Watchable Minutes: With an extremely long and well earned 3 hour run time, The Batman does occasionally suffer from pacing issues and overly indulgent moody scenes that feel more akin to something from a David Fincher movie instead of a Matt Reeve’s comic book movie.
- Run time : 2 hours 55 minutes
- Studio : Warner Bros.
- Director : Matt Reeves
- Where to Watch : In Theaters
Bruce Wayne is a recluse, spending the past two years fighting crime in the dark underbelly of Gotham city. As the city crumbles around him no matter how hard he tries, there is always somebody lurking in the corner wanting to take advantage of the city’s struggling citizens. One man takes it to the next level, leaving clues to his next crime in the form of riddles targeted directly at the Batman. As tensions between city officials and the criminal syndicates in Gotham begin to boil over, Batman struggles to make sense of the Riddler’s puzzles before time runs out.
The Batman is a modern interpretation of the caped crusader without the constraints of modern day technology. Where the Nolan trilogy was firmly rooted in reality, and the Snyderverse sort of not existing anymore, the Matt Reeves reboot (retool? Alternate universe?) leans all the way into the comic book aspect of the World’s Greatest Detective and puts it all on the table for the audience to see and enjoy. Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Dano, and Andy Serkis bring incredible talent, emotion, and atmosphere to every single scene. Coupled with dark and grim Gotham city crime, The Batman is very atmospheric and the audience can feel the weight of corruption and greed pressing down upon them throughout the entire movie.
An angry and inexperienced Batman enters his second year as the Dark Knight and is confronted with his first true challenge. A man has been murdering seemingly random politicians and mobsters while also leaving clues behind for the Batman to find. As Batman tracks down the deranged lunatic responsible for the killings, the tension in the city is growing out of control. He learns that there are more people involved in this conspiracy and is soon aligned with Selina Kyle, who moonlights as a cat burglar and has a vendetta against one of the most dangerous crime lords in Gotham, but time is ticking. If Batman can’t figure out the Riddler’s endgame in time, there will be chaos in Gotham on a level that even the Dark Knight isn’t equipped to handle.
Matt Reeves, a veteran director of the hugely successful Planet of the Apes reboot trilogy and producer on several other high tension movies like 10 Cloverfield Lane, brings a level of controlled violence and grim determination to the this latest Dark Knight tale. Serving as a writer as well as director, Reeves puts Batman through his paces and earns every minute of that 3 hour run time. Visually striking thanks to the work of Greg Fraiser, Gotham is dark and dreary with thugs around every corner. The massive monuments of corporate capitalism are made to feel even larger and more imposing than the city of Chicago actually feels with the color grading and impressive angles from the brilliant director of photography. The fight scenes are smooth and crisp with weighty punches and solid effects creating a pleasant stage filled with deep and purposeful sounds.
Toeing the line between an R and PG-13 rating, the decisions made by Bruce Wayne and by Batman are familiar and aligned with years of character choices, but are given a fresh and violent coat of paint. Robert Pattinson takes a more unstable approach to the character than the previous portrayals and feels more alive because of it. Paul Dano as the Riddler is a psychotic BTK knock off that has enough of a creep factor to make one’s skin crawl after just a few moments of his screen time. He’s almost too perfect for this role and feels very akin to the Arkham City version of the character. Zoë Kravitz makes every scene her own as Catwoman, with the style and athleticism of that was lacking from the character’s last on screen appearance. Jeffrey Wright and Andy Serkis are two of the best castings for this movie because they both take what is great about previous adaptations and spin it to fit for a 2022 audience. Wright has more grit and dirt as Gordon than Gary Oldman or JK Simmons did and feels more natural for the role. He’s more pessimistic and it matches the tone of Pattinson’s Batman in a more cohesive manner. Andy Serkis has limited screen time but he’s got secrets as Alfred and it helps make the character feel more three dimensional.
Robert Pattinson and his fellow Twilight alumni Kristin Stewart have been trending upwards for a long, long time and both of them have reached the point of total redemption from the much maligned franchise. Stewart excelled in one of my favorite movies of 2021 in Spencer and Pattinson has been on a roll with some A24 work, Tenet and now The Batman. Directed by Matt Reeves and shot by Greg Fraiser, The Batman is dark, moody, and violent. Borrowing much from his action packed and incredibly smooth Planet of the Apes reboot trilogy, Reeves keeps the audience on the edge of their seats for almost the entirety of the three hour run time. With only a few very minor flaws, The Batman has placed itself amongst the upper echelon of both Batman and comic book movies in general.