The Batman (2022)

Matt Reeves' nearly 3 hour long The Batman is a slingshot for DC back to a more noir-ish adaptation of the masked vigilante. It seems that they're eager to shed whatever had transpired in the DCEU and remake it from the ground up. It certainly seems like a loose throwback to Nolan's The Dark Knight era, but perhaps only in mood. In this universe, the emotionally charged, crime fighting billionaire is replaced wit h a more stoic symbol of vengeance.

As Batman continues to wage war on crime in the city, he's acutely aware that the light in the dark night wields power. It's a warning; an omen to criminals and any other ill intention lowlife crawling the streets. There are more enemies than allies, and it seems that his efforts have garnered attention. The Riddler emerges from the shadows of Gotham, and he's forced to play along. Crime and corruption in Gotham spin a web of deceit and lies that go all the way up to the top brass. As the cat emerges from the bag, threatens to destabilize the status quo.

The comparisons drawn with Nolan's earlier films with Christian Bale are to be expected. Both employed a darker and grittier tone to fit the narrative, but that seems as far as the parallels run. The scale and action pieces in TDK were Nolan's emphasis on creating a visual spectacle. Reeves on the other hand drives Batman back down the path of Gotham, into both its history and his. What we're given in this is more personal, with a touch of daddy issues. It detaches itself from the more indestructible image created before, and shows the cracks in Bruce's own psyche. The image of the orphan is recreated, both as another child, and then as a foe through harsh circumstance.

The casting for this, though initially unexpected turned out better than anticipated. If you had any doubts about the once sparkly, teenage vampire heartthrob donning the mask and cape, then he certainly casts those away. Robert Pattinson emulates your typical Batman character traits, and ironically fits the lonesome, brooding Bruce Wayne stereotype. At times, the shadow of Bruce appears behind the mask, and vice versa. Colin Farrell is also surprisingly remarkable as Penguin, a role that at first seemed to fit Andy Serkis more. But he proves he can be just as menacing even while covered in prosthetics and a fat suit. On the other hand, Serkis carries the role of Alfred Pennyworth with his own gravitas, despite not having much screen time. Zoë Kravitz stands on her own nimble feet, even as Catwoman is towered over by Batman. She exists in this film more as Selina Kyle, whereas Bruce keeps his Batman persona close. Paul Dano is perhaps the only character whose performance doesn't appear until he reveals himself.

Even as one of many remakes in a climate of superhero abundance, it's a 3 hour Batman noir that gives attention to both story and action, something DC hasn't seen in a long while.


Popular Posts