by Allie Vasserman
March 31, 2022
The Batman (2022), directed by Matt Reeves, is the latest Batman reboot. It stars Robert Pattinson as Batman or Bruce Wayne, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman or Selena Kyle, Paul Dano as the Riddler, Colin Ferral as the Penguin, Jeffery Wright as Lieutenant James “Jim” Gordon, John Tururio as Carmine Falcone, and Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth.
Unlike Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, this version of Batman does not start with the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents, but rather with Wayne doing a monologue as criminals run away in fear and the Bat-Signal lights up in the sky. At the start of the movie, Batman has been fighting crime in Gotham City for two years. The plot kicks off when Lieutenant Jim Gordon brings on Batman to help the police solve the murder of Don Mitchell, the mayor of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne uses his home, Wayne Manor, as a base where he reviews the evidence of the mayor’s murder and determines, with the help of Alfred, that the villain is the Riddler. Batman ends up working with Catwoman, who has her own agenda, to help Jim Gordon and the police solve the mystery.
Robert Pattinson’s Batman is different from Christian Bale’s Batman; in this movie, Batman is more like The World’s Greatest Detective, which is one of his titles from the comics. Also, this Bruce Wayne is a recluse, not a billionaire playboy. He does not care about how the world sees him and pours all of his time and energy into being Batman. Other characters appear differently in this movie as well. The Penguin, for example, does not look like a comic book character; the prosthetics on his face make him look more realistic. Unlike other Batman villains that have been on the big screen, Paul Dano’s Riddler does not instill fear in many of the citizens of Gotham; rather, he recruits them through social media by exposing and murdering the most corrupt of Gotham. The Riddler is actually portrayed as a sympathetic villain in this movie, compared to the “good” and “dutiful” government officials. Also, this version of the Riddler does not wear a bright green suit with purple tie, a cap with question mark, or carry a cane with a question mark like his comic book counterpart, but instead has a more realistic appearance. Jeffery Wright’s Jim Gordon is shown to be one of the good men in Gotham, trying to root out corruption in the city even if it means putting himself in danger and tarnishing the Gotham City Police Department’s reputation. Zoe Kravitz and Andy Serkis do a good job portraying Catwoman and Alfred. Like in the previous Batman movies, this one has a memorable and intense chase scene with the Batmobile, although we don’t see a lot of “bat gadgets” that we see in other Batman movies. And in this movie, the music plays a key role, setting the tone and adding to the suspense. For instance, Batman’s footsteps sound heavy to show that he instills fear into others around him.
The Batman is three hours long, but to me, there was not a single slow moment. This may be my favorite live action version of Batman. I enjoyed watching Batman basically run around Gotham City trying to solve a murderous scavenger hunt set up by the Riddler. I also thought that the fight scenes were well coordinated. I could have done without the romance between Batman and Catwoman, but since Catwoman is a major love interest for Batman in the comics, I expected to see some sort of a romantic storyline between them. And I thought the monologues at the beginning and the end of the movie were unnecessary. But overall, I enjoyed The Batman, which is less of a traditional comic book adaptation and more of a murder mystery. I recommend it for fans of Batman and detective stories.