The Batman: A grim, dark masterpiece

The Batman: A grim, dark masterpiece

By Blake Moren

Staff Writer

This review contains spoilers.

My first favorite superhero was Batman. I enjoyed watching the “Batman” animated series of the nineties. I also really enjoyed most of the “Batman” films directed by Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, Christopher Nolan, and Zack Snyder. 

Heck, I even enjoyed watching the Adam West show of the sixties! Overall, I am a huge Batman fan.

“The Batman,” directed by Matt Reeves, is arguably the best Batman movie ever made. Before I watched the film, I would have deemed “The Dark Knight” the best Batman movie, but “The Batman” may actually take the title of the Best Batman Movie Ever, but that’s just my opinion. 

Just about everything about the film is near perfection.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room: Robert Pattinson. Never could I have ever imagined that the former “Twilight” actor would be cast as the next Caped Crusader.

I strongly dislike the “Twilight” films with a passion, so I wasn’t exactly ecstatic when I heard that he was cast. 

That was until I heard that some of his more recent films had received very positive reviews, including “High Life,” “Good Time,” and “The Lighthouse.” 

I have not seen those films yet, to be perfectly honest. 

I could not be happier to admit I was wrong to doubt Pattinson. 

His performance is absolutely fantastic in this film. His nuanced portrayal of a tortured, broken, and angry Bruce Wayne is incredible. 

His Batman voice is perfect as well. 

In most films and shows, Bruce has two personas: himself and Batman.

Typically, Wayne’s public facade is like a rich irresponsible playboy. His true self is only really known to Alfred and the other members of the Bat-Family, like the many versions of Robin and Batgirl. In this film, Bruce and Batman act exactly the same.

While some may not be too happy with the non-playboy aspect of Wayne’s portrayal, this is a young Bruce Wayne still developing his identity as Bruce and Batman.

So, in future films, Wayne could still develop the typical rich playboy douchebag façade.

To be honest, all of the performances in this film are perfect. 

When I heard that Jeffrey Wright was cast as James Gordon, I thought he was a great choice for the character. His performance as James Gordon is also fantastic.

Additionally, Andy Serkis’s performance as Alfred is also unsurprisingly among the best performances in the film. 

Paul Dano’s performance as the Riddler is perfectly creepy and haunting. While I still have a soft spot for Jim Carrey’s wacky portrayal of the Riddler in “Batman Forever,” this version is far more threatening and terrifying. 

In my opinion, it was pretty ingenious to make this version of Riddler similar to the real-life Zodiac Killer who, like the Riddler in this film, left a Halloween card and letters filled with cryptograms and ciphers. For a grounded, realistic film, this inspiration makes a lot of sense.

Unlike Pattison, I was actually really excited to see Dano’s performance as the Riddler; he did an amazing job in the 2013 film “Prisoners.”

John Turturro’s performance as Carmine Falcone is also great. 

Colin Farrell’s performance as Oswald Cobblepot is another great example of fantastic acting in this film.

The prosthetics and makeup for Cobblepot is super impressive. I also love his Robert De Niro-like accent in this film.

This is arguably the most comic book-accurate Penguin in a live-action Batman film, far more accurate than the version portrayed by Danny DeVito in “Batman Returns.” But, don’t get me wrong, I still love Danny DeVito’s performance as the Penguin.

When Zoë Kravitz was cast as Catwoman, I thought she was an amazing choice for Selina. Her portrayal of Selina Kyle is nothing short of amazing and is now my favorite Catwoman.

This is the best portrayal of Catwoman in a live-action Batman since “Batman Returns” when she was portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, who is also an amazing Catwoman.

Her chemistry with Pattinson’s Batman is fantastic. 

This film is extremely dark and violent.  The film’s tone is very reminiscent of David Fincher films like “Seven” and “Zodiac.” 

This is something I have been waiting for: a dark Batman film where he is actually being a detective, something that was lacking in previous portrayals of the character. It reminded me of the 1990s “Batman” animated series, albeit a lot darker and more violent. 

The action in this film is also another highlight of the film. The hand-to-hand combat was brutal, relentless, and very reminiscent of the “Batman: Arkham” video game franchise.

The fight choreography is fantastic.

This is where I will lend my first criticism of the film, which could honestly refer to the movie as a whole: I wish there were more! That’s how I feel about this film: I didn’t want it to end. But like all things in life, it has to end sometime. 

Another minor criticism is that some of the CGI was a bit unconvincing in a scene where Batman is gliding; his head looks like a bobblehead. Frankly, those are only two criticisms I have for the film. 

This film is almost three hours long, but I barely felt it. It might not be the same for everyone, but I don’t mind films being long if it properly fleshes out the story.

A good example of this is “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” which is four hours long. 

The musical score by Michael Giacchino is absolutely fantastic. Giacchino is among my favorite film music composers, so I had high expectations, and Giacchino fully exceeded every one of them.  All three of his themes, the Batman, Catwoman, and Riddler themes, are all pitch-perfect and fit the overall dark tone of the film.  

The director Matt Reeves, who previously directed “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” is one of my favorite directors. 

I love the direction he and writer Peter Craig took with the story and direction. Another technical aspect that I loved in this film is the cinematography; it’s absolutely gorgeous to look at.

Greig Fraser, who previously worked on “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Rogue One,” and the 2021 “Dune” film, did an amazing job in this film.

Overall, this film is a near-perfect Batman film.

My Rating:  4.8 / 5

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