This review contains spoilers
Story – Once upon a time in Gotham
This version of Batman is more like a film noir detective movie than a superhero movie, which I think is not a bad thing. We have seen so many Batman movies and so many superhero movies before that if they wanted to show us something new they had to deviate. When looking at Batman as a character, he doesn’t have any superpowers, he is just a guy in a suit. This movie shows us why it could only be Bruce Wayne in the Batman suit and no one else. It isn’t a question of money or technology but intelligence, which we see so much of as we go with him and Jim Gordon, solving crime. Speaking of whom Jim Gordon does an excellent job of being the ‘Robin’ of the movie and bringing a more human point of view into the superhero crime story.
Every great detective needs a villain and the Riddler delivers a terrifying one. Maybe a bit too terrifying? I think they turned a bit too far away from the traditional Riddler who was more about the riddles and less about the straight-up violence. They made him into the Zodiac killer basically, even his cyphers looked similar. In my mind, the psychotic killer is more the Joker but I can’t deny it, Paul Dano’s Riddler scared the shit out of me.
That being said I missed one major thing from the movie, Bruce Wayne. Even though he is the one inside the suit, we just see Batman. For most of the movie, I think it makes sense we don’t see him. He thinks that the only way he can do good is as Batman. However, once we learn more about his parents and see how much they have done for the community (when they didn’t cause the death of a journalist) and see how every single officer in the city became corrupted since they died, it would make sense for him to take up the mantle. At the end of the movie, instead of the cute bike ride into the sunset, I would have preferred to see him helping the city recover as Bruce Wayne the billionaire.
Two of my favourite side characters were Catwoman and the Penguin. Zoë Kravitz brings a lethal but vulnerable Catwoman to the screen. She has the flexibility and slyness of Catwoman, but we also see a human side to her, fighting for her friend till the very end. Pattinson and Kravitz also had great chemistry on screen. For me, one of the biggest surprises was Collin Farrell. A surprise in a way that I didn’t realize he was in the movie. Farrell plays the Penguin and wears so many prosthetics that it is almost impossible to recognize him. Despite being covered head to toe in make-up he did an amazing job of bringing Oswald Cobblepot to life, making him a real criminal to be feared instead of the laughable caricature he has so often been.
Look – What we do in the shadows
In my opinion, the most impressive part of The Batman was the visuals. Lighting was one of the key elements in creating the atmosphere of the movie. This is the darkest and most gloomy Gotham we have ever had. It’s no surprise that in such a depressing city people turn to crime. They managed to pull off some breathtaking scenes using alternative light sources, such as the one at the end of the movie where Batman walks through the flooded arena holding an emergency flare.
Another part of the design that I think is important to mention is the costumes. The Batman armour was impressive and the metal of his boots made his steps echo, warning of the coming doom. Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman costume suited her character well, and even though it was all body-hugging leather it wasn’t as sexualised as for example Halle Berry’s Catwoman costume.
Comparison – Would it make the Waynes proud?
Well, how does it compare to all other Batman media we have seen? It is very different, to say the least. It is more in line with the recent Joker movie in tone and execution than with the rest of the DCEU. They have teased a sequel to the movie, which I think will be welcomed by the fans. I will definitely go see it.
It is of course not perfect. The long time might be slightly too long and the story does slow down sometimes but never too much. If you haven’t seen it in the cinema yet I highly recommend it, since the amazing cinematography shines best on the big screen.
Have you seen the movie? What do you think?