How good is The Batman?

Is the new The Batman film starring Twilight's Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano

An image of The Batman
The Batman 2022 by Matt Reeves. Collection Christophel / Fotography bank Alamy

It began as Ben Affleck’s greatest movie in the DC Extended Universe and ended as a spiritual sequel/prequel to Christopher Nolan’s legendary The Dark Knight

The Batman (2022) is much more than a new reboot for The Dark Knight because when we enter his universe, we can find a dramatic and exciting proposal about one of the most important avengers in the history of comics.

In a somewhat similar way to Joker, The Batman (2022) feels fresh thanks to a narrative that takes up the noir fantasy of the comics but maintains that touch of realism.

A bit complacent, but with a structure that allows all its characters to have a moment to shine.

We find subtle references to more than 80 years of Batman as well as a convincing interpretation of Robert Pattinson. 

Without going into details and because I know you don’t want a single spoiler: The Batman (2022) is a film that should be enjoyed in theatres, on the biggest screen you have at hand. 

It’s not perfect, but it’s the best live-action version of Batman we’ve seen since The Dark Knight.

An image of Batman
The Batman, Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne
Image: Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Thankfully, the 2022 incarnation of Batman doesn’t make us suffer through his origin story all over again. 

When the film begins, the masked man has been working as a vigilante for a long time and already has an established relationship with the future commissioner James Gordon.

This version of Gotham City is far more corrupt and decadent than anything we have previously seen on screen, with nights full of crime and violence that wouldn’t be out of place in The Purge

The film takes its time creating a cruel and depressing setting. That’s why it’s not surprising when the mayor himself is murdered in his own home.

Thus begins the hunt for a serial killer – The Riddler – Paul Dano, who kills important political figures around the city whom he accuses of being corrupt.

At each of his crime scenes, he leaves behind riddles for Batman to solve in order to understand his plans.

This is a very different version of The Riddler than what we have seen in comics and cartoons.

It is clearly inspired by the zodiac killer, the villain of Saw: the game of fear and radicalised youth online.

Although it can be a bit of a shock due to its brutality, it fits very well in this new version of the Batman universe.

But he’s not the only member of Batman’s villain’s gallery’ that appears in this film. 

We have Catwoman, the Penguin, Carmine Falcone and a cameo that points towards an inevitable sequel.

They present Batman with complex subplots of conspiracies, family relationships, and political secrets. 

Everything is intertwined in a way that somewhat dulls the sense of the main mystery, but we can’t deny that the trick works. 

Although there is no big final reveal, it is intriguing to see the characters unravel this web of crimes.

The unnecessary complexity of the story is so great that almost three hours are required to tell it – Yes, The Batman (2022) is a very long movie.

But surprisingly, the fault doesn’t lie with the drama and mystery scenes, but in the action sequences.

The pursuit of The Penguin in the Batmobile and a couple of shoot-outs serve no real purpose in the plot.

They seem to be there simply because “this is a superhero movie and therefore it must have action scenes”.

This negatively affects the film because it is clear that director Matt Reeves and company were not very interested in the action scenes.

They rather focus more on the detective story and on offering a more critical look at Bruce Wayne.

In any case, The Batman (2002) has big thematic aspirations. It makes the main character reflect on his role as a watchman and wonder if his actions have a positive effect on the city. 

It also criticises the privilege of whites and the rich who benefit or are not affected by the corruption of the police and politicians. 

This creates an even darker, more realistic and depressing tone than other Batman films, and this carries over to the character of Bruce Wayne.

An image of Robert Pattisnon
Robert Pattinson attends the Special Screening of “The Batman”.
Image: Julie Edwards / Alamy Live News

There was a lot of criticism of Robert Pattinson’s casting as Batman from those who have only seen him as Edward in the Twilight films. 

Nonetheless, he is a great actor and does an excellent job performing Batman. However, as Bruce Wayne, he’s lanky, sloppy, and sickly.

This is a clearly depressed Batman with no sense of self-preservation. 

He believes that there’s nothing important in his life and this is reflected in his contemptuous attitude towards everything around him.

Pattinson also has fantastic chemistry with Zoe Kravitz, who is absolutely amazing as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. 

Despite the focus that advertising put on their relationship, the truth is that they don’t delve into her as much as we would like and the film forgets about her for very long periods.

The actors behind the bat and the cat are not alone. Jeffrey Wright (James Gordon), Colin Farrell (unrecognizable as The Penguin), John Turturro (Carmine Falcone) and the rest of the cast do a fantastic job in The Batman (2022).

The great ambitions, long duration and heavy expectations of the public prevent this film from reaching excellence. 

An image of Batman and Catwoman
Robert Pattisnon and Zoe Karvitz in The Batman (2022)

To begin with, the rhythm could be improved to make it more engaging since sometimes it gives the feeling that they didn’t know when to finish it. 

Its main mystery is more complicated than interesting and some moments of its investigation, like when a shirtless Bruce tries to connect the dots by painting the floor of his house, seem pretentious. 

The surprising thing is that, despite all these problems, The Batman (2022) is still a great film. 

Although it takes elements from comics like Hush, The Long Halloween, the Nolan trilogy and The Telltale Series video game, it creates an identity of its own and offers an interesting vision of the Batman.

The performances are stellar, and Matt Reeves’ inquisitive camera makes Gotham City’s alleyways and skylines burst. 

If you decide to see it in theatres instead of waiting for it to hit HBO Max, find a theatre with a good projector. When we say that it is a dark film, we are not only referring to its theme.