Kevin Conroy once said, “I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman!” Today’s review is Robert “Rob” Pattinson’s Batman. Before we dig deeper, let me explain the backstory of Batman’s latest adventure.
In 2014, a year after Ben Affleck was casted as Batman in the DC Extended Universe or DCEU for short, WB announced a solo movie was in the works with Ben as The Caped Crusader as well as directing and co-writing the script with comic book writer, Geoff Johns. The project was originally intended to be set between “Batman VS. Superman: Dawn Of Justice” & “Justice League” with Batman going toe-to-toe with Slade Wilson/Deathstroke with help from Batgirl and struggling to let go of his late sidekick, Jason Todd who was brutally murdered by Joker. Due to personal and professional issues ranging from alcoholism and his divorce from Jennifer Garner, Ben announced he’s no longer onboard as Batman after Joss Whedon’s theatrical cut of Justice League bombed at the box office.
Plans were scrapped in favor of creating an original take of Batman not set in the DCEU. Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) signed on as director, writer and co-producer. When Robert Pattinson won the role as Batman, many fans were skeptical over the casting of Rob, due to his involvement in “The Twilight Saga,” which he admits is one of the biggest regrets of his career. Thankfully, Rob bounced back in serious roles in “Good Time,” “The Lighthouse” & “Tenet.” Originally planned for a 2021 release, a combination of reshoots and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced WB to delay the film to Spring, 2022.
The Batman is officially out in theaters. The film is the first installment of an alternative universe labeled, “Earth-2” set outside the DCEU. Two sequels are in development. Colin Farrell will reprise his role as Penguin in a spin-off series. Zoë Kravitz is also getting a spin-off as Catwoman. Let’s pretend Halle Berry’s clunker never happened. One more thing, Michael Keaton will reprise his role as Tim Burton’s Batman in “The Flash” set in the DCEU.
Today’s review contains no SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler review. Is this the best Batman movie in recent years? Let’s find out shall we?
Good & Evil Aspects
Good: Robert Pattinson did a surprisingly awesome job for his performance. Like Heath Ledger’s posthumous Oscar winning portrayal as Joker in “The Dark Knight,” Rob defied audience expectations turning a frown upside down. Rob is also a longtime Batman fan. He watched every movie, Bruce Timm’s cartoon and read the comics. Rob’s performance is on the same grade as Christian Bale, Kevin Conroy, Ben Affleck & Michael Keaton.
Other Cast Members such as Paul Dano, Zoë Kravitz, Andy Serkis, John Turturro & Colin Farrell all did an excellent job for their respective performances.
Fun Fact: Zoë voiced Catwoman in “The Lego Batman Movie.” This is her second time playing the femme fatale.
Matt Reeves did an incredible job directing a new take on The World’s Greatest Detective.
Action Sequences contain awesome stuntwork showcasing Batman’s combat skills taking out thugs, a chase scene with The Batmobile and don’t forget Catwoman’s agile fighting skills.
Cinematography is on the same level as Wally Pfister’s camerawork in The Dark Knight.
Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Star Wars: Rouge One, Spider-Man: No Way Home) orchestrated the music. Hearing Batman’s new theme reminds me of the soundtrack from Bruce Timm’s cartoon.
Both Practical & Computer Animation were combined to bring an immersive Gotham City to life. Stuntwork reminded me of the Arkham games. Use of video walls were directly influenced by “The Mandalorian.” Like Christhoper Nolan & Jon Favreau, Matt effectively blends both Practical & Visual Effects.
Chemistry between Batman and his allies serves as the main highlight. His interactions with Alfred, Jim Gordon & Catwoman help him endure his biggest challenge to uncover Riddler’s intentions.
Character Development involving Batman. As the film progresses, he endures difficult challenges in his second year as a crime fighter.
The Tone retains a dark atmosphere previously depicted in “The Dark Knight Trilogy.” Don’t expect this movie filled with jokes. Just a straight up action-adventure neo-noir detective thriller.
Primary Themes are Trust, Deception, Corruption & Legacy. Each one is handled maturely.
To prepare for his new take on Batman, Rob read graphic novels, “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth,” “Shaman,” & the controversial limited series, “Damned.” He cites Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans & Chris Hemsworth as inspirations. Rob confirmed his Batman voice is inspired by Willem Dafoe’s performance in “The Lighthouse.” Bruce’s reclusiveness is based on late Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain. That explains “Something in the Way” was played in the teaser trailer.
Zoë prepped up to play Catwoman researching felines as well as watching Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance in “Batman Returns.” Zoë did the character justice. Halle Berry’s movie is a big pile of excrement overflowing kitty litter.
Prosthetic Makeup and a fatsuit transformed Colin into Penguin. Jeffery mentioned he didn’t recognize Colin on set. Heck, he even went to Starbucks donning the suit and makeup.
Pacing is slow. Don’t expect this as some typical non-stop action film. If detective stories are not your cup of tea, you’re gonna be bored as heck. For me personally, I never felt miserably impatient. My eyes were glued to the screen.
Besides Batman, every character plays a significant part carrying a three-hour cohesive storyline.
Matt mentioned the film is influenced by the works of Alfred Hitchcock, crime thrillers from The 70s such as “All The President’s Men,” “Chinatown,” “Taxi Driver” & “Klute.” He also said the film features elements taken directly from notable Batman related graphic novels such like Frank Miller’s “Year One,” “The Long Halloween” “Noel” & “Zero Year.” Like Rob, Matt is a huge Batman fan.
Costume Designs are given a realistic vibe. The Batsuit’s design is based on Black Ops tactical gear from The Vietnam War. The gadgets really come in handy.
Unlike “Batman Begins” this Batman doesn’t rewind back to Bruce’s training. Instead, he starts his second year as a crime fighter facing new challenges like the video game “Batman: Arkham Origins.” I think it’s fine to skip Bruce’s origin story. We’ve already seen his parents shot in countless versions. We get it. Easy as tying your shoes.
Unlike Jim Carrey’s goofy portrayal in “Batman Forever,” Paul’s version of Riddler is based on The Zodiac Killer. His motivation is crystal clear.
The Batmobile is drastically different from Christopher Nolan’s version. This time, it’s a muscle car. Reminds me of Mad Max’s car, The Interceptor.
There’s a big twist. I refuse to give away info. You’’ll have to see for yourself.
Evil: I couldn’t find nothing wrong with the film. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a new iteration of Batman as flawless as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
As of 2022, The Batman is perhaps the best live action Batman movie in recent years since “The Dark Knight Rises.” If you’re a longtime Batman fan like me, get off your keister and support this movie immediately. I’m officially onboard for a sequel. If Mr. Freeze is the villain, I hope he gets a dignified portrayal and move on from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s eyerolling one-liners. I can’t wait for Michael Keaton’s epic return in The Flash.