“The Batman” Review

Kayla Person

In 2014, a Batman film was announced and meant to tie into the previously established cinematic universe created by DC and the Warner Brothers. Over time though, everything about the film was slowly changed until we finally got to this point. Instead of being another DC extended universe (DCEU) film, The Batman was turned into a standalone movie that told a dark story of Bruce Wayne and his early escapades before he became the seasoned detective and Justice League member that so many comic fans recognize today.

When Robert Pattinson was announced to be playing the famous, fictional billionaire, many fans were highly skeptical. As many may know, Pattinson is most recognizable from his days playing the ever-adored and centuries-old Edward Cullen in the Twilight franchise or, even earlier in his career, as Hufflepuff Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Regardless of how he is recognized, many loyal Batman fans were doubtful that he could properly encapsulate the emotional complexity and darkness of Bruce Wayne and his story.

On March 4, 2022, though, Pattinson proved them wrong on many levels. The usual dark energy of Gotham city combined with the ominous narration of Pattinson’s Bruce Waye does a wonderful job of portraying the early days and ideologies of the Gotham vigilante.

Unlike many live-action Batman films, the Joker is not the main antagonist of this film. We never get a true name in the trailers, there is a brief glimpse of a foam question mark in a latte, which was more than enough clarification for fans that the Riddler would be one of Bruce Wayne’s main adversaries this time around. This is just one of many details in this movie that places it so high above the rest. Batman has had various enemies since his initial comic debut in 1939, many of which have made it into modern comics. However, all of these enemies seem to be overshadowed by the Joker, Batman’s most well-known opponent, and long-time arch-nemesis. In this film, we get to see just how demented and challenging some of the lesser-known villains can be.

The well-executed plot of this film is only amplified by its supporting cast; Zoë Kravitz takes on the role of the elusive Selina Kyle or, Catwoman, a skilled thief and long-time love interest for Bruce Wayne in the comics. Jeffrey Wright plays a young, not-yet-commissioner James Gordon, and Bruce Wayne’s beloved butler, Alfred Pennyworth, is played by Andy Serkis.  As far as antagonists go, The Riddler is played by Paul Dano in a phenomenal display of unhinged psychopathy and Carmine Falcone, one of Gotham’s most powerful crime bosses, is played by John Turturro.

The movie itself keeps you hooked from the very beginning, opening with a gruesome scene and flowing into the beginning of a movie-long inner monologue by Bruce Wayne. With a run time of nearly three hours, the movie constantly keeps you guessing and asking questions about who Bruce should truly be fighting. The chemistry between Kravitz and Pattinson is a subtle but powerful one, perfectly showcasing how well they work, but also how much their ideologies and methods clash. With an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and four out of five stars on Common Sense Media, Matt Reeves has directed what I would classify to be one of the best live-action Batman films since Christian Bale’s performance in the Dark Knight trilogy.