‘The Batman’ Successfully Adds A Dark New Style To The Superhero Genre

Jeffrey Wright, left, as Lt. James Gordon and Robert Pattinson in ‘The Batman.’ The film generated $57 million in ticket sales on Thursday and Friday, Warner Bros. announced on Saturday. Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/TNS

Director Matt Reeves delivered a “Batman” movie that audiences have been waiting for years, with high-quality production and an impressive cast.

“The Batman” hit theaters Friday, proving itself not only the superhero movie of the year, but also one of the best investigative thrillers in a while. The entire story takes place the week after Halloween, in the corruption-ridden crime city of Gotham.

Robert Pattinson’s depiction of the masked vigilante is one of the most cutting-edge interpretations of the character to date. Whispering “They think I hide in the shadows, but I’m the shadow” in the opening monologue, it’s hard to believe words more true to character have ever been spoken.

The tone of “The Batman” is unlike anything explored before in a live-action “Batman” movie. The film shoots in darkness, with the hero operating in the shadows, brutally imposing his will on those who harm the city and its people. Completely unique from previous portrayals of the character, the film gives the highly touted “The Dark Knight” a run for its money as the best live-action “Batman” movie.

The controversial 176-minute running time proved to be a strong point of the film and there are very few plot points that feel dragged on. The scenes flow together seamlessly, and the editing is deliberate and well-crafted.

The opener – consisting of a Pattinson monologue paired with Nirvana’s “Something In The Way” – leaves viewers eager to begin the ride, and there’s no letting up once it does.

There are exposition clues here and there to establish an origin story that many viewers already know, but the film wastes no time introducing viewers to both the masked vigilante and Bruce Wayne. The down-to-earth Wayne previously played by Christian Bale is left behind, with Pattinson portraying an emo recluse actively trying to recover from the traumas of his past.

Audiences are introduced to a version of the character who simultaneously struggles and grows before the viewers’ eyes. There’s no doubt that ultimately Wayne, not Batman, is the alter-ego of the classic two-faced character.

The film’s investigative, noir element is the result of The Riddler (Paul Dano), who is responsible for organizing a series of crimes against corrupt politicians and cops, while gaining an ominous following. With the help of his trusted police sidekick – James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) – Batman must find out why the Riddler is committing these crimes and who he is connected to, as those in Gotham fear the city’s demise.

There’s no bat-hunting without a cat, and Zoë Kravitz doesn’t disappoint as Catwoman, who follows her own code and morals. Kravitz gives audiences a bold and emotional performance after Catwoman’s roommate Anika goes missing, and she turns to Batman for help in solving the case.

Colin Farrell steals the show in every one of his scenes as Penguin. Closely tied to Catwoman, he’s a vital plot element, and his car chase with Batman is one of the best to grace the silver screen.

The production of “The Batman” is in a class of its own, and the film’s overall darkness offers a refreshing take on an equally dark character. Seeing the film in theaters is integral, as the sound effects, visuals, and score are made for the big screen. The character arcs are authentic, the plot is intricate, and there’s now a great foundation for this new iteration of the character.

In a truly complete moment mirroring the film’s opening, Pattinson’s closing monologue is paired with eerie music as he travels around town. It’ll be interesting to see Pattinson’s Batman direction move forward, and a final scene in the film teases the possible introduction of a certain maniacal face-painted antagonist in the future.

Rating: 5/5

Comments are closed.