The Batman Review: A Grounded And Suspenseful Take On Batman

Tired of Superhero movies yet?

While most people have complained about Superhero fatigue, the reality is a large portion of the population that can’t wait to see their favorite costumed heroes in action on the big screen. Despite this being the third actor to play a character in the last 10 years (also see Spiderman), superhero films are not only here to stay but they are getting even longer. 3 hours long to be exact.

The road to Warner Bros ‘The Batman’ has been a messy one. What started as a project that was supposed to be directed, written, and starring Ben Affleck fell apart when Affleck left the project and the role of Batman altogether. 

In an attempt to avoid yet another reboot of the Batman character that has been done to death. Matt Reeves took over the film which was changed to be an origin story of Batman rather than another sequel. Replace Ben Affleck with Robert Pattison and sprinkle on some Zoë Kravitz and there are a lot of things that can go wrong with this movie. 

Fortunately, Matt Reeves steers this film on the rails as the man in charge.

Set in Gotham City, mayor Don Mitchell Jr. (Rupert Penry-Jones) is murdered by a serial killer calling himself ‘The Riddler’ (Paul Dano). Billionaire Bruce Wayne (Patterson), who has operated in Gotham for two years as the vigilante Batman, investigates alongside the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD). Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) discovers that the Riddler left a message for Batman. 

The Riddler claims that Gotham’s elites are living a lie and he will be the one to expose them. He murders Mayor Mitchell which kicks off a series of events that leads to Batman questioning the circumstances of his own past as he tries to stop Riddler from taking out his next victim.

Out of all of the Batman movies that we have seen (and there have been plenty), ‘The Batman’ is the only Batman film that feels like a “Detective film”. The strength of the film is watching Batman in his elements using his detective skills to solve crimes and stop The Riddler. Robert Patterson’s performance is solid as he plays a more subdued version of Bruce Wayne. The issue being the film doesn’t spend much time discovering Bruce’s motivations for being in the shadows. Audiences are left to believe he is still reeling from the death of his parents twenty years earlier. 

There was a lot of concern regarding the film’s runtime being too long for audiences but the pacing of the film is brilliant and keeps you engaged enough into the story that you aren’t checking the time on your phone every 20 minutes.

‘The Batman’ showcases a stellar supporting cast with John Turturro as Carmine Falcone and Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) being the notable standouts in the movie. Colin Farrell is unrecognizable as The Penguin as he dawns make-up and a fat suit bring the storied Batman villain to life. Paul Dano’s Riddler doesn’t have the look of the classic villain but his character is used to sell the film’s moral dilemma of justice vs vengeance. 

The Batman provides a brooding and more calculated take on the character which is a welcome change. The action the movie provides is grounded as much as it is suspenseful. 

Fans may be divided on the Batmobile, but there won’t be much divide on how impressive ‘The Batman’ is leaving George Clooney as the lone fundamental failure as the Dark Knight. 

4/5

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