After the mixed received Batfleck and the demise of the DCEU, DC decided to do what they do best – reboot. Thus “The Batman” was born. Another dark and gritty look at the masked crusader of Gotham. “This time, darker than before” and you will say “Is that possible?”. The answer “Yes, yes. It can!”. The mantle of Batman this time is given to Robert Pattinson, which sadly most people know from The Twilight saga, despite his acting success since then. Is his version of Batman better than all those before him? Let’s find out. This is “The Batman”!
So let’s start with the obvious, we have two iconic Batman villains in this movie and one anti-hero. Respectively Riddler and Penguin are represented, alongside Catwoman. It is important to note, that Pattinson plays an early Batman. He is been in the role for 2 years only. That said, he has a lot of character to develop until he reaches the Batfleck level of an old Batman. To be hones, I am not sure if this is a reboot or just another take on a story we already know. There is only one new thing here – Batman solves crimes. Yes, most people might not know, since that has never been presented in his movie appearances, but Batman is actually the “greatest detective” in the comics and animations. He is always prepared for any situation, thanks to his deductive abilities. This movie blends in together very good fight scenes and a noir detective note. It very much resembles Netflix’s Daredevil in both. It is no shame to be inspired.
However Batman has two sides to himself. The broody and vengeful, Batman and the playboy millionaire, Bruce Wayne. Much like almost all Superheroes, one is the true and the other is the secret identity. In order to make a good portrayal, both sides need to be played well. Unfortunately, this Bruce Wayne is yet to understand that he must use his legacy to help Gotham during the day, as well as beat criminals to a pulp during the night. He is gritty, angry and emo Bruce. He just came out of training to take the mantle of Batman and he doesn’t care about Wayne. This is very much an origin story, something we never really had before. Yes, Batman Begins tried to do that, but Christian Bale never really stroke as a young and inexperienced. Even while training, there was no real learning curve. He just beat people, aced lessons and went back to Gotham. Here it is obvious that this Batman is still learning.
Let’s talk about the supporting characters. As mentioned here we’re “meeting” with Penguin, Catwoman and Riddler. The acting of all of them is simply put, superb. There is nothing more to be desired. Catwoman (Selina Kyle) is played by Zoë Kravitz , Penguin is played by Colin Farrell (with a lot of makeup) and Riddler is played by Paul Dano . Gordon, which here is still a detective is played by Jeffrey Wright . As mentioned, all of them perform very well. My only issue is with Penguin. He is portrayed as the average “Italian mobster”. But once again, as these are the early years of Batman, I hope that he will be developed later on. Riddler on the other hand is pretty much on point. Crazy, scheming villain, whose obsessed with riddles. His only flaw is that sometimes he resembles Heath’s Joker. Difference is that Joker just acts crazy while Riddler actually is. His actions are always well planned and executed and here this shows. His motivation in the movie lacks originality, but gives good opportunity for Batman to show his virtues.
Catwoman on the other hand is actually too good. She is an anti-hero, a robber who occasionally crosses paths with Batman and serves as a love interest. She is greedy and selfish. Here, Catwoman sometimes looks too innocent. Again, I hope that this is because she is yet to be developed. As far as acting goes, Zoë Kravitz is great and very sexy, which is required from the gracious Catwoman.
As far as Lt. Gordon, well nothing new here. The pillar of purity in Gotham. One of the few non-corrupt cops, holding high virtues. That is pretty much it. Perhaps the simplest character of them all.
Last, but not least Alfred, played by Andy Serkis. The honorable, ex MI6 operative, that servers as a loyal butler to the Wayne family. Well mannered killing machine. Here he is portrayed more as a peaceful man, but truly shines as a support pillar to the young Bruce Wayne. A very good portrayel, indeed.
Even though, Batman is the main character, the supporting ones are also well developed. The movie is 3 hours long and I will give it credit for that. On the other hand, it is too long. Some scenes are fleshed out. The “noir detective” part takes a good portion of the time and at times it is just too much. There are scenes which can be cut down, without removing major plot points. That is honestly, my only complaint. The action scenes on the other hand are very good. Not many cuts with several one-shots. There is even an homage to Netflix’s Daredevil hall scene.
In the end, the movie is very good. The actors give their best and the characters are pretty well developed. The only complaint remains the slow pacing and the awfully long runtime. That is compensated by the very well choreographed fight scenes. It is clear that this young Batman has a lot to learn and prove to himself, the audience and the fans. Let’s hope that this high quality will remain in future movies. I have high hopes for this “new start” of the DCEU and I hope that this time DC thought ahead and will use this masterpiece as a foundation, rather than cash grab. In the meantime I recommend the movie, as a truly good successor to the Nolan trilogy.