Vengeance and… Cats?: A short review of “The Batman” (2022).

Having gone through multiple script-rewrites, directors and actors, “The Batman” eventually found itself in the hands of Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson. But the trials were not over. The film’s production was cut short by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the release date was pushed to October, 2021. Production eventually wrapped in February, 2021, and the release date was pushed back to March, 2022. 

All of that being said, “The Batman” struggled as all films being produced at the same time were to finish on schedule. And yet, having had to wait almost an entire extra year for this film, most of us would have been willing to wait even longer for the extraordinary movie we were given. Before this review goes further, I would like to warn readers that while I will do my best to refrain from major spoilers, “The Batman” will be discussed. So spoiler alert!

To start, I should acknowledge that I am an avid fan of the Batman character and I went into the movie with very high expectations. One of the common critiques of “The Batman” is its style and color-pallete. Director Matt Reeves, having clearly taken inspiration from the rest of his career as well as David Fincher’s “Se7en,” creates a Gotham City that is gloomy, rainy, desperate and as writer Nicholas Barber put it: where “humor is strictly forbidden.” 

Other critics have targeted Pattinson’s acting as him being even more “uncomfortable” than he was in the “Twilight” saga, and not as intimidating as he needed to be. However, despite these critiques, “The Batman” still finds itself topping domestic box-offices and pulling in $10.6 million as of Friday, March 18th.

My biggest critiques of the film surround the unsatisfying shift in the Riddler’s motivation and plan before the climax of the film as well as Riddler himself. Paul Dano gives a wonderful performance as the character, but the shift from a truth-driven serial killer to a whiney boy on the internet just wanting to flood the entire city was annoying. However, this film has certainly made its way into my 2nd favorite Batman film and one of my favorite films I’ve seen recently. 

While I went into “The Batman” with high expectations, I also went in worried that I would leave the 3 hour movie disappointed. My worries were quickly dashed in the first 10 minutes. The film opens with a narration from Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne as we get introduced to the most realistic and most comic-book accurate version of Gotham City and Batman. 

I was able to avoid the critics who aimed at the style of “The Batman” as it was the representation of Batman that I needed without being the over-told origin story. Additionally, Robert Pattinson has been growing on me as an actor after his performances in “The Lighthouse” and “Tenet”. Pattinson’s natural awkwardness mixed with his ability to fall into the moody and emotional Bruce Wayne made him the perfect fit for this younger reproduction of the vigilante.

Zoë Kravitz, Colin Farrell and Jeffrey Wright all deserve their own articles for their stand-out performances. Kravitz’s Catwoman provides a confident character to the film and a roadblock to Pattinson’s Batman. Wright’s Gordan gave us a relatable and realistic character in a different way than what Gary Oldman gave us in Nolan’s trilogy. And though he is hardly recognizable, Colin Farrell’s Penguin delivered the funniest lines in the film while also still very much being a mob boss.

Giacchino perfectly molds a score around the individual characters and the story of “The Batman” while also giving audiences the dramatic and gritty tone reflected on screen. Giacchino crafts Batman’s theme with inspiration from 90s band Nirvana, and Riddler’s theme from “Ave Maria.”

Much much more could be said in praise of “The Batman”, but this review ends here. For fans who were disappointed with a cameo of the Joker at the end of the film, there is an excellent Variety article that dives into interviews with Matt Reeves surrounding the character’s role.

Matt Reeves has teased 3 future spin-off tv shows of “The Batman.” I give “The Batman” a rating 29 cats out of 31.

Sources: BBC & New York Post

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