The latest cinematic incarnation of Bob Kane's famous creation arrives in theaters with Warner Bros. Pictures, The Batman. Matt Reeves steps into the director's chair and handles scripting duties with Peter Craig. Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) has spent the last two years moonlighting Gotham City as the Batman. Sans Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), the police generally don't want The Batman around as they feel he interferes with their line of work.
After Don Mitchell, mayor of Gotham City, is murdered by someone calling themselves The Riddler (Paul Dano), Batman must venture into Gotham City's underworld when the bodies continue to rise, and the sadistic killer leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator's plans become clear, he must forge new relationships with the likes of Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz) to unmask the culprit and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the metropolis.
Let's preface this review with the question on everyone's mind, how does Pattinson do as The Caped Crusader? Simply put, he nails it. While I was never in the demographic for The Twilight film series, I knew that Pattinson had a screen presence early on. As I often mention, Pattinson became a sparkly vampire to take chances later on in his career and still live comfortably.
So, when it was announced in 2019 that Pattinson had the role based on his work in Cosmopolis, The Rover, and Good Time I knew that he would knock it out of the park. Eighties babies remember that Michael Keaton was met with the same backlash when he was cast, however one look at Keaton's performance in Clean and Sober one year prior, you knew he was suitable for the role.
Reeves and Craig's script for The Batman takes place in the second year of Batman's crime-fighting career, allowing Pattinson to bring certain traits to the film. This take on Batman shows us his fears, which Pattinson fully taps into. I want to point out that Pattinson is more about using his brain and less about his fighting skills. Don't get it twisted; there are moments where he delivers a beat down to some petty thugs, but it happens in spurts.
Matt Reeves is setting up his version of the character through relationship-based dialogue and allows nearly everyone a chance to shine. Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, and Andy Serkis all have moments as characters you know and love. However, other than Pattinson, the standouts for me were Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot and Paul Dano as The Riddler.
Farrell disappears in his role of a disfigured, rising crime lord and Selina's employer. At the same time, Dano has a monologue that is award-worthy and flat-out menacing. That said, I want to advise parents that this isn't a Batman film for kids. Reeves has constructed a very dark in the vein of Se7en and crime thrillers of the seventies.
Clocking in at nearly three hours, The Batman is never boring and is quite the cinematic achievement for its director and star. I highly advise you to go into the film as blind as possible to fully enjoy the layers of what will serve as one of the year's best.
Final Grade: A