FILM REVIEW: The Batman
The Batman is an absolute masterpiece. It is unlike any other Batman film I’ve seen before, it’s edgy, dark, gritty and incredibly haunting.
The Batman is easily one of the most anticipated films of the year, I had the pleasure of seeing it at the beginning of February and now I can finally share my thoughts on it. With that said, here is my non-spoiler review!
Based on trailers, we already knew The Batman was going to be pretty dark and I have to admit it was even darker than I thought it was going to be. But I don’t say that as a criticism, I adored it and the realistic elements of that is what really made it work. The Riddler and his victims send us down a really dark path which forces the truth to emerge, there are some really great twists and turns in this film. This doesn’t feel like a superhero film, it’s a thriller, horror and crime drama all rolled into one and I loved it. There are several moments that are reminiscent to the film ‘Zodiac’, it really makes you feel like a detective yourself, you go through the case with these characters and that really adds to the story.
This is a long film, it has a runtime of 2 hrs 55m, but it does not feel that long. Every moment is thrilling and exciting, nothing feels like it’s dragged out, honestly the time flies by. I think the runtime really allowed Matt Reeves to tell his story, no detail is spared and we really get an in depth mystery case and vast character insights and developments.
The cast of The Batman is incredible, each and every performance and portrayal is pure perfection. I know a lot of people were sceptical about some the casting choices in this film, particularly that of Robert Pattinson as Batman. This film will prove all of those doubters wrong.
Robert Pattinson as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Pattinson’s performance absolutely blew me away, I cannot tell you how impressed I was. Pattinson’s Batman has a lot to learn, this is a very dark and violent Batman who takes no prisoners. He is at a very different stage of being Batman, we have never seen this before and I love that we got to explore that. The path that The Riddler sends him down allows him to learn a lot about himself and how he can make a difference. The character development is incredible and I would absolutely love to see him take it even further.
Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman/Selina Kyle
Zoë Kravitz was born to play Catwoman. Since I heard of her casting I knew she would absolutely kill it and she did exactly that. I adore her. She’s sassy, sexy, confident, but goes through one hell of an emotional rollercoaster and Kravitz portrays it perfectly. This Cat and the Bat are pulled straight out of the Tom King/Clay Mann comic book run and it was great to see that blossoming relationship brought to life.
Paul Dano as The Riddler
Paul Dano is incredible in this film. His Riddler is terrifying and haunting and that’s because of the intense and realistic spin that he and Matt Reeves has added to this character. Dano gives a completely compelling performance in this film. One of my favourite things about this take on The Riddler is firstly the genuine anger and connection to his fight, and secondly the way in which he believes he is connected to The Batman. He believes they are working together rather than him being his enemy and at the point of realisation you almost feel sorry for him despite the horrors that he has done.
Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Jim Gordon
Jeffrey Wright smashed it as Commissioner Jim Gordon. He really made it his own while staying true to the character. He is actually the one to add a bit of humour to the film, which in some places is definitely needed. I love his relationship with this Batman, they are both very trusting of each other despite Jim not knowing anything about him. Jim constantly puts his reputation and job on the line to help Batman, because he knows he is the only one he can trust to solve this case and I love that. Jeffrey Wright might just be my favourite Commissioner to date.
Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot
Colin Farrell is UNRECOGNISABLE as Oswald Cobblepot! That is mostly down to the insanely detailed prosthetics, but it just goes to show what an incredible actor he is. This is very much the origin of Oswald and it’s a more human take on the character, sometimes he’s very animal-like, but this is a great portrayal. Again we see incredible character development with this character, and that’s something that Matt Reeves has done so well, every single character grows immensely in this film.
Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth
I loved Andy Serkis’ take on Alfred, it was very different to what we’ve seen before. His character added a lot of emotion to the film in moments between him and Bruce Wayne. Alfred is always a father figure to Bruce, and in this film and this stage of his life Bruce is quite reluctant to that idea. I quite enjoyed that concept in this film, like I said it added pure emotion to both characters and a fresh take on their relationship. I also really liked that the film acknowledges his SAS background as he assists with the cracking of the case.
Cinematography & Special Effects
The cinematography is simply stunning, every shot is carried out to perfection and there are so many beautiful shots. Some of my favourites are the moments between Batman and Catwoman upon the rooftop, they are just gorgeous. The way that it’s filmed really makes it realistic, the shots are very practical and some are filmed from a POV perspective and that adds to the affect that those moments have on you. The camera work is masterful.
There doesn’t seem to be too many special effects in terms of CG in this film, which again really adds to the authentic feel that the film has. In the moments that do have CG, the effects are very subtle and great. What I loved about this film is the number of practical effects involved in it. My personal favourite is the Batmobile chase scene and I think you’ll all agree when you see it. During my interview with Matt Reeves, he went into detail on how they brought that to life and how much work went into it. After hearing that and knowing that none of that sequence is CG just blew my mind and makes it all the more impressive.
There are also some fantastic combat sequences, specially involving Batman and Catwoman. There aren’t any over exaggerated fights, which sometimes in a superhero film you tend to get a lot of for added cinematic value. But just like I said before, the fights in this film feel real and you can literally feel every punch and blow thanks to the added sound effects.
The score is by Michael Giacchino and it is a thing of beauty. Every sequence benefits from the beautiful yet haunting sounds that Giacchino has created, it really adds effect to the viewing experience and it’s one that lingers with you. My personal favourite piece is The Batman theme which recurs throughout the film at perfect moments but with different tones or speed. I saw the film a few weeks ago now and I can still hear the incredible moments that I witnessed on the big screen.
That score mixed with Nirvana’s ‘Something In The Way’ is excellent too. There’s something about a trailer song making it into a film and this does so perfectly. What I love about this choice in music is the connection it has to the character, Matt Reeves explained that the relationship that Bruce Wayne has with fame is based upon the same one that Kurt Kobain had, and that makes it all the more effective and meaningful.
The Batman is an absolute masterpiece. It is unlike any other Batman film I’ve seen before, it’s edgy, dark, gritty and incredibly haunting. This is a Batman that is still learning, that is still making mistakes, it is great to see him grow in confidence throughout the film and I truly hope this isn’t the last we get to see of Matt Reeves’ Batman. I’m going to say it now, this is my favourite Batman film to date.
You can read my interview with Producer, Dylan Clark here, and my interview with Director, Matt Reeves here.
The Batman is in cinemas on 4th March. Make sure you see this on the big screen, it is an experience you will not want to miss.