The Batman is an entirely immersive and exhilarating cinematic experience. Co-writer/director Matt Reeves and co-writer Peter Craig deliver an enthralling iteration of one of the world’s most familiar comic book characters. Further, this is the iteration of Batman the world has been waiting for. The Batman distinguishes itself apart from previous versions of the Caped Crusader.
‘The Batman’ pits the title character against The Riddler
Batman, also known as Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson), seeks to exact vengeance on the criminals of Gotham City. However, he’s about to involve himself with a lot more of the criminal underground than before when a sadistic killer called The Riddler (Paul Dano) leaves cryptic clues along with his victims.
The Riddler’s breadcrumbs continue to build and point toward a place too close to home. Batman works with other players, including Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), and James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright). He must get to the bottom of this mystery of power and corruption before it gets back to him unless he wants to end up as another one of The Riddler’s victims.
Director/co-writer Matt Reeves brings a detective crime thriller to the familiar vigilante
The Batman once again handles the theme of vengeance, utilizing the bat symbol as a warning to instill fear. However, this horror runs through the veins of Gotham like blood. Batman is unsure if he’s actually making a difference, while simultaneously tackling the trauma of his past. Much of this doesn’t deviate from the character’s previous film iterations, but it’s Reeves’ perspective that adds so much value here.
Reeves and Craig introduce Batman and his vengeance long before they tap into Wayne. He tries to discover what “family legacy” means to him and how that impacts his dual identity. Does he honor his family name with business or justice? It’s all wrapped under social messaging on class and privilege, offering Catwoman as juxtaposition. She brings everything to the story that Batman doesn’t, which contributes to moral and physical conflict as a result.
The Batman is a cautionary tale on idolizing figures, whether they’re political, personal, or otherwise. However, distrust runs deep as the Riddler’s mysteries tap into various corners of Gotham. He’s a far cry from the corny original iteration wearing question marks. Reeves and Craig’s screenplay makes an undeniable statement that speaks both to Gotham and real-life cities around the globe.
Robert Pattinson’s iteration of ‘The Batman’ is fresh and gripping
The Batman puts its crime thriller elements ahead of its superhero aesthetic. It brings influences from Se7en and various noir flicks, including the genre’s voiceover narration. Subterfuge is a regular component of this world and offers a few of the film’s best moments.
All of the performances have the big challenge of selling these iconic characters. However, they all rightfully make the roles their own. Pattinson is a convincing Batman, who infuses his own signature style and voice. Kravitz brings a dramatically compelling Catwoman. The two actors don’t have much chemistry, but The Batman doesn’t lean into their relationship as a crutch. Meanwhile, Dano is just the right amount of unhinged to make this version of The Riddler sing.
The Batman is all about having the power to endure. It certainly doesn’t skimp on its action scenes. Reeves captures them beautifully with long shots, allowing the audience to truly take in the fight choreography and big, show-stopping moments. The Batman stumbles a bit during some of Wayne’s underbaked dramatic moments, but the nearly 3-hour runtime moves right along.
Reeves’ The Batman makes Wayne the mask that hides Batman, rather than the other way around. He crafted an iteration that feels removed from many of the other iterations, while still staying true to the character. It’s a thrilling good time. The Batman is an utterly mesmerizing detective story with electrifying execution.
The Batman hits theaters on March 4.