer goes around killing public officials in an attempt to expose them for their corruption and false promises, and the police leave Batman to follow the trail of this enigmatic lunatic. All of this should convince you to see this movie, because this is exactly what I want in a Batman movie, which is why I would say this is my favourite interpretation of the character in a film. (My favourite ever would still go to the Batman Arkham Games.)
The Batman is essentially a murder mystery with an overarching crime drama brewing in the background. It’s almost three hours long and, amazingly, never boring, and I was consistently engaged from to beginning to end. It’s a very dark film that doesn’t have much glimmer of hope or comedy, and the violence and dark material it covers is brutal and it seriously borders on being unsuitable for the mature rating. The reason why I think it works so well is Batman himself. He is a force to be reckoned with, which is why when we first meet him they put so much emphasis on his feet, and how loud it get as he inches closer to his prey, coupled with the intimidating score from the ever so underrated composer, Michael Giacchino. I shouldn’t forget Robert Pattinson who plays him, who is great as always.
The supporting cast also deserve some credit as they sell the world and their strong relationship with Batman. Jeffrey Wright is great as Gordon, the one guy who seems like a good man, and the only one who will work with Batman. Zoe Kravitz made for good Catwoman, and the tension she has with Batman is fun to watch. The other big one is Paul Dano as the main villain, The Riddler, who perfectly captures the type of relationship Batman has with his villains, while also adding his own creepy spin on the character. There is some cool action in between the great character scenes, with the big highlight being a car chase in the latter portion of the film. One final note that I must mention is how beautiful the movie is, when it comes to the lighting, dark atmosphere and camera work, which all compliment what I have praised earlier.
This is the point in the review where I should mention my cons, but for this movie I don’t really want to, and what I do have is pretty minor. There is a point where the murder mystery stuff just stops while they focus on less interesting. I would say my biggest complaint is the ending as it was a little underwhelming and it was left too open ended for my liking. I guess it’s no spoiler that a superhero movie is setting up for a sequel, but that final reveal deflated any excitement I had, because it seems like they’re building towards charted territory, which is a shame as this felt different for a Batman movie. That’s about it and I’m sure with a rewatch these issues could fizzle out.
The Batman is better than I expected, and can’t recommend it enough, I’m very happy it exists and I’m willing to bet all my savings that the next superhero flick Morbius has no chance at topping this. I’m not sure what will be the next thing I will be reviewing, but when I figure it out I’ll see you then. The Blog Complainer, signing out.