The Batman review: Pattinson's take is brilliant yet genre-defying

Now, after watching it and sitting down with some time to think, The Batman may not be as good as The Dark Knight (it's awfully close though) but as a beginning of a new iteration, it's pretty damn great.

The Batman review: Pattinson's take is brilliant yet genre-defying
Pic: The Batman/Warner Bros.

Okay... I think I haven't stated before in this blog, but my all-time favorite movie is The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan's take on the caped crusader is still to this day considered to be the gold standard for superhero movie adaptations. So, with the new movie, The Batman directed by Planet of The Apes helmer Matt Reeves, and Robert Pattinson playing the titular role, being nervously excited for this movie to come out is an understatement.

Now, after watching it and sitting down with some time to think, The Batman may not be as good as The Dark Knight (it's awfully close though) but as a beginning of a new iteration, it's pretty damn great.

The plot revolves around Bruce Wayne who had just begun assuming the identity of Batman, as he begins to uncover a conspiracy within Gotham City where top government officials begin to get killed one by one before something terrible might happen. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (played by Jeffrey Wright) and a cat burglar Selina Kyle (played by Zoe Kravitz), one must find the killer on the loose who calls himself The Riddler (played by Paul Dano), and also figure out what is Bruce's connection to this conspiracy...

What I tried here is to summarise the plot with no spoilers here, but Matt Reeves and co-writer Peter Craig guide the viewers with an intricate slow-burner of a detective noir disguised as a superhero movie. This is something I've noticed with great superhero flicks be it The Dark Knight as a sprawling epic crime drama, Logan as a dystopian Western noir, these movies in a way are self-contained within their own genre with a superhero added to the mix. The Batman unsurprisingly is without any exception with Robert Pattinson giving one heck of a performance as the moody, emo, elusive billionaire i.e. Bruce Wayne.

Matt Reeves accomplishes his version of Gotham by not doing away with the previous iterations of the caped crusader but does take inspiration from it. Be it the haunting score harking back to the 89 Batman (expertly done by Michael Giacchino), the gritty realism of Nolan's trilogy, and the brutal violence of Zack Snyder's version in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

But he does bring an identity of his own by bringing in a horror element, especially in the first few minutes of the movie where you get to witness the tone of the movie is set. Some might find it depressing but as a guy who loved Seven and other Fincher's murder mysteries, this is the closest thing to a Seven-inspired superhero movie.

The Gotham city here is overwhelmingly dark and oppressing, only neon lights and billboards across the city light it all up. Also, the people here are angry, violent and wouldn't mind following a serial killer as they believe he's fighting for them.

Greig Fraser's cinematography is in fine form here, his camera angles and use of shadows here contrast that of his previous works like Dune and The Mandalorian, which uses lighting to tell the story.

It also helps that the ensemble supporting the caped crusader is in itself brilliantly cast. Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman is superbly vulnerable here, and yet she doesn't sacrifice what the character is known for as; the sexy cat burglar who can kick ass as well as have an on-off relationship between her and Batman.

Colin Farrell as Penguin is unrecognizable, although we wish he could see more of him in the later (?) movies/spin-offs. Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon brings in the weariness needed for the character, and Reeves' fellow Planet of The Apes collaborator Andy Serkis as Alfred provides moral, strong support but has a strained relationship with Bruce Wayne.

And of course, Paul Dano's performance as The Riddler is downright scary. With the howling, psychotic delivery of his lines and his peaceful yet chilling face when he does something terrifying might go down as one of the best supervillains ever rivaling only to the Joker.

The only gripe I have with this movie is how the movie wraps up at the end. The 3-hour runtime surprisingly breezes throughout the movie but at the same time, the big setpiece at the end kinda takes the intricacy brought with the conspiracy angle brought on within the first 2 acts. It also has a "sequel-tease" which comes as an unnecessary addition, if I'm being honest (Batman Begins did that better though).

But this doesn't destroy the whole movie as, like the titular character himself, mistakes make a person better at reevaluating his past actions and maybe use it as a source of becoming the hero we all deserve but not the one that we need right now.