Since I started BSL and OTN, I’ve made it no secret that The Batman was my most anticipated film in years. I’ve posted numerous scoops on it and have shared my excitement regarding the film numerous times and after seeing it last night, I can say that I was not disappointed. The Batman is a fantastic film that lives up to the hype in every way. From the performances to the score, The Batman is Matt Reeves’ masterpiece. Let’s look at why I LOVED The Batman.
Robert Pattinson may have sounded like an odd choice to play the Caped Crusader but within 10 minutes, you see he was a great choice and not someone to be messed with. He is as smart as he is savage and isn’t afraid to break a few bones. Pattinson plays the most depressed Batman yet as we watch him suffer through psychological trauma as well as trying to stop Paul Dano’s Riddler. However, Pattinson also plays a great Bruce Wayne. We see him struggle with sadness from the untimely loss of his parents and this is a new side to Bruce Wayne rarely fleshed out in films. I love what Reeves has done with the character in this film. Pattinson is easily my second favourite Batman, and if the sequels are as good as this film, then he may overtake Bale as my favourite Batman.
Paul Dano as the Riddler is utterly terrifying. His presence is almost Michael Myers-esque at times and Dano’s performance is truly psychotic. He embraces the role and plays the best live-action Batman villain since the late Heath Ledger’s Joker. Each time Riddler leaves a clue for Batman, you step into the Dark Knight’s feet and want to solve the mystery for yourself as well. Dano has been signed on for a trilogy and I look forward to seeing him again as he is a true match for Batman.
Colin Farrell as the Penguin is another highlight of the movie. While it’s clear the character is in his infancy, he’ll grow to become the character we all know and love by the end of the trilogy. Farrell steals the show in every scene he’s in and thanks to Michael Marino’s prosthetic work, Farrell is completely unrecognizable. After seeing this movie and his performance, I cannot wait for the Penguin HBO Max show.
Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman is also a fantastic casting choice. Kravitz is unlike any version of Selina Kyle we’ve seen before. She’s a hardened, tough and violent woman on the outside but has some deep emotional issues on the inside. Reeves’ writing and Kravitz’s performance help make this believable. I can’t wait to see more from Kravitz in this role. Pattinson’s chemistry with Kravitz is off the charts and makes for one of the most formidable Batman and Catwoman duos we’ve seen in film or television.
Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon is another highlight of the film. Wright brings a new take to the character that’s intelligent and more trusting in Batman than other iterations. His chemistry with Pattinson is great and it is clear that Gordon is no slouch and will not bow down to corruption like the rest of the GCPD. Wright’s performance is right up there with Gary Oldman’s.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: This is a 3-hour movie. While that may seem too much for some people, don’t worry, it’s not. Reeves uses the time well and with some great writing, he is able to keep the audience engaged as he reveals this story. The pacing of the film never feels sluggish and I never once thought “when is this movie going to be over?”. That’s a good sign in my books.
The tone of the film is a dark, brooding, depressing neo-noir thriller/detective story, but this isn’t a complaint. It is perfectly suited to the film. I loved that we got to see Batman live up to the name of “The World’s Greatest Detective” and the detective aspect was so good, that the lack of action sequences at times didn’t bother me. This film was story-driven, and I loved it.
The cinematography in the film is some of the best I’ve ever seen in a superhero film. Dune cinematographer Greig Fraser is magical with a camera and every shot is a work of art on its own. Fraser’s shots of the Riddler appearing in the shadows, the aerial views of Gotham and the use of the car mirrors are brilliant and a treat to look at. This is a visually beautiful film and rather unexpected for this genre.
The music used in the film is excellent. Michael Giacchino’s score for the film is ridiculously good. It’ll get stuck in your head instantly and I think it will become as iconic as Elfman’s legendary theme. In addition to this, the use of “Ave Maria” throughout the film might be the greatest use of music in the movie. It takes one of the most beautiful songs known and turns it into a terrifying cue for chaos to ensue. This somber version of the song will haunt you long after the film is over.
This film also did something that worried me at first. It had multiple villains and yet it did not feel packed at all. In the Reeves-Verse, Gotham is almost like a well-oiled machine. Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin, Falcone AND a fan favourite villain (in case you somehow still don’t know, I won’t spoil it here) are all in this movie but it’s not too much. Thanks to the film’s 3-hour runtime, every character has their time to shine and to develop their arcs for future films.
So yeah, I really liked The Batman. It’s definitely in my top 2 Batman flicks and the more I think about it, the more I love it. This movie is a love letter and passion project for director Matt Reeves and it’s clear everyone involved in the film had a great time making it as well. While it’s not perfect, I can easily overlook some minor issues because this film sucked me in for 3 hours and I cannot wait to see what Reeves does with this universe next. Thank you, Matt Reeves.