Directed by : Matt Reeves
Written by : Matt Reeves & Peter Craig
Starring : Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, Paul Dano, John Turturro, and Andy Serkis.
Another year – another Batman movie. After Ben Affleck unceremoniously hung up the cape and cowl due to personal reasons, the gauntlet was then passed down to Twilight alumni himself, Robert Pattinson.
With Cloverfield and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director, Matt Reeves at the helm. Audiences were promised a Batman story that focuses on the caped-crusader’s investigative skills — harkening back to his moniker of ‘world’s greatest detective.’
Reeves fulfills that promise in spades. The Batman is a 3-hour neo-noir investigative thriller with the dark knight at the center of it all. Presented in a gruesome, grungy aesthetic thanks to Reeve’s meticulous Fincher-esque direction, along with Greg Fraiser’s satisfyingly gritty cinematography.
The city of Gotham carries the same aforementioned grungy aesthetic, with almost every scene set in the dead of night. A throwback to the classic Arkham games with a hint of Nolan’s Chicago from Batman begins.
Robert Pattinson plays a dark and damaged Batman with only a few hints of Bruce Wayne within himself. While Pattinson’s cold and brooding nature can be overbearing to an extent — it’s consistent to the narrative that’s being crafted. Zoë Kravitz plays a striking Selina Kyle, sprinkled with a hint of vulnerability, and Jeffrey Wright’s chemistry with Pattinson as Jim Gordon is some of the best we’ve seen since Nolan’s trilogy.
While The Batman is filled to the brim with iconic Batman villains such as Collin Farell’s Oswald Cobblepot and John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone. The main rogue is The Riddler – terrifyingly played by the immaculate Paul Dano. Like Pattinson, Dano spends most of his time behind a mask, but his intimidating persona and Reeve’s clever technique of incorporating The Riddler’s…well, Riddles — makes him a great antagonist that truly tests Pattinson’s Batman to his limits.
However, where the Batman succeeds in its thematic elements and pleasing aesthetics. It severely falters in pace and structure — as it pitifully struggles to justify its almost-3-hour runtime. The film is constructed around a peculiar 4-act structure in an attempt to draw out its investigative intrigue — unfortunately it only results in a meandering finale that leaves you unsatisfied.
The Batman is aesthetically pleasing to watch and it’s elevated by Robert Pattinson’s excellent portrayal of the World’s Greatest Detective. But it’s unfortunately crippled by lousy pacing and a convoluted final act.