The city is in a darker situation than ever. Crime is all around. Corruption is at its worst. Gotham City is becoming a cesspool of criminals and thugs. While its people struggle to survive in the city, a vigilante strikes fear among those who disrupt peace. DC and Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Batman takes on a the vigilante’s classic story and keeps him grounded and behind the shadows. Here is our review of Matt Reeves’ The Batman starring Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, and Paul Dano.
Is The Batman a sequel, a reboot, or a requel?
Before I headed to the cinema for the press screening for The Batman, I had to confirm where in the continuity the movie falls. Apparently, The Batman is a reboot. It is an original story and another take on the vigilante. This separates it from the existing universe or DCEU with Ben Affleck as the Batman/ Bruce Wayne. Now that it is all set, let’s get on with the review.
Right from the opening credits, the film already set itself apart with its tone. It had this goth/ noir feel that is a great distinction, if you ask me. This also puts the story on a more grounded level where the enemies are criminals and not forces from outside Earth. That being said, it does not mean that the problem are minor. In fact, Carmine Falcone and Oz/ Penguin prove that men can be just as bad as alien forces.
The Mystery and Puzzles of Gotham in The Batman
What is a Batman movie without his villain? Right from the start, it has been set that The Riddler (Paul Dano) will bring chaos to Gotham. This turned out to be a great choice as things get cerebral and less brute. We actually see the Batman put his detective skills to use by taking in clues and solve the riddles of The Riddler to save another crook’s life.
One thing that I enjoyed in the movie is the odd connection between The Batman and The Riddler. It is almost too similar to what he has with The Joker. Except that The Riddler’s motivation is more on getting revenge against society as a whole. Dano’s incel and deranged take on the villain is a stark difference from Jim Carrey’s in the 1995 movie. But then again it makes sense here as the film is embracing a totally dark and brooding mood.
The cat-mouse dynamics of The Batman and The Riddler felt uneven, however, as the latter did more of the offense while the former took on a more passive stance. To a point, it had me wondering: “who really is the focal point of the film?”
The Batman and his Roster of Nemesis
For a running time of 2hrs 56min, The Batman packs a lot! It was obvious that director Matt Reeves took a lot of inspiration from the grounded narratives of the vigilante and crammed them in this film. In fact, the movie had four of his nemesis: Carmine Falcone, The Riddler, Catwoman, and Penguin. The Riddler and Falcone being the bigger players this time around. True enough, the movie can be overwhelming to regular moviegoers but the film was paced evenly to keep one’s attention in. The action sequences are top-notch and reignited the joy of watching Nolan’s The Dark Knight series. It was explosive yet believable. And the cinematography and music are chef’s kiss. If anything else, I wish the movie did not skimp on a little brightness, literal brightness. It was almost too dark!
The Batman is another fresh take on the vigilante. It brings back the character to his detective roots and keeps the conflict in a more grounded setting. It distinguishes itself apart from the other Batman movies made in the past and opens the door for a more in-depth look into this world. Pattinson and Kravitz shine the brightest as The Batman/ The Vigilante/ Bruce Wayne and Catwoman/ Selina Kyle, respectively. Despite the long running time, I found myself saying during the closing credits, “I WANT MORE!”
The Batman opens on March 2 in the Philippines.