Everyone reading my site knew this was coming, based off my opinion of Batman. After watching the movie, I conclusively feel he’s an outdated superhero that has no bearing on today’s modern world. The ideals upheld in Batman are of a bygone era, of the poor sucking the teat of the rich and gladly accepting this arrangement as fact of life. We praise this downtrodden billionaire masquerading about as a vigilante with rage issues, and we want to see his journey transform from the above to one that helps the less fortunate. Yet they will never portray that part of Batman on the movie screen, because that means the end of him, his arc would be complete. You would no longer be begging DC executives to make more movies, to fatten their pockets while poisoning your mind.
There will be spoilers of The Batman in this review. I thought long about making a review without them, but the story is so flawed in certain spots that it needs to be brought out into the light. Given that, there are plenty of aspects that I’ll give praise where praise is due. As far as movies go, this was a pretty good one and I can’t wait for the next inevitable reboot because originality and executives are like oil and water.
Robert Pattinson was an excellent, dare I say, perfect casting choice for Batman. He had physical presence in every scene, although I could hardly understand what he was saying in his whispered tone – I wish Batman could enunciate his words clearly. I liked that he was more akin to European action stars rather than American action stars with their jacked muscles looking like bodybuilders. Where would he have the time to maintain that physique? He wouldn’t, and so I enjoyed seeing Pattinson’s coiled fury more than usual portrayals of the character.
Colin Farrell as the Penguin was a joy to watch having seen his hot ones interview. Knowing how free he felt with the prosthetic mask on, he almost disappeared entirely into the character. There were a couple times I swear his Irish accent came through, and they were during emotional outbursts from his character. Other than that, I look forward to seeing him on his own show.
The sound design, and the props, along with the car… The best part of the movie, and it was worth sitting around nearly 3 hours in the dark to hear that engine roar in glorious harmony on magnificent speakers. I could watch a 3 hour version of Batman’s own mad max style chase with that car, and enjoy it all on account of hearing that raw power as it tears down the streets. Same with the motorcycles, the guns, and Batman’s gadgets. The sound team was on point and should win some awards for their efforts.
Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman. She, herself, wasn’t bad. She was excellent eye candy, and it’s great to see latex outfits getting more public approval by being in a mainstream movie. Her character added little to the story, you could remove her existence and the plot could move along just fine, would probably shorten it to a better runtime too. The casting choice reeks of politics and being a diversification pick because they were too scared to cast a black actress in the role. Mixed actresses and black actresses are not interchangeable and they both have their own battles to fight, and this wasn’t a win for anyone. Either keep Catwoman traditionally white/Italian or make her black. Pick a battle and stick with it.
Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne was absolutely terrible, and yes the plot called for it, and yes, I understand the dichotomy displayed in this version, still doesn’t change the fact that he’s a socially awkward emo. The raccoon eyes and constant hair over the face were bad choices. I understand that the Director was going for a Kurt Cobain, rock star type of recluse but that didn’t come across well.
The action sequences suffered immensely past that first initial fight in the subway which is a shame because Pattinson could do much more if he were given better material. It never felt like he won fights because he’s a superior fighter, but rather that his opponents already had mental deficiencies to begin with because everyone fires their guns from the hip and nobody considers to aim at his leather BDSM mask.
To me it feels like Director/Writer Matt Reeves was too preoccupied with making a story about the world’s greatest detective that he forgot Batman is also a superior fighter. He was far too focused on that detective noir/thriller aspect, that everything suffered as a result. The Riddler’s riddles were solved in under 30 seconds by both Batman and the audience, and so laughably simple. Batman never once actually stopped anything, being no different than a police officer investigating a crime after the fact. He’d only ever react after something happens. Batman would let a mass murderer that he witness firsthand commit atrocities go free for some laughs while he drives off after the real bad guy. Penguin killed at least 15 people on that highway but it’s okay because he gets tied up and has to waddle humiliatingly like an actual penguin. Matt Reeves understands how to get justice in the world.
And here comes my favorite part, from my own thoughts on the character of Batman, linked at the start:
They need to attack the system at the top. The governments run by the corporations, those at the very top need to feel Batman’s fists and wrath. Then he can supplant his own puppets, his own workforce, use his wealth to ensure that those corrupt are taken out and replaced with better men. And even then, power corrupts – absolutely. And then they need another reminder, and Batman steps in again.Hilarious
You’re telling me that nearly two years ago I guessed the entire central plot of the movie except I forgot to pervert and corrupt my idea by having the character of Falcone be the one to do all this. The more I re-read my old words, the more I see how this movie solidifies the notion that the character of Batman needs to be put to rest. You would think that when Bruce learns his father’s charity is being used for heinous purposes and to put the wool over the eyes of its citizens, that maybe he would do something. Maybe the movie would have a news report saying that Bruce will install an oversight committee looking into said charity. You know, use his wealth and resources to actually help people? No, this movie’s about Batman so we’ll have him jump onto an electrical cable which is attached to a transformer threatening the people below, have him shock himself from cutting the cable and then fall into the water. He’ll light a red flare and lead people out of the flooded building into the rest of the flooded city. Then we’ll have a scene of him carrying a young injured girl atop a roof with the national guard helping akin to a PR puff piece of a leader doing anything military.
Overall, the movie had lows and highs, and for me, the chase scene with his batmobile was worth the price of admission at a theater. The runtime had me counting down the seconds until I could take a bathroom break as generally you don’t wanna miss parts of a movie. There was a lot I didn’t discuss like Paul Dano as the Riddler or Jeffrey Wright as Gordon, both were fantastic. The fault in the movie ultimately lies with the DC executives too terrified to make an original movie based on a character that’s not Batman. The thought of not having another luxury yacht is too much for them to bear.