top of page

The Batman Movie Review (Spoiler Free)

The Bat, the Cat, and the Penguin return in this psychological mystery thriller. But can Matt Reeves’ three-hour-long epos convince, or is it another generic comic book adaptation?

Genre: Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller

Director: Matt Reeves

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, Zoë Kravitz, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, Peter Sarsgaard & John Turrturo

Run Time: 176 min.

US Release: 16 June 2022

UK Release: 14 July 2022

German Release: 03 August 2022


I might be a little too late with this review, but I had some issues last week with my hands after suffering an injury. The Batman was on my list of most anticipated movies this year, although I was never sure what to expect. I saw the trailers, I read some articles, yet I could never pinpoint if I should be pumped or worried. So I went in with an open mind, ready for any outcome, and I was simply blown away by what was presented on screen!


On Halloween night, during his second year of crime-fighting, Batman needs to confront a serial killer known as The Riddler, while uncovering a web of corruption in Gotham City that might link back to his own family.


With clear influences from David Fincher, Matt Reeves' vision of the Dark Knight is quite unique, like never seen before! On one hand, you have a story that feels incredibly grounded, even disturbingly realistic. This is because Reeves took inspiration from real-life crime mysteries, where criminals left taunting messages; the Zodiac killings most prominently, which Fincher also converted into a crime-thriller himself. Then there is the gloomy and black, comic-bookish world of Gotham, a breathing, living place, in which Batman deals out his own form of justice. Very rainy, dark and always conveying a feeling of hopelessness; a setting that is very reminiscent of the city setting in Se7en.


These two opposite atmospheres clash to create one of the most grounded, yet comic-bookish pictures, I have seen only in the likes of John Wick. However, it also resembles Todd Phillips' Joker in many ways, as well as taking inspiration from Nolan's The Dark Knight and “The Long Halloween” storyline from the comics.


The Batman also tackles socio-political issues, such as corruption within the electoral offices and other branches of government that are supposed to serve the people, with dire consequences when they fail to do so. Dirty dealings of the rich Gotham elite are brought to light, with characters presented as flawed human beings. Even Bruce’s father, a literal good man, made decisions he later regretted.


Now, as much as I enjoyed this crime-thriller, it is not perfect. While I appreciated that Reeves took his time to unfold specific scenes, lingering on frames and letting moments sink in, I also need to confess that there are scenes in this film that could have been sped up or cut out. The movie is three hours long and by the end of the last act, one starts to feel a little tired out!


Character-wise, this was a masterpiece. Not only were the main, as well as the minor characters of Gotham fleshed out and well modified, to fit into this cinematographic version of Batman’s world. Gotham itself feels like a city being lived in, feeding on the emotions of the people, pushing them towards darkness. It is a nasty, unhappy place!


When Robert Pattinson was cast as Batman/Bruce Wayne, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. He is a great actor, but he still looks very boyish and did not have the physicality that Ben Affleck brought to the Bat, who I thought gave great performances as both Bruce Wayne and Batman! However, all concerns were blown away after watching him the instant he appeared as the caped crusader. This is a very young Bruce Wayne, different from other versions of the character. He is hurt, shutting himself out of the outside world, living 90% percent of his life as Batman. He deals out vengeance in the night, doesn’t pull back punches, causing pain and fear, which he believes is the only way to break the circle of crime in Gotham.


Pattinson has the least amount of lines in this film, while most of his body is covered under a mask and protective gear. He manages to convey the characters' emotions through his eyes, which was very impressive.


Paul Dano surprised me with his take on the iconic villain The Riddler. While the bowler hat and green suit are missing, the costume design for this version suited the character in every way. Dano himself gave a creepy, absolutely maniacal performance, sending chills down my spine every time he appeared on screen. The Riddler, just like the Bat, is a direct result of the abuse the public suffers from corrupted elected officials, he takes an unhealthy interest in the Dark Knight, believing to be helping him deal out justice for those that were wronged.


Zoë Kravitz nails it as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, giving her character depth and motivation for her actions. Like Pattinson, she brought out the vulnerability of Selina, protected by a wall of coolness that made her look tough, even unreachable. The persona is trained in martial arts, and Kravitz really sold those action segments! Her chemistry with Pattinson was also on point!


Jeffry Wright as Lieutenant James Gordon, had a much bigger role than I expected, partnering up with Batman in most scenes, to decipher The Riddler’s cryptic messages. The team-ups serve to capture this unequal duo’s mutual respect and Wright gave a wonderful rendition of James Gordon.

Colin Farrell is unrecognisable as Oswald Cobblepot / Penguin, plus another surprising performance I didn’t believe we would get to see much of. Farrell had his share of quirky, over-the-top roles; specifically thinking of his portrayal as Bullseye in the 2003 adaptation of Daredevil, but him as Penguin was simply an exceptional casting choice. Yes, he goes overboard with his performance at times, but he does it right!


Finally, we have Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, a character we did not get to see as much as I hoped, but I enjoyed nevertheless and John Turturo as Carmine Falcone, who was the weakest out of all characters.

Cinematographer Greig Fraser also took inspiration from older crime thrillers, such as Chinatown but especially the Hitchcock flicks; a time when anamorphic lenses were used to give flicks a grimier look. Fraser uses this technique to perfection in The Batman, giving each scene a “filthy and uncomfortable” feeling, which simultaneously breathes life into the city of Gotham.


Then you have stylistic choices of how characters are represented; most of the time we see people either centre stage, through the eyes of Bruce, or their silhouettes, throwing shadows in front of neon lighting at the night, or during sunrise or sunset. This brings me to the point of lighting - specifically, how Reeves and Fraser played brilliantly with shadows throughout this picture's runtime, an important factor for the character as he not only uses them effectively to scare his enemies but actively chose to live in them.


The action sequences were helmed amazingly, Reeves took some gambles with unusual angles that all paid off! When there was action on screen the camera didn’t cut away, instead, letting each fight, each choreographed scene play out to the end. The tip of the iceberg, was a beautifully captured car chase, through the streets of Gotham, that ended with a literal bang. We, as audience members, don’t get to see sequences like these that often anymore.


The fantastic soundtrack, composed by Michael Giacchino, is still ringing in my ears, days after watching it! While other takes of the musical theme always contained an epicness, near hopeful note, Giacchino’s take on the character's soundtrack was darker, hopeless, and melancholic, with an immense brutal oomph. A note that will not be forgotten, probably going into history as one of cinema's greatest soundtracks.

 

Verdict: Matt Reeves directed a jaw-dropping mystery thriller that sets a new high for superhero blockbusters! The narrative, scripted by Reeves and Peter Craig is amazing, tackling many aspects of the comics, and then moulding them all together to create a comprehensible and intriguing plot. With minor exceptions of a few, the performances were out of this world. The city of Gotham, while very comic-bookish, felt like a real city with living people. The cinematography and camera work was captivating, with lingering shots that never undercut the action segments. The anamorphic lenses used gave this movie the grittiness it needed. Finally the bombastic score by Michael Giacchino, that to this day is still ringing in my ears! I was blown away by this epic, even though I still believe it was 20 mins. too long. I give The Batman a 9 out of 10.


Do you agree with my review? What did you think of The Batman? Leave a comment below and subscribe. Thanks for reading!


Related Posts

See All

コメント


bottom of page