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Film: "The Batman"
The Batman is directed by Matt Reeves and stars Robert Pattinson as the titular hero. It boasts a meticulous, complex execution that hooks the viewer early on and refuses to let go until the finale.
When the first trailer for this movie was officially released online in 2020, I could tell The Batman would be something unique. In a cinematic landscape that has been saturated with an abundance of superhero content for the past several years, it is difficult to find well-made films in this genre that stand out. However, The Batman more than rises to the challenge.
The Batman is directed by Matt Reeves and stars Robert Pattinson as the titular hero. When a prolific serial killer known as the Riddler (Paul Dano) begins to target members of Gotham City’s social and political elite, Batman must navigate the city’s dangerous and unsteady environment. He forges new relationships and uncovers dark secrets in an endeavor to decipher the Riddler's agenda and bring him to justice.
The Batman is truly phenomenal. It’s a new interpretation of a character that we have seen on the big screen numerous times. Even so, it feels wholly fresh and unique, both in how it explores its character and in the story it tells. More so than any other Batman film, this movie is absolutely a mystery. The narrative boasts a very meticulous, complex execution that hooks the viewer early on and refuses to let go until the breathtaking finale. It’s boosted by cinematography that’s as dark as it is beautiful and a score that’s as emotional as it is chilling. All these elements work together to create a very grim tone that isn’t afraid to unsettle its audience, and the film embraces its grit and maturity- I believe it helps the experience feel more engaging and meaningful.
On top of all of this, Robert Pattinson knocks it out of the park with his performance as Batman, delivering a much more introspective, psychologically-fueled take on the character. He’s very stoic, maintaining a silent, collected, focused persona, yet we always have the feeling that he’s still a human being underneath the suit. Additionally, he absolutely seems like a character who has experienced severe loss. He shows that he has the weight of the world on his shoulders and is truly committed to doing whatever it may take to fight crime in Gotham City. The movie focuses on this element of the character in a very interesting and compelling way. It plays with Batman’s motives and pushes him to his limits in a manner that I thought was compelling.
I also don’t think there is a single weak link in the supporting cast for this movie. Zoe Kravitz shines as Seline Kyle (Catwoman), portraying the character with a layered, emotional performance that helps her to feel wholly realized and heavily relatable. Paul Dano is genuinely chilling as the Riddler, and he seems very psychotic and unhinged in his presentation. The hyper-realistic lens this movie puts his character under makes him effectively terrifying at times. Jeffrey Wright gives Jim Gordon a very resolute, committed, persona that perfectly fits the story here. Colin Farrell has a very big, darkly charismatic screen presence as Oswald Cobblepot (the Penguin), and Andy Serkis’ makes Alfred Pennyworth feel every bit the steadfast, unconditionally loyal friend to Bruce Wayne that we know him to be.
The world of Gotham City feels incredibly alive- there are so many different facets and corners of this environment that we see, and each one helps this city feel like a place that could feasibly exist. I love the way the story naturally leads you through these places, providing just as much character to its surroundings as it does the actual people in the movie. I also felt there was a high degree of unpredictability with this story, which helped the experience feel incredibly fresh and kept me on my toes. Additionally, the character-centered conclusion goes in a very bold, interesting direction that I thought had a great, subversive payoff.
The collective hype leading up to The Batman was very palpable among both hardcore fans of the character and casual filmgoers. I am happy to report that this movie absolutely lives up to it. I love how bold it is, and I think it introduces the viewers to an incredibly well-designed take on The Batman world and property. It never once failed to engage me. The last few years of superhero cinema have largely left me wanting more from the genre, but The Batman is an incredibly rare exception that left me fully satisfied.
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