Last night I finally caught The Batman at the cinema, so today you get to catch my The Batman review. Luckily, this was a movie I thoroughly enjoyed so it’s always easier to write reviews about a good movie. Was The Batman perfect, no, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a great first step into a new Batverse. I watched the movie with my son. Like me, he is a huge fan of Batman and especially the Nolan TDK trilogy. Upon leaving the theatre I wondered if perhaps the movie was too much of a detective story and not enough of an action film for him? I guess he must be maturing because he was mesmerized and absolutely loved The Batman as well.
Is It Any Good?
Ultimately The Batman is a mystery, detective movie that also just happens to feature some action scenes. For some the lack of constant action and peril may make the movie slow? I’ve already seen a few fans express the opinion that 20 minutes could have been cut to streamline the experience. However I disagree with that opinion. For me, The Batman isn’t trying to be a typical superhero film. It is bleak, it is mature, and dark, and gritty. You may say this has all been done before, but I don’t feel it has been done in this way before.
The Batman captures the audiences attention and doesn’t let go. We as the audience are following the full movie through the eyes of Batman. We learn what Bruce does, when he does. If anything I don’t think some of the action scenes were all that interesting, and it was the quieter character moments of Batman in detective mode that worked best for me. Given that this movie isn’t all about the action set pieces, it did make the finale seem almost too long because we hadn’t had many extended set pieces like that. However that doesn’t mean the movie doesn’t have any good action scenes because there were a few I really enjoyed as well.
Cast and Performances
Praise for Pattinson, who definitely made his own version of Bruce Wayne,/The Bat. Pattinson is one of those actors, I think like predecessor Bale that can do a lot with his face whilst ‘in stoic Batman mode’. Some may argue that this version of Bruce is perhaps depressing and uninteresting. However I think we are looking at a version of Bruce which at the moment is totally focused on the Bat aspect. I’d like to think as Bruce grows into this role in further movies that he will learn he has to act the part as Bruce Wayne also.
One thing I loved about Nolan’s movies was that Bruce saved his company and recruited someone he trusts to run it for him. Whereas in The Batman there is no mention of a company called Wayne Enterprises even existing yet. Perhaps some of the revelations Bruce discovers in The Batman will lead him to take more action as his alter ego of Bruce Wayne?
The rest of the cast were all great as well, Paul Dano is nutso as Riddler and it works. Riddler’s puzzles and emerging state of mind just fit so well. Jeffrey Wright for me doesn’t quite hit the heights of Gary Oldman, in fact he seems a little naive, but overall there is room to grow. Kravitz is in my opinion the best Selina we have had since Michelle Pfeiffer. There’s just something about her which screams Catwoman! I didn’t dislike Anne Hathaway’s turn in TDKR either. The supporting cast were all good, though I didn’t love this version of Carmine Falcone, and I know I’m not supposed to like him, but you know what I mean.
The only performance I wasn’t keen on overall though was Andy Serkis as Alfred. Though, I’m not sure that is the fault of Serkis. Alfred really doesn’t get much to do in this movie. You never feel like he’s helping Bruce much, or trying to steer him. Instead it feels like he’s running the household whilst Bruce mopes in the basement.
Perhaps we were spoiled with the way Bruce and Alfred’s relationship was depicted in TDK trilogy? However I also get the feeling that Matt Reeves didn’t want to focus too much on the relationship between Alfred and Bruce because he wanted the focus squarely on Bruce this time around. I just never got a sense of what this version of Alfred is supposed to be or what he represents? Thus far, Serkis is my least favorite of the live-action Alfred’s but I guess there is time to change this in any sequels.
A little bit of special praise for Colin Farrell as Oz, aka The Penguin. The makeup and prosthetic really are remarkable and unless I knew, I could never have told you that was Farrell under all that. It would be fair to say, with time to grow, this will be the definitive live-action Penguin for me. However I do wonder when and if Farrell will get sick of putting all that makeup on every day once he’s finished filming the upcoming Penguin based spin-off show?
There are some, but they are few. I’ll try to keep spoiler free as much as I can here.
Didn’t like the wing suit, probably didn’t want to copy the Nolan movies, but hopefully that will advance with sequels. Bruce takes too much gunfire. Ok, his armor seems strong, but no armor can withstand too many direct bullet hits. The fact all those bullets hit his torso and shoulder area (where there’s more plating) kinda felt forced to me.
Let’s face it though, in real life Batman would be killed within a week, and yet the guns issue has to be addressed. It’s America and Gotham is full of criminals who are all armed to the teeth. In some ways Nolan did a better job and having Batman sneak around the shadows, I wasn’t as much of a fan of this Batman just walking right into crowds. Then again one of the themes of this movie is Bruce evolving from pure anger infused vengeance to do what he has to to aid the City.
I’m still not a fan of this Batmobile. Maybe it’s me not being American, but muscle cars are silly to us Europeans. I felt like it was more suited to a Fast and Furious movie. I 100% much prefer the idea of the Batmobile being more of a custom built tank, or unused military tech. There’s a cool chase scene with the car. Butttttttttt, it isn’t half as cool as the chase scene in Batman Begins to me, “it’s a black…..tank?”.
Finally I’ll say the fact the Gotham PD just allowed Batman to get into crime scenes etc seemed a little far-fetched. We are never given any reason for Gordon’s trust other than they’ve worked together for 2 years. When the same thing happens in TDK, we know it’s uncomfortable, but at that point Gordon has a lot of sway and we know why. This could have been resolved by a small mention of a case Batman helped in the last 2 years? However, this won’t be an issue in any sequels though for me given how the story all concludes.
Grade it Then Dude!
Ok, so The Batman is dark and gritty, the way I likes my Batman stories. Also this was the first movie to really show us Batman’s intelligence for solving crime. Equally, this version of Batman is not infallible and makes mistakes and has to learn. The Batman is always interesting and has some great performances. The fact it was mostly shot in Scotland definitely adds to the dark and depressing feel of Gotham City. It really does look that dark in daytime folks.
Overall The Batman is a great start to this new Batverse. I can’t wait to see what else they dream up for the next step of the story.
Leave your own The Batman review below, or let us know what you thought of my take?