The Batman Review – I have to gush straight off the bat, The Batman absolutely floored me. Director Mat Reeves and star Robert Pattinson have delivered a layered, nuanced noir mystery wearing its David Fincher, Seven and Zodiac influences proudly on its sleeve. It unwinds and unravels at such a deliberate and perfect pace that you barely feel the nigh three hours run time.
This time we, thankfully, skip over the done to death origin story.
No crime alley.
No gunshot and no pearls on the pavement.
We meet Bruce two years into his vigilante career and in a very raw, angry and vengeful state. After a series of brutal (and some almost Saw-esque) murders of high profile Gotham figures Lt. James Gordon (a picture-perfect Jeffrey Wright) enlists vigilante The Batman to investigate the cryptic clues left behind. His path takes him deep into a world of conspiracy, lies and corruption that hit closer to home than he could ever imagine.
Look, we all saw the surprise and complaining when Robert Pattinson was cast as Batman out of the blue. What, the twinkly vampire pretty boy as the Dark Knight? Really? (The memes and jokes were pretty good, though.)
For me, I was always confident he’d nail it. Who better to play a moody, rich weirdo than, well, a moody, rich weirdo? His early Bruce is dark, brooding, utterly on the edge and precipice of losing himself and damn near nihilistic and self-destructive. Playing “Bruce Wayne” to the public is barely a consideration as he sinks into the Bat almost 24/7.
One of the biggest factors of my The Batman review and what I did find refreshing is just how much darn Batman we got.
Typically for a series opener, it takes a long first act stretch to really get that first money scene. The costume. The action. Here we meet our new Batman in the brutal flesh almost immediately and have him in costume almost exclusively for most of the first half of the film. This early Batman is very DIY and low-tech. No fancy and outlandish gadgets. No over the top theatricality. Just fear, brutality and vengeance.
Best of all, we have Batman being an actual detective. Finally! I’ve been wanting this my whole life.
The supporting cast is top-notch and is easily the closest to the modern comic book portrayals we’ve ever seen on film.
Zoe Kravitz absolutely shines as Selina Kyle. She carries herself exactly as I had always imagined Catwoman; morally grey and traipsing the line with that dash of sexy and flirtatious energy. Colin Farrell absolutely loses himself in the role of The Penguin. Damn unrecognisable in both looks and demeanour, Oz (as he calls himself), is a “legitimate” businessman running a nightclub that seems to be the nexus of everything untoward in Gotham. I can definitely see why both characters are earmarked for upcoming spin-offs.
Paul Dano’s Riddler dials up the unsettling creepiness in the most wonderful of ways bringing an anarchist serial killer energy that’s a far departure from the Jim Carrey camp we last saw. Operating largely from a distance through clues, riddles and internet streams it was refreshing to have him operate his villainy from a mental pulling strings level and not forced into a physical confrontation with Batman that most superhero fare would go for in the climax.
Speaking of physical confrontations, the action scenes in The Batman are top-notch.
No shaky cam, quick-cut nonsense.
Fight scenes are clean, clear and shot so you can actually see and follow the action. Thank. God. Bruce fights with an unpolished force of nature brutality. Everything looks like it hurts like hell.
The highlight of the film (and slightly spoiled by the trailer) is the Batmobile chase in the middle of the film. I was definitely dubious with the quite standard looking muscle car aesthetic but this thing is a roaring and menacing fiery force of nature that’s damn near Stephen King’s Christine in nature.
I’ve gushed enough, but really quickly from a technical level there are some gorgeous shots in this one and some gorgeous red and orange-hued colour grading. Somehow after Elfman’s OG perfection and Zimmer’s Dark Knight masterwork, we have yet another memorable Batman score and orchestral theme that’s been in my head all week. The pacing and editing are perfect and.. I’ll stop. Just go see it.
The Batman Review
Look, it’s not often I’d want to see a three-hour film in the cinema. Let alone more than once. The second I left the premiere I wanted to walk straight back in for another round.
The Batman is a damn treat top to bottom and should be your excuse to finally get back into the cinema. Don’t wait to stream this one.
- So Binge Rating: 4.5/5
- IMdb Rating: 8.8/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: 93% (Audience score)
Don’t miss any movie news on So Binge.