Reeves’ The Batman doesn’t feel like a superhero movie
I need to preface this by saying that my first Batman film was the masterpiece that is The Lego Batman Movie. I am, however, well acquainted with the story of Bruce Wayne (who isn’t at this point?) and exposed to certain storylines through video games and comic books.
Directed, co-written, and co-produced by the American director known for films such as Cloverfield and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, this 2022 reboot is a much more grounded character study of not only the caped crusader but its notable cast of characters as well.
The film follows Bruce Wayne, played by Pattinson, in his second year as the masked vigilante known as the Batman. But as you follow along with the opening scene and his narration, you can’t help but notice that he’s different from previous iterations.
This Bruce Wayne isn’t a charming, intelligent, playboy philanthropist — quite frankly, he’s a loser. (That’s what a pandemic does, right?) The first time we see Pattinson as Bruce Wayne, he’s a brooding yet observant young man whose life is clearly consumed by his vigilante activities. The Wayne Manor is large, but starkly lit and inhabited by Wayne, his trusted butler Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis), and a maid who only appears twice in the film. Bruce Wayne only makes a public appearance a few times in the film, and one of these times, he’s actually questioned about his commitments to Gotham.
This Batman’s adversary is the Riddler (Paul Dano), an intelligent yet twisted young man whose victims are Gotham’s elite. The commentary conveyed through the Riddler is quite fascinating, showcasing the key players of corruption and injustice in the city, while also reeling in audience members with thought-provoking (and life-threatening) puzzles left around the city. The parallels drawn between the Riddler and Batman are also intriguing.
While trying to uncover the Riddler’s plan, we are also introduced to a young Catwoman (played by Zoë Kravitz) with her own personal motivations that make her cross paths with Batman; Oswald Cobblepot (played by Colin Ferrel), a suspicious club owner; and officer Jim Gordon (played by Jeffrey Wright), who plays the role of an active partner to Batman throughout the film.
Reeves does a brilliant job of exploring every character’s role in the greater events occurring within Gotham City while also maintaining a solid narrative pace throughout the film’s three-hour runtime. With every clue Batman uncovers, Bruce Wayne is forced to confront a truth about himself and his legacy that he may have hidden or not known about.
The story isn’t the only great part about the film — the cinematography, music, and editing are all wonders of their own that further improve the quality of the movie. There were a lot of shots or musical moments that made me silently lose my mind in the theatre.
It is notable that Reeves crafted this movie with a lot of care, as every component is well done but does not outshine the other. I’m looking forward to the universe that Reeves continues to build, and until the next film, I will be reading Batman: The Long Halloween.
The Batman is playing now in theatres. You can watch the trailer here.