Director: Matt Reeves
With : Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffery Wright, John Turturro, with Andy Serkis and Colin Farrell
Release date: March 4, 2022
Superhero movies/TV made me tired. It’s becoming a problem. Will I watch them? Opening day. Am I going to stop doing this? Not anytime soon. Am I starting to think that all TV shows and movies have become more like homework and only exist to hold us back for another payoff 5 years from now? Yes, more and more every day, in fact. The streets and alleys of major IP comic book adaptations are lined with more and more trash. Torrential rains and humidity bring trash to filth… filth that emanates from this city like a virus. Makes me sick. Makes everyone sick, and there’s no cure. When I look up to the sky for help, I see no man of steel, no wonderful woman. So I lower my eyes, I look at the shadows. So he emerges, he emerges. The Batman.
After two years of being the caped crusader, Batman is faced with a series of brutal serial murders by a man known only as “The Riddler”. With the assassinations revealing dark truths about Gotham City, the Wayne family, and an even more sinister endgame, The Batman must take to the streets and solve the mystery before it’s too late.
Before The Batman, I did not know the filmography of Matt Reeves at all. So I made sure to take the time to do a little research on his roots as wannabe Hal Ashby and then his transformation into blockbusters with the megahit Cloverfield and two entries from the new Planet of the Apes trilogy. I found myself remarkably taken with him. I love that his roots of trying to find true humanity in drama informed his career as a highly successful franchise filmmaker. Plus, unlike most IP filmmakers, he’s not afraid to put the camera in daring places and, perhaps my favorite quality, he knows how to keep his mouth shut. Silence, both in the sense of simple visual storytelling or a creative choice to have no dialogue for comedic or dramatic effect. the Batman takes all of these great qualities and brings them to the max. Reeves is able to tackle Batman’s inherently ridiculous (capped) crusade, but simultaneously gives it real, tangible weight with real consequences.
“I don’t know if Robert Pattinson is the right choice for Batman”, is a phrase I’ve heard too many times. That tells me two things: 1. You never saw anything he did afterwards. Dusk, and you are missing something. 2. You are not ready for the quality you are going to get.
Mr. Pattinson is amazing, and I put him along with Kevin Conroy and Adam West as the standout performances as Batman. It is certainly the most nuanced of all the interpretations. He’s extremely capable of tackling the complex Bruce Wayne/Batman line. Which means Pattinson is finding the line between being some sort of sociopath with a dangerous and unhealthy bloodlust and being, at his core, a scared seven-year-old boy who can’t escape what happened in Crime Alley. . His only solace lies in beating low-level thugs for better and for worse. It is this very subject which is a central element of The Batmanand the movie does a great job of addressing and building on that same issue.
As for the supporting cast, it’s an almost ridiculous amount of talent. John Turturro (Carmine Falcone) honors us once again with his presence. Colin Farrell (Penguin) is an entirely new person in one of the funniest performances I’ve seen in a minute. Reeves collaborator Andy Serkis returns as Alfred Pennyworth, who has fewer scenes than expected, but perhaps the most heartfelt. Everyone knocks it out of the park with the time it has; they are talented performers and movie stars.
The supporting actors I really need to talk about are Zoë Kravitz, Jeffery Wright, and Paul Dano. Zoë Kravitz is perhaps my favorite interpretation of Catwoman/Selina Kyle. Long story short, she’s less Catwoman and more cat burglar, thess for fun and more out of necessity, which fits pretty well. Then there’s Jeffery Wright’s Lt. Gordon, who had great chemistry with Batman, even though he didn’t have much to do. I sincerely believe that he is the last really good man in this town, and respect me and men went both ways. Finally, Paul Dano is absolutely mental, in the best way. It’s by far the most over-the-top performance, but without spoiling, the scariest part was his characterization. I find his Riddler scarier than most Batman villains because, unlike others, he could, and for the past few years has been a real person. Overall, I loved Riddler’s vision as a Zodiac-type serial killer.
What elevates this film to perfection isn’t the writing (although its use of comedy and subtle self-awareness is an unsung hero of the film) or the something on the way Needle Drop (a pitch perfect) or even Pattisons noir style narration (can’t believe I’ve lived long enough to see narration in a Batman movie) or even the fact that it’s more of a cop/crime thriller than anything else. . Instead, it’s the true talent of the production crew/crew below the line. Greg Fraser’s gorgeous cinematography gives the black color so much depth and makes bold choices in framing that paid off. Michael Giacchino’s score is truly moving and possibly the best I’ve heard since Dune. Don’t even get me started on the production design team. I mean, I can smell Gotham. Imagine 70s New York, like a worst-case scenario city, throw in some gothic influences here and there… now give it Seattle time. Welcome to Matt Reeves’ Gotham. Could not dream better.
One of the best superhero movies. One of the best Batman stories. But above all, a great movie. Rating: 5/5