Don’t make a Twilight reference, don’t make a Twilight reference…
The Batman was released in 2022 and was directed by Matt Reeves. The film stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jeffery Wright as Lt. Jim Gordon, and Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Some time into his reign as Batman, Bruce Wayne, with the help of Lt. Gordon, must solve his most radical case yet, when a mysterious terrorist known as Riddler, starts killing off political members of Gotham. Things escalate when Riddler starts leaving letters at crime scenes to The Batman.
On-screen, Batman has been portrayed by several different actors, each with his own interpretation of the masked vigilante. Here, Pattinson brings with him an element of descent. It’s clear this portrayal is one in which the Bruce Wayne we see has lost himself behind the bat symbol. He doesn’t hold his punches either, making for some intense action. Christian Bale’s performance is still my favorite, but Pattinson definitely knocks it out of the park.
An aspect of the character that’s spent more time on is his detective skills, with him investigating multiple crimes scenes, and the unique approach to the storytelling escorts the character motivations forward in fascinating ways.
The best and worst part of the script is how much it takes from other material. There’s an argument to be made that it almost takes too much from well-known detective stories, but the question in this regard comes down to: Does it apply these elements well? To answer that question, much like my Facebook relationship status in middle school, it’s complicated.
In an action scene near the end, or what you think is the end (we’ll get there), the staging and lighting are ripped nearly straight out of previous Batman adventures. Moments like this are cool and work for the movie, but it’s hard not to think about the other movies, which can take you drastically out of this story.
While there are multiple fun moments of action and character-building sequences, there’s a point near the middle of the second act where it feels more like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to see Batman do this?” instead of having an actual story. In a way, that’s the point of this part of the story but, ironically, it takes away from the narrative.
The worst part of the script structure is the 3rd act. Like, wow. It seems like Reeves had multiple cool ideas for the ending, and instead of just going with one, he decided to throw each at the wall to see what sticks. Because of this approach, the movie just keeps going, not quite sure when to stop. It’s really annoying.
There are some moments in which white privilege and other political ideas come up in conversation and don’t add anything to the story, or character development.
Also, there’s this one part where Catwoman says they’re going to find another character, and then like 5 minutes later she does, and there’s no explanation as to how she found this character or got them to a place where Batman would find them.
Major props to this film, for actually using the song from the trailer, in the movie, in this case, Nirvana’s “Something in the Way.” It actually applies to the themes presented throughout the story which is always nice to see. The score, on the other hand, by Michael Giacchino, lacks substance, other than the intimidating main theme. They definitely realized how good the main theme is, as they use it a little too much, and over the runtime loses the initial impact.
The atmosphere of Gotham is very gothic, and at times, the movie almost feels as if it takes place in the 1940s. The set design, costumes, and even lighting help give this movie an original, yet, familiar feel. Batman’s costume in particular is very cool to look at, and has gadgets that are well set-up, and used in practical ways.
Similar to the riddles Batman must solve, The Batman is full of elements that are meticulous and require much thought. What keeps this story from being A-list is just that, the story. It has too many ideas all jumbled around, and almost feels like 2 separate, yet intriguing, stories. I’m glad I was able to watch the latest incarnation of the caped crusader, but I don’t feel bad about waiting nearly a month from its initial release to do so.
[My Grade for The Batman is a B-]