IMDB – 8.5
Rotten Tomatoes – 85%
Total run time – 2 hours 56 minutes!
Release date – UK 4th March
Director: Matt Reeves
I watched The Batman last night. Got into the cinema and sat down by 7pm. Film started 20 minutes later after a couple adverts, not many. The film ran from that time to about 10:10pm! So, from the beginning of this review, you should know the new Warner Bros. DC movie The Batman is long and it is dark and there is actually more to this than first meets thee eye.
I will highlight firstly that this seems and appears to be a direct continuation of the franchise in that Batman is established and he is not going through any type of renewal. This is a key word in the movie, renewal. He refers to himself at the start of the movie as vengeance. He is also called vengeance throughout by others.
The movie uses a gothic castle as his home! Finally. This is brilliant. The overall aesthetic of the movie is dark and gothic it is brilliant. The architecture being used it old as opposed to new or modern. Even the subway system looks outdated.
It starts with Batman revealing how he operates, how criminals are afraid when they know he may be out in the night, how he fights but cannot tackle every problem. Understandable. Robert Pattinson is also a good look for Batman. He wears black eye makeup a lot of the time, even with the suit on. He is tall and slim. Muscle isn’t really there in one of the scenes where he exposes his torso. I don’t know if anyone else has an issue with this but the suit in the film does give the impression his quite strong and muscularly, although with the suit you can still see that slimness. But he knows how to fight, he uses those skills effectively, being able to take on 5 or 6 fearlessly.
We go to a murder, specifically in this big mansion. It leads us onto the topic of the movie. Why was he killed, who did it and why? We soon learn at the crime scene that there is more to this. It appears there is a card addressed to the batman in which is a riddle. That’s right. The Riddler is back at his sick games. Batman, coupled with commissioner Gordon, is trying to track him down all the while dealing with an elusive and mysterious woman who dresses in black at night, and has lots of cats – catwoman? We never get that information but clearly, she is. Who recalls Halle Berry in that awful 2004 movie? What about Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992 Batman Returns? Zoe Kravitz is now catwoman. And, we get to see the workings of some dark club in which a lot of police, corrupt DA’s have been hanging out.
The club forefront man, is none less than the Penguin. (This movie should have done more with him). But the Penguin, although known, is on the backburner. Played by an unrecognisable Colin Farrell. The club is a mafia run joint. It’s basically a long journey from this point of trying to figure out who the Riddler is couple with trying to expose the corrupt cops. All the while Alfred is hospitalised after an attack and more.
But in terms of character we can see that stories of the past and particularly Bruce Waynes parents death has crept back into the fold, supposedly being some sort of trigger for renewal. I should also mention that at the beginning of the movie, a group of thugs has the face paint of joker. Although it doesn’t have any attention drawn to it, when looking at the Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, it is significant. Even more so when comparing with the death of Bruce Waynes parents. You see movie makers, Warner Brothers and writers should all be familiar with previous films stories. In Joker it is suggested that Thomas Wayne is the Jokers father, and the Jokers uprising is responsible for the death of Bruce Waynes parents. In this film, the Batman, it is suggested that the mafia boss or the Riddler is responsible. At the end of the movie, we see the Joker in Arkham Asylum, so we know throughout the movie that his far reaching affects are still taking place because of the Joker impersonators. This supposed disregard to what the Joker did in the previous movies makes me wonder why they ignored it.
It is all about detective and chase work. The Batmobile makes and appearance as a loud and obnoxious vehicle with huge engine and flaming turbine on the back. It’s small but not quite fast enough. It comes in good use when Batman suspects the Penguin of being an elusive rat with wings that the Riddler is hunting. It is downplayed but the movie operates at a level of genuine sophistication and Batman genuineness. It is true to the character. He is not perfect, he is still not supported 100% by Gotham police department aside from commissioner Gordon. He is still the Dark Knight, just in a more reclusive way. Bruce Wayne is in the negative spotlight throughout as the city want blood for the billionaires corrupt dealings.
This battle is lost and Batman cannot figure out the Riddler’s last clue until it is too late. The city is in jeopardy. It is a laboured love but the movie shows and demonstrates that key element which makes us all love Batman to begin with. He gives the city hope and is a light of positivity. Although the Riddler wasn’t quite as eccentric as Jim Carrey in 1995s Batman Forever, he is still a bad guy and its fun to watch the pursuit.
The run time does seem excessive. It could have been cut down considerably, which I suspect is what already happened. Maybe they could have given us 2 hours 30 minutes? Seems reasonable to say at least 20 minutes of combined footage is not needed, a city shot here or there, or the sound of engines revving.
Congratulations to Robert Pattinson for doing a decent job of making Batman dark, strong and genuinely a force to be reckoned with. Acting is superb. The dark theme, overall gothic tones and a huge amount of visual close up fighting, with little special effects. It is so difficult to rate though.