The Batman (2022) Review
by Paul (ral)

I've watched The Batman once and I really want to see it again.

It's a rare thing these days to make a Batman film that is almost universally praised across the fandom - and yet here we are. The Batman is that rare thing. It may very well be the Batman I've been waiting on.

Whenever I'm asked 'What is your favourite Batman film?' I reply 'Batman 89,'s not the best Batman film. The best Batman film hasn't been made yet'.

This is a Batman early in his career. Matt Reeves and Peter Craig have written a somewhat complex story (there are a lot of names to juggle around for casual viewers and new comers) that gives us a sense of the labyrinth of power-struggles and corruption within Gotham - very much setting Gotham up as a character itself.

Reeves delivers a film which owes much to previous iterations of Batman and to film of other genres. Fincher's Se7en (maybe unintentionally) is a prime example, from the villain's traps to the rain - there is a lot of rain in this film...a lot. I love rain in films though.

In terms of "scenes" there isn't much here that hasn't been explored before - from low-level criminal's fear of an established, yet new and mysterious Batman to scenes involving Batman taking on rooms of thugs to get to certain individuals, to other characters being reflections and facets of Batman himself - that it could feel like a re-tread at times. And while being similiar, I'm thankful they didn't try and re-invent the wheel - that they didn't try to be different for the sake of it. Having said all that, the script and performances are where The Batman really shines.

The film is full of symbolism - from characterisation, to motive and in the imagery on screen.

The focus on Batman as a detective is great to see. The Riddler's plan and motivations provide plenty of opportunity to show this off and it's done well, although does require huge exposition dumps at points.

One of the biggest set-pieces in the film is the Batmobile chase scene. The on screen reveal of the Batmobile is breathtaking and has to been seen on the big screen. While not as fantastic as in Batman 89, it's just as impactful. The chase scene itself is a little chaotic though (perhaps intentionally) but I found myself lost - unable to follow who was where in the scene, so ultimately that was a little unsatisfying.

Pattinson is incredible as Batman. The acts with an air of mystery, calm, rage, thoughtfulness and intrigue. His performance with Reeves' direction allow us to really get inside Batman's head - providing us with a narration only comic book panels have been able to...ever since Michael Keaton hung up the cowl. You'll note I said Batman and not Bruce Wayne/Batman. It's another testament to Reeves/Craig that they realised Bruce Wayne hasn't existed since his parents death. Bruce is something he needs to learn to be - which proves to be a part of his arc in the film. It's that underlying study of the character that I love. This also isn't a 'talky' Batman - something I've also missed since Keaton. The way Reeves shoots him, is reminiscent to "the sheriff" in a western - mixed with a ghostly, strange apparition.

Zoe Kravitz, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis and Jeffrey Wright all turn in great supporting performances as well.

The chemistry between Pattinson and Kravitz is great on screen. They really are like the Batman and Catwoman we have read in comics over the years. I would go so far as to say the film is as much a Catwoman film as it is a Batman film. Kravitz is fantastic and her Selena is given a great back story and powerful motivations. She really holds her own in this 3-hour spectacle.

Michael Giacchino score is rousing and rumbles though-out the film, complimented by Nirvana's "Something in the Way" (which may have inspired the score - it certainly feels like it). There are also parts that are reminiscent of something out of a Hammer horror film. Whilst the music never reaches the levels of fantastic or crescendo that we've become accustomed to in big superhero movies, save for a few moments in the finale - which also seems to have hints of Neal Hefti's 1966 Batman theme (my son picked up on that immediately) - it definitely works in the film. The main Batman motif will be bouncing around your head for days afterwards.

As I’ve said, this is a 3-hour film. It’s doesn’t feel like 3 hours. The story is engaging, the script entertaining and the performances hypnotic. My only gripes are that the tone takes a major shift in the finale – like a left hook out of startles you, or maybe that’s the point, and some plot points don't have the consequence a bolder script might have given. The finale scene felt a little anticlimactic to me but left me wanting follow this Batman and see where he goes next.

Engaging, exciting and hypnotic. Brave, but maybe not as bold as it needed to be.

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