Matt Reeves is a fantastic director.
Of the films of his that I have seen, there has not been a single one I disliked.
By far my favourites among his work are the two final installments in the Planet of the Apes trilogy, Dawn and War, which I consider to be one of the best trilogies of all time.
So, when I heard that he would be directing The Batman, I was sure that the caped crusader was in good hands.
After having seen the film, I can say with certainty that this suspicion was correct.
The Batman is an amazing film and my second or third favourite Batman film, coming behind The Dark Knight and either ahead of or behind Batman Begins.
The film follows a Batman, who has been fighting crime in Gotham for two years at this point, when a serial killer calling himself the Riddler begins murdering prominent politicians and leaving clues for the Batman.
To catch the Riddler, the caped crusader is pushed to his breaking point, leading to a questioning of the very way he conducts himself.
This time around, Batman is played by Robert Pattinson, which was a controversial choice at the time of the announcement because most movie goers knew him just as the guy from Twilight, not knowing that he had proved himself as an accomplished actor in many films since then.
I will admit, I was one of these people, until I saw him in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, where he gave one of my favourite performances.
This made me excited to see him play the Batman and I think he absolutely nailed it, convincingly bringing out a side to the Batman we so rarely see in his movies.
So far in this review, I have been referring to Batman as the caped crusader, but in this film he is definitely embodying his little-seen title of world’s greatest detective, even if he does make mistakes.
Most audience members seem to love this take on the Batman, yet I have heard some criticize the fact that we don’t see much of Bruce Wayne, or rather, the persona of Bruce Wayne that Batman uses to hide his identity.
This is, however, clearly intentional, as Batman is entirely dedicated to his crusade, even to the detriment of himself and his relationship with others, leading to what I believe is the greatest Batman arc put to film.
How Batman’s ideology changes from the beginning of the film to the end is just phenomenal writing.
It is not just Batman, however, because the other characters are just as stellar, most of all Paul Dano as the Riddler.
Honestly, I have never really liked the Riddler as a villain.
He always seemed just too goofy for me to take seriously, and he was such a nuisance in the Arkham games.
Yet Paul Dano and the script he is working with turned the Riddler into a chilling villain that creeped me out right from the first scene he was in.
Zoë Kravitz is fantastic as Catwoman and has great chemistry with Pattinson’s Batman.
Likewise, Jeffrey Wright works well with Pattinson, creating a fun partnership between Jim Gordon and Batman.
Andy Serkis also does well with the few scenes he has, especially one emotional moment between him and Bruce.
Then there’s John Tuturro as Carimine Falcone, who I did not expect to get as much screen time as he did, yet was so glad that he got it because I loved his performance.
Finally, there’s Colin Farrell, who is completely unrecognizable as the Penguin, to the point that I’m pretty sure we were all shocked when we learned it was him.
Essentially, ever single actor in this film, from those with big roles to small, do an excellent job.
This is all helped with excellent cinematography, action, and a gripping score by Michael Giacchino, in a move that is over three hours long when including the credits.
I know a movie is great when it has such a long runtime, yet I feel like barely any time has passed when it ends, which is exactly what happened to me when watching The Batman.
Another common criticism I have heard though, alongside the lack of Bruce Wayne, is that the third act feels out of nowhere and unnecessary.
While I do see where these criticisms are coming from, I felt that this third act was entirely necessary, providing some great commentary on real world issues, while also tying into Batman’s arc flawlessly
As for my own criticisms, there is one I do have that appears to be shared by the majority of viewers.
This is that there is a certain cameo in this movie that feels quite unneeded and almost as if it was just there because the studio demanded it.
Not that this cameo kills the movie in any way, it just feels unwarranted and I would personally like it if future sequels focused on something else.
Another minor gripe I have is a few plot holes I realized when watching the film, most prominently one to do with the Penguin’s fate but, again, that is just a minor thing.
Otherwise, this movie is amazing.
The Batman is a gripping film with the best Batman character arc put to the screen and I cannot wait for more.