Easily the most anticipated movie of the year thus far, “The Batman” from Matt Reeves is finally getting its debut on the big screen. Pattinson dons the cape and cowl, and he is surrounded by a stellar supporting cast in this darker take on the caped crusader. Without going into spoilers, this story centers on Batman working through the clues of a deranged killer known as the Riddler (Paul Dano) who is killing political figures. This will expose corruption in Gotham while also peeling back layers of the city’s political history and much more.
As I get older, I can always appreciate when a superhero film is given a darker tone. Batman has certainly been given this before. “The Dark Knight” trilogy, and even to an extent the Tim Burton films were all darker in tone, while still capturing the comic-book essence of the character and his world. With “The Batman” Matt Reeves pulls this off again by focusing on the case of a serial killer thus exploring more of the methodology of the world’s greatest detective. Which I loved. These moments where the film feels like a gritty crime-drama with a callous atmosphere is when the film shines. It’s moody, slow paced, but continually interesting, and it’s pleasantly thought provoking as you feel the build-up slowly rising.
The world of this movie blended with the imposing scoring, and the selection of music create easily the most immersive on-screen adventure for the character. So, the overall aesthetic is amazing for creating a rich playground for these characters. This is where the cast comes in to pump their hearts and souls into the characters. Pattinson is naturally the focal point and I think he shines in the role. I think he captures the inner torment and pain of Batman and Bruce Wayne, and he’s able to convey so much through his eyes. His dialogue delivery is crisp, don’t get me wrong. But when Pattinson locks his eyes onto something it feels like he is speaking to you, and it was impressive.
I do feel the story mildly shoehorns him into a single dimension for the most part. I wanted to learn more about him so I would say this aspect was a bit of a let down because as a character study it falls short. Now, we don’t want the same origin story over-and-over, and this one does tweak the narrative. So, with these tweaks I felt a bit more backdrop, a bit more world-building, and more laying of foundations could have been beneficial, and easy to accomplish given the run-time pushes three-hours.
This results in the supporting cast almost overshadowing Batman to an extent. Kravitz was awesome and easily the best Catwoman since Michelle Pfeiffer. Farrell is unrecognizable and perfect as the Penguin. Dano delivers a world class level of sadistic evil as Riddler, and Jeffrey Wright is a scene stealer. Some of the most compelling moments in this movie are when Wright and Pattinson are sharing dialogue while working the case.
Cinematically this is easily the most beautiful Batman movie ever made. The cinematography is immaculate, and the use of lighting and shadows is subtly striking. It creates a charming noir vibe to fit the mood of the plot nicely. It does feel a bit overly cold and bleak at times. The emotional pulse of the movie does feel a bit singular, however it isn’t a deal breaker. There are so many pristine shots of action to feast your eyes on. Even simple conversations between characters are set to delicious backdrops and while it doesn’t feel like a complete package. It is a kick-ass one as we get to see a version of this character that feels similar to the other adaptations, but completely stands on its own as the foundations for future films to come.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.