Chief Copy Editor
“The Batman” directed by Matt Reaves finally hit theaters. It stars Robert Pattinson as the seventh live-action incarnation of the Caped Crusader alongside Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell and Andy Serkis. The story follows Bruce Wayne as he faces off against The Riddler, who, through a series of puzzles, begins to uncover Gotham’s corruption. With a runtime of nearly three hours, it is one of the longest comic book movies ever made.
The film doesn’t waste time with another drawn-out origin story and places the audience directly into Bruce Wayne’s second year as the masked vigilante, where he isn’t concerned with his billionaire persona and has allowed the idea of “The Batman” to consume him, becoming a reclusive outcast. Pattinson’s unstable, relentless, emo-boy performance is unlike anything we’ve seen before with the character, and if you’re still holding “Twilight” against him, you’re simply living in the past! Frankly, it’s about time these movies stopped pretending that a guy who dresses up like a bat and beats people up at night is mentally stable. While being in costume for nearly the entire movie, he’s able to balance subtle emotions, sometimes from his eyes alone, while also portraying the character’s anger and brutality. Pattinson and his absurd jawline were born to don the cape and cowl. Paul Dano further solidifies himself as the go-to guy in Hollywood to play creepy little weirdos with his portrayal of the Zodiac-esque Riddler. To quote one of my favorite tweets of all time: “He ain’t even in costume and look like someone that tell hella riddles for no reason.” From Colin Farrell’s New Jersey accent and unrecognizable appearance to Zoë Kravitz’s never-ending charisma, this is one of the best comic book movie casts ever assembled.
Greig Fraser’s darkly lit cinematography completes the grimy and crime-ridden aura of Gotham, fully embracing noir and horror elements while Michael Giacchino’s haunting score does a beautiful job of setting the tone from the first scene. With a detective-like voiceover and the best onscreen introduction for Batman in just the first fifteen minutes, Reeves shows a complete understanding of how cool this character can be. Battinson’s presence can be felt even when he’s not there, when criminals look down dark alleyways, expecting to see this embodiment of fear walk out of the shadows. Reeves and the stunt team deliver one of the best car chases in recent memory, using mostly practical effects, which features incredible sound design for the Batmobile that shook every seat in the theater. By the end, Reeves shows a mastery of the character through an arc perfectly realized in the closing monologue.
As far as spoilers go, the studio has released an off-putting deleted scene featuring a new iteration of the Joker, played by Barry Keoghan. I would’ve liked to see them introduce a villain we’ve never seen on screen before, but I’m confident in what they have planned based off the grotesque makeup design and casting of Keoghan, who plays one of the most disturbing characters I’ve ever seen in “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” As long as they keep pushing the envelope with horror-inspired interpretations of villains, I’m there for it.
What separates this film from other superhero blockbusters is that it is a product of original ideas, creative freedom and very little studio interference; it’s something studios should take notes from. As one of the few people who finds “The Dark Knight” to be a bit overrated, I have to say I enjoyed this more. “The Batman” is not only one of the best comic book movies ever made, but one of my favorite action-thrillers of the past few years, and it’s the type of blockbuster that makes me excited to go to the movies.