The Batman (2022): Review
The Dark Knight makes a thrilling return with Robert Pattinson dawning the famous cowl.
Set during the second year of his crime fighting career, The Batman follows the titular superhero/Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) as he pursues the Riddler (Paul Dano), a serial killer targeting the corrupt Elite of Gotham City, in the week following Halloween. You see Batman battling his inner demons while these murders are committed throughout Gotham.
The Batman, immediately starts off without the old trope of Batman’s origin story – no Martha/Thomas Wayne death scene, training montages of how he became Batman and the old homecoming of Bruce before dawning the suit. The city is already familiarized with the presence of the Batman and what he brings to the city. Love how director utilizes the shadows in Gotham to show that no matter what The Batman could possibly be, striking fear into those who try to test the limits of Gotham’s people. It added a level of horror that hasn’t been seen in a Batman movie. This version of Batman is a rebel that only serves Gotham, a renegade hero whose view of anyone else is dictated by his childhood trauma. Even though this version of Batman is such a rebel, Matt Reeves and Peter Craig gives us a Batman who is still trying to figure out how to be the Caped Crusader.
The Batman doesn’t focus on introducing new ideas that we haven’t truly seen in a Batman film before but it focus on components that haven’t played a major focus on the story and characters involved. That goes to the centralized idea of the film, like Bruce Wayne being the “world’s greatest detective,” teaming up with Jeffrey Wright‘s James Gordon to solve a series of puzzles and murders from The Riddler. Many would point out that this duo is a homage to David Fincher‘s Se7en along with the heinous ways the Riddler which definitely shows up throughout the film in various ways. It’s safe to say, that The Batman is a PG-13 film with a gritty tone and added horror-detective noir elements that work in tandem.
The cast rounds out the film pretty well too as it adds extreme depth to the film despite the story elements and plot devices. Robert Pattinson, takes Bruce Wayne & Batman by molding them into the same person. While he dawns the cowl you get this soulful stare as he moves around the room pointing out the clues for everyone to pay attention to. As Wayne, Pattinson gives that same level of despair but someone that just needs to keep up appearance. That detective switch still running as he tries to find anything out of the ordinary. You get an actor who’s putting everything into these two characters while playing to the formidable fight skills and detective skills which is a much need change in pace for the beloved hero. Zoe Kravitz is a reflection of who Pattinson’s Batman is in that she’s battling her own inner demons while trying to get what she wants out of the ones that did her wrong. Whenever, Kyle and Pattinson’s Batman are together it’s the only time that he’s not this dark and brooding figure waiting in the shadows. It adds a new layer to the character although it can be a little overwhelming at times. Kravitz’s portrayal of Catwoman alone on screen depicts a more grounded take on the character than many others who portrayed the antihero. Paul Dano‘s takes a new approach with the Riddler. He’s sadistic, deranged but calculating in the overall scheme he wants to accomplish. This iteration of the Riddler is that of a tragic villain in that, his actions are sympathetic in nature, even if he’s murdering others with that said, Dano manages to take the Riddler and shine. Andy Serkis‘ take on Alfred Pennysworth is tremendously done while complimenting Bruce with the necessary love. Colin Farrell portrayal of Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin is so much fun in this film that he steals the scene every time the opportunity arose. You can tell that he channeled his inner Robert De Niro at times. John Turturro manages to make Carmine Falcone this disgusting mob boss that gets under your skin with how much he can get away with that you want Batman to get him or the Riddler.
After 14 movies The Batman, has managed to stand out from the others as a film that can stay true to the beloved vigilante by adapting the horror and thrill depicted in the comics. This version of Batman is not the seasoned hero, Ben Affleck portrayed but an inexperienced detective whose sole purpose is to fight for Gotham ends up battling himself. We get those flashes throughout when he’s escaping GCPD, the chase with Cobblepot with the Bat-mobile or when he’s fighting groups of criminals in the gutters of Gotham but we still have a man who wants to prove to himself that he can be the city’s beacon of hope. What we’re left with is a Batman who finally has been able to overcome the mired past of his family but still out to defend those who can’t defend themselves. This darkest Dark Knight may not be for everyone but it’s a gripping take on the 80 year old Caped Crusader.