Robert Pattinson stars as The Dark Knight as Matt Reeves takes on The Batman in a new epic masterpiece to grace the big screen.
Let’s start with the most important thing first. There is not a mid-credits scene. However, the film contains an end-credits tag.
Pattinson crushes it in the role. I know that many people weren’t sure what to make of his casting given the Twilight background. If you’ve seen Good Time, Damsel, and High Life, you know he can act. What I can say is that this is a darn fine performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Unlike other Batman movies, there’s a smaller focus on the Bruce Wayne side than the Batman side. This is what ultimately helps to set this film apart from others. It’s certainly early in the year but I think Robert Pattinson will be among the acting frontrunners by the end of the year. If it takes Matt Reeves directing a film to get Pattinson to do a superhero movie, I’ll take it!
Reeves co-writes his script with Peter Craig and brings us one hell of a Batman rogues gallery. Much like The Dark Knight Rises, Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz) is more anti-hero than villain. The film features Edward Nashton/The Riddler (Paul Dano), Oz Cobblepot/The Penguin (an unrecognizable Colin Farrell), and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) among the rogues. There’s a host of other corrupt Gotham officials, elected or otherwise. Wayne butler Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis) and Lt. Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) are also on hand. When it comes to the supporting performances, Paul Dano is gunning for the Oscar. One could argue that his role in Prisoner offered a preview. Time will tell if he follows Heath Ledger in winning for Best Supporting Actor but this is not Jim Carrey’s Riddler.
We haven’t quite seen this version of The Caped Crusader just yet. Where Batman Begins draws a lot on his origins, The Batman sees the crime-fighter in the second year of the job. Most importantly, Reeves borrows from Spider-Man: Homecoming in that we don’t see how his parents die. Matt Reeves already has an uphill climb because he has to find a way to stand out from Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan, much less Joel Schumaker. He’s really got a 1970s vibe going on, one that is beautifully lensed by Oscar nominee Greig Fraser. It’s dark but not too dark. You can see the Watergate influence on some of the character names.
Michael Giacchino, like Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer before him, gives us another memorable theme for The Batman. If you’re looking for a John Williams-esque composer to score your film, Michael Giacchino is the guy. Reeves already had a previous relationship with the composer. This is their fifth film together. Many composers will start composing after they have a chance to look at any footage. Instead, Giacchino started working on the film well before he ever saw a piece of footage the film. He’s well on the way to an Oscar nomination.
There is so much history when it comes to this character. Never mind the previous films. The comic books feature no shortage of cinematic potential. Gotham City alone features an iconic rogues gallery but Matt Reeves an company do justice on their first go-around. Production designer James Chinlund and company bring the city alive. I love that they find a way to include Chicago in the film. Thank for this! They also find a way to incorporate Lower Manhattan into Gotham’s skyline. London can’t be allowed to have all the fun! Fraser’s lensing brings the city alive and it’s just dark enough for fans to enjoy. The cinematographer goes for practical lighting whenever possible to embrace the full authenticity of the film. Despite the Adam West/Burt Ward series, this is a dark character but we need to be able to see the film, too!
Say what you will about Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Roland Emmerich but this film is right up there with The Dark Knight. I knew Matt Reeves was the right guy when I saw his amazing Planet of the Apes trilogy. There are not that many franchises that deliver a trilogy where every film is good but that was among the rare ones. There are few comic book films that are worthy of being called the Best Picture of the Year. The Batman is certainly up there when it comes to the mantle. To say it simply: The Batman is an epic masterpiece.
There’s no telling just what The Batman will do at the box office. It is a three hour movie so this will certainly affect the number of theatrical runs. What I can tell you is that you should see this on the biggest screen possible. The only advantage of being able to watch the film at home later on will be pausing the film while going to the restroom. I can tell you that I waited until the end of the screening. In my case, press screenings do not include trailers. However, I do not recommend drinking a large amount of liquid because you’re gonna feel it around the 2 hour mark, if not sooner.
If you’re like me, you were always going to see the film. However, there are others that might question the need for a reboot. And then you have the cultists rooting for the film to fail. I understand where their concern in this IP-driven world. Both Batman and Superman have been around forever and they’ll be making movies or series about these characters until the end of the world as we know it. In a case of synergy, the studio is planning for two sequels and two spin-off series.
DIRECTOR: Matt Reeves
SCREENWRITERS: Matt Reeves & Peter Craig
CAST: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Jayme Lawson, with Andy Serkis and Colin Farrell
Warner Bros. will release The Batman in theaters on March 4, 2022. Grade: 5/5
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