Take TAG24: A captivating, gritty hero rises in The Batman
By Elysee Johnson
by Robert Pattinson The Batman has arrived, but is it worth watching?
Ready or not, director Matt Reeves’ The Batman is finally here.
The highly anticipated movie is the first mega superhero movie to debut this year. It has already earned $21.6 million in the United States when it premiered on Thursday and is now aiming for a mammoth opening weekend box office total.
But that’s not the only weight the film has on its shoulders.
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Pattinson’s portrayal as the hero of Gotham, the plot itself, and its comparison to past franchise films are all at stake, as DC fans – and Batman lovers in general – can’t wait to separate the film of almost three hours.
Still, the 2022 film exceeds all expectations and leaves viewers wanting more.
The gripping, gritty story provides a dark look at Batman’s second year as a crime-fighter in the oft-doomed city of Gotham.
Now yes, there are few missteps throughout the Warner Bros. movie. But perhaps that’s to be expected, as no film in the franchise can quite live up to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
However, Pattinson and Reeves’ take on the haunted vigilante is by far the most unique and compelling Batman yet.
A darker look at a tortured hero
Since the character’s inception in the 1940s, many have shared their portrayal of Gotham’s hero and his origins.
Arguably, not every Batman movie has been a hit – that is, George Clooney-directed Batman & Robin in 1997. Not to mention the backlash surrounding the casting and portrayal of Ben Affleck in its screenings. as a hero.
And, let’s be frank, there were also some initial concerns about the Twilight alum’s choice as the new Dark Knight. Pattinson was generally not well received by fans. After all, he’s best known for playing a brooding vampire in love with an oblivious teenager – not exactly what heroes are made of.
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But those who doubted the actor’s ability to transform into the complicated, multi-dimensional Bruce Wayne will be in for a pleasant and exciting surprise.
Reeves’ direction of the savior of Gotham in the neo-noir film casts him as the most tortured Batman to date on the big screen.
As the masked vigilante approaches his second year trying to save the cursed metropolis, he struggles with his sanity and his faith in Gotham, as it is plagued by crime, rogue cops, and corruption despite his tiresome efforts. Its limits are tested even further by Paul Dano’s The Riddler, a deranged serial killer targeting Gotham’s elite in order to expose the true evil of the city.
Much like The Joker, another famous enemy of Batman, The Riddler is truly terrifying in this new film due to his undying belief that he is “the angel of redemption” and his disregard for humanity.
Obviously, Batman needs all the help he can get, which leads to the torrid relationship he builds with sultry cat thief Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, played terribly by Zoë Kravitz. The hero also has a lieutenant in his corner in Jeffrey Wright’s James Gordon.
But Wayne’s inner turmoil and trauma make him cautious, violent and unpredictable, something that hasn’t been fully explored in any Batman movie – until now.
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Fans are finally immersing themselves in the early days of Batman’s crimefighting.
Of course, we have many versions of the reclusive billionaire’s backstory regarding the gruesome murder of his parents and his fear of bats. But here, Reeves is taking a gamble by going back to the start of Batman, and the payoff is well worth it. It seems to have unlocked a captivating formula for showing the grit beneath the superhero glow, and I hope that sticks around for future films.
That Batman was feared by his enemies and the citizens of Gotham was always hinted at, and Reeves isn’t afraid to tap into that with some intense, gripping shots throughout the film. From the seductive cinematography and an exquisite score to the top-notch performances from Pattinson, Kravitz, Dano and Wright, the action movie is a damn good movie from start to finish, and one of the best since Christopher’s Batman franchise. Nolan.
Yes, The Batman has its flaws. Was the film supposed to last three hours? Probably not. And in those 176 minutes, viewers could have gotten a lot more screen time from Kravitz, Wright, and Andy Serkis’ Alfred Pennyworth.
Additionally, there are various brief references in the film to current issues of today, such as the Me Too movement, mental health, and social media. The nods seem pointless and sound like a movie that tried to be “PC” and “woke” instead of sticking to the source – the classic comic books we know so well. It’s also confusing how – if the film is set in the present day, which isn’t clear – it fits into the timeline of other films in the franchise. After all, if this is a throwback to Batman’s second year on the scene, aren’t we supposed to be in the past?
Still, thankfully, this isn’t the last time fans will see Pattinson as a caped crusader, and hopefully his truly dark Dark Knight sticks around for future sequel films.
The Batman is in theaters now.
Cover photo: Imago/Prod.Db