The Batman Movie Review: A Dark and Brutal Take on the Caped Crusader

By: Marwan Arafa

The Batman has officially released in theaters on March 4 with an astounding $258 million globally on its first weekend. The movie features Robert Pattinson as Batman, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Jeffrey Wright as Captain Jim Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, and Paul Dano as the Riddler. With such an incredible cast, this film delivers great acting and a sufficient amount of emotional moments that truly tap into the character of Batman. 

The character of Batman, is portrayed as a dark, depressed, and ruthless character right from the start of the movie. He is a character who is broken inside and aims to rid the streets of criminals by using fear as a tool. As soon as Batman fans hear the beginning monologue, they realize that the director, Matt Reeves, truly understands the character of Batman. He understands that Batman does what he does because he doesn’t want what happened to him as a child—his family being murdered in front of his own eyes—doesn’t happen to any other child. He does what he does to improve his city because he believes that it can be saved. Using fear as a tool is exactly what Batman does, and fans will be glad that this movie understands that. From a character standpoint, this movie nails it incredibly well. However, many regard Robert Pattinson as unfit to be Batman due to his rather slim physique. His acting skills however, have proven himself as a worthy actor to carry the torch of Batman. 

The other characters in this feature are also portrayed well by their respective actors, as well as understood well by the scriptwriters. The Riddler, in contrast to Batman Forever’s campy and comical version of the character, is portrayed in a very realistic way in The Batman. He is a ruthless, psychotic serial killer who plans on murdering Gotham’s elite who he sees as a cancer to the city who do no good and only corrupt the city. 

The Riddler is portrayed in an incredibly menacing manner by Paul Dano. Dano is no stranger to portraying psychologically suffering characters and villains. He has portrayed these kinda of characters before in many movies, such as Prisoners and There Will Be Blood. Dano himself stated that he had to research a lot about serial killers for his portrayal as the Riddler, and he became very uncomfortable to the point where he had trouble sleeping. 

Catwoman, a tormented yet slick and feisty young woman in search for her friend, which brings her path to cross with Batman’s, is portrayed well by Zoe Kravitz. Batman works with Catwoman throughout the film, and develops a close relationship with her. He also works, more closely than in other portrayals of the character, with Jim Gordon as well as the Gotham police force. It is emphasized again that Batman trusts Gordon and calls him a good cop, amidst all the corruption in the police force and the city. Alfred however, did not work well as a character in the film, for the most part. The character appeared in only a few scenes, yet, when he did appear he gave Bruce some good sage-like advice that he needs. 

The plot of the film mainly revolves around the Riddler’s murders of prominent Gotham city politicians and other officials, who were all connected in a way which Batman has to solve, showing off the detective side of the character, much more than previous movie adaptations have. Executed in a brilliant way, the movie makes the audience try to understand the connection very well. The plot is great, but some may find the last act a little unfitting for the tone of the film as it is on a larger scale than the rest of the movie which makes it feel quite inconsistent tonally. But, after all, this is a superhero film, and a Batman film at that, so the big last act is fitting for a villain such as The Batman’s Riddler. 

While the plot is incredibly intriguing, not everyone will be awake to watch the final scene of the film as the picture’s runtime is an astounding 2 hours and 56 minutes. Usually, if a film is well paced and doesn’t have a color scheme that mostly consists of dark reds and black, it will be fine. But unfortunately that is not the case for The Batman. This should not dissuade you, however; watching a Batman film in movie theaters isn’t something that happens every year. It should be noted that the movie is visually stunning, breathtaking, and surreal, all due to the incredible work of cinematographer Greig Fraser, who also shot Dune and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The beauty of the film is aided by the incredibly moving music of Michael Giacchino, composer of Up, Ratatouille, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, who is able to encapsulate the tragedy and hope of the character of Batman incredibly well. 

In conclusion, The Batman delivers exceptionally well, and general audiences and fans will be enthralled by everything this movie has to offer. From incredible action sequences and car chases to emotional, intimate moments that deepen and capture the character of Batman, this movie has what it takes to make audiences’ movie going experiences memorable. Does it compare to the iconic 2008 blockbuster The Dark Knight? Many will say no, but with at least one sequel and a few spin-off shows on the way, many people may reconsider and become convinced. Overall, The Batman understands the character of Bruce Wayne, and his alter ego, Batman. Following the trend of being fairly realistic—set by Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy—The Batman does not fail in bringing to life an accurate adaptation of a young and tormented amateur Batman who has not been doing vigilante work for that long. An incredible film, and one worth the three years wait.

Overall Score: 9.3/10

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