Friday 6 May 2022

Movie Review - The Batman

This latest live action depiction of the renowned caped crusader follows his extraction from DC's failed attempt at crafting a shared universe of their own, and now paves the way for a new series focusing purely on Batman as well as the many allies and enemies unique to his comic book saga. This time round, Robert Pattinson takes on the titular role, delivering a fitting, powerful portrayal within a narrative much darker than we've ever seen before, even when compared to Nolan's acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy.

Though The Batman is a reboot, it decides to branch away from merely being yet another origin story, instead dropping us into a world where Bruce Wayne has already spent two years battling crime and corruption within Gotham City, and interweaving necessary backstory into the main plot in a simple yet effective manner. The end result is a tale that readily establishes the origins of Batman and focuses on the development of his skills as a fighter and a detective lurking in the shadows, with his key opponent this time round being a menacing, sadistic serial killer simply calling himself the Riddler (Paul Dano).

Pattinson's casting was met with great hostility, and I myself certainly thought it was an odd choice for such a role; however, for the most part, his performance is one that nicely captures the core nature of the character. Pattinson's take on Batman is chilling and intimidating, thus nailing the persona that such a hero is known for, though his portrayal of Bruce Wayne doesn't do much to truly differentiate these two identities. The script itself inevitably burdens him with such limitations, so just don't expect to really see Bruce Wayne this time round. The darker Batman persona is what Pattinson adopts whether in costume or not, which can sometimes make his portrayal of Wayne himself a little bland and overly depressing. Zoƫ Kravitz also delivers a strong portrayal of Catwoman, while Paul Dano excels as the Riddler, making him an incredibly deranged, menacing villain who can be genuinely unsettling to watch.

The Batman is certainly a story aimed at an older target audience, thanks to a scary and eerie tone as well as some rather graphic fight scenes and intense set pieces; this is something that a large number of fans will appreciate given the similarly dark nature of many of the character's comic book depictions. The film's main flaw simply boils down to its near three hour runtime; there are multiple scenes that tend to drag on for a while which could've easily been condensed, and while it doesn't excessively jeopardise the story's overall strength and emotional weight, it will probably leave some viewers a little bored now and then. For the most part, however, this is an engaging watch and a strong superhero tale that breaks new ground with its overall vibe and intensity.