The Batman is a DC Comics movie for individuals who watch approach too many films.
Director and co-writer Matt Reeves (Battle for the Planet of the Apes) has concocted an intoxicating mixture of indulgence, pulp, bombast, and vulnerability that completely solutions the query of why the world wants one other Batman movie. Even higher, Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse) resurrects a job that has been in any other case run into the bottom.
Higher than Keaton? Oof, that is a coin flip. Greatest Batman actor since Keaton? Completely.
“I am the shadows”
You may need to endure roughly quarter-hour of aggressively grimdark tone setting earlier than Reeves and Pattinson alike settle into their vengeance-filled Batusi dance. And Reeves completely loses management of his Batmobile by the movie’s finish, particularly as he fakes viewers out with one ending as a way to lead them via an overlong, undramatic coda.
From right here on out, this overview enters gentle spoiler territory however takes particular care to go away essential movie particulars at midnight.
However let’s put aside the manufacturing’s bloated size and occasional foibles. Pattinson brings shock and coronary heart to a model of Bruce Wayne that sounds unbearable on paper. The Batman‘s Batman is a comparatively new caped crusader, solely two years into his transformation from idle trust-fund child to decided Gotham vigilante. On this imaginative and prescient of the basic story, divorced totally from different DC comic-to-film timelines, Batman is not doing so nicely. Cops relentlessly mock him, and crime stats have solely gotten worse since he turned vigilante.
But Batman’s nonlethal crime-fighting prowess, as bolstered by Wayne Enterprises-grade toys, has earned him two admirers. One is Commissioner Gordon (Jeffrey Wright, The French Dispatch), who has rigged up the long-lasting Bat-Sign when he wants assist with tough instances. (How’d an unidentified dude in selfmade, bat-shaped armor get so cozy with a public official? We by no means get a solution, though it’s humorous to listen to Gotham’s cops ask this query for as soon as.)
Batman’s different admirer is a assassin who leaves rhyming riddles and cypher-filled codes at crime scenes. He is by no means known as Riddler within the movie, however I will use the moniker for simplicity’s sake. The Batman begins together with his newest crime.
“The bat and the cat—has a pleasant ring to it”
From there, The Batman dives into three parallel detective tales: stopping the Riddler, discovering the important thing determine in a large Gotham corruption ring, and defending an harmless girl caught within the crossfire. The third plot is how we get to Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz, Hulu’s Excessive Constancy), because the harmless girl in query is her pal. Kyle (aka Catwoman) usually seems at simply the suitable time to discombobulate Batman when he is making an attempt to be his most stoic. Kravitz laps up her digital camera time as a cat burglar, and Reeves frames her stealth, fight, and acrobatics in ways in which emphasize her energy and don’t-need-help badassery as an alternative of falling into different portrayals’ dated sex-kitten trappings.
Sadly, The Batman wastes a few of Kravitz’s high quality efficiency by forcing her and Bats right into a will-they-or-won’t-they romantic subplot. Certain, the sparks that fly between them demand a fire-safety warning. However that is not sufficient. This subplot practically will get a large payoff that I would spoil if I described it, however after this wrinkle is teased, Reeves saves it for later by tucking it into his filmmaking pocket.
What Reeves is admittedly serious about is exhibiting us a really completely different form of Bruce Wayne than in different movies: millennial, wealthy, sullen, ineffectual, and bewildered. Different Batman actors have shrugged off the weirdness of a wealthy man turned masked vigilante, however Pattinson convincingly wrestles together with his inherited privilege—and makes Wayne extra likable and empathetic because of this. Typically, within the absence of exposition or dialogue, Pattinson and Reeves promote these Wayne character qualities with little greater than a decent zoom on Bat’s masked mug. The underside of Pattinson’s face deserves its personal Academy Award.