“The Batman” – Gotham at its Grittiest Review

posted March 24, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Jonathan Ross.

Throughout the 83 years that the ace detective of DC Comics has been around, Batman has gone through numerous iterations, each with its unique spin on the iconic vigilante.

There’s the beloved 1992 “Batman the Animated Series”, the critically-acclaimed “Arkham” video game quadrilogy, his laundry list of comic book incarnations and of course, a wealth of movies.

In May of 2019, it was announced that director Matt Reeves was making a new film about the caped crusader simply titled “The Batman” that was said to be a bleaker version of what audiences are familiar with.

Of course, it’s far from unexpected to see a dark Batman story, but this was said to be on par with what many of the comics depict.

What polarized fans were the choice to cast Robert Pattinson as the bat.

Though many dismissed it as a project that would be too edgy to be taken seriously, it began to show a wealth of promise when the rest of the headlining cast was unveiled and fans were treated to the very first teaser at DC Fandom 2020, accompanied by Nirvana’s “Something in the Way.”

What followed was two years of speculation, delays, and leaked set photos. Simply put, audiences wanted to know more. Finally, on Mar. 4th, 2022, “The Batman” found its way to theaters.

As with any adaptation of a comic book series, it’s reasonable to ask whether it adapts one particular story from the source material or tries doing something new.

In the case of any adaptations of Batman, the other burning question on everybody’s minds is who the caped crusader will be going up against.

“The Batman” plays things simple by keeping the main faces to four: Batman, played by Robert Pattinson; Catwoman, played by Zoë Kravitz; the Penguin, played by Colin Farrell; and the Riddler, played by Paul Dano.

The movie is centered around the Riddler more or less playing cat and mouse with Batman who is only two years into his time as a vigilante.

This is still early enough in his career that the police don’t trust him, but in typical style, the bat finds an ally in the apprehensive police lieutenant Jim Gordon who is very clearly at the end of his wits with this case and only forms this alliance out of desperation.

While attempting to unravel the cryptic clues left behind at the scene of the Riddler’s murders, Batman is progressively pulled deeper and deeper into a conspiracy far larger than he could’ve anticipated—one that hits a little too close to home for him.

The film is far from the campy wonderlands of the late Adam West’s Batman and adheres to the more serious film iterations. Speaking of this movie’s style, the new suit looks nice, albeit unremarkable—for better or worse.

The Batmobile is something in this movie, and that’s not about its big scene; that topic comes later. This iteration of the Batmobile has the look of a muscle car that’s been modified a thousand times over and built like a tank.

The cinematography is great and the score is haunting. The theme for this Batman-like the score as a whole—shares certain hallmarks of Danny Elfman’s work in the Tim Burton duology, but it has this intensity to it that goes beyond that particular contemporary.

In certain scenes, it’s punctuated by one specific choice that stands out this time around. When Batman interrupts a group of common criminals on the street, the trope is that Batman picks them off one at a time from the shadows. In “The Batman”, his presence is pronounced by heavy, distinct footsteps as he directly approaches them.

In fact, for most of the movie, Batman is heard before he’s even seen which helps give this version of Batman more of its own identity.

This sounds dumb, but the way the movie portrays it is almost guaranteed to give chills.
The total runtime of “The Batman” is just shy of three hours, and not once did it feel like this film dragged. Speaking of scenes, the fights were pretty brutal. It’s no secret that Batman hits hard, and this movie sells it well.

One very memorable part that’s sure to entertain audience members that love the adrenaline-pumping parts of a movie is the big chase scene that happens roughly halfway through.

The Batmobile is given the spotlight, and it feels like the perfect balance between a prototype and the finished product. It’s tense, exhilarating, and has an explosively satisfying end.

Speaking of which, the movie’s ending—withholding spoilers—leaves everything in a way that sets up a sequel, but also feels like it would be a fulfilling one-off. Although, given how good this movie was, that’s hopefully not the case.

The verdict for “The Batman”? Go see it.

The acting and action are both solid, and the only complaint worth bringing up with this movie is that while the Batmobile chase scene is exceptional, some shots of it were a little too frenetic and jumped around in a somewhat unclear way.

Not to the point where the audience can’t tell what’s going on, but enough so that the placement or movement of certain vehicles may be confusing.

Additionally, there isn’t a lot of buildup for other figures in Gotham fans are familiar with. It didn’t need to fully pledge to the idea of a sequel, but at least provide some room for it to leave a few potentialities with audience members that aren’t overly vague.

For the one that the movie committed, it’s the most unsatisfyingly predictable tease they could have chosen, and it was kind of a letdown. Even if it ends up paying off, “Batman Begins” did that particular character tease better.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Jonathan Ross is a fourth-year telecommunications major. He can be reached at jmr7304@psu.edu