Movie Review: The Batman (2022)

A reboot of the film series, though currently unrelated to all other film versions, The Batman is a 2022 superhero action film directed by Matt Reeves, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The Batman (Robert Pattinson) is in his second year of vigilantism but does not feel to be making much of a difference, when a man calling himself The Riddler begins targeting various political figures of Gotham City. Working alongside police Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and nightclub waitress Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravitz), the Batman must contend with both an untrusting police force and the underworld crime lords Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and Oswald Cobblepot, aka The Penguin (Colin Farrell). Andy Serkis also stars as the Batman’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth, as does Jayme Lawson as Bella Real, a mayoral candidate for Gotham City.

+ Pattinson absolutely fits the bill as a younger and less experienced Batman. He doesn’t quite yet have that voice-obscuring ‘growl’ that Batman should have, and he certainly gets his ass kicked a fair bit. Pattinson’s turns as Bruce Wayne are also a lot of fun, simply because they are so sparse and kind of pathetic, which contrasts nicely to the playboy version of Wayne we will surely come to see
+ though it’s no secret who the Riddler is portrayed by, I’ve left him unnamed simply because the movie makes it out to be some sort of twist. The early mystery surrounding these Riddler scenes are almost like the good parts of Jigsaw in the Saw franchise, and the influences from Se7en are hard to miss. Colin Farrell is absolutely incredible and near unrecognisable as Penguin; I had to ‘letterbox’ through my fingers to even see it was him, as only his eyes gave it away
+ the film has one particularly good monologue from Batman right at the beginning, which shows how the low-level criminals of Gotham react to seeing the bat signal in the sky. It was perhaps my favourite moment of the whole movie, as it features a shot of a dark doorway that I think sums up Batman as a concept better than any amount of gruff mumbling or diving off of buildings ever could
+ there is some good action, with the hand to hand stuff taking lots of inspiration from the Batman: Arkham series of video games. There is also a cool car chase you have probably already had spoiled in the trailers

– the plot is garbage and makes no sense. There is so much set up and so many posited questions, but the third act is dumb and seemingly threw that all away for a poor action scene. Despite taking cues from some of Batman’s best known stories, this always felt like a mish mash of various other, better Batman events
– director Matt Reeves said this film was intended to show the “World’s Greatest Detective” side of Batman, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Batman himself is often only able to solve any riddles due to dumb luck, or ridiculous failures of internal logic — and before you get on me about Batman and internal logic not often going hand in hand, at least most of the time there is a campy explanation or ‘so bad it’s good’ gag to connect the dots. Here, it was just blind luck
– there is no standout musical moments; there is no single scene that you will remember, ironically or otherwise (I’m looking at you, “Big guy for you”); there is no big sequel hook or moment that will make you froth at the mouth for an immediate follow up – it all just feels like we’ve seen it before and seen it better
– the entire movie is much too long. At over 176 minutes long, there is just not enough to keep you interested. I have a personal opinion on how I would have made it wrap up nicer and cut out almost 30 minutes of unnecessary stuff, but I might save that for another time

> I do not like the way all Batman movies have to have this ‘air of realism’ about them. Batman is not a realistic character, no matter how you try to spin it

Should you see this film: Probably not. There is not enough bad here to say it deserve a viewing, in the way The Dark Knight Rises or Batman & Robin can be made fun of; there is not nearly enough good to say it’s worth watching over Batman Begins or The Dark Knight.

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