The Batman Review – The Best Comic Book Batman Movie to Date

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The Batman is the living embodiment of a Batman graphic novel.

After losing its original star, its place in the cinematic universe, and other delays to production and release, The Batman will unleash vengeance on the big screen once again. Matt Reeves’s dark and gritty take on the Dark Knight releases in theaters Friday, March 4, 2022. This will be the 8th live-action Batman Film, including Batman v. Superman and excluding Justice League, with Robert Pattinson being the 6th to dawn the cape and cowl in live-action movies.

The Batman isn’t quite an origin film, it takes place in what many refer to as “Year Two.” Batman is a known vigilante among the citizens, law enforcement, and criminals of Gotham, but is not the extremely capable and precise superhero much of the audience knows him to be. Robert Pattinson’s Batman is younger, more reckless, and prone to make mistakes. In the film, he is being strung along by the mad serial killer, The Riddler (Paul Dano), who is killing key figures in Gotham to expose the dark and dirty secret of its corruption.

The Riddler’s plot targets the city’s government officials, key figures in the police department, and numerous figures in Gotham’s organized crime. His plan causes panic and rash actions to be taken by those involved and surrounding the situation and causes fallout on those around it. The fallout is what brings in Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), whose roommate and friend gets lost in the chaos. Kyle works her way into the situation, using her impressive thieving skills and mysterious ties to the underworld to find her friend.

The Batman is a Gotham Conspiracy Movie

The Batman Review

The story of The Batman plays out exactly like a Batman graphic novel. The film follows The Riddler’s plot to expose the corruption of the city that begins with Thomas and Martha Wayne. It wonderfully takes advantage of the audience knowing Batman’s identity to emotionally drag them through this corrupt system of greed and betrayal. While the story continues to unfold and surprise, the viewers are also witnessing the gravity of how deep and connected Batman/Bruce Wayne’s ties to all of it are. Then the viewers watch as it weighs him down causing him to react recklessly and emotionally.

The strongest part of the story, in my opinion, is how it greatly reflects that Batman is in Year Two. He is not the active driver of the story, both in the film and as a literary device. This is not for lack of effort, but he is constantly chasing the Riddler. Just when he thinks he’s caught him, he realizes he has another lap to go. The race to become a better hero to match the unstoppable villain keeps the investment of the viewers high at all times. Making the continued plot twists soul-breaking for Batman, and enjoyably agonizing for the audience.

The Cast is Phenomenal

The Batman Review

The cast of the film is perfect from casting to performance. Paul Dano is absolutely terrifying as The Riddler. The serial killer approach paired with his human persona creates a realistic villain that we have all seen and witnessed in the news. It honestly gives me pause because there will likely be many who latch on to the character the way they did to Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, which is to say an unhealthy role model for people to follow. Regardless, Dano delivered a marvelous performance that radiates pure terror.

In a similar vein, Colin Farrell is incredible as The Penguin. Farrell is completely unrecognizable in this role, not only thanks to the makeup and what I’m assumed are prosthetics, but his performance. Farrell plays a raging storm hidden unsubtly hiding in an ambitious right hand of a mob boss. Glimpses of his ambition and madness are splattered throughout his performance, in what is obviously hiding in plain sight. Based solely on his performance, The Penguin series will be a hit HBO Max series.

Zoë Kravitz steals the show and everything else in The Batman. Kravitz brings a palpable fierceness and guarded emotions of a stray cat to Selina Kyle, who then evolves beautifully into an apex predator. Watching her plot, adapt, and execute is one of the film’s most subtle, but effective triumphs. The film effectively serves as a Catwoman origins story and combined with Kravtiz’s performance undoubtedly will create demand for a Catwoman film or series.

Robert Pattinson as the Batman is easily the most savage take on the caped crusader of all the films. While not the homicidal Batman of the Snyderverse, Pattinson’s Batman is brutal and reckless. This Batman isn’t a precision instrument, instead, he is a blunt object that will wield whatever amount of power necessary to break through any obstacles. He is not the world’s greatest detective that many have come to recognize. He is all Batman and no Bruce Wayne. He may not be at the beginning of his career, but he is at the beginning of learning the scope and effect of his actions. Pattinson’s Batman isn’t the best Batman, in my opinion, but it isn’t due to performance, it’s because he’s on his way to becoming it. Pattinsons’ Batman delivers what people want and continually creates the potential for much more.

The Batman Brings the Panels of the Graphic Novels to Life

The Batman Review

The absolute best part of The Batman is the god-tier use of light, depth of field, and sound. The film is a visually dark movie, which is obvious in the trailers and the subject matter. However, the master use of lighting brings an unbelievable vibrance to the dark. It uses dark and light, like colors on a palette. In the opening scene, they create the image of the rims of glasses suspended in the air. It is terrifying but gorgeous. The impossible hard separation of light and thorough darkness often found in comic book pages is somehow made possible in the scenes of the film.

Then there’s the depth of field which is expertly used to draw and expel the viewers into and out of the story. The control forces audiences into literary red herrings like a sleight of hand master. Combined with the use of light and sound, Reeves and his crew have full control of what the audience feels and thinks.

The Batman is the best comic book Batman movie to date. Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson ripped the Dark Knight from the pages of Hush, Riddle Me That, The Long Halloweenetc. and brought him to the silver screen. The Batman will be in the same conversations as The Dark Knight/Batman Begins. My best comparison and distinguisher between the two franchises is that Nolan’s films are Batman if he was in our world, whereas Reeve’s film is Batman in Gotham City (Batman based on the comic books/graphic novels). It feels real and engulfing, but they’re definitely playing with the rules of a different world. It has a gripping story, remarkable performances, and complete mastery of filmmaking, that is familiar in quality but unique in direction.

My review of The Batman gets a 4.5/5.

The Batman releases in theaters March 4, 2022. Tickets are available now.

MORE REVIEWS: Spider-Man: Now Way Home Review

 

The Batman Review
4.5

TLDR

The Batman is the best comic book Batman movie to date. Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson ripped the Dark Knight from the pages of Hush, Riddle Me That, The Long Halloween, etc. and brought him to the silver screen. The Batman will be in the same conversations as The Dark Knight/Batman Begins. My best comparison and distinguisher between the two franchises is that Nolan’s films are Batman if he was in our world, whereas Reeve’s film is Batman in Gotham City (Batman based on the comic books/graphic novels). It feels real and engulfing, but they’re definitely playing with the rules of a different world. It has a gripping story, remarkable performances, and complete mastery of filmmaking, that is familiar in quality but unique in direction.

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