THE BATMAN (2022) - THE SPOILERS
RUNNING TIME: 2 HOURS 56 MINUTES
RELEASE DATE: March 4, 2022
DIRECTOR: Matt Reeves
WRITERS: Matt Reeves & Peter Craig
CREATED BY: Bill Finger...(Batman created by) & Bob Kane...(Batman created by)
Robert Pattinson...Bruce Wayne / The Batman
Zoë Kravitz...Selina Kyle / Catwoman
Jeffrey Wright...Lt. James Gordon
Colin Farrell...Oz / The Penguin
Paul Dano...The Riddler
John Turturro...Carmine Falcone
Peter Sarsgaard...District Attorney Gil Colson
Luke Roberts...Thomas Wayne
Oscar Novak...Young Bruce Wayne
Stella Stocker...Martha Wayne
SPOILER ALERT: THIS REVIEW IS FULL OF SPOILERS
For those who know me, you know that my favorite all time character in the whole wide world is Batman. I can see the good in almost every interpretation and get very defensive if I feel that the material is mistreated in any way. It’s just me. With that said I will begin this review saying that I went into this review with high expectations which I usually hate to do but with all of the hype behind this movie and all the time that seems to have gone by due to COVID shut downs and such, it is hard to do. I also will not be comparing Robert Pattinson’s Batman to any other Batman. I am going to separate him from the rest. This is what I’ve always done and how I will always do it. There has been a lot of debate especially lately about who is the best Batman. We have a new Batman this year with Pattinson and we are getting both Affleck and Keaton next year. I say let’s just feel lucky that we have so many Batmen in our life time. Now with that little rant out of my system, let’s get into The Batman.
The Batman opens with the title covering the entire screen. We meet the mayor of Gotham City from a distance as he is being watched. This is the first interaction that we have with The Riddler as we watch him kill the mayor right in the beginning of the movie. What a statement. What a powerful opening to the movie. We get to see the deranged state of The Riddler by seeing the violence that he seems to come very easily to him.
Then we get the narration from Bruce/Batman as the film begins to open. I am going to get this out of the way, this is a Batman movie. We really don’t get much Bruce in this film. This is year two of his crime fighting career and he hasn’t realized the need of the Billionaire Playboy yet. Being Batman is all that matters to him. At this point he takes us through the fact that he cannot be everywhere at once. Its impossible and he knows it. He needs to be fear and he needs to be the shadows. He needs the criminal element of the city to fear a dark alley and believe that he could be behind any corner. They need to know that if they see the signal in the sky, they will feel the fear knowing that The Batman is out there. This is played out perfectly as the film shows this right up until we finally see him. It’s on the train station and all we hear is his foot steps in the darkness as thugs look on not knowing what to expect. You can see the tension in their eyes as they wait for him to finally step out of the shadows. Then when he does, it’s all over for them. There is no question to what the tone of the film will be a d you know your in for a ride.
After this first scene, Batman sees the signal and knows that Lieutenant Gordon needs him. Batman then shows up at the mayors house with Gordon. Police are upset by this and question Gordon while trying to get rid of Batman. Gordon just says “he’s with me” and some of the cops just accept that. It’s great. James Wright is a great Gordon and completely owns this character without taking anything away from those who have come before him. He was one of my favorite actors in the film. Batman does check the scene and then notices the mayors son. Their eyes lock and you just feel Batman’s understanding of the boy’s pain. This connection becomes important later on. Now so I don’t just type out the entire movie like I wish I could just do, we will talk about what I loved about this movie as well as some things I thought “why would you do that”. The “why would you do that” are not really things that I didn’t like but wondered why they would stray from the source material.
Let‘s get into things that I loved about this movie. First, the new Gotham is just a dream come true in my opinion. They filmed in Liverpool, London, Glasgow and Chicago to build the new Gotham and it paid off in a huge way. It was like the pages of the comic hit the screen. Camera contact lens were also another favorite of mine. These lens had microphones in them too. These lens came in handy whenever Batman would look over a crime scene. He would go back to the Batcave and re-watch the video to help him deduce the case. It was a smart plot device. The Iceberg Lounge is in the film is it’s feature film debut. I found myself very excited to see it even though it looked nothing like the source material but made complete sense. Colin Farrell is unrecognizable as the Penguin and is an absolute joy to watch in how he plays the character. I know about the HBO Max series that they are working on and it needs to be made fast. Penguin is a great character. Another great thing that I noticed was that it shows how Batman seems to disappear. Most of the times he jumps on his motorcycle he removes his cowl and put on a motorcycle helmet which hides his entire face. We see this when he follows Selina after he sees her during his first trip to the Iceberg Lounge. Another smart way of doing things.
The Riddler is down right scary. Even though the video of him killing the commissioner seems very close to The Dark Knight and Heath Ledge’s Joker, you feel genuinely terrified for the commissioner. Even later on with the abduction of the DA, The Riddler is very unsettling even with the screen blurred out during the whole ordeal. The Riddler is psychotic and a genius at the same time. He makes for a great villain to push a Batman detective story which is the best detective story for a Batman film in my opinion. Throughout the film you get the feeling that The Riddler believes that he is working with The Batman which we get confirmation later on in Arkham. Just great planning here. Towards the end we are introduced with the idea that The Riddle was inspired by The Batman. This cause an emotional disconnected between Batman and Riddler that was very fun to watch play out. Paul Dano really honed in on his acting ability and gave a stellar performance.
Jeffrey Wright and Robert Pattinson have great chemistry together a Gordon and Batman. There is a scene where Batman and Gordon are questioning Penguin and their back and forth is flawless. This happens right after the Batmobile chase scene. Oh my God the Batmobile is like a creature in itself. We first see it as it starts u. Batman is in the car as Penguin Is trying to decide what he is looking at. It’s so loud and menacing. I was in awe.
The suit has completely grown on me since they debuted the first look. I’m obsessed with it. The mask give off an sort of inhuman quality especially in the dark. The glider function is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s very different than just using the cape as a glider and it works really well.
This movie also marks the first time that it is mentioned that Thomas Wayne had to give emergency surgery to Carmine Falcone in the Wayne’s estate. This is something from the comics that I never thought would be brought up in the movies. It felt great and nostalgic to hear it come out in the film. Speaking of Falcone, John Turturro is a great Carmine Falcone. He embodies everything that you want to hate about the character while still making him somewhat likable. When learning that Carmine is Selina’s father, you get to understand a lot about her due to him not being around for her.
Speaking of Selina, Zoe Kravtiz was just wow in the role. She embodied Selina Kyle and gave an incredible performance that I’m sure will make everyone talk. I hear about a spine off series for HBO Max centering around this version of Catwoman set in Bludhaven. This series has all of the factors it needs to be great. I can’t wait to see it. The big take away is that Selina gave Carmine the scar on his face just like the comics. Great attention to detail.
Andy Serkis played a very different Alfred than we’re used to. One one big complaint about him is that we did not get enough time with him. He wasn’t really in very much of the film and I feel that we would have gotten more out of more Alfred
We also get to see Batman use Venom used in this film. We all know why this is exciting to a lot of us. This eludes to Bane joining the franchise. Bane would be a mighty adversary to this Batman. I need to see it. Speaking of villains, I hope you all caught The Joker at the end. True we could not see him very well but now we have something to look forward to.
Unfortunately there are a few things that I did not particularly care for. Pattinson’s Batman voice or lack of one for that matter was issue one. With this film taking place during year two, I know that he is still working out how Batman will work. I’m hoping that he has more of solution to this in the second film. I would catch slight voice modification during this agenda. Hopefully it will be worked out before the sequel.
I also didn’t like that they made Martha an Arkham. They wrote her as having serious mental issues which Thomas wanted to keep a secret. He tried to pay off the reporter Elliot but he would not have it (hush). Carmine Falcone ended up helping Thomas by killing Elliot but not with the approval of Thomas. Thomas was a good man. This is what ended up getting them killed. Thomas refused to play ball with Falcone.
There was no Wayne Manor or actual Batcave. I missed both elements and hope they are brought into the sequel. Let’s face it, this is a new franchise and rightfully so. I also missed the traditional batarang. Sure it was cool to see Batman take the batarang off of his chest but I was always a fan of smaller batarangs in the utility belt. The chest version did not get much play in this film and I hope to see them more in the next one.
Now let’s get to the nitty gritty. Do I recommend this movie? The Batman was a great Batman movie and I see this Robert Pattinson being Batman for a long time. With that said, The Batman is not part of the DCEU and exists in its own universe but still part of the multiverse. This Batman will coexist with the others. if you have not seen it, you need to now. I need to see it again. Hey, I’m the guy who came home after watching The Batman only to watch Batman Begins right after. Enjoy!