Batman takes various forms on the silver screen. From a gothic megablockbuster to a dead serious, semi-realistic action movie; from a slapstick farce to a controversial megaflop that got a second chance. And Batman himself? It has had even more diverse iterations over the years than Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, and Jesus. We saw the Dark Knight as mass murdering and Martha muttering Ben Affleck; as hoarsely lisping, emotionally challenged Christian Bale; and we haven’t forgotten George Clooney’s franchise-destroying attempt.
Between all these different versions – where I very wrongly ignore the many cartoons – is there still room to start again with a completely fresh take on Batman? Is there an iteration left, an angle that hasn’t been explored yet? Director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In, Dawn of the and War for the Planet of the Apes) definitely saw a bat-shaped hole he could jump into. After spending three hours in that jet-black lair, there’s no way I can label this new Batman movie as superfluous.
The Batman sits somewhere between the deadly serious, realism-leaning Nolan trilogy and the half-comedy, gothic Burton blockbusters. The film does little unreal or supernatural, but is a fairly serious crime film in which two costumed freaks drive the plot. It somehow feels like a strong continuation of Joker’s (2019) unique style, with a similarly gloomy Gotham City and a similar psychological slant. At the same time, The Batman is much darker, with sets that seem to have been pulled straight from Dracula’s castle and a melancholic soundtrack that cuts to the bone.
The Batman is a three-hour noir detective with a disguised Robert Pattinson as the exasperated centerpiece. It’s quite a heavy film that borders on completely humorless. Such style choices proved unsuccessful in some undisclosed Zack Snyder films. But Matt Reeves knows how to deal with it much better in my opinion, because I never felt for a moment that there was a discrepancy between the believability of the events and the way the characters behave. The Batman is inherently dark, but manages to carry through this choice of style in every possible way: in sound, image, acting and even the action.
As mentioned, The Batman can almost be called a crime drama, in an old-fashioned, classic way. It may seem strange to compare this DC Comics film to something like The Godfather, Chinatown or Taxi Driver, but it’s clear that Reeves was inspired by these crime films from the 70s. filled with morally dubious figures, including corrupt cops and other law enforcement officers, who are almost indistinguishable from the gangsters. You would almost doubt the morality of Jim Gordon and Batman themselves, because it is difficult to remain a good person in this incredibly murky world.
As befits a crime film inspired by the 1970s genre, the cast of The Batman also consists mainly of toxic men, with the women mainly serving as eye candy and damsels in distress† This makes Zoë Kravitz particularly stand out, because she certainly stands her ground as Selina Kyle, a cat-loving, money-stealing anti-heroine. She is indeed Catwoman, although (as in Nolan’s film) she is never called that. Kravitz is comparable to the Michelle Pfeiffer version of Catwoman, only with a lot less self-mockery, leaving Anne Hathaway to bite the dust hard in my opinion. I think she’s exactly what this character should be: an independent, bold cat burglar, who despite – or because of – her less honorable agenda is irresistible to Batman. She is therefore the romantic interest of the Caped Crusader, not Bruce Wayne.
Speaking of Bruce Wayne, Robert Pattinson is by far the most emo version of this millionaire’s son yet. He always comes across as completely annoyed, even when he’s donning a suit to keep up appearances with Gotham’s elite. The corners of his mouth never seem to point anywhere but the deep south. This depressive disposition is emphasized by the smeared black eyeshadow left over from his late-night escapades like “Vengeance.” Well, that gloomy acting suits Pattinson perfectly, so I barely missed poster boy playboy Bruce Wayne. The few emotional chats with Alfred (played by Andy Serkis) are more than enough to cement the personality of this alter ego.
Bruce is therefore subordinate to Batman in this iteration, but you immediately understand why when you see Pattinson in the bat suit. Batpatt radiates a quiet, intense threat, which makes him arguably the most intimidating Batman yet. He only says something when absolutely necessary, and when he does speak he whispers a little, which is a relief after Bale’s raspy panting. Except moments later in the movie, when the Dark Knight is in deep trouble, The Batman seems to be in complete control of every situation, even standing among a few dozen cops who are only too happy to take his mask off. want to hit head. This Batman is not a prankster, action hero or Superman Slayer, no, this is the World’s Greatest and most Badass Detective.
Despite the fact that The Batman is the umpteenth film version of The Defender of Gotham, this is a very surprising, original film. From the first minute, Matt Reeves tries to trick you and until the very end you never quite know what to expect. This is not a predictable blockbuster that throws as much action and sensation at your head on the basis of three clearly defined acts. No, this film comes at the craziest moments with a new twist, an unexpected effect ball.