Directed by Matt Reeves, “The Batman” breathes new air into the life of the world’s greatest detective. Seeping with style and ambiance, the film tells the story of an already established Batman trying to navigate the life of a vigilante as a new threat terrorizes Gotham.
The film is full of outstanding performances that are bound to be remembered for a long time. Robert Pattinson defies any doubts by excelling as both Bruce Wayne and the Batman. He portrays a more tortured and serious version of the character that fits the tone and thematic elements of the film. Zoe Kravitz also delivers a powerful depiction of Selina Kyle, despite not bringing anything entirely new to the table. Colin Farrell completely disappears behind his portrayal of the Penguin, as any semblance of his real self is gone while on screen. Finally, Paul Dano is mesmerizing as the Riddler, managing to successfully bring to life a usually more campy character compared to other Batman villains.
“The Batman” deals with a Dark Knight in his early years. While his abilities and gadgets are established, this Batman has yet to understand his identity as Gotham’s defender. Pattinson embodies the inner conflict perfectly in his search to understand what the Batman stands for. Wrestling with vengeance and hope, the movie explores the power a symbol has on a whole city.
Visually, the film is unlike any other depiction of the character we have seen before. Gotham is dark and brooding, reminiscing of the city from the comics. Cinematographer Greig Fraser, who recently won an Academy Award for his work on Dune, paints wonderful palette of dark colors that highlights the strange beauty of Gotham City. Action sequences are filmed in a superb manner. It is clear that both Fraser and Reeves have a deep understanding of the character and this is reflected any time he is on screen thanks to the masterful cinematography.
An established composer, Michael Giacchino once again delivers a fantastic score. The soundtrack sets the tone for the whole movie with great effect by playing into a more simple and ominous aesthetic. Chilling and at times majestic, “The Batman’s” score rivals Hans Zimmer’s classic score for the Dark Knight Trilogy. Utilizing Nirvana’s “Something in the Way,” Giacchino builds the rest of the score around the natural tone of the pop culture classic.
Not everything is an undisputed hit with the movie, unfortunately. With a run time of almost three hours, the movie drags at certain points. While most shots in the film are long and build up to something, some of these long shots and moments linger for a little too long.
Tone and pacing are two strong suits of the film, which is why it evident when something does not match the rest of the movie. There is a specific scene that sticks out like a sore thumb. This scene attempts to set up future sequels or at the very least expand the universe but realistically fails to connect with audiences. It makes it feel like Reeves’ passionate work is, for the duration of that scene, an attempt at a cash grab.
Nonetheless, “The Batman” is a triumph for fans of the character. The film manages to depict aspects of the character that have not been seen before on the big screen. Reeves’ project is passionate and heartfelt and the characters portrayed feel real and layered. Pattinson shines on screen as both sides of the batman persona. The cinematography and art direction are on point and demonstrate an almost personal knowledge of the character and what he stands for. Even with its drawbacks, the film stands on its merits. While comparisons between other films featuring the character are unfair, it would be unfair to mention that this film is one of the best; a true must watch for fans of the Caped Crusader.