The Batman (English) Rating 3.5/5 & Rating
THE BATMAN is the story of a masked vigilante. Billionaire Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) has been acting as Batman in Gotham City for two years. He wears a mask and therefore no one is aware of Batman’s true identity. The mayoral election is in full swing, and on Halloween, incumbent Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. (Rupert Penry-Jones) is brutally murdered in his own home. He leaves a message for Batman. Lieutenant James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) calls Batman to the crime scene to investigate. The law enforcement officer is soon forced to leave after Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) Commissioner Pete Savage (Alex Ferns) admonishes James for calling Batman at the scene. Before leaving, Batman takes a look at the mysteries left by the killer, who calls himself the Riddler. While Batman tries to solve the mysteries with the help of his butler and caretaker Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis), Pete is killed. Also, Riddler releases the video of his murder to the media. The clues left by Riddler lead Batman to the infamous Iceberg Lounge, run by a man named Oz aka Penguin (Colin Farrell). Here he meets Selina (Zoë Kravitz), who seems to know a lot about what’s going on in the city. Another murder soon takes place and Batman is running out of time to solve the murders and catch the Riddler. However, the superhero also realizes that Riddler only targets those who were corrupt and contributed in one way or another to the city’s downfall. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
The story of Matt Reeves and Peter Craig is commendable. The script, written by Matt Reeves and Peter Craig, retains the dark element associated with the superhero while also incorporating the fun and suspenseful moments. Matt once described his version of THE BATMAN as a hybrid of “detective, action, and psychological thriller,” and all three aspects are neatly tied into the narrative. The dialogues are tough and have it all.
Matt Reeves directing is top notch. Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN series is still going strong and has brought a new perspective to the superhero’s life and adventures. Matt earns brownie points since his version is very different. He handles the scenes with such skill and novelty that there’s no comparison to Nolan’s films. The way he portrays the underbelly of Gotham City and Batman’s confrontations with the villains is also compelling and doesn’t induce déjà vu. On the other hand, the film is too long at 176 minutes. He spices up the narrative with some great scenes and hence the movie doesn’t feel boring or sluggish. However, a shorter duration would have had a better effect. Also, the climax is tense as the flood element was a great idea. However, it was not used properly. Manufacturers could have shown even more extensive destruction as it would have resulted in a nerve wracking watch. Finally, being a gritty action thriller, it is not strictly a family entertainer like Marvel superhero films, which would limit its box office prospects in India.
THE BATMAN starts off on a good note, but takes a while to get used to the setting and voiceover style narration. The first two murders play a role, but the film draws attention when Selina goes to the 44 Below secret club to investigate. The funeral scene is the best part of the movie and the action and chase that follows is excellent. After the break, the film lapses for a while and picks up again with the scene between Batman and Alfred in the hospital. The madness in front of the Iceberg Lounge and the scene after is too good. The finale, although it could have been better, is exciting. The film ends with the promise of a sequel.
Robert Pattinson is great as Batman. Several actors have played this role in the past and received awards. It was a big challenge to take on this role. However, Robert is flawless and plays it differently than those who played the superhero in the earlier films. He also brings freshness as Bruce Wayne. Zoë Kravitz appears confident and delivers a skilful performance. You can count on Andy Serkis and Jeffrey Wright. Colin Farrell is unrecognizable and does a fine job. Paul Dano (Edward Nashton) has a crucial role and dominates at several points in the second half. John Turturro (Carmine Falcone) is great while Peter Sarsgaard (Gil Colson, DA) leaves his mark. Jayme Lawson (Bella Reál) is memorable in a small role. Hana Hrzic (Annika), Rupert Penry-Jones and Alex Ferns are decent.
Michael Giacchino’s music has a cinematic feel and works well. Greig Fraser’s cinematography is great. The shots are beautifully captured and add a lot to the effect, particularly the use of light and a reverse shot in the car crash scene. James Chinlund’s production design is rich and has a bit of a comic feel. Jacqueline Durran’s costumes are appealing. David Crossman and Glyn Dillon designed the Batsuit and they do an excellent job. The action isn’t too gory and adds to the entertainment quotient. VFX is excellent. William Hoy and Tyler Nelson’s cut is neat but could have been a little tighter.
Overall, THE BATMAN is a fresh take on the iconic superhero, with the performances and execution icing on the cake. Despite the dark undertones, the film has the potential to be a hit at the Indian box office.