How many iterations of Batman have we had in movies at this point? I’ll give you a clue: we’ve actually had 10 different actors play Batman since 1943, if we include Will Arnett in The Lego Batman Movie, which we absolutely do. (I’m also including Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman in the animated movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.) Plus, some actors have played Batman multiple times. Since I was young, I was obsessed with Tim Burton‘s Batman Returns with Michael Keaton at the helm, and then when I was a teenager, Christopher Nolan wowed me with his Dark Knight Trilogy. It’s safe to say, I’m a BatFan. But how does this latest movie measure up to the past?
In The Batman, we have yet another actor in the titular role: Robert Pattinson. His Batman is extremely dark, extremely moody, and something of a recluse; a stark contrast to the fancy, outgoing, babe magnet billionaire that has graced the majority of Batman films. This 2022 new release focuses on his attempt to uncover corruption amongst the GCPD (that’s ‘Gotham City Police Department’, not ‘Gemma Collins Police Department’, just so you know), whilst going toe-to-toe with the murderously insane The Riddler (Paul Dano).
How to summarise this briefly? Less of an okay comic book movie and more of a decent detective movie. Whatever it is, everyone almost unanimously giving The Batman 5 stars is extremely dramatic.
Let me break this down in acts for convenience. Act 1: was not bored for one second, but the pace was very, veeeery slow. Act 2: flames, fights, THE BATMOBILE! This is more like it! Pow! Zlonk! Act 3: a mixed bag. Action good, plot muddled. Taking the whole story into account, it’s a good movie. Again, saying it is better than The Dark Knight is a massive overstatement.
On a technical note, what is truly worthy of praise here is Michael Giacchino’s score. I don’t remember the last time I had an entirely instrumental riff from a movie soundtrack stuck in my head. Perhaps it was the last time I watched Star Wars, and you can’t get much higher praise than that. Visually, The Batman is gorgeous in its cinematography, although a lot of it is very dark (literally) and that makes me fear for how good it’ll look on a small screen. Only time will tell on that one, I guess.
When I originally heard of Robert Pattinson being cast, I’ll admit I was quite sceptical. However, he won me round just enough with this performance. The rest of the cast though? Exceeded my expectations across the board. Colin Farrell was especially great, and I’ve heard that Jared Leto should take note that this is how you’re supposed to act in character make up (*cough* House of Gucci). Let’s be honest though, the real MVP is and was always going to be Zoë Kravitz, who oozes star power out of every pore. Michelle Pfeiffer is still my fave forever, but Kravitz certainly earns a spot up there alongside her.
Strangely – although I can’t say I enjoyed every single second – this movie felt much shorter than its runtime states, and grabbed my attention completely in its subtlety and mystery. Technically, quite the achievement. I just wish the plot had been a solid 10/10.
The Batman is currently screening in most cinemas across the UK.
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