I’ve been following The Batman since its inception. Ben Affleck was initially set to write, direct and star in his own take on the film until Justice League‘s troubled production prompted him to exit all of those duties. All hope for the film seemed pretty bleak until Cloverfield and War For The Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves became attached to helm his own take on Gotham’s Caped Crusader. Reeves was rumored to be creating a Batman franchise that would exist outside of the DC Extended Universe which would be heavily inspired by classic detective, noir-style films. Everything from there sounded great and the the only thing left was casting a brand new Batman. The casting process lasted months and Reeves and Warner Bros. finally landed the perfect Batman in Twilight alum Robert Pattinson. The British actor was one of the top two contenders to replace Affleck, eclipsing X-Men star Nicholas Hoult for the role.
After getting Robert Pattinson to headline The Batman, Matt Reeves and the rest of the team behind the film now had to round out the remaining main roles. Zoë Kravitz, Andy Serkis, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, John Turturro and Paul Dano were all cast as leads opposite Pattinson, with Dano playing Edward Nashton, a.k.a. The Riddler, the film’s main villain. The film’s plot was kept somewhere deep in the depths of the Lazarus Pit but the project was rumored to focus on Batman in his second year of being a vigilante while being heavily influenced by the classic Long Halloween story. The Batman would finally debut its first trailer during the first DC FanDome event in 2020, shocking fans with its gritty detective-driven plot and Pattinson’s brooding portrayal of Bruce Wayne, ultimately intensifying the hype behind the film. Fast forward two years and The Batman is officially set to be released in theaters this week. I can finally say that I’ve seen the film and I believe it rivals The Dark Knight.
Directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman is easily the must-see movie of 2022. Heavily inspired by classic noir-type films like Chinatown and The French Connection with a dash of David Fincher’s Seven sprinkled throughout, the DC Films production pulls off what previous Batman movies couldn’t by highlighting the titular vigilante’s detective skills. The film is very narrative-driven so if you’re expecting a big action spectacle with heavy CGI, that isn’t what you’re getting here. The Batman is a neo-noir work of art. Not only does the film live up to the hype, but it also far exceeds expectations. With a lengthy, near three-hour runtime, Reeves and Pattinson get to really strut their stuff. The world that Reeves builds sets up some pretty interesting stuff and will make you excited for the future of Batman.
Robert Pattinson’s The Batman starts off by introducing us to the latest incarnation of the Dark Knight and Gotham City. Batman narrates the film as he finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation which puts the vigilante in over his head. The case marks his first run in with The Riddler as he kills his first victim on Halloween night and it just so happens to be the Mayor of Gotham City, plunging Batman, Jim Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department into a really insane case that gives off Seven vibes. Along with a well-done murder mystery, The Batman also features everything you‘d want in a Batman film. A corrupt GCPD, Batman honing his detective skills, amazing villains and some downright masterful performances.
The Batman introduces us to a very different Bruce Wayne, played by Pattinson, and this version of the character is influenced by the late rock star Kurt Cobain. Pattinson is perfectly cast and sells his performance with his eyes. The actor has this natural brooding demeanor that bodes well for his take on Bruce, but it’s when he’s opposite Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle that he really starts to find his footing. Kravitz is no stranger to comic book movies, having played a superhero in X-Men: First Class, and now she gets to toe the line with the iconic Batman villain/love interest Selina Kyle. Kravitz was easily one of the highlights of the film for me. She’s mysterious and a total badass. She absolutely feels like she was born to play Catwoman. The film also introduces us to a brand new Commissioner Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth, played by Jeffrey Wright and Andy Serkis, respectively. Wright and Serkis each bring something new to the table all the while respecting their characters’ history.
Every hero is only as good as his villain and The Batman has a few to spare. Paul Dano makes his DC Universe debut as The Riddler and he’s a force to be reckoned with. Dano’s Riddler mirrors the kind of psychopath that you’d find today. He’s one of those guys that hides behind a computer and a mask to commit atrocious acts. Dano gives us one of the most intriguing villains we’ve seen in a comic book movie in a long time. The film also features Colin Farrell as The Penguin and it’s a brand new take on the character. Farrell plays the DC Comics icon like a classic mafioso-type and delivers my favorite performance in the film, with John Turturro a close second. Turturro takes on the role of Carmine Falcone, a.k.a. The Roman, for The Batman. The actor hasn’t done a serious role like this in quite some time and his work here was well worth the wait. Falcone is the Kingpin moving the pieces behind-the-scenes and he’s easily one of the best things about The Batman, despite his limited screentime in the film’s trailers.
Overall Thoughts: The Batman is the best time I’ve had at the movies in quite some time. It’s the most Batman movie ever. Robert Pattinson crushes his take on the character and I can’t wait to see what he does in the role next. The film also features a surprise cameo that you won’t see coming. If I were a WB executive, I’d let Matt Reeves flesh out this universe any way he wants. I think Pattinson’s Batman will become a household staple in no time. I definitely recommend seeing the movie on the biggest screen possible.
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