"The Batman is more than worthy of applause"
THE BATMAN (2022)
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"When the Riddler, a sadistic serial killer, begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city's hidden corruption and question his family's involvement."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
Matt Reeves’ The Batman takes you on a journey through the shadows and grime of Gotham City; this 2 hour and 55 minute gripping crime-thriller-epic soars by and had me yearning for more.
The Batman opens with a scene that immediately makes it clear that this film will be an unsettling one. It introduces you to the Riddler in such an effective way, leaving no question that he's sadistic and terrifying. We've seen glimpses of unhinged performances by Paul Dano before, but with Riddler he gets to truly showcase those capabilities, and the results are impressive. Following the shocking opening, we are thrown into the depths of dark, rainy, and grimy Gotham. It’s a pressure cooker of a city just waiting to explode, while immersing the audience in this setting first before Batman shows up on screen.
When Batman appears it's apparent that this is a version of Batman that is already broken. This is year two of the Batman. In a moment of narration he states that he feels he is failing; he wears the emotional torment on his face, carrying the weight of it with him in his physicality and actions. Robert Pattinson exerts this self-loathing, beaten-down Batman as if he's simply slipping into the character's skin with ease. As we know, playing Batman means you're playing two characters: Batman and Bruce Wayne.
When we finally see the caped crusader unmask Bruce Wayne, it's clear that this isn't the typical playboy billionaire version we've seen countless times before. This film’s Bruce has no interest in playing the role of the philanthropist businessman that the people of Gotham expect him to be. In a scene with Alfred (Andy Serkis), Bruce tells him as much. Batman feels more tuned in to who he is and Bruce Wayne feels more like the mask. Pattinson proves he is one of the few actors who can move through the beats of playing Batman and Bruce Wayne.
One of the few people that appreciate and trust Batman is Detective Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), with whom might as well be considered a partner to the dark knight. He even lets him examine crime scenes and help uncover clues as to who the Riddler is and whom he's targeting next. The relationship between these two is both well written and performed. Jeffrey Wright delivers some of the few moments of levity the film allows. Aside from Detective Gordon, the relationship explored with Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravitz) develops organically due to the systematic rhythm of their story over the course of the film that felt earned and respectful to each character.
Coming hot off of the Academy Award nominated Dune, The Batman is beautifully shot by Greig Fraser. Fraser is able to capture a gothic palette with a neon undertone throughout - red, orange, blue, gray, and black are evident in nearly every scene. The action beats and choreography feel realistic, stylized, and brutal. There's a spectacular car chase scene composed mainly of close-up shots that will forever be seared into my brain. All of the performances, direction, and story shown on screen are further improved with Michael Giacchino's sweeping, haunting, suspenseful score; a masterclass in orchestrating that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Matt Reeves’ The Batman meticulously takes you through the events in this story with its methodical pacing with such confidence and style, something that really stood out to me and was appreciated. Crafting a Batman movie in the vein of Se7en and Zodiac with noir film elements thrown in as well, which both expertly balances as a hardboiled detective film and a Batman movie. Some may feel it leans too hard on those inspirations, but it worked for me because I felt it serviced and enriched the story. This film was more interested in showing the dark knight’s impressive detective skills than only combat skills in which we rarely have gotten to see like this before. What Matt Reeves has accomplished with The Batman is more than worthy of applause; it deserves to be put into consideration as possibly the best Batman film made so far.