On March 30, 2022, Batman will be eighty-three years old, and I must admit he looks pretty good for a senior citizen. Of course, Like most of us, he has changed and evolved over time, originally starting out as a character in a comic book, then on the television, feature films, and even animated films and TV shows. Numerous actors have portrayed the masked vigilante and there is often a debate over which one did the best job. This month, another thespian; glistening, vampire Edward Cullen, Robert Pattinson (Tenet), throws his hat into the ring as he takes on the title character in Warner Bros., The Batman.
For the last two years, billionaire Bruce Wayne (Pattinson) has been fighting crime at night as a masked avenger. "The Batman", while creating fear, hasn't been able to make a big dent in cleaning up the streets of Gotham. When the Mayor is murdered it seems the criminal is targeting influential Gotham citizens, and leaving clues behind, specifically for the batman. As the deaths and clues keep mounting, "The Riddler" (Paul Dano; There Will Be Blood) has most running scared. Complicating matters is a burglar named Selena Kyle (Zoë Kravitz; Kimi) a.k.a. "Catwoman" who gets caught up with Batman and the Riddler while trying to locate her friend.
Director Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) brings his signature look and feel to The Batman. Like his previous work, Gotham has a gloomy haze enveloping it giving an ominous feeling of well-deserved dread and foreboding. He sets the mood and tone of the film from the opening frames and keeps it building throughout. While he could have cut off about twenty minutes of footage, the movie doesn't tend to drag as the plot keeps the viewer engaged throughout the almost three-hour running time.
The was a ton of chatter, both good and bad when Pattinson was cast in the lead role, but he proves the naysayers wrong. He is in an emotionally dark place giving Batman a hard edge and practical nature as opposed to being sympathetic. He also doesn't have the muscular build that past actors had, and they had to bulk up the Bat-suit to make it seem as if he was very muscular. I also felt he looked too "grunge" as Bruce Wayne. He seems like a teenager as opposed to a full-grown adult with money and power at his disposal. It is safe to say, some viewers will love his portrayal while others will immediately scoff having made up their minds when he was announced almost three years ago.
Kravitz is well cast as she exudes the toughness of Catwoman but still offers a vulnerable underbelly. She and Pattinson have terrific chemistry and the sexual tension between the two actors is palpable. Dano is quirky yet deranged as Riddler and his boyish, innocent-looking face belies the madness bubbling beneath the surface. Colin Farrell (In Bruges) is unrecognizable as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin. Between the costume, makeup, and his portrayal of the gangster, I didn't realize that was him. Supporting cast members Peter Sarsgaard (The Magnificent Seven), Jeffrey Wright (Westworld), Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and John Turturro (Barton Fink) help round out the cast beautifully.
Die Hard Batman fans may be skeptical about Pattinson, but he does an excellent job as the caped crusader; less so as Bruce Wayne but luckily, we see more of the former than the latter. The dark and twisted nature of the story, combined with Reeves' direction and Pattinson's interpretation makes this Batman movie one that will appeal to the masses while paying homage to the spirit of the vigilante dressed as a bat.