The Batman Review: Forging a New Identity for the Bat.

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.

“I’m Vengance” is the perfect beginning point for Batman’s growth as a character in this movie.

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. 

For those disappointed that we don’t see the Bruce Wayne persona in this movie, we may see it in a sequel.

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.

The Riddler’s first scene in The Batman made me go from, “the riddler is a joke” to “well, now I need to check every corner of my room when I get home to check that there isn’t a deranged serial killer hiding somewhere.”

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. 

Colin Farrell’s casting as the Penguin was the most suprising to me, until I saw how he looked in the trailers and movie. Phenominal make up prostetics and acting.

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

The third act really defines this Batman’s journey as something great.

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.   

Tenet Review: Inverting Confusion.

4 stars
It’s quite rare nowadays to see a blockbuster film that is not a sequel, prequel, reboot, remake or some other continuation of a franchise. 
However, when we do get one, chances are that it comes from the creative Christopher Nolan, who just loves to deliver films with mind bending concepts to get us thinking. 
Tenet is his latest films and by far his most polarizing. 
I have seen multiple different reactions, from people loving the film for its creativity, to people hating it for being overly confusing, both of which are valid standpoints. 
It is very easy to get confused in Tenet and this happened to me multiple times, until the film itself inverted and everything fell into place. 

The final act of Tenet made the first half so much better because it cleared up a lot of my confusion.

The film follows John David Washington’s character, simply known as the Protagonist, who is recruited into a secret organization that wages espionage using a time distortion technique known as inversion. 
To say anything else would be spoiling too much because, right from the opening, every single bit of detail we get is important to the story. 
And be sure to pay attention because if you lose one piece of information then you may become lost entirely. 
I know I was lost on what happened in a couple of scenes, until I looked up their meaning after seeing the film. 
While this confusing use of exposition may be polarizing to some audiences, I think it really pays off in the end because of the last 45 minutes. 
Even though I did enjoy the film up until that point, I was mostly just along for the ride and not understanding what was happening.
Those final 45 minutes recontextualized the whole film and made the confusing experience I had before this point worth it.  
What helped me stay engaged in the film, despite being almost totally lost as to what was happening for most of it, is the fantastic action, pure spectacle, great performances and stellar score. 
Tenet has some of the best action scenes of the year, helped by the meaning added to them in the third act, and the spectacle of plenty of the shots is jaw dropping.
As for the performances, everyone does a great job. 
Washington is compelling as The Protagonist, even though you don’t know much about him for most of the film, Elizabeth Debicki is entirely relatable as Kat, and Robert Pattison gave probably my favourite performance in the entire film as Neil.

Pattinson does an incredible job as Neil, making me even more excited for when he plays Batman.

As for the villain of the film, Kenneth Branagh plays Andrei Sator in a great performance but for an antagonist that is solely serviceable. 
Now, though, we have to get into the issues of Tenet, which do hold it back.
Definitely the biggest of these issues is the sound mixing. 
The music and sound effects are blasting so loud at times that it is almost impossible to hear what the characters are saying and, when you need to hear practically every line of dialogue to understand what is happening, this is not a good thing. 
The sound mixing is particularly bad during a sailing scene, and one pivotal scene where the music is booming and some characters are even speaking backwards while other characters are speaking normally. 
It was very disorienting and really took me out of the film. 

I clearly remember thinking, Turn the dialogue up! I’m trying to understand this scene! At one point.

At least Ludwig Göransson’s score is amazing to listen to.
Also, despite the film being saved by its third act recontextualizing everything, I still cannot deny that a lot of people are going to be put off by the confusing first two acts. 
Still, despite its flaws, Tenet is a great film that is worth seeing for the pure spectacle of inversion alone. 
It is one of Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious films but also sure to be one of his most divisive.