When the Riddler (Paul Dano), a sadistic serial killer, begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman (Robert Pattinson) is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption. (via IMDB)
After Warner Bros. failed attempt at creating a cinematic universe (DCEU) to rival Marvel’s, I’m excited for the approach they’ve taken with their recent movies where some still exist in that universe while others exist on their own. It proves that not every movie needs to be connected to another. Matt Reeves’ The Batman is a perfect example of how this approach gives filmmakers greater freedoms to display their takes on the characters. While I’m sure this movie could have been shoehorned into the DCEU, because it wasn’t, Reeves was able to tell his own tale about the dark knight, or rather, a tale about Gotham itself.
Batman is often referred to as “the world’s greatest detective.” Outside of The Dark Knight, the majority of Batman movies have failed to properly show this side of the character. The Batman focuses primarily on this facet of the character. The bulk of the film follows Bruce as he solves The Riddler’s puzzles and simultaneous tries to unravel the mysteries of Gotham’s criminal underworld. It’s refreshing to see this side of the character so predominately showcased.
Also unlike previous cinematic incarnations of Bruce Wayne, Reeves’ Bruce is much the opposite of previous versions. Whereas most Batman films portray Bruce as a charismatic playboy, Reeves’ Bruce is more of a recluse, rarely making public appearances. Instead, Bruce Wayne is the mask. To go with that, Batman is in the movie more than Bruce. Again, this is an invigorating approach to the character that I am intrigued to see explored in future films.
The cinematography in The Batman is some of the best in the genre. Every shot was breathtaking, whether it was in close quarters or out in the open. One prime example of this is a chase scene that happens about halfway through the film. The camera switches between an overall view of the chase and close ups of either the Penguin or the Batman. It’s hard for me to put into words how exciting this toggling back-and-forth and the camera angles made the scene. It has quickly become one of my favorite chase scenes in cinema.
For all of the praise I have given the film so far, there is one glaring drawback to it and that’s the length. I have a hard time justifying when a movie’s run time is nearly three hours long and that holds true for The Batman. There are two factors I see that have led to such a long run time: 1) every scene, and I mean every scene, could lose several seconds, and 2) everything deliberately moves slow. For the first observation, at almost three hours long, there are many scenes in the film and each and every one of them feels like they last just a moment or two too long. If every scene was edited down just a few second each, the film could easily lose several minutes of run time. As for the second remark, I’m not referring to the script but more the characters and camera; each character doesn’t move with any urgency. This is particularly true in the first two acts. To go along with this, the camera also moves slowly as it moves towards or way characters, or lingers on them to align with my first point. All in all, the film could shave off several minutes if the characters moved quicker and if scenes didn’t idle longer than necessary.
I thought The Batman was GOOD 🙂 This film embraces Batman’s “world’s greatest detective” moniker unlike any version before. The great cast and beautiful cinematography also help it to stand out from previous Batman movies. However, its biggest flaw is that it is longer than necessary and moves slow (physically moves slow, not the script is slow). I enjoy director Matt Reeves’ take on the character and I cannot wait to see where he takes Bruce Wayne and Gotham City in the future.
Cast & Crew
Matt Reeves – Director / Writer
Peter Craig – Writer
Michael Giacchino – Composer
Robert Pattinson – Bruce Wayne / The Batman
Zoe Kravitz – Selina Kyle / Catwoman
Jeffrey Wright – Lt. James Gordon
Colin Farrell – Oz / The Penguin
Paul Dano – The Riddler
John Turturro – Carmine Falcone
Andy Serkis – Alfred
Peter Sarsgaard – District Attorney Gil Colson
Jayme Lawson – Bella Real
Alex Ferns – Commissioner Pete Savage
Rupert Penry-Jones – Mayor Don Mitchell, Jr.
Hana Hrzic – Annika
Oscar Novak – Young Bruce Wayne
Luke Roberts – Thomas Wayne
Stella Stocker – Martha Wayne