Review: “The Batman”

The World’s Greatest Detective Gets the Noir Treatment
Batman Movie Poster
Batman Movie Poster
Warner Bros.

The grounded superhero detective movie, “The Batman” is a reboot of the caped crusader produced in 2020 under the vision of director Matt Reeves, who has other big budget movies like Cloverfield and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on his resume. Twilight darling Robert Pattinson takes up the cowl and portrays a younger version of the dark and stoic Batman many know of today.

This version of the Caped Crusader is still learning to be the “World’s Greatest Detective,” and makes a lot of mistakes which helps him to find what he needs to do for Gotham’s safety. Paul Dano takes the role of the main villain of the story as The Riddler, a maniac that has the same goal of protecting Gotham from its evil, corrupt system, but doing it in a way that is morally incorrect. The film takes inspiration from Frank Miller’s comic, “Batman: Year One” which goes back to Bruce Wayne’s first year of taking up the mantle of Gotham’s vigilante. Although “The Batman” isn’t the first iteration of the beloved character, it is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience a Batman story.The story is tied together through a strong, beautiful, and intense score composed by Michael Giacchino.

The film doesn’t begin with a Batman origin story, it doesn’t even begin with Bruce Wayne. The first scene is shown in a first person perspective of a heavily breathing man staring through binoculars at a house. He spies on a family of three, a kid with two parents. As eerie as the scene already is, it is accompanied by an unedited version of the song “Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert. A piece of beautiful music used in a way to capture the uneasiness of the scene, like it’s out of place. The family he spies on is returning from spending the day trick or treating. Then the scene cuts to later that night, with the weather pouring outside. The father of the family is still up with no lights on as the only thing illuminating his face, body, and the room he is in is the news of the political race he is competing in flashes on his television. Once he walks away the screen flashes the background one more time. Revealing that there was a man behind him waiting for his opportunity. With no music it cuts to the family man being attacked, leading to the first mystery of the story and setting up the immediate danger of what the killer brings.

This is a story where live action Batman movies have never been displayed in the past. Robert Pattinson breathes the role of younger, more rageful Bruce Wayne; a man with a lot of money and the will to take down Gotham’s criminals in order to get revenge for what Gotham had taken from him – his parents. He wants to ensure that no one else has to suffer the same fate he had suffered. Dano’s Riddler is a crazy man with an agenda to remove the politically corrupt from Gotham’s system in inhumane ways while leaving, well… riddles for Batman to solve. Both add to the madness of a city already in fear.
One of the most well known scenes in the movie itself follows a scene involving Batman in a car chase trying to capture Colin Farrell as The Penguin. Once the chase ends we are put into The Penguins perspective as he is flipped over in his car, he can’t do anything but watch as Batman walks slowly towards him in the pouring rain. The dark night and the Dark Knight both illuminated by a fire that had been caused by a crash earlier in the chase. The eerie sequence captures the fear of the villain as he sees a man with no fear or regrets, a young Batman with only one objective; to destroy the villain who’s eyes viewers were behind for a bit. This entire scene is accentuated by the triumphant score provided by Giacchino.

Robert Pattison, actor for Bruce Wayne/Batman (Martin Kraft)

This film deserves 4.5 out of 5 stars. For the beloved character we have seen time and time again, this film gives him a fresh new take. It’s the beginning of a new story that many will enjoy, and not just because it’s a superhero film. It is an amazing detective story with beautifully shot scenes. Environments, colors, and effects that stray away from the usual green screen backgrounds many superhero movies are seen with today. A fantastic yet unexpected performance by Robert Pattinson is perfect for Gotham’s vigilante. Matt Reeves was able to encapsulate Gotham and its characters into a film that no other Batman movie had been able to in the past.

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