The Batman ★★★★★
Updated: Mar 7, 2022
Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, John Turturro
Every D.C. superhero movie is held up to the standard set by Christopher Nolan's caped-crusader epic The Dark Knight. Since 2008, the industry has pushed for grizzly and gritty retellings of pantheons of characters in the hopes of reforging this formula for success.
Enter Matt Reeves, after a turbulent production that saw Ben Affleck's Batman hang up the cowl and director's cap before shooting even began. Fresh off the back of his anthemic reboot of The Planet of the Apes trilogy, Reeves dared to go darker and ultimately created...The Batman.
Set after the iconic origin, a young Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) continues his fight against injustice by uncovering an underground network of corruption within Gotham's Elite, all at the mercy of a psychotic serial killer known as The Riddler (Paul Dano).
From its opening scene, The Batman feels fresh and exciting, shrouded in the mystery of who our antagonist is and what his motives are. The brutality and 0-100 performance of Dano really exhales the horror elements of a true movie thriller. The decision to base the majority of the movie's extensive runtime at night constantly adds to the rising tension as The Dark Knight solves each sadistic puzzle left for him.
Pattinson himself humiliates his haters with a Batman that can't be broken. Much like Bale in Batman Begins, he is still becoming the hero and his battle provides an equally compelling journey without retreading common ground. Whilst his introduction may jar the conflicted who swear by Nolan's trilogy, the movie prepares the audience for the next generation, turning the Bat into the hulking unstoppable tank of a human being they always wanted.
Reeves' biggest success is his depiction of Gotham and its inhabitants. Where most superhero movies fail to juggle multiple villains and supporting characters, The Batman weaves each character like the thread in a grand tapestry that depicts the epic picture it becomes. Both Zoë Kravitz and Colin Farrell knock it out of the park with their portrayals of iconic villains Catwoman and The Penguin respectively, adding necessary energy and weight to the story as it unfolds.
Despite the array of adversaries, Gotham never feels fake, firing up the fear that somewhere out there a psychopath like The Riddler or a corruption scandal under the surface of esteemed leaders in the real world is entirely possible.
For some, The Dark Knight will remain seated on it's pedestal of nostalgia, but there's no denying that The Batman took Nolan's schematic and built a jet engine to Jupiter with it. A true masterclass in world building and Michael Giacchino's pulsating theme elevates Pattinson's portrayal to become the movie we both deserved and needed.
The Batman available in cinemas now