Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) has been on the streets of Gotham City as the vigilante known as Batman for two years. Many people are not sure of his motives except for Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright). While Batman is trying to clean up the streets, the criminal known as the Riddler (Paul Dano) is terrorizing the city.
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Tuturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some suggestive material.
Run Time: 2h 56min
Fun Fact: Zoe Kravitz had been Catwoman in a different Batman film before this one. She was the voice of the character in The Lego Batman Movie.
It’s been quite some time since I have done a review and or watch a movie for that matter. I was on a long hiatus doing different things and focusing on different projects. It feels like a homecoming to me getting back into the review game, something that I have missed.
To tell you the truth I had no intention or desire to see this film at first. It wasn’t because Robert Pattinson being cast as Batman. In fact, when I heard the announcement that he got the role, I was all for it. Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck both received backlash from fans when they got their respective roles and both of them brought the goods in those roles. Hate to break it to you but there is much worse stuff out there than Twilight. Anyways the reason I had no desire to see this film was because there are already six different Batman films that I highly enjoy, why would I need another one. Then I decided the other night to give it a chance because who knows, I might enjoy it.
Director Matt Reeves gives us a refreshing take on the Batman story. The film is a gritty, dark, and realistic take on the character. Gone is the typical origin story that we already know. Right from the beginning it is established that we already know how and who Batman is. For quite some time we have seen the same story on repeat, and it was refreshing to get right into the main part of the story. Reeves big focus is a giant detective story which was a nice throw back to some of the earlier days of Batman. Most Batman films focus on the action aspect and this one does have some powerhouse scenes, but my favorite parts were the detective part of the story. I love film noir and mysteries and it was a fun watch as there was quite a bit going on and it was all interesting. While the story shines there are many more things that make it even better.
Visually it’s a stunning film. The cinematography by Greig Fraser is clean and well-focused. We get interesting point of views from Batman and other characters. The action scenes are focused, and we don’t get any shaky camera work. The car chase scene is up there in my favorite chase scenes in movies and a close first in Batman films (number one is still the Batpod chase from The Dark Knight, it still gives me chills thinking about it). It was truly a powerhouse scene, and it featured the best looking Batmobile since the Tim Burton era. I never was a fan on Christopher Nolan’s take on the Batmobile and I got excited when this new one showed up. I loved how we saw it more in the shadows and it wasn’t fully focused on. While we are watching a visually stunning film, we get amazing music from Michael Giacchino. All of the music fits with the scene that it’s attached to and whenever there is a big moment the music makes it even bigger.
To complete a great film, you need the casting to be spot on. For this film it’s definitely spot on and we get new takes on classic characters. Robert Pattinson completely owns the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. He has a different attitude and a grungier look to him. A little minor flaw I had with it though is the film does obviously focus heavily on the Batman side of things and it would have been nice to have a few more breaks from that to focus on developing a new Bruce Wayne. While the scenes that focused on Bruce Wayne are good, I would’ve liked to see more of it. Pattinson pulled off both parts nicely. Zoe Kravitz delivers a strong performance as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Her and Pattinson have amazing chemistry and whenever they were on screen together, I just wanted even more of it. Pattinson and Kravitz also show the same chemistry with Jeffrey Wright as well. I couldn’t get enough of it. Andy Serkis brings in a reliable performance as Alfred. While we know Alfred as a kindly father like figure, we get a new Alfred that has a bit more depth. He walks with a cane and is grislier like he has gone through some stuff in his life and isn’t just a butler. John Turturro doesn’t have the biggest role as Carmine Falcone, but he might have the scariest of them all. He isn’t like the other villains but if you watch his mannerisms and how he talks closely then you will get what I mean. You won’t recognize Colin Farrell as the Penguin, but you will love the performance as well. It was nice to see that even the Penguin gets an origin story at some sort because most Batman villains are put together as established.
While all those performances are great, I had a love hate relationship with this film’s main villain the Riddler played by Paul Dano. When he first comes on screen I honestly laughed because he looked ridiculous in that mask. This was straight up Zodiac Killer Riddler and I was starting to cringe at it. Not that Dano was terrible or anything, it was because at how over the top I felt the characterization was. It felt a little too real I guess and for a comic book film you could take it down a notch. The distorted voice was another thing that made me question the decision to go that route. I felt like I was watching a Saw film and was ready for him to ask me if I wanted to play a game. Later on, in the film I had a complete turn around and was really digging what I was seeing. There were some changes done and it really shined. One of the few times where I wasn’t really digging something and ended up changing my mind as the film went on.
Overall, The Batman is a fantastic take on the Batman character and legend. It’s refreshing to see a nice detective story with some powerhouse scenes peppered in. Throw in beautiful cinematography and music and visually you have something stunning. The acting and chemistry is top notch and part of me hopes for another film with this cast. Director Matt Reeves clearly had a vision, and it was to make a more realistic take on the character that we all know and quite lengthy at almost three hours of run time, but it is filled with plenty of things going on that your interest will be there through the whole thing. While this isn’t my favorite Batman film, I’m very glad that I ended up seeing it because I would have missed out on a good one.