The Batman

Sparkly Batman got game!

I am being facetious. Robert Pattison has long since proven himself as a more than capable actor, brave and disparate in his choices, and more than capable. Of course his announcement as director Matt Reeves’ choice for Batman caused an uproar from the interwebs and it was up to the new custodians of the Batman cinematic mythology to prove their metal.

They REALLY proved their metal.

"a Batman gumshoe tale, police procedural, and gothic horror film all rolled into one"


Reeve’s take brings with it, after nine previous entries, an angle of the character almost remiss in all previous incarnations: the detective. Yes, he’s other non de plumes of Caped Crusader, Dark Knight, Dynamic Duo (if Robin is involved) are well known and familiar. But he is also known, especially in the comics (which this reviewer had read monthly for 37 years), as the world’s greatest detective. We finally see him start stretching those neurons in this one.

While I will keep this review understandably cautious in what I reveal, let me say here and now you have never seen a Batman film like this. It’s DNA is still very steeped in all that has come before it.

This film introduces us to a Bruce Wayne very early in his career as Batman. He is competent, but still very wet behind the ears. He makes mistakes, is as emo/broody as all get out, and is forced to grow quickly when an already dangerous Gotham City is gripped with a serial killer calling himself the Riddler. This maniac is offing the city’s elite and goading the Batman to figure out why. As Batman/Bruce Wayne gets drawn deeper and deeper into the Riddler’s games, the snare tightens and spells life-changing lessons and paradigm shifting repercussions for our new Dark Knight.

There are many things familiar, and yet none of them are completely repeated and find their own identity within this new version of Gotham. You get a film that leans heavily into the works of David Fincher, oppressive and claustrophobic production design, brilliant use of light (a fight scene lit entirely with muzzle flares was a stand-out to me). Characterisation is some of the finest ever afforded a Batman movie. Everyone has an arc, a transformative moment in the film that brings them closer to the characters we all know and pine for. There are also brave and brilliant departures from the standard characters: the Riddler is now more Zodiac killer than second tier jokester and Alfred is now a former British agent that is greatly responsible for Bruce’s abilities.The Batman

Everyone in this film is top shelf. Pattison doesn’t just phone in a repeat of previous performances. His youthfulness, at this transformative phase of the Bat’s career, is a refreshing new take on the character. His physicality is on point. His Batman voice is a subtler change from Bruce Wayne’s. He definitely sets himself apart and makes the character his own. Zoe Kravitz may be my new favourite Catwoman. Her Selina Kyle is compassionate, strong, vulnerable, powerful and deeply conflicted. Paul Dano is an off-putting, creepy as all f#@%, Riddler. You aren’t getting any Frank Gorshin or Jim Carrey vibes from this psychopath. He is everything a good antagonist should be. Layered, motivated, dangerous. Colin Farrell as the Penguin: wow! Unrecognisable. Completely and utterly mesmerizing as a mob boss in waiting. A great take on this well-trodden character. Jeffrey Wright brings his gravitas to Gordon as has a hell of a lot more to do than almost every other incarnation (with the exception of Gary Oldman). Serkis, Turturro also bring their A-game and elevate this film. There are also bread crumbs thrown down to other villainous rogues from Batman’s pantheon.

Michael Giacchino’s score helps add weight to the dour and oppressive visuals, painting Gotham as a place anyone sane would avoid. It is also emotional at times. After so many readily identifiable scores from previous incarnations, it is an impressive feat.

Now the gripes. There aren’t many. This Batman has gone the Nolan route, in it wants to keep the Bat universe firmly planted on the ground. With the character established almost immediately as new to the job, I found it implausible that Batman would allow himself to be so visible to Gotham PD and its citizens so readily and easily. Gordon inviting into crime scenes, and actively working with a vigilante—NOPE, did not suspend my disbelief. The other tiny gripe it’s the film’s length: it did not need to be nearly three hours long. There were scenes or (in my estimation) nods to Ridley Scott and David Fincher vista and tracking shots that could have been shortened. A good 30 minutes of the run time would have made this—at times—heady story flow with more urgency and be punchier.

Well, folks, I could go on for pages. But I’m keeping my mouth shut. There are some wonderful surprises awaiting you. This is one of the best Batman films ever made. It’s a Batman gumshoe tale, police procedural, and gothic horror film all rolled into one. Impeccable and masterfully executed. A confident and alluring beginning to a new era of Batman movies. I have ZERO doubt there will be another with this team after tonight.

4/5 stars

Film Details

The Batman

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some suggestive material.
185 mins
: Chris Addison
Matt Reeves; Peter Craig
Zoë Kravitz; Robert Pattinson; Paul Dano
: Drime | Drama | Fantasy
Unmask the Truth.
Memorable Movie Quote: "What's black and blue and dead all over? You."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 4, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: When the Riddler, a sadistic serial killer, begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city's hidden corruption and question his family's involvement.


The Batman