The Batman Review: A Batman Graphic Novel Brought to Life

The Batman is finally out and it's one of the best comic book movies of all time. The movie deals with Batman facing off against the Riddler who's targeting Gotham's elite on a violent crime spree. This a movie that all fans of Batman need to see as it's the most accurate live-action interpretation we've seen so far.

The Batman Review: A Batman Graphic Novel Brought to Life

The pre-production for The Batman has been an interesting one, to say the least. Originally, Ben Affleck was supposed to star and direct his only film. Eventually, he dropped out of directing and decided to hang up the cowl when The Flash solo film comes out later in the year. Enter Matt Reeves who had a vision of his Batman is more of a noir detective story that was set during the Caped Crusader’s earlier years. To say Matt Reeves succeeded would be an understatement as he delivered one of the best comic book movies ever made.

The Batman is now playing in theatres.

THE BATMAN – Main Trailer

Story: World’s Greatest Detective

The film opens up on Halloween night as Bruce Wayne explains the current state of his city. Gotham is riddled with corruption and low-life scum that is afraid of him. The opening does a masterful job of showing the state of Gotham. You’ll hear this a lot in this review, but it feels like it’s been ripped from the comics. Batman is called by Jim Gordon to help solve the murder of Gotham’s mayor. It soon turns into a chase to find the serial killer who calls himself The Riddler and stop him from killing.

We finally got a movie that lives up to the nickname, “World’s Greatest Detective.” Having a villain like The Riddler is a stroke of genius. By making it seem like a mystery with ciphers, clues, and riddles, Batman has to use his wits instead of his fists. It’s a carefully crafted mystery that has the right amount of twists and turns. Not once did it feel like there was a moment where I wasn’t interested in what the result would be. 

Taping up his first victim.

Taping up his first victim.

Characters & Performance: Brooding Bruce

When Robert Pattinson got cast as Batman, people who knew him solely from Twilight were very skeptical. People like myself that know him from films like Good Time and The Lighthouse have seen how amazing he truly is. It’s fantastic that a large mainstream audience will finally see how wonderful Pattinson truly is. It never felt like he was playing Batman, Robert Pattinson was finally the Batman. He captured the perfect amount of brooding energy and rage that Bruce had especially in his early days. His Bat voice to make it seem like a stage whisper was a perfect choice. Every little detail he did worked to the movie’s advantage.

Zoe Kravitz plays Selina Kyle to a tee. There’s an elegant grace that she possesses with a sharp wit and character. Her chemistry with Pattinson easily is one of the highlights. There’s a push and pull between the two of them that doesn’t feel the force. Just like in the comics, these are two characters that are so similar to each other yet very different. Just like a Yin-Yang symbol, their scenes together create a force that works beautifully.

Gotham’s Cast of Characters

I’m still surprised that an indie actor like Paul Dano would do a comic book movie. Thankfully, he made that choice because he was fantastic as The Riddler. He was downright terrifying at times as he gleefully told his riddles while torturing people. His motivation is fascinating and without giving away spoilers, it ties cleverly with Batman.

There are too many great characters to name that deserve to get the spotlight. Jeffery Wright is pitch-perfect as Jim Gordon. It felt like the classic partnership from the graphic novels as he felt more like Batman’s partner in this case. Colin Farrel is unrecognizable as the Penguin in a lot of different ways. Of course, physically his transformation is outstanding, and kudos towards make-up artist Mike Marino for the incredible work. Farrell’s performance has the right elements of sliminess and sinisterness. This movie has me more hype for his solo spin-off series on HBOMax.

The Batman – Funeral Scene – In Theaters March 4

Cinematography & Sound: Welcome to Gotham

Not since Tim Burton’s Batman where did a live-action Gotham truly feel like Gotham. Most had Chicago or Detroit in its place and you could tell. The cinematography is done by Greig Fraser truly captures the city as a character. Its seedy underbelly held by run-down buildings and gothic architecture is spectacular to witness. It felt like seeing New York City in the late 70s when crime was really up. You see the effects of the tainted spirit that affects this place that Bruce is trying to save. Yet, there’s some beauty featured throughout like when the sun rises across the horizon.

Another amazing element that works exceptionally well is the score from Michael Giacchino. Since the first look, we’ve heard the official Batman theme from Giacchino and it’s brilliant. It’s featured throughout and helps make this incarnation distinct. The theme presents this rushing command and angry that’s well represented in Batman. We also get two other main themes with The Riddler and Catwoman. The Riddler has this eerily tone it as a choir hums ominously while somehow being pleasent. It’s a contrast to hear this while performing some terrifying acts. Catwoman’s theme goes all in the noir tone as it feels like a mysterious woman entering a detective’s office. It’s playful, romantic, and cunning all at the same time. 

The Bat and the Furious.

The Bat and the Furious.

Editing & Pacing: Time Well Spent

A lot of concern regarding The Batman was the running time. The film clocks in at nearly three hours, but there wasn’t a moment where it dragged. A movie could be three hours long, but the real goal is to make the audience feel like it’s going by smoothingly. Thanks to the mystery and performances, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Seeing each revelation and turn get played out kept me enthralled from beginning to end. Even with the third act, there’s nothing that feels like filler. In fact, there’s one moment that’s so crucial to Batman’s arc that it’ll be a sin to cut that. Nothing feels wasted and the full aspect of the runtime was used to Matt Reeve’s advantage.

Summary
The Batman feels like a classic Batman graphic novel that's been brought to life and is an instant classic. Robert Pattinson makes for a memorable Batman as he possesses the necessary rage and broodiness that Bruce should have. The mystery noir element makes due on its promise on showing off the World Greatest Detective story. If anyone has fatigue over Batman, this masterpiece should change your mind.
Good
  • A Detective Focus Story
  • The Entire Cast
  • Robert Pattinson as Batman
  • Gotham
  • Michael Giacchino
10
Perfect

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